TIE YOUR MOTHER DOWN!

How to se­cure your ma­chine in shed and van. Apolo­gies to Queen fans.

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CONTENTS -

apolo­gies to Queen fans – but we of­ten don’t se­cure our bikes prop­erly – ei­ther in the work­shop, on the bike lift or in the van. Here’s how to make sure you don’t make mis­takes.

When­ever you work on a bike on a bike lift or bench, you should tie it down safely. ev­ery­one has a hor­ror story about not do­ing so! For­tu­nately for me, my dis­as­ter was with my wife’s 675 street Triple, not a cus­tomer’s cher­ished clas­sic (not that she saw it that way). The bike was on a cheap and nasty pad­dock stand a me­tre off the ground on a pro­fes­sional bike lift when the stand gave way. Be­cause I had ne­glected to strap down the bike, it fell head first off the bench and landed up­side down. I was on my own and I was stuck. some­how the shock blew the mains fuse on the bike bench so it wouldn’t go back down. I re­paired it and dropped the bench down, get­ting the bike the right way up again. Be­ing in­verted caused the bike some prob­lems. Cut­ting the story short, I had to get a new air fil­ter and a tank re­spray! Learn from my mis­take; tie your bike down and don’t buy cheap pad­dock stands. What if it had been my Z1300? Bike benches al­most never have enough tie down points and if they do, they’re rarely in the right place. on my first bench, I used ex­haust ‘U’ bolts from a car ex­haust cen­tre which were cheap and cheer­ful, much like the bench. They were a great im­prove­ment on no tie down points, but were very of­ten in the way. When I dis­cov­ered the Bike-it quick re­lease tie down an­chors I was very pleased and have in­stalled them on ev­ery bench I have bought since. They’re great for vans and trail­ers as well, but more on that later. I have just re­placed my first DIY bench for a new pro­fes­sional one that’s not been on the

mar­ket long. I tend to work on heav­ier bikes and the DIY ones re­ally aren’t sta­ble enough and don’t go up high enough for my age­ing back. Even though this is a great bench it comes with no tie down points, so I have de­cided to fix four each side. The Bike-it an­chors come as a pair with screws, nuts and wash­ers. The deck on this new bench is made of pretty thick steel plate and un­der­neath some of the an­chor points, one can’t get a nut in, so drilling and tap­ping is the best way to go. I mea­sured off from my other bench to de­cide tie down po­si­tions. Firstly mark out the po­si­tion for the holes (they’re at 25mm cen­tres). Be­fore mov­ing on, put the an­chor base over the mark­ing so that you can be sure that the hole po­si­tions are cor­rect; re­mem­ber ‘mea­sure twice, cut once’. Cen­tre punch the hole cen­tres. If you’re cut­ting threads then drill the holes 5mm (tap­ping drill for M6) or 6mm if you’re go­ing to use nuts on the back. I tapped them all and used nuts as lock nuts where pos­si­ble. Use cut­ting fluid or paste on your drill as it will make it cut bet­ter and last longer. I use Ro­col RTD which is avail­able as paste in a tin or fluid in a bot­tle from good en­gi­neer­ing sup­pli­ers. I tend to use the paste for drilling and tap­ping. I use the fluid on the lathe and milling ma­chine. Al­ways wear safety glasses when drilling! De-burr the holes. Tap the hole with an M6 tap. While you can buy ta­per, sec­ond ta­per as well as plug taps, I rarely ever use a ta­per tap. I would rather have a full set of good qual­ity plug or bot­tom­ing taps than a cheap set with all the ta­per taps. Keep the tap at 90° to the work piece. It can help to get some­one us­ing an en­gi­neer’s square to help align the tap if you’re new to thread­ing. Never force a tap, they’re very hard (if they’re any good) which means that they can snap if over­loaded. Turn the tap clock­wise for half to one turn and then back­wards for a quar­ter to half-a-turn to break off the swarf. Al­ways use a cut­ting fluid or paste and your cut­ting will be eas­ier and the taps will last much longer. Once the holes are threaded, sim­ply screw in the fas­ten­ers. I al­ways use a dab of thread lock and seal. At this point if there is ac­cess un­der­neath you can fit the nuts to the un­der­side of the screws for added se­cu­rity and to also act to lock the threads, though this shouldn’t be nec­es­sary if you have used lock and seal. Once the base is se­cure and you have fit­ted all the an­chors you want, then it is time to at­tach the quick re­lease rings and give it a try. At this point I must warn you about the nasty cheap ratchet straps avail­able at shows, mar­kets, ebay etc; there’s a rea­son they’re cheap! Good qual­ity straps have a plas­tic la­bel sewn ei­ther end of the strap with the spec­i­fi­ca­tion. At Biker’s Tool­box we only sell good qual­ity safe straps; they may be more than a pound each, but they are safe. Years ago I nearly lost a 1977 Z1000A1 off the back of a trailer when a bar­gain £1 strap broke. Un­der no cir­cum­stances side load the an­chor in the di­rec­tion you slide in the de­tach­able ring. This will put a load on the lock­ing mech­a­nism that it wasn’t de­signed for, which could cause it to break Hav­ing an­chor points up and down the bench re­ally helps depend­ing on what you are do­ing. Once, with my old Z1300, I needed to take the forks out, so I tied the bike down at the back, pulling the front wheel off the ground this also helped se­cure the bike. I used a strap ei­ther side, at­tached to the grab rails, as this stops the bike mov­ing about. If you use just one strap, it doesn’t stop the bike mov­ing from side to side. With a bike as heavy as this old girl, I don’t want her mov­ing around at all. When I come to ac­tu­ally take the front wheel out, I may need more clear­ance so I can use the ratchet straps to pull down the rear sus­pen­sion to give me more clear­ance at the front, so that the

wheel clears the front mud­guard. You’ll no­tice I place a square of alu­minium che­quer plate un­der the cen­tre stand; this is not stan­dard on any bike bench but gives more sup­port. I drilled four holes in the plate, then drilled the bench M8 tap­ping side (6.8mm) tapped the threads in the holes, opened up the plate holes to 8mm, cut counter sinks in them and screwed the plate down with M8 coun­ter­sunk head bolts. There is a huge weight placed on a fairly small sur­face area when haul­ing a big bike onto a cen­tre stand, which doesn’t help the bench deck. The alu­minium, be­ing softer and with the help of the ridges, doesn’t al­low the stand to slide around as much as it tends to on a painted deck. All of this comes from a very hard les­son learned. The moral of this story is learn from my mis­take and make it se­cure!

Top notch and sturdy stuff. Inset: mark out twice drill once!

Drilling the holes... Lock­ing fluid is a must. Se­cur­ing the an­chor point. Pre­par­ing and tap­ping the threads. Al­ways a wise in­vest­ment. The tie-down in ac­tion. Holes drilled, threads in­serted. An­chor point and tie down done!

Bar tie downs are best. Safely sorted – the au­thor’s mighty Z1300 Kawasaki. And qual­ity ratchet straps. This Kawasaki ZRX1200 is safe and se­cure in the Vito van.

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