A biker’s work is never done…but amputation???

The Brit Butt Rally was over, but some preparations still had to be done. Firstly, what had happened during the rally? It was not a bent tubing, but another obstruction in the fuel flow….

I had a presentiment during the Saddle Sore 3000…when I had lost the original fuel tap of the auxiliary tank, I bought a temporary fuel tap made of plastic. Every time I removed the tap, small chunks of plastic were cut off from the fins of the tap and fell into the tank. When I saw this, I thought that this would give me problems later….As a precaution, I had installed a fuel filter that should prevent that these chips would reach the carburator. So far so good.

Plastic chips that obstructed the flow in the fuel filter during the Brit Butt Rally.

Some of the plastic chips that obstructed the flow in the fuel filter during the Brit Butt Rally.

When I opened the filter, the problem was obvious…the filter worked perfectly and collected all the chunks….and reduced the fuel flow just little bit, but sufficiently to give me problems. It was also logical that the problem was more pronounced when the fuel level in the tank was lower as the hydrostatic pressure was lower compared to a a full tank. And this was the reason I missed my chance to win the rally…Ironic, isn’t it?

During another trip to my home town, I visited Mart!n who exchanged the clutch of the XBR despite the bunch of work he had because he tried to save a couple of motorbikes that had been drowned during the floodings in Bavaria. I had never before seen collector’s bikes that after opening the drain screw first spit out litres of water before any oil. Or those cylinders were completely filled with water. Thanks, Mart!n! No more slipping clutch below 60°C oil temperature.

I had noticed before, that the XBR showed some strage behaviour when rolling slowly. I checked the steering head bearing – and was scared stiff! The bearing showed clearly a notch in the middle position. And yet another moment when disaster strikes…A nightmare! 10 days to go and I have to change the bearing! But it’s not as simple as that…it was a Emil Schwarz bearing that Mr Schwarz had installed two years ago. The particularity is that the bearing is not driven, but glued into the steering head. This is the best you can get for your bike in terms of bearings, but an exchange is not a piece of cake….I had an idea…I called Mr Schwarz the next day and explained the problem. His garage was on the way back home…I must have had some convincing arguments…and in the end he proposed to change the bearing the next day, on a Sunday morning! This was fantastic news! The next moning, after an early departure, I stood in front of his garage and he took immediately care of the XBR. 20130609_114427[1]During the next four hours, I had to cope with his bad temper as he hadn’t expected the fairing. It was difficult to work and after ruining a puller, he was pretty angry. I decided to shut up and in the end, Schwarz’ mood had improved and he listened to my plans, grinning and waging his head. Finally the bearing was changed and I could happlily continue my journey back home.

The new bearing seat.

The new bearing seat. Glued, not hammered.

At home, some tasks were still on the list. New tyres, new breaking pads, new air filter. All changed.

Apart from technical issues, more paperwork. An excerpt from a forum post of mine:

Well, the insurance matter is slowly turning into a nightmare….

I had bought an insurance from my shipper who ships the bike from
Europe to Canada. I thought I had fulfilled the requirement of the “500
CSL” policy as it was the highest policy I could get from that company
and it said 250000/500000/100000.
When Kevin raised this point again, I was confused and thanks to Ed
Otto I learned that this policy is not according to the IBR rules that ask
for a 500000/500000/100000 coverage. The problem is that all the
temporary insurances offer a maximum of 250/500/100 and it’s only a
company like Progressive that provides a real 500 CSL coverage.
So far, so good.
When I filled in the online order form of Progressive, I got stuck when I
had to fill in the VIN. My old Honda has a 11 digit VIN that is not
recognised by the system that expects a modern 17 digit number.
Another problem: you need to provide an US address. How can I
provide an address if I’m not a resident?? Well, I managed to use one
of a friend who will have to forward me the papers to sign.
At first, the agent wanted to cancel the talk immediately when I
mentioned that would be less than 30 days in the US. I had to persuade
him that in this case I would stay at least 31 days….
He gave me a price of 290USD, seemed reasonable….but this VIN is
not recognised by the system, so it’s a 640 USD !!!
That was not the end….when he realised that I have a foreign driving
licence, the price went up to $1012!!!
Under different conditions, I would have told him to
, but I had no choice but to accept.

Today was the day of last preparations. I had taken a difficult decision: The lower part of the fairing had to be cut off. A very, very painful decision, but I saw no other choice but to do this. My legs would be burnt and the motor would collapse in the heat. When I rode at 25°C a week ago, my legs were getting very hot. So I took the electrical saw and…..




…and after…

...the amputation!

…the amputation!

When I discussed the subject with Mart!n, I argued that it would be a pity to cut the fairing as it is so rare…and his pointed remark was: “there’s a reason why”…hmpf. John commented my action as “I’m glad you’ve done this as I was seriously concerned that your bike would have seized crossing the desert”. Well, I save 2 kg on the front, the XBR should be easier to drive now. Finally I had access to the motor and I could change the spark plug and adjust the valves. And as a last preparation, the bike was cleaned so everything should be prepared for the drop-off.


Everything ready for the big dance!

3 Comments on “A biker’s work is never done…but amputation???

  1. I always had confidence in you and now I have confidence in the bike too

    Your English Buddy, John

  2. Looks a lot better too Robert – you get out there and kick some ass (I believe that is something our American cousins say in their rather quaint vernacular). Really looking forward to seeing how you get on and expecting a good finish 🙂 Take care out there, R

  3. Crazy
    Ja ja kaum reitet man leicht überladen 35000 km durch Afrika und schon ist das Lenkkopflager hin. Und dann haust Du zum Dank noch den armen Emil aus dem Bett am Sonntag…

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