May 31, 2013

Dumbest Thing Yet?

When I got back from a short ride and hang with Chris Luhman yesterday, I did some slightly-put-off maintenance: oil change, chain clean, lube, and adjust, cooling system flush. As I began the usual process, I flashed back on a rushed oil change I did, near the end of last season, on the V-Strom last year that might take the prize for being the dumbest maintenance move I’ve made in my fading memory.

I did a crap-load of stuff on the bike; from the usual to the once-in-10,000-miles stuff. I intended to do more, but while I was wandering from task to task with no real focus or check-list, I managed to dump a whole gallon of expensive synthetic oil into the fill-hole before discovering that I had yet to replace the drain plug. After smacking myself around the garage for a few minutes, I installed the plug, filled the crankcase with my backup oil (not synthetic), and terminated the maintenance session.

I still need to repack the steering head bearings, but in the mood I was in after blowing $25 in a few moments of stupidity I decided discretion was “the better part of valor” and my bike, too.
Some days, maintenance brings out the really stupid in me and on those days I try to be flexible enough to find something else, something easier, to do rather than continue on the path that will likely end in a screwed up motorcycle and additional expense. How ‘bout you?


  1. Best to do maintenance uninterrupted with plenty of time and alone without distraction.
    I was changing a rear tire for a friend and in haste 'forgot' to check the tire rotation direction when I took the old tire off. He had brought me the wheel off the bike so I had no other reference other than ask him which side the chain was on. I had a 50/50 chance and wouldn't you know it, I got it wrong. As not to ask me to change it again he took it to a shop and they found one of my rim protectors inside his tire. I don't think he has ever asked me to change his tires since.

  2. Lol. I've done that with a quart of oil too. I've also put the tire on in the wrong direction. Both were great learning opportunities. I check the drain plug now, and I tripple check the tire direction. Tires aren't fun.

  3. I drained a transfer case once without removing the fill plug first. Won't do that again. Ended up drilling and tapping the fill plug since it wouldn't come out.

  4. I've got a bad one. Managed to put a brake caliper back on after a rebuild with both pads on the same side of the rotor. Trashed both the caliper and the rotor after 10 minutes of riding.


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