Tinkering for beginners – Part 3: Our first own ‘basic motorcycle maintenance weekend’

Tinkering for beginners – Part 3: Our first own ‘basic motorcycle maintenance weekend’

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 and 2? If not, please click here to go to part 1 or part 2.

With a full box of spare parts and a portion technical skills, gained of Peter from www.motoravonturist.nl, we started with the maintenance of Erik’s motorbike. As his bike did a hibernation in Bant, it was logical for us to finish the job in this little village.

It is always a great moment when the Transalp start almost immediately after two months of stagnation in a cold barn. We placed the motorbike on the operation table in the hobby garage, where you can also find some parts of ‘wrong’ motorbikes, like BMW.

Changing the oil filter and oil was the first plan. Technical operations where we were reluctant to, but now we know how it works, it turns out to be a piece of cake. We remove the oil filter with the screwdriver trick * and it releases almost immediately. Subsequently the oil can be drained.

* The screwdriver trick: get an old screwdriver and hit it with a hammer in the filter. Now you can rotate the filter by striking the screwdriver downwards. Peter learned us this clever trick, so that we can help ourselves with the tools we have available during our journey and that we not have to carry a special oil filter pliers.

After draining the oil, we neatly collected it in a drip tray, we replace the old drain plug for a new magnetic one, as the seal from the old one shows a little wear and tear. And then the filling can begin. Bertha measures the oil neatly in a measuring cup and within no time the engine is fitted with a new oil filter and fresh oil!

Because there is still time left, Erik mounts the second hand engine guard and Bertha installs the broader rally foot pegs (SW Motech) allowing the motorbike to look a bit tougher. Job well done, time for a beer!

After a good night we continue to tinker with good spirits. First we replace the old air filter to a K&N air filter. Almost a piece of cake, the fuel tank is also quite quickly reassembled. But it will never go completely perfect… While assembling the caps Erik drops a bolt, and it is completely lost. Where has this bolt been to? After more than half an hour searching we drive the motorbike outside the garage. Maybe we can find the bolt with use of the daylight. And yes, finally we found him! Near the chain, so it was at a dangerous place too! Gladly we found the bolt, even though it has cost a lot of time.

The engine goes back into the garage and then we start with the brakes. The calipers at the front wheel go loose quite easily and continuously we start removing the pistons. By pumping the brake lever, three of the four pistons come easily out of the caliper, however the fourth piston is stuck. After using a lot of violence without using too much violence also the fourth piston comes out the caliper. The brushing and cleaning can begin!

The rear brake comes off quite simple. After the cleaning of the brake caliper and the piston (the rear break does only have one piston), the attachment of the brake caliper is quite disappointing. Do we first have to tighten the caliper on the rear wheel and then tighten it with a sliding pin or maybe vice versa? Or should we never have had loosen the sliding pin? After a few tries we really don’t know it and we decide to call it a day. After a long day of tinkering we both feel that there will be no more successes to achieve. The brake is clamped at the rear wheel and we ride it with a lot of counterforces back into the barn.

After two days of tinkering with Erik’s motorbike and ending with such a disappointment we are nevertheless proud of our achievements! Two mechanics with little experience, they completed the basic motorcycle maintenance tasks!

Click here to proceed to Part 4.

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