I had a picture of the disassembled Superhawk that I wanted to put here, but I left it at home. I'll put it up in the next entry.

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January 6, 2003

my heart attack of the weekend.
So I finally go to my mailbox on Saturday, and plop down on the couch with the cats, a soda, and a huge pile of not-collected-since-before-New-Years mail. I notice an envelope from Progressive, which isn't surprising, since my bike insurance expires in the beginning of February. I open it up, expecting a bill in the general vicinity of $900.

It's $1500.

I nearly had a coronary right then and there. Incredulous, I dig through the sheets of paper until I finally find what I'm looking for -- the explanation of rate increase. And there it is: "At fault accident, 4 pts, 6/21/02." You've got to be kidding me.

I get right on the phone with the customer service people. I tell Marjorie the Progressive Lady about the rate increase, and also explain that I have in my possession a letter from Progressive, dated in July, stating that I was not found at fault in the accident. Marjorie lets me ramble on for a minute, then calmly assures me that the policy will be changed, I'll be listed as not at fault, and she'll send me a new policy bill for $700-something.

What have we learned from this?

  • If that accident would have been my fault, it would have doubled my insurance. Hot damn.
  • Progressive doesn't seem to corrolate their accident results with their policy decisions.

Which begs the following questions:

  • Will they always believe me without question if I call and say, "no, really, it wasn't my fault?"
  • Did they already know that I wasn't found at-fault, and were just seeing if I'd blindly pay the extra $800?

fun with the nighthawk.
I took the Nighthawk out for the day yesterday for the first time in approximately forever. I'd wanted to do a test ride on it, since I'd just replaced the master cylinder piston assembly; when it became apparent mid-superhawk-project that a visit to the hardware store was at hand, I figured, hell, why not.

Surprisingly, it started up more or less right away. I was expecting it to put up more of a fight, considering I last started it months ago, but no. Though it must have missed me a little bit, as it ran out of gas about 2 miles from my apartment. I could tangibly feel it smirking as I pulled onto a side street to flip the tank to reserve. Ah, the memories.

We zipped over to the hardware store, and I was surprised at how much of a difference the new master cylinder piston assembly makes. The bike actually stops within a reasonable time frame after pulling the lever! Very exciting. Next up is a rebuild of the caliper assembly, so that should make it even better. I'm trying to fight off the temptation to put stainless steel braided lines on a 17-year-old bike that I hardly ride. *twitch*

I ended up riding it over to a friend's house last night as well. It really is a nice city-streets bike. It was handling really well, which confused me when I got home and measured the tire pressure -- the front tire was at 18psi. Oops. Ha ha.

So, I put about 20 miles on the little punker yesterday, which is more than I've put on it in .... well, probably in at least a year or more.

fun with the superhawk.
I spent all day Saturday in the garage, and miraculously got the Superhawk all back together -- and running, on the first try. I couldn't believe it. I thought for sure I'd misroute at least one carburetor hose, but no. Everything was working, and it was purring like a kitten.

So, naturally, I messed it up again on Sunday.

I decided that since I'd been mucking with the carbs, I'd better do a carb sync. I got out the Haynes manual, spent about 37 seconds looking at where they wanted me to connect the vacuum gauges, and immediately decided to do the same modification that I did to my SVS, with the tubing and sprinkler valves (hence the hardware store visit alluded to earlier). This was no problem -- I drew out some very abstract-art like diagrams of the fuel system and figured out exactly what should get spliced in where, I got the parts, I inserted them, I hooked up the carb sync tool.

And started getting some very strange readings.

First of all, I noticed that the carbs were out of sync more than they should have been. Second, turning the adjust screw wasn't moving any of the dials on the gauge. I thought that perhaps one of the gauges was broken or the tubing cracked, so I tried using another of my gauges. Same result. Now I was getting befuddled. All of a sudden, while I was poking around, the bike started revving. By itself. And then settled on idling at 7000 rpms. At this point, I said something to the general effect of "oh, golly gee" and switched the bike off. With the bike off, I opened the throttle and observed some fine white smoke gently wafting out of the front carb. Thoroughly confused, I started investigating.

The carb had come disconnected from the engine.

Well then. That certainly explains the strange readings from the gauge. I lined up the carb, shoved it down -- and the rear carb popped off the rear cylinder. I lined up the rear carb, seated it, and -- guess what! -- the front carb popped off again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I gave up after about 10 minutes. I was making zero progress, and my arms are killing me from a combination of various bruises (I actually got my hand stuck in the bike for a while when putting the airbox back on. Don't ask.) and my tendonitis flaring up from shoving the carbs around. Ow ow ow. Though, the carbs were really fooking hard to get off in the first place, so I'm assuming there really isn't a trick to get them back on nicely.

Grumble grumble. I really love working on the bikes, but I could do without the brute force stuff, y'know? I'm torn between wanting to ask someone (but who, really?) for help in just shoving the damn things back on the cylinders, and having this "grunt grunt me manly man me do whole thing myself grunt grunt thumpa thumpa" thing going on. I know that it's much more impressive to do the detail stuff, like knowing to replace the intake manifolds and knowing how to back out the pilot screw and knowing how to splice the carb sync tubing in....and I did do all that, and by myself, too....but it's frustrating to be foiled by a stupid piece of metal that won't seat with another stupid piece of metal. Grrr. Ah well. I'm sure I'll feel better about it when my arms stop hurting. Ow.