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Thursday, 15 June 2017 08:06

The Monkey Report - June 15th, 2017

columnist bad uncle monkeyMaybe it was there one minute ago and now it is gone.

Maybe it was there one minute ago and now it is gone. Maybe you watched it all in slow motion or maybe it was the sinking feeling as you lowered the ramp on the trailer. Any way there you are with a bike lying on its side. Some of you are lucky and there is no damage but all too often it is broken mirrors and signal lights, scuffed paint and bruised pride. It seems we all have our own tales of loaded bikes flopping. The most painful one for me was when the wheel choke rolled forward crushing the freshly painted front fender that I had installed a mere fifteen minutes before. 

Bikes fall for a variety of reasons but sadly most of them can be traced back to us. A grey beard once told me to strap a bike in so that if the truck or trailer ends up on their roof the bike will still be hanging there upside down. All too often we get lazy; a couple of straps should be enough because we are just going across town to the shop, or a friend's house to do repairs. We only see the bike as a stationary object in a driveway and over look the movement of the suspension, the rocking weight back and forth. It only takes some railroad tracks or washboard roads to shift the bike, to shift it to the point of falling. It should be standard practice to use four tie downs - two front/two back - no matter how short the distance. For long hauls like to Sturgis, wisdom says to double that up and to attach to multiple anchor points instead of single common ones in case that anchor fails.

Besides our own stupidity, failure of the mechanical systems is a very real fact. We should be in the habit of checking over our wheel chokes and ramps just as we are checking over our bikes. Broken and cracked welds will fail and it will happen while your buddies are watching you. Bent and warped items are already stressed and the last thing you want is for them to finally go with your pride and joy precariously perched on them. But the most common mechanical failure is in the tie downs. Believe it or not but not all tie downs are the same. I know there are a few who have been using the same cam lock ones for decades but they are gambling every time they strap down a bike. A pack of cheapo Harbor Freight tie downs may say good for 800 lbs but all too often that is the total combined rating of all four (200lbs x 4 equals 800lbs) instead of 800 lbs each. Considering most bikes hover in the 800 lbs range 200 lbs really isn't going to hold up and that is for a bike at rest. Once that 800 lbs is in motion that force greatly increases. If you don't know what your tie downs are rated for do yourself a favor and buy a good quality set that are rated for at least 1200lbs EACH. No they won't be the $19.99 ones in the discount bin but isn't your motorcycle and your pride worth more.

-bad Uncle Monkey

Last modified on Sunday, 18 June 2017 02:10

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