Wednesday, April 11, 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?

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