Saturday, April 2, 2011

Working on a different bike.

I like bikes. I like riding them, and I like working on them. I'm not sure which part I like more.

I'm not just talking about bicycles, either.

None of this is news to anyone, I'm sure.

Thus is why I spent most of today up to my elbows in the engine of my KLR, Slide. Slide's a great bike, but there was one flaw in the engine that I needed to take care of, which was to replace the engine balance chain tension lever, hereafter to be referred to as the "Doohicky." The original part tends to run away from its home, and take a grand tour of the engine, sometimes causing havoc, in the worst case. Often, it's as simple as just not adjusting the chain properly.

Better to take care of the problem now, instead of being stranded somewhere. I've been dreading doing this, because I was afraid of what I'd find when I took the over off. Fortunately nothing was horribly wrong, I didn't need to go fishing for broken parts in the engine, and once I had the right tool, everything was smooth sailing.

As I started bolting things back together, Josh showed up on his KLR, Tinkerbell. Turns out he needs a new doohicky too. Looks like I get to do it all over again next week.

I actually went a bit further in, but I forgot to take pictures. Still cool to see.

Old doohicky on the left, new one on the right. The old one makes a great keyfob.

While I waited for gasket sealer to dry, I bolted on some crash bars and a skid plate, further protection for the bike should I turf it. After all that, it was time for a test ride.

Tinkerbell and Slide.

This was work I had been putting off for a few months now. The bike doesn't feel profoundly different, but there are changes. Some knocks I've grown used to are gone, replaced by a sewing machine type whir, and it feels smoother at speed. The biggest improvement is the peace of mind, and the confidence in knowing that there's not a time-bomb in the engine that'll leave me stranded somewhere.

Since that was something that's limited my time on Slide, I can see myself putting more miles on it... if gas prices go down.

...or if I'm not riding my bicycles.

Mileage: this many! *points over yonder*


DH said...

I am always bewildered at how you can take apart bikes and motorcycles and just like that they are good as new/better. If I so much as take a screw off of my toaster it'll burst into flames.

It's lookin' awful beautiful down there right now! We're just starting to warm up in IA.A its been around 50~60 most days for a week or so. Have the flowers/trees started blooming for you guys, yet?

Polar bear said...

Trust me, a LOT of reading was done before I tore into the engine. I had the torque specs of nearly every bolt memorized, and I still checked the guides. Bikes are one thing (I'm pretty sure I can build one in my sleep now.) but an engine is a bit more of an intricate animal. However, it's also so much fun, and the nervous finger-twisting followed by the flood of relief on the first startup is one of the better highs I live for.

It is very nice down here, weatherwise. The trails are dry, there's buds on the trees, and grass is sprouting... all in time for the snowstorm that's forecast for this weekend. >.<