Friday, July 30, 2021

Matt Prior: How a Honda misfire left me high and dry

What does the subconscious know that the conscious doesn’t? Last Saturday, I packed my motorbike for a road trip, heading first to Scotland, then to Lincolnshire for another job.

I think the bosses would have let me fly if I had insisted but, honestly, I haven’t missed Luton airport but have missed riding around the UK.

I tested the bike and checked its levels and pressures, and for a couple of moments I thought about packing some tools. Specifically, I imagined my largest crosshead screwdriver at the bottom of the pannier, easy to hand. But don’t be ridiculous: this is an unbreakable Honda.

Besides, I couldn’t picture why I would need that screwdriver, particularly. I’m on a crusade to rid my bike of crosshead screws, even though, it being Japanese, the standard ones are fancy ‘JIS B 1012’ types. These are supposedly less likely to cam out or strip if you’ve got the proper screwdrivers to match, but they still aren’t as happy to resist ruining themselves – and your day – as the Allen bolts and star bolts with RS2000, sending it Fiat’s way. which I’m gradually replacing them.

So I figured it would be pointless, that poxy thing just doing nothing but adding ballast for a week. Thus I ignored the little nagging feeling in the back of my mind, like the one you get when you leave the house telling yourself not to worry, you haven’t forgotten anything, only to realise an inconvenient amount of time later that your subconscious was right.

Four days was my inconvenient amount of time later; halfway up a Cairngorm mountain was the inconvenient location later; and a chronic and sudden misfire was the inconvenient problem later.

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I will say this for rural Scotland: it’s very well served with 4G data. Online forums suggested there might have been something stuck in the fuel line, but I wasn’t sure. The occasional backfiring suggested to me that fuel was going in but not being ignited.

Either way, a fat lot of good any basic toolset would be at replacing fuel or ignition systems, I consoled myself, as I hobbled to the nearest village, pondering the ignominy of spending 450 miles in a tow truck.

And that’s when I saw the trip computer urging me to reset it, which is something it does only after the electrics have been disconnected – as I had recently done when I replaced the battery and then tightened the terminal bolt with my screwdriver. Not tight enough to stop it coming loose over 1000 miles, apparently.

The short of it is that the village’s outdoors shop sold me a penknife with a screwdriver attachment; that assembling a bespoke little toolkit is my first job for when I get home; and that, obviously, the problem was always going to be Prior, not Honda.


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