motorcycle intimacy

Oct 11, 2008

little orange
Originally uploaded by zen
Just got an email from my motorcycle mechanic, Chris Finlayson of Existential Motorcycles up in Alexander, NC who says that "Little Orange," my Honda CT110 trail/road bike is ready and been given the once-over. Meticulously! Chris detailed the repair and check-up so methodically that his work read like a Zen and the Art of Motorycycle Maintenance story only without the cleaning up of the tools and philosophical ramblings. Sparse and poetic, here it is:

Disassemble clutch and check wear as per manual.
Clutch had been assembled incorrectly.
As a consiquence, the ball retainer on the release mechanism was bent and not allowing the clutch to fully engage. This is the likely cause of the slippage.
Replace with good part from donor motor.
Friction plates well within wear specs.
Centrifugal weights move freely.
Springs all within spec except one which had been bent and crushed.
Replace with spring from donor motor.
Reassemble clutch.
Top up battery with distilled water and charge.
Replace main battery ground wire, which was hanging by a couple of strands.
Clean and reoil air filter element.
Clean/lube/adjust front brake cable.
Install new NGK D8EA spark plug.
Adjust valves - intake ok - exhaust way too loose.
Check compression - 155psi - excellent.
Clean/lube/adjust throttle mechanism and cable.
Fire up engine - runs poorly.
Clean carburetor.
Adjust points - gap way too small.
Dress point surfaces with points file.
Set ignition timing with strobe light.
Fire up engine - runs lovely.
Road test - shifts erratically and jumps out of gear.
Disassemble clutch - all is correct.
Remove/disassemble shift selector mechanism.
Find broken selector arm.
Replace with part from donor motor.
Road test - all is well.
Angle of rear brake arm at wheel hub suggests that the brake shoes are worn.
Remove rear wheel and inspect.
Shoes should be replaced soon.
Reassemble and rotate rear brake arm rearward on splines to restore maximum mechanical advantage at brake pedal.
Adjust brake pedal free play.
Lube and adjust chain.
Tail light unit loose on fender attached by one bolt. Remove and remount securely.

WHOAH! His relationship with my bike left me a bit jealous. I mean, my interaction with the Honda will be like this:

Inserted key and moved to the run position
Moved petcock to the 'fuel' position
Kick-started the motor - runs lovely still.
Drove down the road until exhausted - had fun.


His relationship with her was definitely more intimate and powerful. I feel like the cheap one-night-stand compared to his understanding of her, but i guess that's true of any great mechanic. Or perhaps it feels like i am the motorcycle's father who has allowed his daughter to date and the mechanic-boyfriend details all the varied ways he had sex with her, or at least understands her poetry or something.

My favorite line in his report is:

Reassemble and rotate rear brake arm rearward on splines to restore maximum mechanical advantage at brake pedal.

oh, bay-bee! Wow, from a mechanic's point of view that just reads like engineering porno!

I plan on picking it up next week and getting to know her a little ride at a time and then, perhaps, i will feel like i should spend some 'quality time' with her and be a little more responsive to 'her needs.' But isn't that the way it's supposed to be?


I have an S90 that I got in about 1983. Very similar as you probably know. At that time I had the dealer run the serial number and they told me it was from 1961, but later research says it's not. It hasn't run in many years but waits in the basement for the right time. I always had trouble with it burning out the light bulbs.

Edward said...
October 15, 2008 at 4:20 PM  

Wow....I wish my auto mechanic was like this. I just get a "Yeah, it's fixed."

Would be nice if our doctors were this detailed as well, eh?

Brant said...
October 20, 2008 at 7:50 AM  

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