This month we will look at accident repair. Accidents have happened too many of us. Eventually the adrenaline wears off, the tow truck leaves and it’s just you and your bike in the garage. You are faced with the harsh reality that you wrecked it. You’ve broken it in the most heartbreaking way possible. Not only did you shed blood physically, but you hurt your bike, and maybe a little of it was left behind. In time stories and scars will replace wounds, and just the memories will remain. Many of you have wrecked and many of you know the sting of the road rash. But those of us who have been down know that what really hurts is the sting of your pride.
Here is my recent wreck and repair story.
Like most, I consider myself to be a competent rider. Sometimes I consider myself above average, but then a brief error in judgment on the simplest of turns, rattles all of that. We were riding through the curves of West Virginia. When going through the Town of Gauley Bridge, I did not see the sign for the route until the last second. Now I could have just rode past, turned around and went back, but no, I grabbed a lot of brake, and leaned hard into the turn. The front tire slide for a brief second, then the bars slapped, and physics took over from there. Once I was launched upwards, I had a brief moment of clarity where I remembered to pull my hands in, and roll. I hit and tumbled in my usual, graceless, manner.
All the riding gear worked! Sprained ankle and sore shoulder, destroyed jacket and a scraped up helmet visor are a small price to pay for that type of error.
Immediately some locals stopped and my friends blocked the road and ran to check on me. One almost immediately had a first aid kit out and was ready to clean my road rash. I think he was just really excited to finally get to use some of his first aid training.
After we determined I was still operational, we moved the bikes to a nearby parking lot. My Dyna still started right up. Once in the lot, we assessed the damage. Broken items: Bent handlebars, tweaked bar risers, badly scraped up exhaust, scratched up saddlebags. Front lever and mirror had some scratches, fairing was heavily ground down, also, the rear lever, foot peg, and my pride had some deep scratches.
Luckily I crashed in front of a restaurant, so we decided to get a bite to eat then go from there. After lunch I decided I was going to ride home. I was in a little pain, but I knew if I waited until the next day the pain would be intense, so, 293 miles back to the North Coast. I stopped ever 100 miles to re-check myself physically, and re-inspect the bike.
Once I got it home, I assessed every part that could possibly be damaged and maybe a few that could have been damaged by inertia of the impact or damaged during my physics induced dismount.
First thing I did was focus on the exhaust and the right side foot controls since they seemed to take most of the damage. I pulled the heat shields off the exhaust, and then removed the muffler. I then checked the head pipe for bends or subtle cracks. It is important to have a hard look at things for cracks because a hairline crack can turn into a major fracture in the blink of an eye. Luckily Supertrapp makes stout stuff, and I did not find a structural damage. Now the heat shields had some pretty deep scratches that ran the length of the front pipe. So I used flat fine file to knock down the big burs, then a sanding disk on a small grinder to smooth over the scratches in the steel. From there I used some heavy emery cloth to smooth over the rest of the imperfections in the steel. The emery cloth is a time consuming process, but that extra effort leads to a better finish in the end. From there I used a medium foam based sanding block, to remove and smooth over the damaged coating. Luckily I have a black exhaust, so I was able to use BBQ paint to repaint the heat shields and muffler. I just did it in light coats over the course of a few days. I am sure this won’t last as long as the original stuff that Supertrapp used, but it will work for a few seasons.
From there I took the right peg mount off the frame, and checked for damage. The misalignment seemed to be from the mounting bolts, not the mount itself, so I added new 3/8-16 bolts to the shopping list. If you were in doubt about the size and grade, you can go to most hardware stores and they have some fixtures there that you can use to determine the size of the bolt. Or you can just look online for the original part number, google it, and go from there. Next I ground down the rear brake lever hoping to make it a “low profile” design. That looked stupid, so I ordered a “like new” used one off eBay. When I reassembled it, I thoroughly checked the rear brake reservoir for damage, and alignment.
When I disassembled the handlebar and riser assembly, I found that only the bars were bent, but the risers were straight. The riser bushings were a little sloppy, probably part from general wear, and part from being torqued sideways. So I picked up some new bars from Lowbrow Customs, and some stock riser bushings. *Bushing install is on my YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/c/knoblemoto
New brake lever, and a very through inspections of the front master brake cylinder. I checked for any faint cracks, new noises, or the slightest faultiness of operation. It’s your front brake, don’t screw around! Luckily everything seemed okay. Next, I reassembled the exhaust, new rear brake lever and hardware, new foot peg, and wired in a new turn signal.
From there I took it for a test ride. I paid careful attention to how it tracked at different speeds, I also made sure it changed lanes in both directions with the same amount of effort. This proves that nothing is tweaked and I wasn’t subconsciously compensating to keep the bike going straight. I tested the suspension on some of Cleveland’s finest “textured” roads, and of course a repeated and thorough stopping drills on an industrial parkway.
The final step was to contact my painter, Chelsea Motorworks, to have her repair my front fairing. She advised me to just buy another fairing, and she would paint it to match. Just before writing this I picked the new fairing up from her, and it looks gorgeous! I wouldn’t expect anything less from her.
Now the bike looks better than it did before I wrecked it, and I added a crash/skate bar in case it all happens again.
In other news; S&S Cycle is a huge supporter of the grassroots and DIY motorcycle crowd. Also they are always interested in helping to spread knowledge to help keep our motorcycle thing going strong. Because of this passion that they have, they have donated two engines to be used for the Knoble Moto classes. Keep an eye on the Knoble Moto website and social media for upcoming classes.
Knoble Moto is a proud supporter of our local sponsors Supertrapp Industries, Lowbrow Customs, and of course, our partner and landlord, Skidmark Garage!!
Our class subjects are updated regularly, so check back often. If there is a subject you do not see covered, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/knoblemoto, Instagram @knoble_moto and www.KnobleMoto.com www.youtube.com/c/knoblemoto