Easy Rider and Chopperguy

Thoughts on Easy Rider, biker cinema, and riding and working on a vintage chopper.

Monday, July 15, 2002

The crew down at Easyriders of Minneapolis finally got my chop working again. They didn't just get it working, they got it working better. If you want the full story on this, keep reading. If not, you best quit now and go explore something else.

I had originally taken the chop in for two things. I had never gotten the battery eliminator installed and I wanted to test that out. Also, the kicker had started slipping more often than not. It needed repairs so I could at least get her started. No fun if she don't run.

The shop ordered up the kicker parts and started tearing into the primary to get at the clutch. When they got back to the kicker, they discovered that someone had welded the kicker gear in place rather than riveting it. Not only that, but they had welded it slightly off center. I tracked down a used hub to replace the desicrated one. When the guys at the shop tried to install that one, they discovered that they needed a different spacer to get the hub in position with the kicker. The troubles didn't end there. By not using a puller on the clutch the last time I got it fixed, the works had gotten compacted to the right side of the bike. The shop pulled it out, fit a new spacer, and put the clutch back together. At this point everything seemed to work, so they tried to seal the bike back up. Anyone out there ever try to put a seal on an old tin primary cover? I've done it myself a few times. It requires a LOT of sealer. Applying it liberally seems like a good begining, but you will need more.

The shop got a practice run at it. When they sealed her up and tried to kick her over, it froze up again. This had them angry and confused. So they ripped the cover off again and took a look inside. So happens that the bolts for the primary chain tensioner stuck out into the hub. They fixed that up and sealed her again. This time it worked. The clutch now works better than it ever has and the kicker no longer misses. I guess one guy did get injured attempting to start my bike. Others simply refused to try.

They also did something to my kicker pedal. I think they threw some loctite on the bolt which the pedal swivels around. I had always just tightened it every so often to keep it in check. Their fix gives it an easy rotation with little fear of ever loosing the peg. I just hope I never have to change the pedal.

Lastly, I had them install the battery eliminator. This little device seems to work great. My lights no longer dim as I accelerate. A word of caution, this set-up will void the warranty on your regulator. Don't do it unless you have to. It seems to work fine for me, though.

So then we waited around for about an hour while the guys wrote up the bill. No one had filled out even a scrap of paper for the repairs. I tried to convince them that I won the motorcycle repair lotto. they eventually gave me a bill anyway.

Even with this major repair, I still have yet to take the bike out of the garage without something falling apart on it. On Friday I noticed a rattling noise up front. I looked down just in time to see the nut for the forward tank mount fly off, followed shortly by two washers. I stopped off at a Home Depot close by to get the parts I needed. I purchase a couple of 2¢ nuts and a washer. I had to buy a whole bag of lock washers since they didn't have those out in bins. The whole experience reminded me why I like neighborhood hardware stores. At a typical hardware store I go to the trays, grab what I need, and tell the guys at the counter how much each one costs. At Home Depot they can't ring it up unless it has a barcode. So the cashier flips through the book and first rings up the nuts as the 10¢ models. Normally I would have just paid the difference on this small purchase so I could get out the door. Thanks to having to purchase an entire bag of lock washers, I knew that I had barely enough cash in my pockets to cover the parts. I did not want to throw this on my credit card. So I have to wait while she finds the right ones in the pages of her book. All this hassle for a total purchase of $1.03 (and I still had a nickle and a dime left in my pocket).

I decided to run around town with her on Saturday as well since I needed to pick up a few small things. After picking up some jewelry at St. Sabrina's, I headed off to my next destination. While cruising down the highway I felt the brake pedal hit me in the ankle. I glanced down and saw that the rod connecting the forward control to the lever which actually pulls the brake had come detached in the rear. I took the first exit and pulled into a mall parking lot. I still had a front brake (which I installed just two years ago, lucky me) and figured that if I could tie up the rod I could get the bike home where I knew I had the hardware to fix it. Normally I carry zip strips with me for just such emergencies, but I had recently run out and hadn't replaced them yet. There at me feet, mere inches away from what I needed to tie up, sat a piece of wire. I grabbed the pliars from the tool bag and had the problem at least neutralized. When I got home, I grabbed one of the spare bolts I had for back there and tightened it up properly. I also went around the rest of the bike giving it a thorough tightening up.

I noticed something rather peculiar about my adventures this weekend. I had a full tank of oil, but I never left even a drip in the parking lots. The guys really sealed her up tight. Thanks to all those who worked on it, especially Jeff, Charlie, and Jay.

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