Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Motorbike Aggravation

Old bikes are interesting for a number of different reasons.  For one, the cutting-edge technology of bikes even 20 years old is very dated.  For another, the years and miles that other owners have put on them are usually, for the most part, a mystery to you when you take possession of an older machine.

This is why I said I would pass the 1970 CL 450 along to my nephew Kyle, next fall, "assuming it's still in good shape". 

Yesterday, I got up and did my laundry, then came home and got on the Trident to go get the insurance card and then the tags and title for the 450.  After I got home, and installed the license plate, I jumped onto the 450 and rode down to Performance Cycles (not to be confused with Performance Bicycles) to look for turn signals and couple of other small items.

After picking up the blinkers, I was heading home when, at the second Stop Sign intersection away from the parts store, the engine died.  So, I thumbed the starter button to restart the engine, and things went all pear-shaped from there.  The starter started cranking, and then wouldn't stop.  The engine hadn't started, and I was no longer pushing the starter button, but it continued cranking over, no matter what I did.

Eventually, the battery died, and the starter motor stopped cranking.  As I was looking the bike over, trying to figure out what was going on, a guy driving by stopped and asked if everything was okay.  I told him that I was just having some electrical problems, and he drove on.

A couple of minutes later, he came walking out of the alley, and introduced himself as Jim.  Jim lived a few doors up, and had a garage which faced the alleyway.  So, at his invitation, I pushed the bike to his garage and borrowed some tools to see if I could figure out what was going on.

Eventually, I disconnected the hot wire from the starter solenoid, and used his automotive battery charger to give the bike enough spark that I could kick-start it.  Then, after thanking Jim profusely, I rode the bike home. 

Once home, I killed the engine, then re-started it with the kick-starter, to make sure the battery was charging.  (So much for being so proud that the electric starter still worked after 40 years...).  Once i was satisfied that I would be able to re-start the bike and get home, I rode over to Ace Hardware to pick up some nuts and bolts for a bicycle project I have going.

Then, I came home and started installing the turn signals.

The front signals mounted up, fine.  It took me a couple of minutes to figure out how to ground them, since these blinkers are two-wire "universal" units, and the Hondas used a single-wire signal.  But, I think they look very appropriate on the bike.

The stock rear signals were mounted on small tabs which then bolted to the frame of the bike.  So, I fabricated some mounts, from aluminum bar stock, for these.  Bicycle axle spacers on the turn signal shaft allowed clearance for the fender.

Once the mounting was complete, the second aggravation of the day reared its ugly head.    But, that story can wait for another post.  This one has run on long enough.

I'll close with a nice shot of the bike with the newly-installed turn signals:



At 6:59 AM , Blogger frankenbiker said...

At least 20 to 30 year old bikes are simple enough that the problems can be easily diagnosed and fixed w/o to much hassle.

At 7:24 AM , Blogger Jon said...

Yeah, that is a great deal of their charm. if all that had happened on the Trident, I would have been walking home.

At 11:45 AM , Blogger Apertome said...

I don't know anything about motorcycles, but it looks great to me!


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