Wrenching in the rain
14 September ’17
Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance while dodging lightning bolts.
Went to install my new SW-Motech center stand this evening. Rolled The Morrigan across the street into the parking lot at the elementary school around 6pm, no doubt lowering property values. Kept wondering if any of the neighbors would come say something to me, all spread out with tools and bits of metal and cans of WHO KNOWS WHAT POISONS, or if they’d just silently judge me.
Always remember - when you ride a motorcycle, you are automatically 10x cooler than people who don’t.. and most people have seen enough depictions of Hell’s Angels, they’re gonna leave you and the bike alone!
I got most of the way done, including the really fun part where I got to smear “marine grease” (meant for underwater or boat motor/trailer applications) all over my bike, when I realized that there was no way I could attach the 4th of 4 bolts that attach the center stand to the frame. The problem was that the big bulky handle on my “Swiss Army knife”-style hex driver set, while GREAT for compact storage and getting a real solid grip, is too big to slip behind the exhaust to get at where the bolt will live. ARGH! Given that the entire weight of the bike will be held up by these bolts, I’m not going to take any chances.. but the problem then became that since that bolt is one of two on the same side as the big honkin’ springs for the stand retraction, so with only half as much “anchoring” it might torque and bend things… AND I couldn’t get the springs on with the wimpy screwdriver I had, anyways! I zip-tied the center stand in the “retracted” position and off to Harbor Freight for cheap spring pullers and short-shafted hex drivers we go!
I pulled on the gear and rolled out at just before 7pm, the nearest Harbour Freight is 25 minutes away, and I know I’m going to be spending most of this evening riding in the dark. Oh well. Say, what was that flash on the horizon… oh shit ⚡️!! Luckily it is east of me, and a quick pit stop to check weather radar (thanks Dark Sky app!) showed that the coast was clear, but the entire ride I had one eye on the skies east, counting sparks from Thor’s anvil.
Of course, this region, despite being “urban”, really isn’t, and everything closes at 7pm. sigh Spoiled by my big-city “everything closes at 10 or 11, IF it closes at all” ways! Found a Lowes that stays open until 9pm (!) and of COURSE they don’t carry spring pullers, but they do have the hex drivers I need. That and a long handled screwdriver to act as a lever, and I should be able to get this thing finally mounted.
The next day, I managed to get everything in place. It took some serious Miller ingenuity, hooking together a hex bit, flexible drill extension, a C wrench, and a breaker bar, but I got the 4th bolt (which only had an inch of clearance to work with, because of the exhaust pipes) secured on the center stand!!
My next Miller trick was using a hole in one of my disk brake plates as a makeshift pulley along with the paracord I always travel with to stretch the big honkin’ retraction springs over their swing points.. nothing like using Stone Age tools in a dirt parking lot to fix your 21st century machine!