Submitted by Mike Clarke on Mon, 12/11/2012 - 22:03
One of the earliest blogs here mentions the satisfaction derived from home mechanics and being able to take your bike apart, peer knowingly at its entrails, and put it back together again- preferably with the confidence that it will still work and carry you faithfully to the pub and back.
That presupposes that you know what you are doing and it is one of my boring-old-fart contentions that most present day riders have missed out by being unable to dismantle the machine and fiddle around with it.
However……..even the big boys can make mistakes and when they do, it can be a trifle unnerving. When I was a callow 17 year old on my very first 250cc, an older and much respected mate had one of the first Jap superbikes, the 750cc Honda Supersport. Tame by today’s standards, it was a revelation in the 70’s, fast, smooth, sophisticated and a sho’nuff bird magnet.
We all wanted one-especially the Bonneville lot, who pretended to be sniffy, ignoring the uncomfortable fact that the Honda could blow a Bonnie into the weeds any day of the week and didn’t leak oil everywhere.
John was a very nice bloke and endured our adolescent envy with good grace, allowing us to poke and drool at the machine whenever it was parked outside the café on the Lowestoft Road.
One bright sunny day, he had to take it to the local dealer for its first major service. He offered a blast up the A12 to his mate Nigel, who duly left his leaking Triumph on the forecourt and they disappeared over the horizon at a rate of knots.
To my eternal regret, I was not there when they came back, several hours later, but the story of their return rapidly became woven into East Coast history. Seems they dropped the bike at the dealers (who even to this day shall remain nameless, because I am pretty sure they are still trading), then went for a few pints while the spanner monkeys did their thing. A leisurely stroll down the prom, and it was time to go home for tea.
They picked up the bike, newly serviced, including new front and rear brake pads, and started home. Before the Min of Trans messed up the A12 and put in a load of roundabouts, it was a straight blast from Corton Long Lane to the outskirts of Gorleston, so John duly let it rip, hitting well over the ton past Hopton.
Seems the machine behaved perfectly, which is really rather odd, because when he rolled onto the café forecourt and hoiked it back onto its centre stand, the front wheel spindle and the retaining caps just fell to the floor, allowing the wheel to drop out.
I have it on unimpeachable authority that Nigel really did turn green and just managed to get his full face helmet off before he puked.
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