April 6, 2000

i is good at der UNIX.
First of all, and this isn't really bike-related, I just want to offer some helpful web advice to all 3 of my readers. If you're going to do a journal, and you want all the pages in the same format, you probably want to make a template. Here's my advice: if you're making this template from an already-existing web page, use the "copy" command (cp), NOT the "rename" command (mv). Y'know, so you don't overwrite your old page with the blank template. I'm just sayin'. Now, if anyone happens to have a cached version of my 4/2/00 entry, you let me know. But at any rate, let's move on. :D

the joy that is clymer's.
So, just like I promised, I sat down with my Clymer's manual last night and read it. For those of you who aren't familair with the joy and pain that is Clymer's, let me explain. Clymer's is a publishing company that publishes motorcycle service manuals. My manual is really stellar, because apparently there are like a million different models of Honda bikes that are similar enough to all be included in one manual, the all-knowing Honda 400-450cc Twins, 1978-1987. This book covers the following models: CB400 Types I and II, CB400A, CB400T, CB400C, CM400E, CB450SC Nighthawk (this is my bike), CB450T Hawk, CM450C Custom, CM450A Hondamatic, and the CMX450C Rebel. What this really means is that the book reads like: "So if you have the following models, do this: blah blah. If you have this model, do that but at step 4, do blah blah instead. Now, if you have THIS model, do this completely different thing." The book reads like a Choose Your Own Adventure. "The dreaded 'Change Your Oil' Adventure! Do you go down path A or B? Ha! That oil drain bolt doesn't exist on the CB450SC! That was the CB400A path! You lose! Bwaa haa haa!".

So aside from general readibility, what else might one value in a service manual? That's right, the index. Now, I have a great respect for the Clymer's people, but I think that the index was an experiment in the "a million monkeys sit at typewriters and eventually produce prose" theory. About a week ago, I was looking at the "oil change" section, and they kept mentioning the "crankcase." As I am a newbie idiot, I did not know what the crankcase was, nor why I cared about it in relation to my replacing the oil filter. So I go to the index. No "crankcase." No "oil filter." No "oil." I would like to point out that there is also no glossary, nor a large section entitled "Newbie Idiot" which has a big picture of the bike with all the parts labelled. I can find an in-depth drawing of the innards of my gearshift, but I cannot find a big red arrow that points to, say, the carburetor, and says, "carburetor." Thank you, Clymer's.

that said, i did learn something last night.
While reading my Clymer's, I did learn about my transmission. I learned where the gearshifts are, and how they work, and where the crankshaft is (inside the crankcase! who'd-a thunk it? "crankshaft," btw, is also not in the index). I saw lots of pretty pictures of the insides of other bike models (if it's a CMX450 Rebel, see diagram 57. If it's a CB400C, see....). And I learned that I know almost nothing about manual transmissions. OK, well, I already knew that. But I learned that I *really* don't know anything about them. :)

I also looked in-depth at the "oil change and tune-up" section, in the attempt to save myself the $200 tune-up charge next time. Changing the oil looks easy enough, but I think I'm glad I left the tune-up part to the mechanic, at least this first time. I need to learn what all the parts do before I can start mucking with them. ;)

speaking of the mechanic
They called and said my bike is ready. Apparently they were able to just bend back the shift lever, as the price is approximately what they quoted me, with no additional replacement parts. Yay. So hopefully Peter and I will be going back to the mechanic's to get the bike sometime this afternoon.

peter needs the mechanic, too
I keep forgetting to tell Peter's bike story of the week. I'll tell it, and then I'll be done for the day. Promise. :)

So, Peter dropped his bike in a pretty bad way on Monday morning. He's fine, but shaken up, and the bike is...well, it could be worse. He stayed at my place on Sunday night, ran the bike lock through the wheel, all good. Monday morning, we woke up early. Mornings aren't really the best time for my boi, and apparently, he forgot to get the bike lock. So he starts the bike, gets on, starts off, gets about 5 feet, and winds up on the ground in the middle of the street. Luckily, there wasn't any traffic, and he could get the bike *out* of the street before it (or he) was run over. But the right turn signals are totally fubar'ed (duct tape does wonders, though), and the entire back portion of the bike looks a little....bent. It's kinda unnerving to look at it from the back. :P

But anyways, he's fine, the bike's rideable, and I guess it happens to everyone. Oops.

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