Unexpected Easter Ride 2020...

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Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 6026
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia

Unexpected Easter Ride 2020...

Post by Prof » Sun Apr 12, 2020 11:58 am

Peter, one of my customer's friends has been with out a bike for 5 years and occasionally hires a bike at pretty high cost to get in in the wind. Knowing I had a shop bike he asked if I could hire it out to him for a short Easter Ride he and his mates were planning.

I figured I could help him out and provide him with some chopper wheels for a week or so. Wasn't too sure what I should charge and asked a couple of friends. Decided to cover regio and insurance and a small daily fee. Give me a bit of extra income and Peter a bit more economical ride.

My workman and I spent Friday servicing the chopper, putting on a better front tyre and doing a few improvements I'd planned for some time. This pic for when I advertised it for sale... $6800 once electrics are sorted out if any one keen on what is normally a reliable chopper and really nice to ride...

Peter rolled up Saturday arvo and after a bit of time chatting and explaining the starting running procedures I sent him on his way.

I had planned for Saturday to be a complete rest day, so headed inside to kick back and watch a video.

Then... 90 minutes later a phone call, "Chopper won't start." Bike had stopped out on Grand Junction Road at the beginning of their ride. Peter had pulled up alongside a house with a bike inside the fence and the bloke came out to give him a hand.

We go through some possibilities and tests over the phone, but no luck. "Ok. I'll be there in about an hour." So much for my rest day! Grab tools and through in a car battery and leads. There's a good chance that the new battery is flat or a wire has come adrift. Because if left for 10 minutes it does start but won't rev ... suggests a flat battery to me. I need to pick up petrol and while filling up wonder if the charge wire was left off when my workman installed the new battery. Call Peter with the suggestion and he promises to check it out and call me back. I've had no lunch so go back into the servo for a chocolate milk (Oak of course because it is Australian) and wait...

Call comes back. No missing wire. OK see you soon. Ride into and through the city is pleasant but I'm wishing I put on a bit more clothing... real chill in the air that will mean a really cold ride home. Only concerning incident is seeing a bike hauled over by the cops. Have heard of a couple of instances of cops pulling over and fining bikers for being out of their post code. But I have my story (legitimate) ready just in case.

Find the place and start checking things.

Pull out my multi meter to check the battery and guess what? Its battery is flat. Wring however seems to all be in order. Owner of the house points me to an IGA across the road. Dodge the traffic at the lights and walk past serious looking people all keeping their distance. 9V battery procured and back to the disabled chopper. 10.6 Volts in the battery.

Next step; install the battery and jump start the bike and see if alternator is charging. Oh! Oh! Battery bolts and nuts missing. Peter can't find them so they have dropped in the grass somewhere. Owner comes out with a mini metal detector, but all we find are nails and bits of tin. Pull out my bag of spare electrical fittings in which I always carry a spare set of battery bolts and nuts. Missing one nut! Peter who had gone to a mate's place nearby, produces a nut so we are back in business. Slide the nuts into the terminals. Oh!Oh! again! Nuts in the original are narrow threaded flat pieces. Normal M6 nuts are too wide!

Owner comes out with his belt sander and I use a pliers while he holds the sander...

Nuts now fit. Hook up jumpers and fire up the chopper. Not charging. Stop the bike and check each of the three alternator phases for ground
with the multimeter on resistance. (three yellow wires on the CB750). They are all fine. Not much else I can do as it is now dark and we are operating by torch light. Hook up the jumper cables (a special set I carry with car battery fittings on one end and bike battery fittings on the other. Strap the car battery to the passenger seat and sissy bar.

Chopper starts instantly, so Peter can at least head home. The car battery will normally run a bike for a couple of days, but only a few hours with lights on.

I decide it would be a good idea to shepherd him home just in case. We take off to Semaphore with Peter in the lead. The Honda warms up and being unfamiliar with everything he pulls up to slow the idle. Get a good pic...

Get a bit of video from which this shot is taken...

Get onto the Pt River Freeway and cruise through the deserted roads to Semaphore via Outer Harbour and the esplanade. A cop car pulls in behind us and I wait for the flashing lights, but after a short time they move out and pass. Breathing a sigh of relief we continue on our way. I am very curious that a Chinese ship is docked!

Peter pulls up at the IGA for some milk and invites me to tea. Might as well. A grab some bananas as a contribution. Main Street is deserted... highly abnormal for a Saturday night! Damn New World Order Virus!..

Check the Honda's rigged up battery when we arrive at his place. Down to 11 volts. He will arrange to borrow a mate's battery charger so he can keep riding the chopper for a few days.

Tea and a good chat with him and his missus and it's time to go.

A cold ride home with deserted streets and roads. Coming up our street, I can see light showing through the gums, so swing in the bottom drive and across the ford to see what is up. Paul and a couple of friends are enjoying a camp fire... keeping their distance of course. Paul wants me to ride down to Aldinga with him to grab something from the servo there. A little reluctantly, because I am shivering with the cold, I agree and off we blast using both sets of our lights to flood the road in front in case of roos. Narrowly miss a fox. I had passed a roo close by earlier, but none are to be seen.

Finally back home for the second time and am quite glad to get into the warmth. I guess winter is very much on its way. Wood cutting and splitting now has to be high on my agenda, as this summer has been madly hectic and I haven't had time to prepare.

Sorry Peter for stuffing up your Lobethal ride. The CB has been running with out incident for a couple of years now and is normally ridden each week, but I guess it does have a 40 year old electrical system.

So there you go. Never know what can happen when you ride old choppers.

Post Script: This morning went to fire up the shovel to go and feed mum at the hospital and the new battery appears to have an internal short. Shows 10 volts with ignition switched off and nothing when ignition is switched on. It is a Lithium ion battery and the second in as many months. First one lasted a couple of years, but this is getting ridiculous with the last two not lasting more than weeks each. So now another thing to sort out... and this one ain't forty year old technology!!!!
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

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