Eight years ago, I got a motorcycle. I’ve documented my ups and downs with it here and in the last few years, it’s been a sad story of neglect and non-involvement.
My recent attempt to revive my bike ended up being well outside my ability level. I turned the bike over to my neighbor, who is an experienced mechanic. He disassembled it and did a thorough cleaning of the carburetor, which worked well until his testing revealed the engine was running too lean and stalling out. That leanness was caused by a crack in the fuel inlet, which is a non-replaceable part. So, a replacement carburetor was purchased for about $300.
That new part made the engine run better, but now the bike would die if you suddenly hit the throttle. There wasn’t enough gas being delivered to the carb. This was determined to be the fault of the aftermarket petcock I installed, which had a smaller diameter fuel line than the original. So, another purchase of an OEM petcock for $60 was done.
A few days ago, my neighbor’s kid rang my doorbell and asked if I was ready to go for a ride. Across the street my bike was idling next to my neighbors bike. Great. I haven’t been riding in years and here I am being put on the spot to test out the repair.
I gear up and we went out for a brief ride together. I was rusty, but I remembered how everything worked and managed just fine. I had a motorcycle again.
Last night, to help regain my skills and comfort on the bike, I went out for dinner. Nothing uneventful happened until I got home. I pulled into the driveway, shut off the engine, put down the kickstand and climbed off. Suddenly, what the hell is going on? The bike is moving? The bike fell away from me and although I initially tried to hold it, you can’t stop a 500lb weight from falling while you’re standing upright.
The motorcycle came down on its right side with a crash and a crunch – the first time I’ve ever let the bike fall. I’ve “laid it down” softly in the grass maybe twice in the first year I owned it, but it’s never had an uncontrolled fall. Until now.
My driveway is sloped (maybe designed that way for runoff, maybe it’s just settling) and I have always been a little weirded out that the bike sat near upright when it was on its kickstand. This time I guess it was just a tiny bit over center. I made the decision then that I would start parking the other direction so the bike would lean with the slope of the driveway, although at a more severe angle.
New resolutions aside, I had to get the bike back up and see what the damage was. My first evaluation was that the mirror broke off and the taillight was crushed. I used the standard technique for raising a dropped bike, the one that you may have been taught but never have to use, like changing a car tire. I put my back to the bike, got a firm grip on the handlebar and wheel well then walked it back upright.
Additional inspection showed that the damage was limited to the two things I had first noticed. No paint damage, no significant chrome damage, no dents. Considering how violently it came down, I am amazed at the limit of the damage.
To avoid any opportunity to dwell on the incident, I purchased replacement parts right away. I decided to replace the mirrors completely even though only one mirror mount was snapped off. It’s something I’d been kicking around for a while since they were gathering some slight surface rust. Hopefully, I can get back on the road within a week.