Friday, 6 February 2009

He Says - The Crash bars!

Well avid reader (singular as I assume only one person in the entire world is reading this...Hi Dad!), as I promised you a part two of sorts (from He Says - The Fuel Tank Dilemma.) well here it is:

Back in September, I got the larger fuel tank (which by the way is still not painted and installed ..bloody rain/snow freezing temperatures), and found out that my crash bars don’t fit. After a lot of internet surfing and several emails The “silver lining company” mentioned in the above thread, wanted an absolute ridiculous amount of money and were rude to me.. "well bugger off I don't need you" (I hoped).

Eventually, I found that once again Ricky Cross was the bars for me, unfortunately they only sold these though Africa Queens (De). Africa Queens has been great and a pleasure to deal with, but I am cheap and would have preferred to buy from the middle man and save a few pennies.

In September, when the tank/bars fit issue was discovered, the Pound Sterling was strong(ish) and I decided that I could wait until the tank was ready to be installed before I purchased the new bars. In this case good things didn't come to those who waited, the pound has lost about 1/2 its value and I have ended up paying a lot more for the bars then I wanted to. In terms of days on the road it cost us about a week all for trying to be virtuous and patient.

I digress. I ordered the bars from Africa Queens, and in true "legendary" German efficiency, they said they would be with me on Monday, and on Monday they arrived. I don’t understand how the Germans can get the Royal Mail to be efficient when every time I send something it goes horribly wrong (three months for a DVD to reach Japan, I could have walked it there in that time)!

So for a week there was nice shiny bars sitting in the living room, begging me to install them and obviously giving Tam dirty looks; judging by the scowels she was shooting me every time she tripped over them. I, however, was more worried about the lower mounting point of the bars. These attached to a place on Anubis that is a know weak point. The dreaded bash plate mounts. So I knew I had to MacGyver something to take the weight in case of a fall. And lets face it we are going to Africa and South America: “in case of a fall” is a very optimistic. I actually should say when we fall for the 1000th time. Well Angus, himself would be proud by how modification came together with out a hitch and cost a doodle (even though duct-tape was not used).

For the bike geeks ever one else skip this paragraph:

I used a system where I replaced the upper engine mounting bolt with a longer one to allow the placing of two heavy duty 90degree angle brackets. These then allowed the placing of a cross bar (2mm thick steal bar) “just” above the bash plate. The cross bar was linked to the down pipes of the bars and the bars were then cut as appropriate. Subsequently I have decided to add a second mid line cross bar to spread the impact further.

Back to the story:

I finished installing them Sunday afternoon, only to find that the front panniers that I was 3/4th the way though building were not going to work with the new tank and bars. The bike would be just too wide. DOH!. My work will never be done! Oh well back to the drawing board. That very moment I looked out the door of my shed, to see a light dusting of snow falling. Over then next 20 hours this dusting became the biggest snowfall in the UK for 18 years. A massive 4inches (10cm) of snow had fallen!! Monday morning the UK came to a grinding halt (or is that slipping halt?). There was nothing on the news but the blizzard and the impending disaster. Businesses, schools, governments, trains and airports shut down. Main highways became "death traps of uncleared snow with drifts of up to 1/2 a foot". The city of London descended into an anarchic state of panic, and the rest of Europe laughed at how badly the Brits can cope with a light dusting of snow.

Not really worrying too much about the “blizzard” I decided that I should go to work. The Trains had stopped and roads where closing. I took the bike. The ride was actually very pleasant; the majority of the roads were black and no worse then any other wet slippery day. I made it to work with out incident. The department was all but empty, the snow was falling harder, but the British cant drive at the best of times, so I decided to grab some work and head home early and work from there. Besides the panic was reaching a zenith with the Chancellor telling us to run and hide… Ahh I mean head home for safety's sake. The ride home was as nice as it was on the way in, only this time the snow was falling bit harder and it was very pretty. The fresh snow gave the English country side an ethereal clean look, and I was calm and smiling as I road. 43 miles of trouble free enjoyable riding, and only the last 10 metres on our road was "deep" (3 inches) in snow and ice.. The good news is that even without the subsequent modification to the modifications the crash bars work! The bad news is that inevitably I drop the bike! Turning into our driveway, and I scratch my less then 36 hour old crash bars. To paraphrase a beer advertisement Murphy lives here.

The moral of this story is... don’t wait, patience in not a virtue, it is an expense. If I had bought the bars several months earlier I would have saved quite a bit of money and the fall would have been on old bars not new ones... CARPE NOCTEM!