Bad luck on the road - column

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Stopping for motorcyclists with a breakdown is no longer of this time. There is often not much to tinker with on the verge of modern motorcycles. But what if you see a man in full motorcycle outfit walking next to a Honda VT500 in the blazing sun? Then you are heartless if you don't stop for a moment. Apparently the man was happy to make a stopover on the false plateau towards Velp.

The oil lamp

His oil lamp had started to flicker. He only drove a few times a year, knew nothing about his oil level. So that was first checked. There was not enough oil in the block. As a classic driver you always have half a liter of extra oil with you. I told the pusher at rest that it was a different oil than his Hondaatje usually drank, but that with a splash of 2W50 in the veins he would easily get home. Then he had to drain the oil at home, replace the filter and install fresh oil of the correct thickness. He lived in Velp, RoadrunnerMotoren is located in Velp. And there they have oil in all flavors.

Fear from ignorance

The man was kind of characteristic of many motorcyclists today. Changing the oil was just as unfamiliar to him as checking the oil level. And pouring 'weird' oil into the engine did not seem like a good idea to him. We said goodbye. And he pushed on. The phenomenon reminded me of the BWM driver and his partner who had their tour mastodon repatriated from France because he didn't start. The engine turned out not to be in neutral, the recovery company concluded. So it is now the case that many motorcyclists really do not know what they are doing at all. Or that they think they know enough. To that extent they have just become motorists.

It's a matter of necessity and interest. Motorcycles are now so good that repairs on the road are almost never necessary. But it still seems like a loss if you do not know at all where you are traveling. Fortunately, there are possibilities to gain basic knowledge of the technology in a pleasant way. Various motorcycle or brand clubs provide training courses and there are also various people who take up the case in a more or less professional manner, such as Ms. Davidson (yes, for that brand) and Erik van Lent.

Old school rules!

I find that this training is not necessary within the circle of acquaintances as heartwarming and endearing. We do drive with a mobile phone and some even with a WegenWacht membership. But what if something goes wrong? If the throttle cable breaks on a CB 750? They have thought about that in Japan. The Honda has a pulling and a pushing cable. You move the pusher and you can drive again. It takes some getting used to having to accelerate by turning the handle away from you, but after a hundred kilometers that feels quite logical. And if your classic suddenly starts smoking a lot but continues to run for the time being? Then you just make fuel stops in the style of 'checking the fuel level and filling up with oil'. It is funny that after 350 kilometers you have burned almost four liters of oil. Just as funny as the blue cloud of smoke you draw and that no one wants to drive behind you. If in the context of 'with age come the flaws' and the cylinder breaks off at the base. Then you call some friends and after two hours of quietly sitting in the shade someone will automatically arrive with an unbroken cylinder and a handful of gaskets.

The block had cooled down in the meantime. So work could be done immediately. After more than half an hour, the side valve was satisfied again. The next stop was also forced. Because the rider of the revived side valve and his buddy thought it was time for a beer or something after all the efforts.

On the long line

In another case, we dragged an unrepairable classic on a rope to the terrace. That was a bit of a shock for the motorist who wanted to insert between the tractor and the towed engine. The tow rope was therefore quite long. But we got a terrace and called the ANWB Wegenwacht. The lady on the phone didn't believe our diagnosis. She didn't want to send a recovery vehicle, but an ordinary Road Guard. When it came he turned out to have been a great-grandchild of the stranded classic. When he saw the bike, his response was, "What the hell is that?" While inspecting the damage in astonishment, he said with a sigh: “I can't do anything with that. I take care of storage. ”

He drove off. We returned to our terrace and ordered pancakes. The driver of the recovery truck was endeared. He also drove classically himself. The rider of the fallen motorcycle followed one of the survivors of the group. You can't make everything yourself along the way. But in case of a breakdown, you can at least make a pleasant delay.

If you have any tips for emergency repairs along the way, we ask you to report them.

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  1. Always have sail straps with you, you can secure your luggage, or fix a bing carburettor that fell off the block, it still lasted 80 km until we got home.

  2. Dolf asks for repair tips for the road. I will limit myself to the tips that I have used myself.
    You can repair a leaking petrol tank with a piece of hard soap. Cut a tip and plug the leak as well as possible. It's going to be rock hard.
    You can solder a disconnected wire to your capacitor with a burning cigarette, but keep pulling on that butt ...
    You can stick the torn membrane of your bing carburettor of your bmw boxer with the same substance as you stick your inner tubes with.
    Have also made a gasket from a beer mat ..
    An electrical failure in the BMW / EML combination was almost too much for me, I could not find it. The engine could not make more than 4000 rpm, then it stopped and was almost impossible to start. Anyway, restarting was almost impossible. That's why I drove home for 1000km straight, only stopping to refuel and eat a sandwich and then on again. Meanwhile let the engine idle for no more than 1 minutes. It was only a few degrees above zero then, we came back from the Elefantentreffen. I still know now, after more than 10 years, how my buttocks thought it all….
    Unfortunately, the broken crankshaft of the Dnepr was also a reason for me to call the roadside assistance.

  3. In 1992 I bought a 1956 Buick Special. These have wipers that work on vacuum. He took vacuum away from the intake manifold, so when you accelerated they stopped.
    But when picking up from Rotterdam it rained quite hard and the system stopped working at all, unless you helped him a little. So shoelaces removed and attached to the wipers and back in through the vent windows. My comrade was allowed to operate them from the co-driver's seat… after all, they were also his laces.

  4. Nice tour of France, somewhere above Lourdes, sheep and cows on the road, in short, high in the Pyrenees. Nice road, just asphalted with a nice layer of gravel as a wear layer. My wife's VT 500 overheated up in those mountains. Gravel splashed off the front tire, bounced off the crankcase behind the cooling fin. Nut tight. Now those things never break because there is nothing in them, but they have to run. In short, the radiator was dismantled, the gravel removed and the Vin started to run again. Radiator filled again with delicious fresh water from a splashing stream of the mountains and without any problems, another 3000 km toured home

  5. wonderfully recognizable, broken brake anchor rod and thus madden brake anchor plate, unfortunately in the pouring rain along the highway at baraque michel, found a pub and hitchhiked home, the next day back with trailer,

  6. In 1989 my left windshield wiper shaft broke Citroen GSA loose. I was on my way to an application and it was pouring rain. I put my right windshield wiper in the center of the window so that it wiped the left part dry. (Ps I was on time and got the job).

  7. In 1972 traveling through Scandinavia with my AJS 350 I drove on a stone with my drain bolt. Result piece from my crankcase. In the village in Noorwagen there are neighborhoods to ask if someone could weld aluminum. Finally found someone. Disassembled the bike on his doorstep until I only got the 2 halves. Then they had doubts about welding and glued everything together with 2-component glue. The next day we put everything back together and continue on holiday. Apparently a little too hasty and in Denmark the chains got together and two broke. Eventually found a primary chain through a Dane and I could continue driving but without lights. It was the end of the holiday and so the money was gone. Only for petrol. Came home in the dark. The engine has driven for years without problems with the glued crankcase.

    • Well, there were no mobility guarantees at the time. Fortunately, you can weld British aluminum. The modeling clay of Japanese motorcycles of that time was no longer compatible with village blacksmiths. Thanks to your tip, I hay all nuts and bolts and score three seconds of glue with the Action. Thanks!

  8. If necessary, we had to go to Croatia via the Würzenpass with an increase of 25% and only 30 degrees Celsius.
    Volvo Amazone boiling with two men and surfboards, because something pissed past the head gasket and the hoses became balloons, oh like apples so big.
    Speaking of pissing, when we had finished drinking water and coke we went to stand in front of the radiator ourselves and thus brought the Swedish mechanism back to normal order.

  9. It has been quite a few years. On the way back from a night out in ..Luxembourg suddenly no more light. At the time, Belgium was still sparsely lit 🙂. Fuse blown! Fortunately we still smoked then and with a little silver paper from the cigarette pack we got home safe and sound

  10. On the moment that I arrived in Tyrol in 1980 for a ten-day ski lesson and parked my 1969 Mercedes 250s with a 200d block from 1965 in the back at the gasthaus, the gear lever in the tunnel broke off. Oops, let's see, I just happened to have a three-sided metal file with a wooden handle in my toolbox, and when I squeezed it into a dark hole through the rubber flap at the bottom, it just switched as if it were a factory option. Back in the Netherlands, I continued to ride it for months just for fun 🙂

    • About 25 years ago with girlfriend on the back of the r100rs to the south of France, driving around there, the spark plug vibrated loose and the screw thread went away.
      With a piece of barbed wire pulled the spark plug in the hole and so drove to a campsite, the campsite owner sent us away the next day with a canoe for a tour, upon return the BMW was fitted with screw thread again, to the local garage at 50 Francs tapping.
      I don't want to hear about unkind French people.

  11. a long time ago I knew a motorcyclist who told me that the oil light came on when he went through a bend ...
    but if he gauged oil there was enough!
    strange I said and let's see:
    he put the motorcycle on the side stand and proudly showed: plenty of oil!
    when I asked him to gauge the oil when the engine is on the centerstand: '
    then the monkey came up and saw that there was a lot to be done.

  12. Yes, indeed I am on the road as a roadside assistance, the new motorcyclist knows nothing at all about the bike he moves on. If I ask, make the battery visible for a moment, they look at you snot fire, fuses? what do you mean, dead man's switch? do I have that?
    They have the most beautiful clothing, the high-tech helmets, the hippest gloves and of course the same knee protectors as Marc Marques. The bikes of today are also not exciting anymore with ABS Traction Control in the past you sat with squeezed buttocks to accelerate when it rained, now you just accelerate until the electronics intervene. Recently drove a round with my 1500 MG-TF 1954 on a beautiful evening. 3 motorbike boys behind me, I keep looking in the mirror, when will they overtake me now, they did not overtake me ......

    • Such a smurf was proud to explain how many electronic control cousins ​​his moped had. What they did. What he could do with it. Someone gave him a glassy look and said: Actually, you just have to learn how to ride a motorcycle. And WegenWachters are toppers. I think your work has become less enjoyable with all those electronics. When my Lief's BX had a breakdown, a colleague of yours became completely happy. And we used to have Henk de Wolf - I thought - in the neighborhood as a Road Guard. My Buick had a broken V belt. I knew Henk from his 'stand' at the local Shellstation. He got out and said: “Finally a real car with bad luck again. If you give me such a stink cigar from you, then you just find a suitable string from my stock. I arrived at the RDW just in time

  13. I have ever come home with a burst water hose by twisting duct tape around it and loosening the radiator cap, because without overpressure it works fine. Once lost the oil filler cap, apparently not tightened, and temporarily replaced by the fuel tank cap. That fits. With a broken immobilizer on the automatic transmission, my old Opel would not start in N or P, but with a short cable between the + of the battery and the solenoid of the starter. A torn distributor cap used to cause starting problems, but hairspray worked wonders. And with those old cars you could open the door without a key with a piece of welding wire to which a hook was bent. Simply insert through the window sweeper and lift the knob. I once stepped through the clutch piston so that the clutch no longer came off. But I did get home, simply by shifting gears, double clutching and turning off the engine at traffic lights and starting again in 1st gear.

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