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Monday, October 24, 2011

The return of the shade tree mechanic

Growing up in the 70's and early to mid 80's when my Dad had a problem with his car he took it down the road to a guy named Dan.  Dan worked out of a barn in the back of his house, or on a warm spring or summer day, under a big old oak tree my brother and I loved to climb.  He was literally a shade tree mechanic right down to the ever present bottle of beer.

I am not mechanically inclined.  It's not that I don't understand the principles of it, the weird thing is that in my life I've been a lab rat.  I worked for years as a civil engineering tech and now work for a GPS company.   I understand tech.  I speak tech.

Just don't ask me to actually fix or repair anything.  I find humor in the fact that I know more about how the road under my wheels is constructed than the machine I'm riding on it.

When I bought my scooter I knew that had to change.  I've done minor repairs in the car, "How difficult could it be to change the oil?" I thought.    Well truthfully in the Burgman, not hard at all.   Although I did quickly learn that some things I would have to do in the future were going to require more than a Phillips head screwdriver and a wrench.

The oil change itself was pretty simple and my thanks go out to Gary for walking me through it the first time, although after watching him do it I think I could have handled it.

He also pulled apart the CVT which started me thinking how little about the machine I decided to ride.  If there is a squeal I know I can sit and think about it and identify where it's coming from...even be pretty sure what's causing it.   Fixing it...not so sure and mechanics love to see a rube like me coming!

I understand the physics of it...the principles of my bike.  I know that if I take the time and invest the energy I'll be able to fix the minor problems, change the oil and even seek shade under that old tree.  If I invest the time and energy.

OK, maybe not the shade tree mechanic I had in mind
What modern car dealers don't want to tell you is that, Dan - remember him - does not actually exist.  Things today are all electronic do dads and whatit's.  The mechanic today is more of a computer diagnostics person than the proverbial grease monkey.  Watching people work on their bikes harks back to a simpler time.

Their is an amazing community of "gearheads" out there.  When a strange black streak appeared on my variator the first thing that popped into my mind was that the belt was not seated properly and rubbing against the metal.   That could either result in a broken belt or replacing the variator itself.

As it so happened that mark appears to be a normal thing, as Gary posted the pics and question to the Burgman USA forums and had an answer within a few hours.  So I feel pretty confidant moving forward that if I have a issue or question I can get the answer.  I feel that I can work on this bike, or at least ask the right questions if I do take it to a mechanic.


Gary Baughn said...

Actually I knew nothing about working on scooters (only motorcycles) until I bought my 1st scooter nearly a year ago. I just joined a forum like Burgman USA and learned from others who have alredy been there & done that.

The City Mouse in the Country said...

What I was trying to point out is that it IS possible to work on the scooter and that I will have to learn how to do it. As compared to your car today which requires all sorts of specialized tools.