Tag Archives: gear

Boy Meets Watch

Next up on the gear docket is this adorable little watch and hairy forearm. While the motorcycling and hooligan elite prefer to tell time and navigate by the stars, sun, and moon, those seeking a practical timepeice should consider the mood watch. A recent trip to Walgreens (get your supplements before it is too late yo) yielded this little gem for a scant 2.99 credits. Powered by natural vibrational energy from the earth and ensconced in a rubber body, the mood watch functions much like a normal watch while increasing balance, developing chi, and improving one’s mood.


Mood watch flashes “Hello” between the hours instead of a colon.


Made in the orient.

Simple and effective.

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CB500T Metal-bit Reconnaissance Mission Vol. 2

As noted in my previous post, if the CB500T is EVER to be considered as a viable candidate for pre and/or post apocalyptic transport, its original design flaws must be fixed and its appetite for self-destruction quashed!
As such, as any responsible hooligan manboy hybrid would do, I am taking the steps to rectify the aforementioned maladies; and restore the CB to its former glory!

To do this, the first step that one must do is remove the left-side crankcase cover. This will reveal the alternator rotor. It is big and round and magnetic and looks you in the eye. You will need to remove this to get to the starter clutch. To remove the alternator rotor you must first loosen and remove it’s bolt, which holds it fast to the crankshaft. Note that this is a normally threaded bolt and follows the age old paradigm of righty tighty lefty loosey. We must apply counterclockwise pressure here, mind you. To get this bolt out you must either put the bike in gear and stand on the brake so that the engine does not turn…or if this doesn’t work, as it did not for me, apply the two penny trick! Of course, this is a pain in the ass and requires the removal of the right side crankcase cover but thoughtful hooligans truly don’t mind because this entails the double benefit of exposing the oil screen which you may now clean.

Fair enough. Get that right side crankcase cover off and place two stacked pennies between the crank pinion and clutch hub gears to arrest the engine.

The rotor bolt will now be able to loosen without the engine turning.

There is one more step now to remove the rotor.
The alternator rotor must be popped off of the crankshaft. You will either need a special “tool” for this step or a 16mm x 1.5 pitch bolt. Of course, this bolt is unobtanium at most any hardware store on earth.
Fortunately, for owners of 1975 Honda CB200T’s, the CB200T axle will fit into that rotor perfectly.
But, not the CB500T’s axle. It is too big.
Sochiro Honda is an asshole at times, but, we forgive him for making otherwise beautiful and reliable motorbikes.

Now, screw the CB200T axle/special tool into the alternator rotor and turn, clockwise. Keep turning, add some pressure, and the rotor will pop off.
Heed this warning: Go slow.

CB200T axle mmmm

If you are elderly or infirm and desire to keep your electric starter mechanism, you must be careful when removing the alternator rotor, for behind it is the starter clutch with all its various bits and pieces. These will fall and scatter and bounce all over your garage floor should you not take care.

Note: Hooligans and boy adventurers care not for electric started mechanisms and prefer to kick start all machines. As such, the electric starter clutch of the CB500T will be relegated to the dustbin of history.

sheared bolts, ovaled holes: no better than scrap!

As it now stands anyway, it is worth less than scrap.

CB500T Metal-bit Reconnaissance Mission

When I got back from James Bay in 2008, the trusty venerable steed known as the CB500T (the bike with no name) was somewhat whipped. You know that a flat tire on the Trans-Taiga led to an impromptu brake fix on the side of the road, which was fixed and chronicled here. Add to this a snapped tachometer cable, a sheared fender support bolt, a wobbly rear wheel, stretched chain, and metal bits in the oil. Of these aforementioned maladies, none was more troubling to me than the metal bits. Metal bits in the oil are bad. They can lead to instant death in any machine, especially a treasured motorbike. With the death of the Ninja (which we mourn for not) attention is now focused on the two seventies twins in my stable which, in addition to the CB500T, includes the equally sacharin 1975 CB200T.

I neglected to change the oil in the 500 during the run to Quebec’s northern lands.

I changed it immediately before I left and wound up doing about 3200 miles round trip before I was able to change it again. I felt tremendously guilty about those extra 200 miles, psychologically flagellating myself the whole time from the moment the tripmeter ticked over 3000 miles and truth be told, I have been doing so in the back of my mind ever since. Such is my relationship to my machines. I care for them as children.

So, naturally, I was crestfallen at discovering a little piece of metal in the catch in the oil drain plug. I put the CB500T off to the side for a while, knowing that this problem would have to be addressed at some point in the future. The future is now and while that original metal piece is long gone, it has been twirling around in my mind’s eye ever since, rotating like a 3-D model so I can see every angle of it. I figured out what it was from long ago, but it still rotates.

Dangerous metal-bits. Beware!

 

The CB500T, for all its faults, is a beautiful machine. Know that seventies Hondas are the essence of quality. Their build quality is remarkable, replete with thick chrome and chunky metal parts that bespeak to a certain something that has long since expired in any mass production machines, be they cars, motorbikes, or toasters. As a caveat, know that there are a couple things that one might take exception with. Anyone who has owned a seventies Honda knows that the worst design component that is inherent to nearly ALL Honda bikes made from that era is the pathetic weakness of the starter button. It’s internals are made of brittle plastic and will always fail at some point. Of course, this is a minor complaint and because it is such a minor complain when compared to the rest of the bike, this issue becomes more of an affectionate quirk than some serious flaw. While this adorable flaw cuts across all models, know that each individual model will have some other quirk that makes it even more adorable. In the case of the CB500T, there is a design flaw within the electric starter system that casuses the internals to work themselves loose, due to the vibration of the engine, and rattle around in the crankcase. If you don’t know about this, and fix it before it self-destructs, it has the potential to wreak havoc with your bike.

I didn’t know about this quirk. My bike stopped starting on the first day of my trip, when I was in the Adirondacks. After stopping to get gas, I thumbed the starter button and was treated to a delightful crunching noise followed by a whirring of the starter itself without it actually spinning the engine. Minus the crunch, this had happened before and I thought nothing of it. The CB500T comes with a kickstarter and I’ve just been kicking it over ever since. The crunch I heard was a piece of the alternator rotor being sheared off. A couple more attempts to start it with the button led to a couple more crunches and couple more teeth being shorn off along with a piece of a stop plate designed to prevent the starter clutch from moving out too far out(see pics).

That’s a lot of shit to be floating around in your engine.

However, such is the thoughtfulness of Sochiro Honda’s design that these bits did not destroy the CB, nor leave us stranded on one of the most isolated stretches or road in the world. Of course, I will need to improve on Mr. Honda’s original design and send in the fix if the CB500T is ever to be considered an appropriate means of pre-apocalyptic transport.

On the ubiquitousness of the common “Bic” lighter

Bic

The all-too common Bic lighter

Ah, the common “Bic” type lighter. Know that this is the most useful and practical fire implementation device on the markey today. Now, I know what you’re all thinking Amigo, that the Zippo is the best and most practical and sexy fire starting, cigarette lighting device on the market today and the only one that fits the archetype of the sexy lone traveller. Of course, the Zippo-type lighter fits the archetype. There is nothing chillingly cooler than lighting a stranger’s cigarette with a Zippo (or a cleverly struck Ohio blue-tip match for that matter). However, anyone that has ever owned a Zippo recently knows that they are cumbersome little beasts that are inconsistent fire makers at best. Zippos run out of their fuel, a lot. Even if you dont use them often, the fuel will evaporate and you will need to fill them up again. The flint needs replacing often. Sometimes you have to change the wick. If you’re travelling that means you have to carry all this shit around with you or buy it somewhere, if you can find it. It is expensive, all this stuff. So you have to ask yourself, do you own the lighter or does the lighter own you Amigo?

The simple plastic lighter can be found everywhere on earth. They last nearly forever and cost around $1. I have never ran out of fuel in one of these things. I’ve always lost them first. They are like pens. Occasionallly we run out of ink but we usually lose our pens first (Both items made by Bic, also). They are nearly indestructible. I found one on the beach recently that worked and I took it home. Indeed, these things can be left in a pocket or a drawer for years and they will light up as if they were new. They are the harbingers of a new, brave world! The modern age!

Ha, yes but they actually work! There are few new age plastic disposable gadgets that trump old-timey craftsmanship. Godamn Zippos are beautiful contraptions, shiny and bright and sexy, but in practicality they are beat on all fronts by the ubiquitous plastic lighter. Know that plastic lighters and pens will survive the upcoming apocalypse and surprise even the cockroaches with their post-mortem practicality.

On the Ubiquitousness of the Common Bandanna

 

Bandanna Usage

No great expedition is ever completed without someone wearing a bandanna. Look, if you don’t want t wear your bandanna around your neck like a real adventurer that’s fine I guess. However, the usefulness of this common everday item cannot be discounted. Bandannas can be had at nearly any gas station or olde tyme 99 cent shoppe anywhere on earth. They are cheap and cost less than or equal to $1. Worn about the neck or tucked into the back pocket, they are an indispensable tool that the pilgrim can use to fight the powers that be.

With a bandanna you can do many things.

You can check your oil with it.

You can wipe your hands with it.

You can blow your nose in it.

You can put it over your nose and mouth to disguise yourself or filter air.

You can wrap it up with a plastic bag, put some grease on it, roast it over the fire, and use it as a dirty susan.

You can use it as a sling.

You can shield your neck from the wind with it.

You can filter water with it.

You can use it as a rag.

Your bandanna washes easily and dries quickly.

Your bandanna is durable and may outlive you.

Your bandanna weighs nothing and is a simple imperative tool.

Do not be caught without it.

Sir Tarps-a-lot

Pilgrims of Pleiades set up their Ultimate Tarp*

*Pilgrims of Pleiades, the original Tarpmasters who first turned me on to the sheer usefulness of the tarp. True Kings of the Road, the Pilgrims are rubber trampin’ it throughout the Universe.

On the importance of staying dry:

No great expedition is completed without one getting at least a little bit wet. However, the novelty of getting a bit wet is different than the experience of getting fucking soaked and being cold. This will ruin a day and can destroy your mindset. Whether backpacking or on a bike, you are out in the world at all times and living wet is no way to live. Remember this: humans are land mammals with scant hair and no gills.

The boy scout motto applies in this regard: always a carry a fucking tarp.

Tents with waterproof rain flys are, of course, a requirement; however, you need to carry some sort of tarp if you are serious about your expedition. You can try to cook in your tent but it is not advisable due to the possibility of fire.

Travel tip: Do not cook in your tent.

If you set your tent on fire you may also catch on fire. Even so, your sleeping bag and all your other shit (sleeping pad, clothes, passport, money, etc.) will also catch aflame and be destroyed. And even more so, all the aforementioned shit is expensive and hard to replace for the cheap road warrior. Tarps can be had anywhere for a pittance (and at times improvised or found) and therefore it is not a death spell if your tarp catches on fire.

Travel tip: Do not light your tarp on fire.

Spending time in your tent with the rain fly on and the sides zipped up is fine at night when it is raining and cold and dark. Spending time zipped up into your tent at most other times is a terrible way to live, especially if all your shit is wet.

Know this and you will always bring your tarp.

Repeat if over and over again like a mantra so that you never forget.

You can string up your tarp and cook under it.

You can put your clothes and boots under it.

You can put it under your expensive tent as added protection against rocks and sharp things.

you can cover your bike with it.

You can make a lean-to with it.

You can wrap yourself in it like a bivvy.

You can drape it over some freshly cut saplings and make a sweatlodge in it.

Your tarp weighs nothing and packs small.