I'm actually a possessive, cranky ol' bastid. I never watched 'Sesame Street' and I'm not big on sharing...
Yet sometimes I mess up
A friend of mine is a gearhead and performance engine tech, he's also one of the few folks I'm good friends with. So once I got my motorized bicycle all dialed in and running great - I figured of all people he would not only appreciate it, but also know how to treat my baby. There is no other way to truly appreciate one of these creations than to ride it. While many are glamor girls, mine is built with a more utilitarian and performance outlook, I don't much care for looks alone.
So after what seemed to be an eternity of twiddling, tweaking, futzing, and fine tuning my motorized bicycle slowly evolved into everything I hoped for and more. Ironically enough, just this week I found myself sitting on my milkcrate in the predawn silence staring at my bike and wondering what to do with it. Every morning before my daily commute I set aside a couple of hours to fix and upgrade my bike - yet I had just
run out of things to work on, so lacking anything else I had resorted to the basics of maintenance, oiling and lubing chain and cables and basically messing around with cosmetics.
Yeah... well, now I've quite a bit to occupy my morning routine.
As I was pulling into my driveway yesterday after work, I spotted my friend standing next to his car. I pulled up and we chatted engine talk for a while, as he hadn't ridden it except the one lap around the parking lot back when it was still running like crap - he wanted to see what it was like in it's current incarnation. As I had done MUCH to improve performance, the latest of which was SBP's expansion chamber - after some thought I said ok.
Pacing about like a expectant father, I wondered why it was taking soooo long for him to return. I told myself to shush, that I was just nervous, that I had asked him to stop at the store to grab me the pack of smokes I had forgotten and to remember the people there that always crowded around with their questions. He was probably just having a blast.
Nope, he wasn't having much fun at all.
I looked up and sure enough my worst fears were realized, I could just see him in the distance - dragging my wonderful toy by it's front wheel. For just a moment I hated him a bit, then I walked out to meet him, to see if he was ok and to see how bad my bike had suffered.
As I walked, I thought about all the things I might have done wrong, what might have failed and caused my friend to crash. I worried about the rear rim as it did need truing, I thought about the engine and exhaust mounts, I fretted about the frame's integrity, I suspected he may have gotten hit by a car.
None of the above, he had simply lost it taking a turn way too fast.
He was fine, a little worse for wear with a touch of road rash on one elbow and a bruise on his leg. My bike however wasn't quite as lucky. The front rim trashed, the pedals and crank bent and loose, front brakes wasted, the forks just a touch tweaked, both shifters gouged to heck and bent, and various other scratches and dings. Judging from the damage and his tale of woe - the front had gone out from under him (most likely sand while turning and braking aggressively) and the bike had cartwheeled.
Yet there was much to be learned from this and all is not lost. My friend being as awesome as he is immediately offered to buy the bike complete (he likes it despite his misfortune), or a new replacement bike w/o engine so I can cannibalize it for parts (cheaper by far than just the parts themselves), or last but not least my suggestion of a slightly different bike so I can upgrade the rims and have disk brakes (same price anyway).
Happily, this is not an expensive proposition. From even the early planning stage I had considered this to be a prototype - the bike itself had only been a two hundred dollar investment, less than half of his
paycheck anyway. So I'm off to get another bike today, not the new one for the Grubee I've sitting on a shelf for my winter project like I hoped, but just a donor bike to get this one back up and running.
An upshot, the "silver lining" so to speak is this was a chance to see how well my McGuyverisms had stood up to this test-to-destruction. I had been forced to do the "bolt through the Dtube" method in spite of my integrity concerns, I had cobbled together an exhaust mount for my SBP expansion chamber using just hose clamps and rubber tubing, and of course there was about a million cable ties all over the place.
Not a single
thing I had built or added to the bike had failed or was even damaged in any way, even my hose clamps and tubing mounts for my exhaust hadn't budged a fraction - even though the bike had obviously gone end over end. THAT knowledge alone is almost worth it.
So my advice to you is DO NOT LET ANYONE RIDE YOUR CREATION!
Even though my friend is older and not prone to abusing other people's possessions, despite the fact that he understands machines, homebuilds and their oddities, these bikes are in fact very unusual and potentially dangerous and tend to be underestimated by those whom haven't ridden them before.
I'm just glad he wasn't seriously hurt.
So, here are some pics for those morbidly interested in forensics like I am and another pic of my... interesting method of mounting SBP's expansion exhaust. As many here have a similar setup - I figured you might be interested in a low cost mount technique that apparently can withstand being cartwheeled at about 30mph
Well if you'll excuse me, I've quite a bit of work to attend to
I'll be back on the road soon enough...