"A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work." – Colin Powell
A similar quote was written on wall of the workshop room back in elementary school where the teacher, Benő, who was a gigantic piece of shit, was always beating our heads with his big signet ring. May he not rest in peace.
A trustworthy motorbike mechanic is just as important of a relationship as a trustworthy dentist. I don’t go there very enthusiastically, but sometimes I must. Now I needed one the most, when we had to put the bike together for the big trip.
It’s well put together basically, I was researching until I have found one that I shouldn’t have much trouble with. Even I could fix some minor things on my own, like adjusting the handlebars, replacing the plexi with a bigger one, or fixing a new luggage rack. Still, I wanted a full look-over, and change some of the more serious parts, that would be unfortunate to fuck up doing it myself, especially since I’m such a slob.
This is how we entered the mechanic’s shop, almost in mint condition, with 48 000 km in the clock
There are many bad bike services out there, there are some genius but lazy ass bike mechanics, there are some genius and not lazy, who would definitely live just as far away from me that it’s not worth the effort going to, and there is Cribmoto, whom I found completely serendipitously, and ever since all my bike-troubles went away.
When I contacted Bence Kriskó, who runs Cribmoto with his siblings, Tibi and Daniela, I had one special request. I didn’t only want them to prepare my bike for the big trip, but I also wanted to be able to stay there for the entire process so that I could learn my vehicle in and out. Oh, and as a little extra, I asked them to start asap, because, well, I’m leaving soon, and I have limited time. I know it’s high season… They also knew it was high season, but after a couple of hours of thinking, they called me back and said I could come.
This was my to do list for them:
- One of the simmerings was leaking in the front telescope.
- Handlebar bearings must be replaced
- Brake lining and support must be replaced
- Fix the gps connection
- Teach me how to adjust the chains
- Teach me how to adjust the valves
- Teach me ...
I got assigned Balázs Bagi as my mechanic to work with. He is not only a genius mechanic, but he could totally be a teacher, all this while he was perfectly orchestrating the entire workshop to support my work. Big ups to you all!
1 hour later
Of course we got to know a lot more issues. Obviously the chain was shit, so we had to replace it entirely, so then automatically all the cogwheels were thrown away too.
I somehow didn’t think we were gonna tear the machine into pieces, but after a mere two hours only the frame, the cylinder block and the electronics were hanging there in great sadness on the workbench.
2 hours later
We were making progress really fast, time was flying, and I found myself in a new world, that was equal part really entertaining and informative, and equal part commercial radio on max volume, so I had the chance to get acquainted with the catchy tunes of Despacito. Holy shit that song is crap! The guys told me to just switch whenever I feel like it, but I didn’t feel entitled for even dictating the rhythm in the workshop.
Punishment for the ears and the psyché
I learned, that even the smallest procedures needed to be done a lot more accurately than I have done for years before. Everything was swimming in an ocean of oil and silicone, and it was clear as sun to me, that if you want to do a truly proper job with good conscience and deep expertise, that actually requires a lot of time. Luckily Balázs was well equipped with both features.
In a few days the bike was ready, and I graduated as a good industry apprentice. Not only did I get my practical training, I learnt some of the theory too.
The simmerings need to be replaced in pair obviously, so both telescopes needed to be taken apart. At least I’ve gotten to know, that the previous owner didn’t only put progressive springs in them, he even installed that 2 cm big part, that makes the beginning of the freewind just enough hard to use them.
My head light was completely blurry. The previous owner told me that it’s not the cap that is blurry, it’s the silvering that is deteriorating, and it’s full of dust. Well, I removed it, blew it with the compressor so I could see better. It was undoubtedly full of dust, but it wasn’t really the silvering, but I found a something completely weird thing that made everything blurry. Anyways, the head light got refurbished too.
Since we changed the handlebar bearings, it’s quite incredible, but I can actually turn with the motorbike!
I got brakes, I got brakes!
We managed to fix the connection to the gps, but the super extra Android moto GPS from Ali Express was broke down exactly after 6 min holding it in my hand, and the screen was broken only from touching the buttons. Don’t buy Karadar GPS!!!
They taught me how to adjust the chains, and we changed all the six pieces of rubber in the back wheel, that are seemingly cheap but in fact they are fucking expensive and at least you need a lot of them. After a rather lengthy theoretical intro, they taught me all the tricks on how to adjust the valves in practice as well. This turned out to be a real brainfuckingly delicate maneuver, pure luck one only has to do it once every 24 000 km.
I connected all the bowdens, and one pair of spare next to each, so if they break, I can quickly switch to the spare one, and I’m good to go!
We put up the also Chinese DRLs, they are not very good, but at least they work, and they were at least cheap, unlike the GPS.
We also put up two hand protections, replaced all the oil and filters. Ready!
The surface and what’s underneath
Since the original color of the bike was competing in the same league with the ski onesies from the ‘90s, it had to go. First, because it was frankly disgusting, but also I wanted to blend in with my bike more. The producer managed to mix the metallic version of the British racing green color with orange and metallic grey. I don’t know what those designers have been snorting then, I think ecstasy was going around those times with the cool kids. It would fly in a rave, but around the world, nah.
After the meticulous work in the service, I did a sloppy job with the polishing. I decided to go with the evergreen black and white combination, and gave it a matte finish at the end. I think the bike looks at least 10 years younger if you look at it from at least 10 m distance, but from close up, it’s real trashy, just as I wanted it to be. It should look sexy on the pictures, but not from close to fall for any temptation.
After the frame was ready, I took apart the front once more, to insert the 3 USD worth fork socks from the Philippines that just arrived. And then it was ready for real.
I tapped Balázs in the shoulders with great pride about how fast and good we were. Then he said I could come back any time as an apprentice if I wanted to, and he admitted that he would have finished in 2 days instead of 4 without me.
Back during my trip in Morocco a guy named Gábor Borbély contacted me, who was producing super comfy seats for super needy riders under the brand Borbro. He specialised in BMWs, but I asked him extra kindly - okay, it really didn’t take that much of convincing - and he made me a super comfy seat for my bike.
The benchmark for me is the seating of the 1100 GS, that would be impossible to fully reproduce, but at least we can get close to the experience. We modified my seat entirely. I sit almost 20 cm further towards the back, and the experience is priceless, nothing what it was before. Even before, someone already removed a significant amount of the foam. It’s like I was riding a different bike.
I have some rubber with me
Choosing the tires was a huge question mark for me. Obviously I don’t have the opportunity to test countless of different ones, and this is really not the topic you can figure out from reading forums. I decided to seek an expert’s advice. I got in touch with Feri Tana. I think there aren’t many riders who doesn’t know his name. He is running the tire workshop called Kék Hold. I didn’t know him from before, but he was very helpful, and after discussing all factors, he suggested to go for K60 from Heidenau. Then he offered me a set of tires for free, talked to the folks at Mofaker, who then talked with the manufacturer, so at the end I got like 5 sets of tires, that should be enough for my entire trip and some.
It’s really cool to have tires, but the thing about tires is that sometimes they pop, and never when there is an idle tire repair store in close proximity.
So I asked Feri to teach me how to change my tires with a set of basic tools. I knew that changing tires on the roadside and fuckup are synonyms to each other, but actually I was wrong. Because changing tires is synonym to deepthroating shit.
Theoretically you should be able to do this with two crowbars. Here you see three + a Bead Buddy, and still not working!
It took us about 5 hours to take off a set of tires and put on a new one, while we were pretending that all this happens on the roadside, and I have to fix it. With a little cheating and a lot of forgiving, I managed to do 60% of it. Feri was begging me not to continue because my pretty alloy rims will turn into damaged alloy rims, and of course he was right. So now it constantly looks like I am driving along a really high edge, but aesthetics are not important in this process.
At the end of the day I got a very special tool and accessory, and of course they didn’t let me pay on top of it all.
It has been a surprising many people who helped me selflessly to get this motorbike ready, everyone has been ultra kind to me, but for someone to be this fucking nice to me, I was left speechless!
So the motorbike was finally ready, everything’s awesome, and now of course something got fucked up inside the carburetor, so I’m going back to Crib!
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