made it halfway


Local time
9:58 AM
Apr 13, 2008
I, your hero, work split shifts at a TV station. Weekends 5a-3p and M-T 3p-1a. It's 12.8 miles from home.

I've already transported the bike in on sunday on the back of my car to ride home, then ridden the bike back on monday only to return in my car that I left in the office parking lot for a day and a half. That worked well. It was daylight both times-- had no light. And of course I had daytime traffic.

Road conditions are good except for a couple of miles with narrow, bumpy shoulders and 35mph speed limits.

Anyway I want to do more, more, more so I rig up an awesome-o headlight system. Got a $15 walmart clear fog light kit, put one light on my riding mower and the other on the motoredbike. Said fog lights have no shroud over the front of the 55 watt H3 bulb so they are effectively high beams no matter how you point them. I go to "Ed's Batteries" (a Maine phenomenon-- bumper stickers read "ed's batteries turn me on") and got a 12v 7.5ah gell cell for $20. There's the front light. I have the battery wrapped in neoprene from an old wetsuit to cut the vibrations and tie it down snugly on my package rack with a large hose clamp. Perfecto.

I have a rear reflector but want a rear light, so I get a 12 v red marker light from walmart... the kind the big trucks use... only $2... and put it on the rear. Looking at my HT "white wire" dangling there unused I hook that up. Even with a 12v rating it's plenty bright on the HT dynamo, perhaps b/c of the low current draw. Highly reccomend for the price. Ride the bike to the grocery store last night for a couple things. The lights work great. People give me even more room at night than they do during the day; perhaps because of the incredible "don't mess with me" freakishness the bike exudes.

I gush to the wife about the red light running off the engine but it goes in one ear and out the other.

This morning i get up an extra 1/2 hour early... and man it's early anyway. Tighten the chain slightly and coast down the driveway with my headlight on. Wife watches me leave through the window... and, remember, the tail light is off because the motor isn't running yet.

I get out to the end of my downhill run and pop the clutch and I'm off. I can't see my speedo but the fuzz set up a radar "your speed is" trailer and I'm doing 24 mph. I memorize the tone/buzz of the HT and set that speed in my mind as a goal.

I get exactly halfway to work and something gear-sounding starts instantly making an awful growl. I pulled in the clutch, motor was still running okay so I kill it, pull over to check my muffler etc and a car coming up behind me starts slowing down and pulling over. I look up and it's my wife!

Your tail light is out she says. "yeah my motor isn't running" I say somewhat sheepishly and then I re-explain how it all works. She saw me leave through the window then tried calling my cellphone. (I had it off, in my backpack, b/c how on earth would I hear it let alone answer it?)

She had my station wagon b/c the car seat was in it and our 11-month old baby was jerked from his crib, strapped in etc as she tried to pursue me. I gained 6 miles on her! :p So I opened the wayback and laid the dead bike on its side for the first time ever. As I had 1/2 a tank of gas only a very little spilled.

We had time, barely, to return home with the dead bike, drop my guardian angels off, I got into the warm car and drove to work.

Went by a time & temp sign, 48'F. Wearing an average lined leather jacket and ordinary blue jeans my legs were starting to get cold. Bike ran great though on that cold crisp air. Predawn sky was happening. Interesting morning.

Mechanics among us are wondering what killed the bike. I have a 10-hour shift to think about it before I get home and look it over. :confused:
Check your chain. Sounds like it may have been a bit loose and it could have jammed up in your sprocket gear.
Isn't it a bit strange that like your wife knew you were gonna need her today?
I think that is special.
I built a similar light system. two fifty five watt fog lights from wal-mart and an led tail-light powered off the same battery. this is a 14 amp/hour model. cost $80.00. guess I went to the wrong place on that.
also added a cigarette lighter plug and carry a 12 volt air compressor. but I haven't need it yet. I imagine its only a matter of time, though.
But it really lights up the road. And those autos really do take you more seriously.

(that battery is awful heavy, though.)
Tighten the chain slightly and coast down the driveway

Yeppers the chain is tighter than it was.

On coasting with the clutch disengaged, it makes/made a somewhat (but not overly so, IMO, for a cheapo chinese unit) cantankerous racket that seems to be half clutch-guts and half chain. But I didn't like the way the chain was bouncing so I tightened it, not much, before heading out. It looked a little better in the moonlight. It wasn't loose to begin with but i figured after reading on here it could have broken in and they tend to stretch a bit at first. At about 100 miles.

The wheel didn't lock up or anything so I don't think it was that sort of disaster. Going to look for broken spokes, sprocket alignment issues, etc. Bike wheeled back into garage with clutch disengaged okay. The "cap" is still on the muffler but it was almost an exhausty noise. I double checked the headbolt torque when I got the motor but haven't since; hope it's not a gasket etc.

I opened the yellow pages and programmed a taxi company into my cellphone so here's knocking on wood that takes out any evil spirits.
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Well the culprit was a missing/ vibrated out motor mount stud. Had spare parts, tools, and flashlight with me. 6mm allthread seems a must carry.

FWIW the inner timing cover bolt for a DOHC 1.9L saturn is 6 mm, I needed one longer than stock to make the mount fit around my oblong frame.

And I'm buying some MF Locktite.
Didn't vibrate out, sheared off right by the square-to-oval bit that adapts the motor to a bike frame. Oops!
just fixed the same problem, sheared off flush to the block, just drilled it out and retapped it. I so wish I replaced them in the beginning. Your lucky having a wife like that! When ever I break down I just have to push it home :(
Irony is if I called her on my cellphone for a rescue I'd never hear the end of it.

But since she stalked me down like girlfriend in "blues brothers" we're kind of mox nix on the subject.

Am probably going to try slotting the stud before drilling it out; drilling steel surrounded by aluminum doesn't sound like fun.

I could have ditched the master link and pedalled home in this instance, good to have a backup plan.