Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Downside to Changing Your Own Tires

Comin' at yah' from Mount. V.D.!  I have been trying to get these DynaBeads to screw with me but they just won't.  I have rode them out in 26 degree temps and they still balance the tires perfectly.  My bike has always had a slight shimmy at 1 ton or more, but that's not a problem now.  110 mph and the tires feel solid and there is more vibration coming from the 96 than the tires.  I am pretty damned happy with the D-Beads no doubt.

I think last time I posted, I mentioned a little something to keep you from dumping your bike, in the event you have decided to mount your own rubber.  Here it is.

Tramp has duel rotors on the front end.  I love the stopping power of this bike.  The brakes have always been exceptional, if you know how to use them right.  I have never had a bike that could stop like this StreetGlide can.  As a matter of fact, I was riding home two weeks ago and there was a kid walking up the hill on the right side.  As I passed the kid, his two dogs ran from the left side of the road to greet him...a path that just happened to intersect mine.  I had no time to pitch out of the way and had to do the "panic brake" deal.  The forks bottomed out, the rear slightly chattered, but I stopped just in time.  The kid said he was sorry and thanked me for not taking out his dogs.  Don't know why I told you all that...oh yeah, I know why...PRACTICE YOUR PANIC BRAKING OFTEN FOR CRAP SAKES!  Your brain will revert to whatever you have trained it to do in these situations.  Train it well.

However, there are some panic braking situations that you just might not be ready for...like, loss of fluid...where there are no brakes...and here is where the joke starts.

As I was tellin' you all, I changed my front tire.  It was a tedious task but I managed to get it done.  I developed a C-clamp deal to help me break the bead.  (I'll video the whole thing next time I change a tire.)  In the whole process of getting the tire off the rim, I forgot that I had two rotors.  One on the left and one on the right.   I was taking great care not to bend the rotor I could see.  My ass forgot about the damned rotor on the other side.  After getting done with the tire irons, the cursing and the tedious tapping of the D-Beads into the valve stem, I carefully put the tire back on the forks.  I did everything tits and torqued to the recommended specs.  I checked the brakes and primed the calipers.  Everything was ready to go.  I had to be to work the next day at 6 in the AM.

Now, I live on a very steep mountain.  A dirt road leads up to the 20 foot concrete driveway, then there is another 30 or 40 feet of dirt down lower, and then there is a drop off that is almost 6 feet straight down.  After that its just a steep ride down through the trees and bush crap.  I'm gonna' guess at least 30 degree angle the whole way.  The concrete up into the garage might be slightly steeper.

Everyday, I get on the glide.  I put her is neutral and turn her over.  I check the brake lever and back out down the concrete while I have the front brakes slightly applied.  On wet days the front tire will slip slightly as I back out.  Scary as hell, but never had a real problem.  I have managed to get really good at riding Tramp backwards until I'm able to steer her downhill in the right direction.

5 AM rolled around and I was really excited to ride in the 32 degree frost.  I wanted to see how the DynaBeads and this Metzler 880 was going to do out on the roadway.  It was slightly raining as well.  I hopped on Tramp, did everything I normally do, and started out down the driveway backwards.  I went to gently grab the front brake and got nothing.  My head went strobe light red.  "What the fuck is going on here!"  By this time I'm moving backwards at a decent speed.  I tried again and nothing but a limp dick lever was in my grip.  I realized I was halfway down the slab at this point.  I thought maybe feathering the clutch would slow her down but I had the bike in neutral.  Then it hit me, "Oh sheeeeeaaaat!  That drop off is coming up soon.  Better do something quick.  I hit the dirt road and managed to keep her up.  I had about two seconds to figure out what to do...and going for the rear brake was going to throw everything off balance....screw it...I have to go for the rear or this bike is going to land right on top of me and that will be the end of old V.D..  Just as I had predicted, when I raised my right leg to go for the rear brake pedal, the bike bars turned slightly and that was it...game friggin' over man.

The bike slapped hard on the right side and unceremoniously ejected my ass.  I landed on my back, but managed to tuck just in time so that my melon didn't get slammed into the dirt.  I watched the bike almost flip over...then slowly roll back onto the right side.  "Fuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccckkkk!  Son of a bitch!  What the fuck happened!"  I think neighbors for miles around could hear it.  heh...

Full of adrenaline, I picked the bike back up...and I was furious.  My right side mirror was broken and the bars slightly bent.  The crash bar was bent, along with the mounts, and the right bag was ripped off and road rashed.  After a few minutes of cussing,  tending to a slashed finger and putting the bag back on, I figured it was still road worthy.  The brake took several pulls to seat the calipers in place, but they seemed to be solid.  I figured that I had not seated them fully the night before.  "What a jackass." I thought to myself.




As I headed down the hill, the front brakes failed again.  I used the rear until I reached level ground.  After a few minutes I found the front brakes would work if I pumped them a couple of times.  I rode to work like this, and back home.  (I made it to work on time too, no shit..."I'm the man!")

When I got home, I realized what the problem was.  I had bent the left rotor slightly while I was fighting that tire.  The bent rotor would push the brakes pads apart with each rotation.  As long as I was applying pressure to the brake lever, after priming the calipers a couple of times, it would hold the floating rotors straight.  As soon as I completely let off the lever, and a full rotation had completed, the warped rotor would push the brake calipers apart again.  pffftttttt......

I managed to get the the bag mounts and crash bar mounts corrected, as well as the crash bar bent back into shape with the help of an oxy-torch.  I spent an hour spinning the front tire, and with the help of a rubber hammer, I managed to get the rotor 99% trued again.  That mirror....pffffttttt, gonna' be awhile.

Tramp is running great again however!  She's not as pretty on the outside, but golden on the inside.  I'm going to create a jig to change tires with so that this does not happen again...live and learn, right?

I'll keep ya'll updated on that project as well.  Peace!




9 comments:

alibon jhon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Canajun said...

Ouch! Glad it wasn't worse, but it's a tough lesson. I would have expected the rotors to be tougher than that though given the stresses on them every time you apply the brakes at speed.

Lucky said...

Ouch. Well, glad you're OK, though I'm sorry to hear your bike got all beat up. Rough start to a morning!

FLHX_Dave said...

Yeah, you would think so. Check out the stock glide rotors. There's not much there. Lesson learned.

FLHX_Dave said...

Rough start indeed. My ego was damaged more than anything else.

bob skoot said...

VD:

I was on the edge of my seat. Sorry about the blemishes but it could have been worse. I am glad you will be here to ride another day

as I was reading I had a vision in my mind of that dirt incline and the dropoff . . .

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Webster World said...

Well the good thing is you are ok fine. Shit happens. Even after 48 years of riding each ride is a new experience. I learn ever day. It's even worse now what with the cell phone shit. They could make those things so they would not work if one was behind the wheel. Lets see if they ever do that one.

mq01 said...

TRAMP!!!!! :/ poor tramp...

live, learn, and share my friend. ;) im glad you and tramp are ok...

WooleyBugger said...

Glad you are alright after the mishap. If your going to keep trying that shit get a Crotch Rocket so's you don't embarrass the rest of us