What's your long trip, mechanical horror stories? Are they avoidable?

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by aaarrm, Jul 1, 2020.

  1. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    Knowing when to cut your losses is an important piece of wisdom. It kind of goes along with a avoiding being a penny wise and pound foolish.
    #21
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  2. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Sloppy 300 rider Supporter

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    Yeah, sometimes in a bad situation, we need to stop and step back from the situation.
    #22
  3. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Spun clutch splines on a 77 day multi State ride. After struggling with worn splines from Yukon to Wisconsin finally spun and traded the bike in for a used one at a dealership, carried on to Penn then home to California. A month later hit a cow in Baja and totaled that bike and broke both my wrists and all my fingers. Search 'hit a cow in baja'
    #23
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  4. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    Need to try and quantify how much time and energy it's worth. How much the parts and labour will cost you. how much accommodations/food will costs while fixing. Changing flights.

    On a 60 day trip i spent about 5-7 days looking for parts and working on bike... that was probably worth it to me, but hardly. The bike ended up getting stolen in Dublin... still salty about that.
    #24
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  5. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z I'm serious. Supporter

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    Was reading your ride report. And then... it just stopped.
    #25
  6. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    Did you ask for your money back?

    :jack
    #26
  7. klebs01

    klebs01 Been here awhile

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    Yeah. Sorry about that. It just ended up being a lot of work to update it how I wanted and keep it going. Seemed like a bit of a distraction from what I really wanted out of the trip. Switched to just putting some pics on instagram and face book for friends and family.
    #27
  8. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z I'm serious. Supporter

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    I've run into the same thing. It's incredibly hard to maintain a ride report while on the road... I can't blame you. Hope you're having a good trip.
    #28
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  9. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Knock on wood, I've not had a horror story, but the things I had could have been prevented or easily fixed en route.

    The rear brake on my Monster just stopped working altogether near Lake Tahoe, CA (I lived in NY at the time, so I was pretty far from home...). I couldn't visually see anything wrong, so I just assumed the master cylinder or caliper had failed internally somehow. I just made do without a rear brake for the rest of the trip - not a huge deal.. Got home and realized it just need to be bled. I had bled it before I left, but the caliper is mounted upside down and you have to remove it and flip it to bleed it properly - I didn't know that, and paid for it.

    I got a wicked pulsating front brake on my 1090 while in Alaska. I suspect it was due to either a drop onto a rock, or the weeping fork seal. Pretty much just ignored it until I got home.

    I'd say the biggest issue I faced was on my very first cross-country trip. I was heading into the Black Hills and the oil light came on. I pulled over and couldn't see any obvious leaks. I had an extra quart with me, so I dumped it in but still wasn't registering on the dip stick. The light stayed off, though, so I limped it to next next town and filled it up at a gas station. Best i could figure was that bike was using way more oil than usual on that trip due to all the long days of freeway speeds working my way west. I just had to stay on top of it through the rest of the trip.

    Someone mentioned broken bikes from people overloading them, and I think that's a fair comment. I've pared down my pack list a lot, but I see some people out on trips with a truly impressive amount of stuff strapped to their bikes. Especially when that weight it way cantilevered out over the rear in a top case or something, that's just asking for trouble.
    #29
  10. WJBertrand

    WJBertrand Ventura Highway

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    I've only had a couple of issues traveling most of the western US and Canada. Neither was catastrophic. I arrived at my motel for the night in Bend Oregon only to discover a very wobbly front wheel on my ST1100. looking closer it was evident the front wheel bearings were toast. I could waggle the front wheel back and forth about 1/2" in the forks! I could still ride the bike a little but no way would it have made in all the way back to Ventura in SoCal. Local Honda dealer was uninterested in helping, didn't have the correct bearings but did sell me one of the two needed seals. I found some cheap bearings at a local bearing shop, got a hammer and a long screwdriver and replaced the bearings in the parking lot in front of my room! I was able to spare the one seal I did not have a replacement for. Made the rest of the trip up into Washington and eventually back home to Ventura without further incident.

    The only other incident I've had on the road was a rear flat on the same bike on my way home from Montana. Had to fix it in the middle of nowhere on 395, just into California. luckily my gummy worm plug and CO2 cartridges did the trick. I think it's important to select a bike with a known good record for reliability when making long distance trips through desolate areas.

    EDIT: Forgot all about my Canadian adventure way back in 1974. I was doing a loop from SoCal through Idaho, up to Calgary and then West to Vancouver Island and then a route down the west coast to home. I was riding my Yamaha 350 R5 (predecessor to the RD 350). Somewhere between Calgary and Banff, the rear wheel suddenly locked up. Before I had much time to try and figure it out, a guy in a pickup stopped and we loaded my bike into the back. I noticed the brake drum was extremely hot. He dropped me at a motorcycle shop in Banff where once we were able to pry the brake backing plate out of the hub we discovered the little spring that returns the brake shoes was broken. This let the shoes rub against the inside of the drum until everything got so hot the rear wheel seized. Luckliy the shop had parts that, if not exact replacements, worked well enough to get me along on my way. I still don't think the shop owner charged me over his cost for the parts.
    #30
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  11. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Sloppy 300 rider Supporter

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    That is exactly what I am talking about in a previous post, knowing how to work on a bike will keep a lot of little issues from being a disaster. Many people don’t know that motorcycle parts are fairly universal (unless the bike is big BMW). Bearings are just bearings and are available from a lot of auto parts stores or can be ordered off of Amazon and shipped overnight. The outer seals on the bearings can also be ordered but are not critical, they just extend bearing life. Brake pads are fairly universal, I ride a WR250R, the parts catalog will say the pads are fairly specific to the R model, but the pad shape is the same from just about every Yamaha, and many Honda/Kawasaki and Suzuki bikes. 18” rear and 21” wheels are extremely common. One time we really needed a rear tire. We were stopped and calling shops in the area but it was a Monday and many shops are closed. Some random guy drove up and stated chatting with us. He had a used 18” tire in his shed that he just gave us. We changed it in his driveway and he disposed of the old tire.
    #31
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  12. kirbybikes

    kirbybikes Been here awhile

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    #32
  13. Mark Manley

    Mark Manley Long timer

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    A few years ago I was headed to Mongolia on a Honda XR125 when the engine completely destroyed itself in Azerbaijan, I would guess due to abuse by the previous owner. Azerbaijan is a country of few motorcycles, even fewer bike shops and a 72 hour entry to ferry port rule and I knew that was the end, I got the bike to the customs area at the port and sorted it with customs, one of whom said he might take it home and try and fix it and I flew home.
    I loved the bike and have since bought a new one which I would quite happily use for the same trip again with the expectation of getting there this time.
    #33
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  14. RacingBlue

    RacingBlue Been here awhile

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    I'm not sure it counts as a horror story, but it was a mechanical failure that was certainly avoidable if I hadn't rushed things.

    My sprockets were complete trash, the rear one was very warn and the front was actually missing teeth. I didn't check before I started on the TAT, and when the chain slipped off in North Carolina, I discovered the problem. I had to burn two days sitting in Asheville repairing the thing when I could have marched on.

    Give your bike a thorough once over before you go, and I mean thorough. Get a second pair of eyes on it too, whether it be a friend or a professional shop. That should catch most things before you go. Obviously, sometimes things just happen, but you can do your best to mitigate them.
    #34
  15. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    +1 to @RacingBlue 's comment, and I would add that replacing wear items, even way ahead ahead of schedule, isn't a bad idea if you're doing a long trip. For example, my 1090 had ~5kmi on it before I left for Alaska - it would have been easy to assume the chain and sprockets were good to go, but I decided to replace them, anyway. Good thing I did - when I removed the stock chain I found 2 sloppy links and a missing o-ring.
    #35
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