Tinkering for Beginners - Part 2: To tinker with a motor adventurer

Tinkering for Beginners – Part 2: To tinker with a motor adventurer

When you want to go to the other side of the world on a motorbike, it is useful to have a little bit of technical knowledge of that motorbike. In this tinker blog series we write about our lessons and findings in the field of tinkering prior to our trip from Amsterdam to Australia. Have you already read part 1? If not, please click here to go to part 1.

Our technical knowledge is currently limited. Gauge oil, checking tire pressure or mount a pannier rack were our first small steps in the technical world of the Honda Transalp. But that is certainly not enough.

To get to know the bike better and better, there are plenty of options. To read Honda’s instruction book is a first step. The service book of Haynes is already more complicated for me. But probably you will learn the most when you tinker with your own motorbike. To watch the mechanists in a garage while your motorbike gets a maintenance service is not always desirable and besides that, you cannot do anything. At the same time the wage per hour of an average motor mechanic in a garage is nearly a daily budget of our journey! Everything that you can do yourself is pure profit! But who could help us to tinker?

As starting world traveler we were welcome at Peter’s garage. Peter is one of the driving forces behind the website www.motoravonturist.nl.

Peter: “I am able to disassemble the Transalp 650, even when I am blindfolded.”

Peter drives for years on a Honda Transalp and has also made a wonderful trip to Australia. Together tinkering and exchanging ideas about motorbike technology and traveling, a better garage does not exist, right?

Replacing the oil filter, overhauling the brakes, replacing the air filter and checking the valve clearances. That was all on the program for today. In the garage in Lekkerkerk was plenty of room to jointly demount the motorbike. Because the removal of the engine guards and the removal of one of the brake calipers took a lot of time, the planning needed to be adjusted. Today we will not check the valve clearances.

Replacing the oil filter and changing the oil was a simple job. Soon the old filter was loose and could be replaced by a new one. Dirty hands, of course, but Bertha’s motorbike has brand new oil!

Overhauling the brakes was a more difficult kind of job. Because we could not remove the pad pin plug (a type of protection plug) we were afraid that the front brake could not be overhauled. Also with an impact screwdriver the plug did not come loose. Drilling out the plug was the last resort. Eventually the plug came loose and the front brake could be removed. Everything had to be cleaned, the pistons had to be polished and we needed to replace the rubber rings. After this, we could mount the brakes back on its position and fill the brake hoses. Wonderful job.

After overhauling the calipers we could start with the air filter. At the Transalp the air filter is situated under the fuel tank. First disconnect the fuel hose and the vacuum hose and after that the fuel tank could be carefully removed. Replacing the air filter is a piece of cake. The old air filter is replaced with a K&N air filter which can be cleaned and so will last the entire trip.

After installing the air filter we could reassemble the motorbike. We also replaced the crash bars, even though the bike of Bertha gets new crash bars (Heavy Duties) very soon, which of course we will assemble ourselves.

After a long day in the somewhat cold garage of Peter, we have rigid muscles, but we are very satisfied. Prior to this day we were both very exciting and did not know what to expect, but in the end everything turns out to be doable. If you know a little bit of what you are doing, it will be fine. And we have become wiser and more convenient thanks to the excellent guidance of Peter and the great lunch of his parents! We are looking forward to the next tinkering day!

Click here to proceed to Part 3.

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