Friday, September 02, 2011

Check, check, check, Uh oh...

The time had come to replace another rear tire.  I'd hit the wear marker.  Part of me wanted to click over another thousand mile marker before the change.  But the better part of me decided against it.

I'd ridden locally for the last several rides. Inching closer to the mileage marker I wanted to reach.  What could it hurt, I thought, to go a little further.  There's tread depth beyond that point.  And I thought about friends who'd literally ride a tire with threads showing.  I also realized they were nuts.  Even back in those days.

It took a discussion with a friend I'd just ridden with the other day to remind me of part of the code of Keith Code.  He told me a story he'd read about how Mr. Code described the one similarity of all the crashed bikes Code had seen in bike junkyards.  They all had severely worn tires.  Well beyond the wear markers.

I thought about a certain safety instructor who would kick my ass if I were to fail to follow the most basic and common sense of rules; Only ride a bike which is safe to ride.

So with the shadow of Irondad beside me I set to the task of tearing Kythera down to replace the rear skin.   I began by taking off the exhaust.    On the Vespa LX150, you don't have a choice.  The can is too close to the tire, even though it's a single sided swing arm.  You have to screw open the little door at the front and below the seat.  Then you spend a little time trying to get the right angle to remove the nuts holding the exhaust in place. Then you move to the side of the bike where the can is and unscrew the two allen head bolts before you can begin with the tire removal itself.  And since the bike was partly apart anyway I took the time to change the fluids and such.  Everything went extremely well.  Transmission fluid, check.  Oil and filter change, check.  New spark plug, check. 

So I started the bike.

In no time at all I remembered the one thing I'd forgotten to do.  Put the damn exhaust back on.

There's moment of bewiderment when you hear the cacophony of blatting.  Followed by the fastest shut-off of the machine you ever accomplished.  And you'll probably hit the kill switch before you'll look for the key as I did.  Then I swore.  I used the appropiate four letter S word.  And the exhaust went back without too much trouble.

A spin around the block and a call to a friend led to a nice evening ride.  The bike really did feel like it functioned better.  Probably the new spark.

That scooter does bring a smile to my face.



Anonymous said...

Harv, did you change the tire ? :-)

If you did change the tire, please tell me how? I was going to buy tire irons and tackle the job myself, but chickened out and had the dealer do it.

Maybe one day I'll tackle oil changes and such. It'll certainly be cheaper.

Nice blog.

American Scooterist Blog said...

I did do it once. I have one of those CheaperThanDirt small tire changers. Maybe if the thing was bolted to the floor it would have been easier but for the work involved compared to what a shop can do it's just more efficent to take it somewhere. I took my rear rim and tire off the bike, along with the new skin and brought it to Bee Line Yamaha in St Joseph and they had me in and out of there in less than half an hour. It took me longer to do it myself.

The oil and filter change is easier if you have a side stand. I can do it alone so long as I have a mirror to see when everything is drained. I put the bike on the side stand lean to the right, (I don't have the center stand down so no mess this way) and watch the mirror. Once everything is drained, I simply put it back on the side stand and button everything back up again.

Thanks for the comment on the blog by the way. :)


irondad said...

You knew you wanted to. You were just looking for somebody to blame it on, weren't you?

I can imagine the surprise when you fired up the bike. At least it wasn't a big spurt of motor oil!!

American Scooterist Blog said...

Hi Irondad,

Haha No, I just needed to point to someone who would guide me on the straight and narrow. I've never been one to test the limits of bike maintenance.

Oh yeah! I know someone who did that. He said it's kind of like a small fountain. He left a nice trail down his driveway. Really glad I didn't miss that one.


irondad said...

You got the right telephone number. I'll call you in the morning. Just got home from a hot day teaching our ART class and we have supper company.

Thanks for thinking of me and taking the trouble to track me down!

Talk to you later!


American Scooterist Blog said...

Sounds good Iron'