Thursday, April 26, 2007

Into the Sunset and Suchlike...Part Two

Being 5’6” I got a kick out of rolling up to a stop line and looking down my nose at all the gym-sculpted or large dudes on midget machines. Of course, I learnt the acid test of a Yez owner was to start off his bike without getting off, and in the proverbial ‘one kick.’ Little did I know that was just the beginning? Y’see, I was also being taken for a ride by my mechanic, a dude who used to sit in front of Sheru’s spare parts shop in the Green Park Cinema complex. He had obviously figured out that I knew very little about machines. With a little bit of persistent questioning, I was able to figure out what to poke and pry at when the bike broke down on road. The first thing was to clean out the sparkplug. If you want to impress the pillion lady, pull off the fuel feed pipe. Make sure it’s shut first and you are holding the plug from the other end of the plug spanner in which you have kept it. Open the fuel tap and drip a few drops of fuel on to the plug head. Now reach for the trusty Zippo and set it alight. I swear, your pillion will be all agog at these magnificent men and their machines.

Every time something new broke down on the bike, I ended up adding to my knowledge (information translates into knowledge with trial and application, as is known by all Pirsig lovers!). So when the petrol cap breather hole clogged up, I learnt about the fuel supply chain and how to remove air bubbles from your petrol pipe (with your mouth!). Belching petrol burps soon lost its charm and it was time to move onto the electrical system. I learnt how a loose terminal from your high tension (HT) coil can give you a nasty shock during wet weather. On a friend’s RX 100, with a retro-fitted Rajdoot 175 cc teardrop-shaped tank, that water drips onto the coil below the tank when it rains and the bike will give you the jolt anywhere on it’s water-covered body or just won’t start till the coil sort dries out. The teardrop Rajdoot 175cc tank, by the way, was my idea and looked good on Joy Mullick’s RX. Especially one with extended front fork rods, re-routed seat rods and the usual ringlet extensions on the rear shock(ers). For glam or bling, depending on which generation are you, try and get the one without the the chrome side panels. His old Yam tank had suddenly started imitating a sieve after 9 years of service and cumulative rust. Chewing gum! For all those of you who have not read Commando comics in your youth, chewing gum is the ideal temporary plug for a leaking fuel tank. All pilots in WW1 knew this was the best temporal solution to plug a fuel tank riddled with bullet holes. Let your imaginations chew on that for awhile.

Anyway, after the contact breaker points (a minor art form in itself; hope i get retrospective ehnuf to give you the low down on that side of the bike), I found the clutch. The clutch usually is a wrestling match where you curse if you cannot take up the free play in the cable and have to resort to loosening the cable lock nut and repeat to satisfaction. Clutch setting on Mathilda usually took a couple of hours. I also used that time to clean the bike while it was still hot from the ride until the silencer burns on my forearms made me decide it was not worth it.

Danny, another RX 100 wing nut, as anyone who really knows him, will testify, taught me to put my screwdriver (no pun!) head on the part of the engine that I wanted to check out and put my ear to the rounded end of the screwdriver handle. This ‘a la stethoscope’ method ensured my welcome to the machine, allowing me to spend many quasi-Floyd moments listening to the various grrs and whirrs and inevitable grinding sounds emanating from iron tummy of the brute.


All Text Copyright — ©Arunesh Dogra

No comments: