Update on the Crash Bars

I hereby officially retract my recommendation about the zip ties.

Last week I wrote about having to do a little smooshing to get the coolant hoses out of the way of the mounting bracket for the Prima rear crash bars. A ModernVespa user showed how he’d bent the steel bracket with a table vise, which I didn’t have, so instead I took a suggestion to use strong zip ties to scoot them out of the way. (Link to my original post, which has since been updated with a retraction)

I’m not 100% sure if it was the combination of the zip ties on my 10-year old hoses or if the zip ties would do this to any hose, but my scoot is now in the shop waiting on a new coolant hose after one that I had zip-tied developed a little leak. I didn’t have to move them much to get them out of the way of the bracket, but it was just enough pressure on those old hoses that one developed a fine crack.

I noticed it when parking last night at a party, a fine spray that turned into a drip. I touched the fluid on the ground and determined it wasn’t oil or condensation. I went inside and grabbed a friend who rides motorcycles and asked him to take a quick look. He diagnosed the coolant leak. I got right on the phone to my new buddy* Nick at MotoEuropa, the scooter specialist who did the post-sale inspection on it just a few weeks ago. After I explained what I was looking at, he said it was safe to drive the short distance from the party to the shop, and he had time to look at it that evening.

Hard to miss in the daylight, but if I hadn’t done a walkaround after parking, I wouldn’t have seen it for hours and a lot more damage could have been done.

I showed Nick the install of the crash bars and explained the fix I’d tried. He scratched his head and was pretty confused. Prima, he said, usually makes excellent kits, and he found it weird that the bracket made for my exact bike didn’t fit without jerry-rigging.

You and me both, dude.

So I missed the party and spent some time puttering about the showroom while the bike went up on the stand, trying on $500 Triumph leather jackets and $700 Shoei helmets and sitting pretty on tricked out Ducatis. Nick determined that the long coolant hose would need to be replaced and while it wouldn’t be a pricey repair, he’d have to order the part. It would be five or six days before my scoot would be safe to ride again.

He was still scratching his head and muttering over the ill-fitting bracket when I was ordering an Uber to take me home, and I had an idea.

“You don’t have a table vise, do you?” I asked brightly.

“Right over there.”

“Think you could bend that bracket so it doesn’t bump the new hose?”

He snorted a laugh. “Oh yeah, that would be easy.”

I gave him permission to do whatever he needed to the bracket to make it fit safely and, failing that, to just take the darn bar off.

“Oh, it’ll work. I’ll MAKE that sucker work.”

A few lessons learned:

  • Keep up with the good habit of doing a walkaround AFTER each ride, in addition to your checks before. When I got home, there was no coolant in my parking space, so that leak happened on the ride right before I caught it. Had I left it unseen, I wouldn’t have seen it in the dark after the party, could have lost all my coolant and had a bad ride home with the dealership closed and a route through a dodgy part of town.
  • After you do a mod, keep checking how it holds up to repeated rides. I’d been checking to make sure everything was secure – it didn’t occur to me it could be too secure, but there you are.
  • Make friends with your mechanic. Even if you’re not lucky enough to have a specialist in your particular brand nearby, it’s great to feel like you can call whatever shop takes care of your scoot and reach a person who remembers you and your bike, and will make time to help you – even when the problem is pretty much self-inflicted. I told Nick about my next planned mod – a taillight replacement – and he told me it should be simple but to call him for any questions if I got stuck. I can’t speak highly enough of the whole team at MotoEuropa for their service, smarts, and willingness to let my try on thousands of dollars worth of gear I will never buy, to sit on $16k bikes I will never drive.

 


*He has no choice. He’s my buddy now and answerer of all questions about my DIY adventures henceforth.

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