Friday, June 08, 2007

Customize your Airfilter

Daniel Dobinson also sent some information about his Gomoto Air Filter

Since my run in with the bad service from the Gomoto shop in Mowbray I've decided to service my bike myself from now on. So this weekend, the time came for its 2nd service and everything was going swimmingly until I opened up the airbox and noticed that there was nowhere for the air to go into! The nice thing about this is that my airfilter was obviously spotless because no dirt could get into it either.

Now I don't know about you or other Gomoto users, but I've never been able to just open up the throttle any old time without the bike boggin down and losing power (especially with 2 people on it), so I immediatly drilled 5/6 8mm holes into the airbox cover and my Gomoto is now going like a dream (like it was meant to from the 1st day!) and the modification has even has added little throaty growl to tis personality.

Just thought I'd let you know-if you want to see what I'm talking about without actually making the modification just remove the airbox cover for a short trip and see if it makes a difference to your bike.

Happy rides Daniel

Brady Kelley's Perspective on the Spokes Issue of his Gomoto

Brady writes:

I thought I'd tell you about my, somewhat postponed, inevitable spokes issue on my Gomoto. Some time ago I noticed one or two broken, only through inspection, as I didn't hit a big bump or anything. I tightened them now and again, but while I casually shopped around for spokes, I had time. Then, after a long trip, along a fair mixture of roads, I noticed a slight wheel wobble going home on the Friday. The weekend was a bit blurry, as beginning of month weekends can be, but on Monday I knew I had to at least check and tighten the spokes. Many were loose, and many were broken, fifteen in fact, but Dylan (fellow Gomoto rider) had told me he had done some km with fifteen missing, so I tightened up the rest and went to work. I also started looking more urgently for more spokes.

I was phoning and asking around, waiting for responses etc. until the following Friday, when the remaining spokes had enough. On the way to work my back wheel felt like a marshmallow. This was quite close to work, so I rode (almost just pushed) along at the side of the road to work, and got the local Gomoto agents on the phone. I told them to just order a full set, and I borrowed money from work to cover whatever cost. Come Monday, there was no word from the distributor, in fact only by the next Friday there was there word: they had sent the agent a fully laced new rim. I asked the agent if I was obliged to buy the whole new rim, and he grudgingly conceded that he could de-lace it and sell me spokes at R10 a spoke, but I would have to do my own lacing, or pay his three hours of labour for lacing. He wanted R550 for the whole rim, which I jumped at.

Today I fetched it on the way to work with my lift. When I got to work it took me less than five minutes to remove the back wheel and ready it for swapping the tyre. I planned on taking it in to a nearby bike shop to have them swap it, but they couldn't do "while-I-wait", and I couldn't get two lifts there, to drop off and fetch, and still be sure I finished today, so I phone my dad and asked him to bring some tyre leavers. He only had one, so he brought a crowbar as well, and it took the two of use about ten minutes to swap the tyre to the new rim. Then it took about the same for me to replace the back wheel and have the bike functioning again. In fact I'll probably never consider using a shop again for a job like this.

Brady Kelly

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Redefining Freedom

Having fun on my Gomoto Freedom.
Picture by Claudelle.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Vacation Dreams

I'm fighting an internal battle with myself at the moment. My friends and family think that I am being rather silly.

I've been working for the same organisation (in many different positions) since I graduated at the end of 1996. (This probably also explains a lot of my other neurosis) The organisation has a policy that an employee is entitled to an extra month of leave after working for 10 years. So this year I officially get 8 weeks leave.

I have applied to go to South-Korea during July-August to teach English in a language school there. I'm currently waiting for the final approval. This option makes a lot of sense. I get a free return flight ticket to an area of the world that I have never been to. I do 6 hours of work a day. The rest of the time (and over week-ends) I get to explore the environment. I also get paid $1300 per month for this work. (I am debating whether this money will buy me a laptop which runs Ubuntu Linux or a new double bed, or if I will have the discipline to rather just kill most of my credit card debt with it).

I have almost no sense of excitement about this trip. Whenever I begin to dream about my holiday, I see myself on a solitary road for 20 days with a sports bag at the back of my motorbike and a two-man tent. Since I bought my Gomoto in 2006 I've been dreaming about taking a long solitary trip (a few thousand kilometers) with my Gomoto. In January-February, when I started to become frustrated with my motorbike, I changed my mind. Now most of the frustration is gone. My spokes don't seem to be breaking anymore. The bike still runs strongly.

It does not help that I just bought myself a copy of Shorelines: A Journey along the South African Coast, written by Chris Marais and Julienne Du Toit. They did with a diesel bakkie what I would like to do (at least in part) with my Gomoto. Their book tells about the people that they meet and the stories they heard on the way.

Imagine if I could travel from the Western Cape to Kwa Zulu Natal with my Gomoto! (I really want to drive over Sani-Pass on my bike!) I could travel about 120 - 200 km's per day and sleep in camping areas or Backpackers hostels on the way. Perhaps I could make a deal with Gomoto that they would provide back-up service for my motorbike at their outlets in a few of the cities/towns along the way.

Everybody tells me that South-Korea is a better option. It won't cost me anything and it is "Overseas!". I'm still trying to persuade myself that it is really as exciting as feeling the wind blow around oneself on an undulating country road near the coast of South Africa.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

125cc Scooters are doing it all the way to KKNK

There seems to be other people in Somerset West who feel adventurous with their 125cc motorbikes. In fact, Dries Rossouw has beaten me in achieving a dream that I have also held for some time. He drove his 125cc Jonway scooter all the way from Somerset-West, via Laignsburg and the Swartberg Pass to Oudtshoorn to attend the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees.

Perhaps we should organise a 125cc scooter rally to a similar event like this. Imagine if a group of 40 or 50 scooters and Gomotos take a "lunch-run" (as opposed to a breakfast run) out to the Whale festival at Hermanus in September.

Here is the main part of the newspaper article from the District Mail (I will try to type out the article when I get a chance):

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Say Africa

'Though I may be walking in the streets of a city called Amsterdam, the dust on my boots and the rhythm of my feet, and my heartbeat say Africa..." (David Goldblum, Say Africa)

It's been a very long time since I've been able to really use my Gomoto for anything other than driving down to Spar to buy bread and milk or to do some business in town.

Today, I decided to change that.

I was not sure where to go. I planned to spend the whole day, but an unexpected appointment in the morning limited my options to either driving somewhere and paying for overnight accommodation or doing a reasonably local trip. I chose to drive from Somerset-West to Rooi-Els and to see where the road leads from there.

Clarens Drive compares very well to the famous Chapman's Peak drive and cyclists and bikers love that road. I stopped just above the Koggelbaai beach to take some pictures.

Today I tried something new. I have recently acquired a new cellphone, and it has the ability to play music. So I loaded 10 songs on the phone. I can only load 10 songs because I currently only have 64mB on the Memory stick in my phone. I got to listen to each song about 4 times. I need to just figure out a way to keep the earphones in their proper place as I put the helmet on.

This picture was taken between Betty's Bay and Kleinmond. Those mountains are in the center of the Koggelberg Biosphere reserve. Soon I would be on top of them.

Approximately 10 kms past Kleinmond, there is a gravel road that that turns up into the mountains on the left. It is marked, Highlands. The first 4 kms is in a terrible condition and I was worried that pieces would soon be falling off my bike. Two big touring bikes came rattling past me at this stage. After 4 kms the road leveled and the most beautiful part of my journey started on beautiful winding roads (The Highlands Road and the Valley Road) with mountains, apple trees, farm dams, and clouds all around me in the Elgin Valley. As I rode past the homesteads children would wave at me and shout remarks.

I was listening to David Goldblum's song, Say Africa from an old Splashy Fen CD. I thought it was the perfect music for the occasion. Definitely much better and more nostalgic than the infamous "De La Rey" song.
The highlands road becomes a tar road after about 11 km's. Far in the background between the clouds (not nicely captured on the picture) is the Helderberg mountain range where my home is.

Being on a Gomoto in the middle of nowhere makes a person's spirits soar.

A dam on the Valley Road in the Elgin Valley. It is one of about 4 spectacular farm dams on the same road. The krom-river, a tributory of the Palmiet river connect these dams. (A map of the area can be found on the wall outside The Orchard farm stall at the entrance to Grabouw.)

I felt so proud when I stopped next to the same three motorbikes that passed me at high speed somewhere between Rooi-Els and Kleinmond. The only thing that I envy about those bikes, are their more comfortable seats as I am still feeling the effects of the ride as I sit here typing this blog.

All in all a most satisfying outing. Care to join me?

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Here's a random list:

Things that I am busy with:

Stretching my mind:
Python is a programming language. The skills that I am confronted with in chapter four is exactly what I learned when I was 13 years old and had an interest in Basic and what I wrote in my matric exam for Computer studies (using Pascal). Who knows perhaps I'll make it to chapter 5.

  • Reading a book about the Geological history of South Africa.
With my primary training in Theology, I am still struggling to bend my mind around time periods of 3000 million years, but it is beginning to make sense to me. I am getting a basic understanding of tectonic movements and cratons, and even exciting stuff like cataclysmic meteorite collisions. I am not yet at the section that explains the origin of Table Mountain.

To Distract Myself:

  • I bought a 1000 piece puzzle and I now have about 300 pieces in place (after a week's fevent work)

New Toys

  • A Sony Ericsson M600i cellphone.

The phone's QWERTY keyboard takes some getting use to. It is also not very easy to operate with one hand. But the touch screen and the little stylus makes communicating very easy. It has a music player, e-mail access, and a useful calendar facility. And I am trying to beat VJ Singh on the Golf Game that is included with the phone.

I took out a new contract as well, with MTN, because where I live Vodacom has terrible signal. One week after signing the new contract, Vodacom contacted the College to request permission to put up a booster antennae on one of the buildings.

  • A Brand New Ubuntu Fiesty Fawn Desktop.

I had some hard drive damage during last week. (I think my daughter kicked the computer box under my desk). So I downloaded the Beta version of Ubuntu 7.04 which is due for release on 19 April. It is definitely the best operating system that I've had on any of my computers ever.

Some people ask why I am interested in Ubuntu, especially because I am in no sense a geek. I think the operating system is solid and functional. It does everything that I need and it gives me lots of opportunity to play. (In fact many people believe that it is much better than VISTA) And it is FREE! I don't have to worry about pirated copies of Windows. Neither do I have any worries about viruses. I have no need for anti-virus or anti-spyware programmes.

But probably most of all, I love the community behind Ubuntu (and most Linux distros). From my theological perspective I think that they have attributes that beat the best ideals of a great many Christian communities. Just have a look at the Ubuntu Code of Conduct (which they hold all members of the community to). So, I think the main reason why I am devoted to Ubuntu is because of the Ethics.

My Biggest Concerns:

I'm getting fat. I can feel my intestines being put under pressure whenever I go to bed. I hate the feeling.

Wild Hogs

I've had one of those overwhelming feelings over the past few days that I am a really confused person :-). Some of the most obvious things do not make sense to me. My values seem to be very messed up. Things that some people become incredibly upset about really does not faze me all that much. Sometimes when I think about life real hard, even the things that I value most become almost meaningless.

It was in this mindset that I watched a truly stupid and superficial movie and completely enjoyed it.

Wild Hogs is a movie about 4 middle aged men (a little bit older than myself) who are all in a state of discontent with their lives. They decide that they need to break away from their everyday lives and go on a road trip on their big Motorbikes.

The problem is that they do not really fit the category of "Real Bikers." And over and above that, they are not very wise about most issues in life. As a result they get themselves into a very wide variety of situations, including a very nasty confrontation with a gang of real "Hell's Angels kind of bikers." (Hehe... I've always wondered if those guys on their Harley's are really as fierce as they seem to be with their black leather and roaring engines. This movie confirms this stereotype. And I think, to be safe, I will only ever pick a fight with a nerdish owner of a Vespa.)

Throughout the movie I was telling myself how stupid and superficial it is, but the actors somehow managed to break down my inhibitions, and I had a thoroughly good laugh.

The movie reminded me of my dreams for my Gomoto. The other day, as I was riding through Bains' Kloof pass a large group of bikers on vintage bikes came riding past me. I felt a bit small and insignificant. Whenever I feel that way I tend to remind myself what I paid for my Gomoto and that I was still able to ride through the mountain pass, even though it was a small bike. If only people on Harley's or Vintage bikes, or Vespa's for that matter were allowed to be on the roads, I would not be able to be there. But still, sometimes, I wish I could classify as a real biker.

This movie moved me beyond these rationalisations and just gave me the attitude of "Who Cares!". There is space in this world for all kinds of people. And I think that I still manage to make the world a richer place by being me. (Mnn... at least I hope.)

Go Watch the movie!

And then keep your eye on this blog. He is sure to have a much more erudite perspective (once he watches it).

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Some Really Great Comments: Ricardo

Ricardo wrote the following comment almost a month ago. I think this is really brilliant and I really agree with him on his thoughts on the thrill of riding a scooter at 60 - 80km/h.

And also. It is not only the Vespa guys who can do it in style. Thanks for the comment Ricardo. Please keep in touch.

Hey there, I really enjoy the blog and your adventures on your Gomoto 125.

Against my better judgment as with all things that help us grow I bought a 125 scooter/bike a few days ago. When I first saw “her”, the her in question being a Sachs MadAss 125. Here is a link to the little devil in question.

Yes people may laugh at it being a BMX on steroids but what could I do, I am sure once you saw your bike you knew that it was the one for you and no amount of logical thinking or priorities around functionality leapt into your mind. She is my very first two wheeled form of transport. I am twenty three years old and felt like I was becoming complacent with life in general.

I needed a new way to interact with my environment. I am by no means a “biker” at heart, that is to say I did not dream of a Harley at age three, but once I saw her (I really will come up with a name soon) I could no longer deny something deep inside my psyche saying “go for it!” And in any case, what are pay checks for!?

I took out a little loan and bought her for around R15.000 with tax. Bought me a decent little lid, Shark 500 Air, and some gloves that make me look more hardcore than I could ever really be (carbon fiber on the knuckles and finger joints real snazzy) I am in the process of trying to find me some boots, pants and jacket that won’t have me taking out another loan, but I do not want to compromise on safety.

Scooter rides of the world, wake up and smell the fried flesh on the tar just because you are not moving at 150km/h plus does not make you exempt from wearing all the gear all the time! ATGATT. Yes its hot yes you bought a scooter because you pictured yourself riding through fields of daisies on your vintage Vespa. But you stand a chance of more than just wind running through your hair, you might just have tarmac running through your hair, face, arms, legs and ass! You get the picture:
I did around 20km on her today, learnt that 60km/h is an exhilarating experience on a bike, in the open air; I can see why the temptation of wanting to go harder and faster is there. It is a wonderful experience.

I stopped off at the petrol station and filled her up for R21.50! She is supposed to get around 120km on her 5 liter tank hehe. The guy at the petrol station laughed at me while filling the tank, I am not sure whether this is a good or bad thing but one thing is true, I love my Madass 125.
Please keep posting ! I rather like your little mongrel, I am currently riding my bike without a learners lisence which I don’t like to do but I am going for my learners as soon as I can find a place to take my booking, what is the fine anyway? R1200? :P don’t want one of those but I doubt they will stop me for a fine but rather stop me to look at my precious little devil.

Saturday, 17 March, 2007

5860km: How to fix a punctured front wheel

I embarked on an adventure of a different kind with my Gomoto this week. When I came back from an appointment at a local church over the week-end I noticed that my front wheel was not quite in its normal state of inflation.

So I stopped at the closest BP and pumped it. The Gomoto took me home, but by the evening the weel was completely deflated, and even when I pushed it to the local maintenance building to pump it up with their compressor, the wheel deflated immediately.

It took a few days to try to solve this problem. I did not really want to suffer the indignity of borrowing a bakkie to load the bike on it so that somebody else could fix it. I thought that perhaps I could do the job myself, but after a visit to the local motor vehicle spares shop I decided that what I had to do was to take the front wheel off myself and take it in to have it fixed.

Many people would do this without thinking twice. I'm still trying to get over the time when I opened my Sony walk-man and I could never put it back together again (circa 1988).

So, I halfheartedly took my toolbox with a shifting spanner and a size 14 out towards the bike. But my half-hearted approach would not work. I realised that I needed the right tools. The front wheel is attached to the fork by a bolt that runs from one end to the other. (I did not know it at that time). This bolt is screwed on incredibly tightly and the shifting spanner was not going to work.

I needed the right tools.

Step 1: Get the right tools. The one side of the bolt is fastened with a size 14 nut. The other side of the bolt responds positively to a size 17 spanner. And then, you need some muscles. I don't have much of that, but I have a 113kg frame and I used it to great effect standing (jumping) on the spanners to unscrew the bolt.

Step 2: I don't think you need to loosen any cables. I did not know it at the beginning, but the hub that contains the break-pads and the speedometer gears actually fits losely into the the center of the wheel. See pictures below. (I wish I knew all the technical descriptions.) So I loosened my breaks.

Step 3: Fix the puncture. Ok, I took a bit of a shortcut. I took the wheel in to Scooter World in the morning, and Danie and his team replaced the tube for me for R100.00 (R60 for the tube, R40 for the labour). I collected the tube at 16:00 that afternoon.

How to put the wheel back:

Step 4: Position it more or less correctly.

Step 5, Insert the insides of the wheel. Be careful not to get grease onto the outside section of the breaks, and don't let the inside speedometer gears (full of grease) fall out.

Step 6: Insert the spacer on the right hand side of the wheel.

Step 7: Fit the wheel into the fork.

Step 8: Look at that long bolt that goes through the wheel. It needs to go through all the right holes, and I somehow think that nothing will work properly if it is not in the right place.

Step 9: Fasten the wheel nuts. Use the correct spanners.

Step 10: Reconnect the Speedometer and break cables

The breaks are amazingly easy to adjust. There is a little nut that needs to be turned and a person can easily feel if the breaks are too tight or too loose.

I need to now take some time off my busy life to take the motorbike on a more interesting adventure. I feel the need to ride over some mountain passes with it. Does anybody want to join me?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

5600km New Solid Rims for my Gomoto

I got my Gomoto back from its latest visit to the Bike Shop on Friday.

I would now describe it as a mixed breed Gomoto as it's rear wheel now sports a solid Rim. While the front wheel still reminds me that it is an older model with a spoked wheel.
With this I hope that we can hail in a new era with less worries and more enjoyment.

Some notes on the experience of changing the wheel:


Wed 14 February: I drive over a speed hump with a passenger and the spokes break.
I spend two days talking to Scooter World to establish that the wheel can in fact be changed and that parts are available.

Friday 16 February: I deliver my Gomoto at Scooter World and I am told that the parts would arrive during the next week. I leave for a work meeting at Hartenbos and only enquire about the progress on Friday 23 February. I am told that the parts are still on their way.

Wednesday 28 February: I am told that the parts had arrived and that the work would be done on Thursday, 1 March.

Friday 2 March: I had many work commitments on Thursday, so I only inquire about the Gomoto on Friday. It is done and I get to drive it home.

This break-down caused my Gomoto to be off the road for 16 days. This is much better than the previous breakdown of the exact same nature that took more than 6 weeks to resolve, and then only partially (Because the bike broke again 8 weeks later.)


I have the invoice that glob Trading (Pty) Ltd issued to Scooter World for the parts that were replaced:

Wheel Rr Damper Rubber Mag Freedom Net Price: R144.74
Wheel Rr solid sprocket Freedom: R100.00
Wheel Rr Sprocket Hubb Solid Freedom R184.21
Wheel Rr Sprocket Nutsbolts solid Freedom R 60.00
Wheel Rr Rim solid complete Freedom R504.39
Wheel Rr Brake drum assy R111.00
Wheel Rr. Brake Shoe set Freedom R 30.70

Total (incl VAT) R1293.94

Scooter World added the following charges to the invoice:

Back 18" tyre R158.00
18" tube R61
Labour R120

Total Cost to myself (incl. Vat) R1680.00

Observations on Price:

Scooter world only charged R120 for the labour!
Scooter World did not add any mark-up to the parts!

I must say that it is still an expensive procedure, given the fact that I paid R7500.00 for the motorbike. I sometimes wonder if I should not have fixed the spokes and found somebody to buy the motorbike for R5000 and then have bought myself a new Gomoto for R7000.00.

Customer Service:

cooter World in the Strand is under new management and it is noticeable. I felt that the service was very professional and friendly. My calls were always returned. Answers were factual and every time that a promise was made, it was kept.

When I took my motorbike in its headlight was pointing sky-ward after my attempts to get the new indicators installed. When I received the bike back, the headlamp was adjusted to its correct position.

The owner seemed very open and approachable. He allowed me to take the motorbike and to pay him by internet bank transfer.

They also tried their best to keep the costs as low as possible for me, which I greatly appreciate.

Anyway. I think one ordeal is over. I look forward to my next adventurous trip. I might be able to take a day off in a week or so. I look forward to experiencing my newly acquired Freedom :-).

Friday, February 16, 2007

Gomoto Headlight

Brady Kelly writes to me:

Hi Weiers,

I hope your Gomoto is still treating you well, if not costing some in fines.

My headlight bulb has blown both filaments, and all the shops I have tried getting a new one at are only capable of looking at me blankly. Have you replaced yours ever, and what bulb did you use if so?


Brady Kelly

I have absolutely no idea. Perhaps one of the readers know.
I'll also ask at the shop when I take my gomoto in to be fixed.

Customer Service Round 3

A careful look at this picture will reveal a few broken spokes. This happened on Wednesday. The job that I do is to look after students in a dormitory. And I am probably the only dormitory dean in the world who puts students on the back of a Gomoto (or any motorbike) when they need to see a doctor. This student was late for his appointment and I think I went over a speed bump too fast. When I came to the first turn in the road I felt my back wheel wobble.

This is quite a familiar feeling, as this has happened to me once before.

Now at the outset I want to state that I do not blame Gomoto for this. I think I was careless and had not taken heed of the contraints of the bike.

But, having said that, I think this is probably going to be a litmus test on whether I will continue my relationship with Gomoto for much longer or not. I have previously (and before that)had real trouble with their customer service.

My goal is to get my spoke wheel replaced with a mag-wheel within a reasonable period of time and I will document my efforts here:

Wed 14 Feb at 14:15: I called Scooter World to ask them to please help me find a Mag Wheel along with the extra parts that is needed to make it fit onto the back of my bike. (The mag-wheels come standard with all new Gomotos, but they are smaller than the spoked wheels). I did this within minutes after my bike broke. In fact I was making the phone call as I was waiting for the student at the doctor's rooms. I was surprised to find that Scooter World seems to be under new management.

Wed 14 Feb at 15:15: I called Gomoto's customer service line 0860 GOMOTO and asked if they had stock of the rimmed wheels. I was informed that they did and that the dealer can order it from them.

Wed 14 Feb at 15:20: I made a pain of myself and called Scooter World again informing them that the Gomoto is expecting their call. They said they had left a message at Gomoto and that they are waiting for a response.

Thursday: 15 Feb: In the morning sometime. I spoke to scooter world. They were waiting for a fax quote from Gomoto for the parts. I asked them to go ahead and order the part if it would cost under R1200.00. I also arranged that I would take the Motorbike in to their workshop on Friday, 16 February as I have to be in Mosselbay/Hartenbos for work related meetings from Sunday - Thursday. (The sad part is that I was planning to take a drive to Mosselbay with my Gomoto.)

I will update the blog as the situation develops.

UPDATE 1: Friday 16 February, 10:15

I just received a call from Scooter World.
They received a faxed quote from Gomoto. The cost of the components to replace the rear wheel comes to R1293.94. This includes about 5 components - the rim, the break drum, breaks, rubbers, sprockets etc.

Along with that there will be a fee of approximately R240 to install (and given my experience with the indicators in front, it is probably not an option to do it myself :-).)

So far I feel quite good. I will deliver my bike at the workshop this afternoon and see how the situation develops.

The Encyclopedia of Motorcycles

I was in the Somerset Mall today and went into the Paperweight bookshop.

There I discovered a thick volume called, "The Encyclopedia of Motorcycles". It costs over R400, so I do not see myself buying one soon. I saw one interesting article in there on the history of Motorcycles in China.

I scanned the article quickly.

The history of the manufacture of motorcycles is quite different in China than in the West. In the times of the world wars the communist government responded to the needs of the Military to provide them with effective transport. They set up a large factory to build a very limited number of motorcycle models - the most well known one was a copy of a BMW-500cc engine.

In the 1950's the postal service also demanded motorcycles and the factories expanded.

There was no great drive to produce large numbers of motorcycles in this time. The government policy did not really encourage large scale mobility. If I recall, motorcycle production reached approximate 250 000 units per year in the 1950's/1960's.

In the late 1970's and 1980's government began to change their policy. They encouraged the corporations to mass produce motorcycles for the populace. The corporations were still run by government and were managed by means of 5 year plans, but the populace were free to buy the motorcycles as they needed and the corporations became profit driven.

The corporations produced large numbers of motorcycles. Most of the models were imitations of Japanese or European makes, made out of inferior parts in order to keep them affordable. Most of these motorcycles fall in the 50cc - 150cc range.

I cannot remember the exact figures, but today several million motorycles are produced each year.

The article mentions that a very small proportion of these motorcycles make their way out of China. (That is obviously where we come in). The article also believes that these motorcycles will never be a threat to the motorcycle industry in the west. This industry is historically driven by different values (not affordable mass transit but speed, precision, power, and luxury.)

I wish I had time to study the article in more depth. I'll be returning to the shop soon :-). I am quite happy to be associated with a movement (can a person call it that in South Africa) that attempts to popularise the use of affordable and sustainable means of transit over and above the more exclusive and elitist luxury transport industry.

Sexy Chick in Gomoto Outfit

Hehe, I wonder if this title will draw a lot of readers.

My wife teaches at the local high school. They have a yearly interhouse gala. This year her team's cheerleaders chose the theme of Motorbikes and Biking Culture. They did quite a good job and the whole permiter of the pool was surrounded with Quad bikes and motorbikes.

I wasn't able to contribute my bike to the fray due to the spoke problem, but my wife decided to put on my Gomoto Jacket. I must say she looks quite good in it.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Indicator Improvisation

I followed Francois' advice and ordered myself a new pair of indicators for my Gomoto from Motoward. So yesterday I started the project of actually installing them.

Now is the time to tell people that I am a little bit technically challenged. When I was a student somebody tried to teach me how to work on the valves of a motorcar and I ended up dropping the same bolt down the timing chain section into the sump two times. (Then I left the sump off until I got the valves sorted out.)

The process of installing these indicators can be described in a similar way. It is really easy to remove the old indicators and then to put the new indicators into the same place and stick the wires into the headlight area.

Then to figure out where the positive wire should go, and then the negative wire (and in the process discover that it actually makes no difference).

And after doing all of that I discover that I never put the bolts in place for the new indicators and I had to undo all the wiring.

The second time went much faster and I fastened the new indicators and even taped the small wires up with insulation tape. And then when I tried to put the head-light back in its place I discovered that the ministalk indicators obstruct the headlamp in such a way that I cannot get it positioned correctly.

Hehe.. I'm still working on that problem, but it is going to require some courage from me because I will have to drill a hole in the plate which originally held the Gomoto indicators. If I do that I will not be able to ever install Gomoto indicators again. Mnnn. I am still working up the courage to do that.

It does not really matter. In a short while I will be so good at replacing indicators and headlamps that Gomoto dealerships will be able to employ me to do just that. :-)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Who would have thought

I got the fine in October when I decided to drive down to the Beach early in the morning for a jog. I paid it in January.

Speed: 81km in a 60km zone

And yes, I was driving my Gomoto. I should actually have asked for a printout of the photo taken by the traffic officer.

A Friend's Warning

I received an email from a friend, Brady Kelly, early in January. I have not experienced this as yet. The worst that has happened to me is that the lock-nut that keeps the starter in place vibrated loose. I do think it is worth taking note.

Hi Weiers,

I just thought I’d warn you, although your Gomoto is much older than mine, about a little problem I had yesterday.

In the morning on the way to work, the bike was vibrating quite a bit harsher than before. I asked advice on the BikeSA web site technical forum, and I was advised to check engine and exhaust mountings. When I left work I had a brief look, and found the swing-arm axle bolt had lost its nut and started pulling out!

I bought insulation tape and taped up the end of the bolt to keep it from pulling too fast, and rode home very slowly, stopping to check and tap it in every 100m or so.

I have just found out that this has also happened to another Gomoto owner as well and thought I’d let you know.


Brady Kelly


Brady has subsequently sent me some more information:

I used insulation tape on the thread end of the bolt, to stop it vibrating out, and believe me it moves a lot from vibration. Then I took the main street route home instead of the freeway, so I had the opportunity to stop often and give it a reassuring kick to keep it all the way in. I took it back to the shop the next day where they replaced the nut and checked all the other bolts etc.

I hope your Gomoto is still alright. Mine is still a pleasure now that the little issue is over.