BUY IT. FIX IT.

TO SOLVE A NAGGING PROB­LEM START WORK­ING BACKWARDS

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Special Brew -

A mate of mine mes­saged the other day to see if I had any the­o­ries to of­fer as to why his bike had sud­denly de­vel­oped a mys­te­ri­ous front end wob­ble at speed. It’s of­ten the case that a prob­lem can be traced back to the last piece of work done on a bike.

He won­dered if per­haps the head bear­ings were in­cor­rectly tight­ened. On in­spec­tion these proved to be OK. “Oh,” he re­vealed, “I’ve put a fork brace on it.” My friend de­scribed its de­sign. I was un­happy to learn that the brace had no pro­vi­sion for ad­just­ment to en­sure the fork legs re­mained dead par­al­lel. He re­moved the brace and went for a ride. No im­prove­ment.

He’d upped the preload for a two-up tour and hadn’t re­turned the shocks to their usual solo set­tings. Maybe jack­ing up the back had put too much weight on the front when the pil­lion and lug­gage were re­moved. Shocks back to where they were be­fore and still the is­sue per­sisted. “Oh,” mes­saged my friend, in what by now was be­com­ing a fa­mil­iar pat­tern, “I put an af­ter­mar­ket swingarm on it too.” He goes off to check whether the shock mounts are po­si­tioned dif­fer­ently from the stock swinger. It tran­spires they are dif­fer­ent, the holes 15mm higher than stock.

You have to step back from the prob­lem and look at the causal chain that led to it. When you’re too close to an is­sue you of­ten miss what’s caus­ing it. I’ve done it many times but am grad­u­ally learn­ing. Time spent think­ing about a fault is at least as valu­able as time spent at­tempt­ing to fix it. Also, when a me­chanic asks you what you’ve done to the bike, full and frank dis­clo­sure is the only sen­si­ble op­tion. You’ve wasted enough of your own time so don’t take up more than is needed of his – af­ter all, it will cost you. Alan See­ley (no longer of Scot­land)

“WHEN A ME­CHANIC ASKS WHAT YOU’VE DONE. FULL DIS­CLO­SURE IS THE ONLY OP­TION”

Check that what­ever you fit doesn’t al­ter the han­dling char­ac­ter­is­tics of your bike

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