Long Term Maintenance

About 30,000 miles ago I replaced the swing arm pivot bearings on the BMW. These are the little tapered roller bearings at the joint between the swing arm and the final drive on the rear end. Originally, there was a movement away from the bearings because they got flat, and someone at Rubber Chicken Racing sourced some oil-lite bronze bushings that would be a direct replacement.

The problem I’ve had is that they’re constantly wearing even though they were installed as the instructions specified. This means heating the adjustable post on the inside of the swing arm, re-torquing the post and adjusting the locknut. Normally it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but the pivot has to be heated to about 200 degrees before it loosens up.

This also means that the “rear end” of the bike always has a little play in it, becoming especially noticeable when leaned over in a turn and opening the throttle from closed, or closing the throttle from open, upsetting the chassis and forcing a steering adjustment. No fun.

Also in the works, a pair of Wilbers shocks.

Before you get uptight about how dirty it is in there, consider that this bike gets ridden. There’s no time for polishing.

The Honda Transalp

In 1989 I wanted one of these things so bad I would have given up just about anything to have it. Honda had just brought to the US the NX series bikes and the Transalp- dual sport bikes with a tendency toward pavement rather than dirt. I liked what they stood for. I liked what they looked like, and I especially liked the name, adding a bit of European flair by suggesting it was made for the mountains.

I never had one. And though I had a friend who owned an NX250, I never knew someone who had one until a couple of years ago. Long after Honda stopped importing the Transalp, I know 4 people with one. One of them even has two. Of course now that motorcycling and technology has come so far, by today’s standards the Transalp is outdated, slow, and in need of modification to really perform it’s intended purpose. Yet suddenly there’s a local cult following…

Powered by a 600cc V-Twin making 45 horsepower, it lacks top end on the open highway and weighing 390 pounds dry, it’s a behemoth on the dirt. Yet everyone I know who has one says it’s great. Maybe I should ride one and find out what I missed.