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Wednesday, 19 July 2017 03:44

The Monkey Report - July 20th, 2017

columnist bad uncle monkeySo there you are at the traffic light and the bike sputters to a stop.

For most of us it isn't a big deal. Maybe we had been tweaking the motor, maybe it is that wiring gremlin we've been chasing for two years, maybe we should have stopped at that gas station two towns back. Whatever the reason we take it in stride - part of the ride.

It is those unplanned die outs that are sheer terror for new riders. Their heart jumps in their throats as they frantically jab at the start button, panic that the light will change, that the cars and trucks behind them will start honking, cursing them. With that in mind today's report is for those new inexperienced riders out there who find themselves staled at the traffic light. 

Step One - Take a deep breath or two or three. A stalled bike happens to everyone from new riders to custom bike builders riding $100,000 bikes. The important thing to remember is

Step Two - Don't panic. Really take a couple deeper breathes.

Step Three - What happen just before the bike quit? Were you riding in traffic? Were you sitting in traffic waiting for the traffic light? Were you attempting to pull away from the light? 

Step Four - Stalling a bike while starting off is one of the most common problems and one of the harder techniques people have to learn about riding. Shift into neutral, pull in the clutch (kick stand up or down if your bike requires it) and start the bike. If the bike does not start check that the kill switch is in the run position. Check to make sure the gas is turned on. You'd be surprised how far you can ride with the gas turned off. 

Step Five - Bikes stall out idling at a traffic light usually because of three things - gas, ass, or heat. As I mentioned in step four you'd be surprised to find that you can sometimes ride for several blocks with the gas turned off. Is the gas turned on? Is the gas turned to reserve or on? It seems simple but some people don't know which is which and ride full time on reserve only to find themselves on the side of the road because they have run out of gas. If the gas is on try turning it to reserve. Sometimes gas gets stranded on the other side of the gas tank because of the tunnel in the middle. 

One of my friends is an ass. When stopped at a traffic light if he notices you are preoccupied with eyeing up the girls he will reach over and hit your kill switch. Hilarity ensues. He'll also do it while riding.

Lastly we come to heat. Motorcycles can produce a lot of heat especial air cooled bikes like Harleys. Heat can vaporize the fuel in the fuel line starving out the motor. Heat expands metal and plastic. More than one biker has been stranded on the side of the road because the heat expands an ignition breaking contact. Once the bike cools off the part shrinks re-establishing contact. Heat melts miss-routed wires causing shorts. If it is heat the bike needs to see a mechanic.

That is about it. The big thing is not to panic. Push your bike to side and slowly go through the starting procedure and remember that builders and vintage riders go through it all the time.

-bad Uncle Monkey

Last modified on Thursday, 20 July 2017 06:38

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