I spent today making another tool laden Blast reassembly run from Jefferson to College Park.
A few days ago, Finn calls me up on the phone and says “My Bike is Shaky.”
“It’s making a jingling sound, and seems to be vibrating a lot.”
Now for a Buell Blast operator to say the bike is vibrating a lot is not news, but if it is vibrating more than it normally does, this is a concern.
I tell Finn I’ll call him back.
I do a few web searches. I have come to love the members of the Buell Blast enthusiasts online community, who have already seen every possible failure this simple machine can have.
Some of them more than once.
I call Finn back and then tell him to send me pictures of “That Big Rubber donut underneath the steering head.” He sends me this.
Strangely, it’s the isolator — the rubber torus in the middle of the mount — that is known to fail — the rubber tears. This isolator, though, appears to be fine.
Notice on the near side, where there is a hole in which should be an isolator mount bolt. Note that there is not one.
Then please notice on the other side, where there should be another one. There is one there, but its orientation indicates it is no longer connected to that to which it should be connected.
Finn is on campus… he’s calling me from the Architecture Studio.
He’s been riding like that for 2 or 3 days.
I told him to ride it to his place – 3 miles – really gently, and text me when he got home. He made it.
A few days later I made the run down to look at it first hand. Turned out the Blast had completely spat out its front motormount. There is very little reason why this motor did not fall out. It looked like the wishbone that the cylinder head mounts to got hung up on the horn arm mount bolt as it was headed downward and that snag was sufficient to keep the engine in the motorcycle. Curiouser, the ignition grounds through that unconnected motormount bolt so I don’t know why it was still running.
Getting on the phone looking for this obviously critically stressed hardware did not yield joy. HD parts support is starting to thin out for the Buells. I don’t know whether Harley’s commitment for Buell parts support has just ended, or will end soon, but increasingly the parts are held by a third party contractor, and not HD themselves. The cost has increased accordingly. Getting OEM hardware was challenging.
Challenging, but not impossible.
Today I loaded by my LT with a service stand, a floor jack, a tool box, a few ratchet strap sets, a hunka wood and a service light.
I rode back down to the Garage at Finn’s place. After wrapping a strap around the motor, and using that and the jack to cajole it back into position, we were able to get the front engine isolator mount set back right. A few dozen dollars, some new bolts, standoffs, nylock nuts and Blue Locktite got everything that needed to be attached to each other attached to each other.
All of a sudden that bike seems way more of a piece and is seems to be delivering way more power. When I was road testing it, it spun its back wheel in the fat part of second gear, coming out of a traffic circle. It’s never done that before.
Finn thinks the motormount had been failing for quite some time – that one bolt had been gone for a while. He said he kept hearing ‘a jingle’. We found the reinforcing plates and one of the nuts captured in the frame when we pulled the tank. The jingle is gone now.
My Brand New Uncle Joe is willing to trade me the Blast for a Pacific Coast he has and a few more dollars.
At the risk of screwing bikema completely, I suspect the Pacific Coast would not require multiple mechanical emergency rescue missions. But if I can’t trade the Blast I really can’t afford another motorcycle. We’ll just have to see how Finn ends up feeling about that.
On my way out of his place, Finn lead me on his Blast through Greenbelt Park – It’s US Department of the Interior-managed park that’s about 2 miles away from his place, and in the middle of a very densely developed urban area about 10 miles from Capitol Hill.
One right turn off the highway and its like you’re in one of the Great Western National Parks – deep forest, log buildings, all the Civilian Conservation Corps-built log guardrails.
We ran into a small herd of very young deer coming out of the second corner.
Greenbelt Park has about 3-4 miles of winding park road that is just perfect if you have a fine running 500 single.
I tailed him around before heading back home. He looked great out there.
Cutting good lines and having some fun. He’s got skills.
I had a lovely ride home, stretching the LT out coming back across Howard and Frederick counties in the late afternoon sunshine.
For a day that started with a broken bike and dirty hands, it was a very good day.