Sometimes, torque is the enemy.

This past Saturday started off cloudy and rainy, but by the afternoon, the sky was clearing and the temperature was pleasant. As such, Angela and I decided that we should take the bike out to dinner and then to the bowling party we were to attend.

When I took the bike out of hibernation for the season, I never bothered to put the sissy bar back on, because I knew I’d be ordering a rear luggage rack for the bike, which attaches at the same points as the sissy bar. Since I had since received the luggage rack, and since I wanted to bring my bowling ball with us, before we headed out I got to work on attaching the rack and sissy bar.

I got the rack and sissy bar on the bike with out a problem. It’s a very simple process. The problem, however, arose when I went to bolt on the passenger seat. The seat is secured by fitting a lip on the front of the seat under a metal bracket attached to the front seat, and then with a bolt that goes on a little screw post that sticks up out of the fender. When I went to bolt the seat on, I decided to use a ratchet for some reason, and ended up shearing the screw post right off of the fender….

Right. Off. The. Fender.

Why is this so problematic? Well, because that post is welded into the fender from underneath.. the bolt doesn’t just come off. So, after yelling a few obscenities, and maybe possibly throwing the offending ratchet to the ground, I took everything back off of the bike so I could remove the rear fender. Then we took everything back up to my apartment, where I made a post on the forums asking for help with the issue. Within about 10 minutes a couple of other folks replied with some suggestions. I love that board.

The solution that seemed to be what everyone agreed on was to drill out the post from under the fender, buy a new, stainless steel bolt, and then using some J-B Weld epoxy to keep the new bolt there. On Sunday I was able to drill out the post wide enough to fit a new bolt in the fender, and Angela and I headed out to Home Depot. Unfortunately, Home Depot’s selection of metric bolts is absolutely pitiful, so I had to settle for buying an English bolt and nut. Since some of the paint had chipped during the drilling I also bought some rattle-can primer from the auto parts store so that I could ensure the fender wouldn’t start rusting. The chips were all in an area where they were covered by the seats and such, so I didn’t need to worry about buying any paint.

After work today I masked off the fender and sprayed primer where it was needed. After the primer was dry, I took off the masking and used the epoxy to secure the new bolt in the fender. After a few hours, I took the fender back to the bike and reassembled everything with the exception of the rear seat. The J-B weld wants to cure for about 15 hours before the parts it binds get used, so I’ll put the nut on the seat tomorrow.

I’m glad I have everything put back together now, but I’m really angry at myself for making such a stupid mistake that lost us two very nice days for riding. Oh, and for costing myself an extra 20 bucks or so and the time involved in making the repair. I suppose that I could have held off on fixing everything until after the conference, but I wanted to get the bike back up and running so that I can just hop on it and go this week if I need an hour or so to ride off the stress. Also, the weeks after the conference are going to be busy with the end of the semester coming and possible campus interview visits.

Soon I’ll be creating a WordPress ‘page’ about the bike where I’ll keep pictures and a running list of the various modifications I have and will make to it.

Here’s to hoping I don’t manage to break anything else on my pretty blue friend anytime soon.

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