Wednesday, June 09, 2010

When It All Comes Due

The sunrise on Monday was quite red. If I were a sailor, I'd probably be concerned about the weather headed my way. As a biker, when the forecast says it's going to be 109, I pray it means rain and not just pollution. And either way, a red sunrise is a noteworthy event. Kind of ominous.

Rain was not to be, but the sunrise foretold a special morning all the same.

I'd decided to take the little Vespa to work that morning. I had the garage locked up and all of my gear on... and the little sucker wouldn't start.

I would have taken the big Vespa, but it really needs tires. So that left the Triumph, which needed the chain oiled and adjusted.

I took the Triumph.

When I got home, of course I immediately focused on the problem with the little Vespa. I got the keys, thumbed the starter and it fired right up like nothing had ever been out of the ordinary. Of course.

I eventually got around to dealing with the chain on the Triumph. It's been doing kind of a weird pulsing while riding, and I suspected it was because the chain was out of adjustment. Well, the chain was badly out of adjustment, but getting it back in adjustment brought the pulsing and a new scraping noise into focus. Great.

Anyway, I rode the little Vespa in to work today, which was pretty trouble-free and enjoyable.
Then on the way home, the motor sputtered and died at a stoplight. And it didn't really want to run again unless I kept it above idle while stopped, until a couple miles later when it started running just fine again. So... something is hinky there.

Which means tomorrow I'll be riding the big Vespa to work, whether it needs tires or not.

I'm a touch frustrated.


Gary France said...

Problems with bikes are often like buses. You don't see one for a while, then 3 come along at once....

I hope you get them all fixed soon.

mq01 said...

seems to be murphys law

Wyckedsin said...

Lube your chain when it is hot, like right after you get off the bike from your ride from work. How many miles do you have on the chain also? How worn is the rear sproket? Can the chain slip back and forth in the grooves for the links? Sprocket could need to be replaced as well.

Vespa...Go to an auto supply and buy a sheet of thermal reflective padding and stick it to the bottom of the fuel tank. Check the fuel flow at the tap with a vacuum pump. What might be happening is the excess ambient heat, plus the heat of the motor is allowing the tank to vapor lock at idle, but the higher vacuum at above idle is allowing the tap to still flow fuel.

irondad said...

It's the same principle that rules other critical things, too. Like the fact that your jean zipper works flawlessly all the time. Except for when you have to pee really badly! Then it won't move at all.

The rate of failure is inversely proportional to the square of the need to use it.

Lucky said...

Gary - No doubt about that.

mq01 - Yep.

Wyckedsin - Thanks for the advice. I suspect the chain is toast. The sprocket is well worn as well. Appx. 15,000 miles on the chain, which is longer than the previous one lasted.

I'll also try putting some insulation on the gas tank of the little Vespa. That seems like a likely cause, since it (generally) runs just fine while cold.

irondad - It sure seems that way. All this maintenance makes it tempting to get one of them fancy,(relatively) low-maintenance Japanese sport-touring bikes.