Yesterday I accomplished, with a bit of help from a friend, one of the things that have been on my bucket list forever: disassembling a bike into its core parts. Yup, I am finally done with it and everything is in pieces. A frame there, a swingarm there, a bracket to the rear brake caliper on a shelf and so on. And man, do I feel proud of myself. Of course I realize that taking it apart is way easier than putting it back together, but it has always been a dream of mine to be able to say that I took a bike apart and then rebuilt it.
Of course it was a pain in the ass. Doing stuff by ear rather than following a set procedure means that you sometimes end up in a situation where you understand that it would have been better to do it in the right order. Like trying to remove the front sprocket when the rear tire and swingarm are already removed. But you find ways to solve even those situations.
One of the hardest parts was removing the top yoke. According to my Haynes, I was supposed to remove a nut and then lift it off. Well, it didn’t budge at all. We used WD40, we used force, we even tried unscrewing the bastard while in reality there are no threads in the top yoke. After about an hour, I took a rubber mallet and started swinging away, and then it came off.
Now comes the fun part: splitting the engine, solving design issues, getting parts powder coated and changing her looks. She will be a whole new kind of beast when summer comes. It’s like being a kid again, having received a box of Technic Lego but I’m a grown up and will ride my own monster, a powerful machine capable of feats most cars can only dream of.
An old bike has a lot of hidden faults and mine is no exception. There were traces of rust and deposits on many of the parts and bolts. It’s going to take time to refurbish all those things but in the end it will be worth it. The feeling of riding a bike where I know every part of it and their respective state will be much comfort. I am actually thinking of riding down to Monaco this spring. Comfortwise I suspect that will be a bit of agony but mechanically I will probably don’t have any hesitation. Until now, I’ve ridden her like 250 km in one day at the most.
There is a great satisfaction in solving mechanical problems and working with your hands. After having spent most of my career, except for some time in the army, writing on a keyboard, it can be a pretty satisfactory feeling to have discolored hands caused by wrenching. Especially when working in the media business in an urban environment where people in general don’t know shit about stuff like that.