Monday, May 17, 2010

Nikos and the Arse of Motorcycle Maintenance

Or to put it another way how one man's 10 minute job can take 2 days and 6 hours whilst wearing hideously coloured Landsend plastic clogs.

The logic system and the reasoning of how to approach a task such as replacing a blown fork seal is clearly laid out in the famous Pirsig work but this is of little application when working on a BMW motorcycle.  Rather we must take  benefit from the the heavyweight pessimistic Clymer Workshop manual (take the whole of the fork assembly off including the fuel tank) or the applicable works of Steptoe on the UKGSers Forum (it's a 10 minute job guv).

1. Acquire parts: elapsed time 2 days. Cost £17.38 including VAT at 17.5%.

2. Remove a rubber cover, lose it, apply 14mm socket to seized nut whilst sticking a 22mm open ended spanner around the bit where I'm sticking it sort of thing:  elapsed time 20 minutes and a  grazed knuckle.

3.  Push fork insert down and wiggle it then pull it out.  Pull out and drip corrosive and highly carcinogenic special BMW fork oil all over clothing and front of motorcycle: elapsed time 10 s.

3 again.  Rush into kitchen to get a ramikin that a Gu chocolate pudding came in to catch remaining drips of corrosive and highly carcinogenic special BMW fork oil for reuse later: elapsed time 2 hours (why does the Mrs Nikos always call when I'm half way through a  delicate job?

4. Remove push fit nuclear toleranced dust seal that will not budge without extreme brute force: elapsed time 45 minutes.

5. I cheated here as I removed the circlip really easily; elapsed time 1 minute.  Notice the crafty kitchen roll shoved down the bore so that debris would not fall down into fork oil that remained ( Steptoe didn't mention that one did he?)

6.  Could I get the old oil seal out, tried to shift it couldn't even lift I was getting nowhere.  Coffee break.

8.  The remains of the oil seal covered in volcanic ash - I knew that I should have kept off the roads last month.

9.  Removal of the kitchen roll with my mechanical fingers.  I was given this wonderful grab whilst working on jet engines and many an errand nit was fishes out of an RB 211 with these!

10..Then as the wisdom goes, reassembly is the opposite of disassembly followed by welcome Chinese food buffet  at Emperors Court Northwich (all you can eat for £10.50) to celebrate γιαγιά Nikos 75th birthday.


  1. χαρούμενα γενέθλια First of all Happy Birthday to Granny Nikos. I hope she had a wonderful time and enjoyed the Chinese Fare for dinner. Many happy returns Khronia Polla.

    Looks like you did quite a job on the fork gasket. I like the details you give, including the timing spent on each component. The picture are very clear and the workmanship seems to be can fix my bike anytime.

  2. Nikos:

    I'm confused:

    1stly: I thought you traded in the Beemer

    2ndly: your clogs are the wrong colour, the desired colour is PINK

    and happy birthday to Granny Nikos

    Wet Coast Scootin

  3. Dear Bob

    1, what made you think that?
    2, they are not Crocs(tm) either

    and, thanks!


  4. It takes about the same amount of time to change a BMW light bulb, especialy outside your friendly local lifeboat station...


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