The First Post-Crash Road Test

Here's my lengthy discussion of the beginnings of repairs to Darkangel, and the first post-crash road tests. We'd (okay, Dave had) already sawed/Dremeled off the front header pipe so it wasn't crushed shut and so we could access the rest of it easier and replaced the handlebars and some other minor stuff a few nights before. Ken and David both suggested that I was well on my way to winning a ratbike contest. ;)

Oh, and I forgot to mention the stylish red shop rag that was baling-wired to the left front fork, since the seals were leaking so bad...

Many, many thanks to Davif and Ken for all the help.. or perhaps more accurately, for doing most of the work and letting me hover, ask questions, and assist them. - Hope

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 9 Aug 2001 21:36:09 -0400 (EDT)
From: Hope
Subject: [RoadHouse] Better news... I think the patient can be saved (m/c
    content - longish)

Well, David, Ken, and I got together tonight and did the remaining bits on
'Angel to make her street legal & moderately safe - bled the brakes,
tightened down the controls, fixed some serious bends in the hollow
threaded bolt that the clutch cable passes through, slapped on a headlight
(and discovered that the triple tree is bent - good thing Ken has a spare
front end, which we hope will fit), reattached the seat, and... oh yeah,
gas. I'd drained it all out previously in hopes of getting Ken's tank on,
but since his was an '84, it didn't fit, and we'd already started & ran it
long enoug to use up what was left in the carbs.  Ran to the gas station
to buy 1/2 gallon of gas - $0.75 - on my card, .  Started it up,
and we decided that we'd be the envy of them Harley riders, and probably
start a new trend in exhaust for loud-pipe types with my 8" straight
pipes. Needless to say, the bike could be heard from probably a mile away,
from the low potato-potato-potato of idle to the louder

Before Dave was geared up, Ken, who'd previously not expressed a lot of
interest in test riding it, jumped on it to drive it in a circle around
KFC's lot (our neighbor).

Dave, brave soul that he is, was the first vic.. er, volunteer to ride it
off the lot.  He pointed out that his insurance info was in his backpack
in Corsa (the shop), should "anything happen."  As he rode off
WHACK-WHACK-WHACKing, we waited anxiously, but we soon heard the
WHACK-WHACK-WHACK of him coming back up the street. He pronounced it good,
at least up to 30 mph - he'd taken his hands off the handlebars & it
hadn't strayed from the path. Yay! Then he offered to take it up Jackson,
the main drag, 35-45mph. WHACK-WHACK-WHACK, and away he went.

5 minutes passes, and Ken walks to Schlotzky's (our other neighbor) to get
a pop. 10 minutes. I start to get worried, and keep thinking I hear him
coming from off in the distance. Ok, what felt like 15 minutes, and he
returns triumphant. Still no shaking or steering problems, this time up to

We resume poking around, looking for anything we might have missed. Uh-oh,
the rear wheel is only 1/8" or so inches from the drive shaft , did it
get shifted in the crash? Dave theorizes that the impact on the front
right corner piece could have transferred the force to the pivot point
(axle?) of the swingarm and twisted it, causing the wheel to be misaligned
(at least, so I understood).  We decide that really the best way to test
will be to drive behind the bike & see if the wheel is perpendicular to
the road surface (or at least the pull of gravity, since Michigan's roads
are all pretty well crowned).  This time, Ken's the brave one (me, I'm
wearing shorts & sandals, and even if my clutch hand wasn't still f**ked,
I;d be too chickenshit to try), and Dave & I pile into my car.

Dave thinks he's leaned to the left; I'm not sure. (I think I just want to
believe the best). But seriously, because of the crown of the road, I'd
think that there'd be at least the illusion of a left lean from behind,
because the left side angle would appear less than 90 degrees, right?

At any rate, when we reconvene, Ken & Dave both seem to agree that if I
can get parts for ~$200, it's at least worth a shot, and worst comes to
worstm I try to sell it in the spring and explain the bike's history. And
that;s pretty much how it has to be - I just can't afford another bike
right now, much as I'd like to.

But it does feel good to be repairing her - after all, we've pretty well
bonded (pun intended) and I rather feel I owe it to her.

Wish me luck, guys.



'83 Honda Shadow VT500C 

Top of the page

Back to the Main Page

Published by Hope,
and Flaming Paisley Productions, inc.