Words Of Wisdom
Bike Mechanics 101
I dont know if it has anything to do with my years of riding, but people are always asking for my mechanical advise. It could be that I often look like I know what Im doing. It could be that I worked in a garage a long time ago. It could be that I am a Mechanical Engineer, by trade. Then again, it could be because I am so opinionated that people ask my advise because they know Ill volunteer it if they dont.
Typical things they want to know are if I think a bolt is tight enough, or if their chain is correctly adjusted, or if their jetting is right, or if the nail sticking out of their tire might mean trouble.
We all know the "tighten it until it strips and back off a quarter turn" method of properly torquing a bolt. But, see, with all my experience, I know better. You want to gob red Locktite on the threads and tighten to where it feels snug. Once dry, youll need an impact wrench to remove that sucker.
Proper carb jetting is an art. Most carburetors have different jets and circuits for different throttle openings and flow speeds. What they dont tell you, is that most of these circuits overlap. I like Jays method of tuning carburetors. He changed his bikes pipe, changed its intake, bought all the jets that were available, and then diddled around with the carb and all his jets until the bike wouldnt idle and was a bear to start. He finally chucked the whole thing and bought a pre-jetted aftermarket carb from Jeff. Then again, Brad and I tuned Pauls bike at the Rubicon by removing the carb, leaning the main jet, leaning the pilot jet, lowering the needle valve, and bending the float tang up about 45 degrees. It ran great for the entire weekend. Paul has not ridden the bike near sea level yet.
Chains are easy. If they jump the sprocket, theyre too loose. Ask Paul. Then again, it could have something to do with his bike lacking a chain guide.
Of course anyone who has fallen on a tire iron or rim in the heat of tire-changing knows that a little lube on a tire bead can go a long way. People use different water and detergent mixes, Armor All, and such as lubricants. I have found that Fantastik cleaner works best, plus it leaves your hands smelling nice and lemony. Three tire irons are better than two, but you should not carry them in your pockets. Trust me.
I already knew that bailing wire was magical, but I was not aware until recently that, given enough wraps, it can be made strong enough to hold a broken footpeg on for miles. I will not go into the eventual "permanent" footpeg fix, except to say that throughbolts are stronger than bailing wire.
These just scratch the surface of the knowledge I have accumulated over the years. I could regale you with things such as credit cards being ideal thickness gages for points. Ill even own up to having two points files in my toolbox. But who has points anymore? I could tell you how to get extra miles out of the rocker followers on a Honda CB/CL 350/360 twin by turning the eccentric rocker-arm pivots past center toward the other adjustment extreme. I need to get my boundless knowledge to the masses, before more of it goes the way of points. Stay tuned . . .