Category Archives: Customer Tales

Yes! A CBX1000 Pro Link in at Hertfordshire Superbikes?! Yeah!

Here at Hertfordshire Superbike Centre, we have all sorts of machines enter our doors.

Lately, we’ve had a CBX1000 Prolink (see pic below for a minter!).


Our CBX1000 seemed to be in decent nick for its age (30 years or so! older than me!), but simply wouldn’t start. Checking the obvious, we found it to be a faulty starter motor, which was quickly diagnosed and the problem resolved!

P1090077 P1090078 P1090083 P1090084 P1090085

And this thing running.. Sounds SWEET! I think they made it to sound like a jet!

Spark plugs, is your spark, sparking?

Just a quick post this time, about spark plugs!

We had a customer come in describing his bike as running “lumpy”. and that it needs a service.

removed plugs to find…. this!

Needless to say, the spark plug needed changing.
Spark plugs usually don’t need changing for a while, just a good old clean, re-gap (using the correct tool! see below for picture), and pop ‘em back in.
If your bike does run “lumpy” or you are getting increased consumption, the spark plug should be a good place to start.
A spark plug is a good indication of how an engine runs – should be a nice tan-brown colour. That’s why engine tuners always put fresh plugs in after a tune-up, to see the results of their work. And that’s also why the first thing they check is the plugs.
This is the tool that you should use to gauge your plug. 
And here is a very common spark plug colour check sheet.

Ride safe guys and girls!

Poor starting Ducati 999

A customer brought in a well used 999 asking for just a belt change the other week. This is normally a bad sign for various reasons and the general condition of the bike including the european number plate indicated this was a very well used machine.

The belts were duly changed and when the bike was picked up it was difficult to start. The battery was not tip top but it was clear the starter clutch was also slipping badly and we advised the customer this needed to be changed. Eventually the bike started and the customer left. A couple of days later ( a Sat ) he returned complaining that we must have put the belts on wrong as the bike was now impossible to start.
Of course the customer is always right so we picked the bike up and left our courtesy bike with him.

Back at the workshop the timing was checked and of course was spot on we pulled the starter clutch out and found….

Half way through the work the customer was asked to come in to inspect and we spent 1.5 hours explaining everything to him and he left happy. The bike is now reassembled and starting on the button !

Ducati 916 – rear suspension stiff.. or.. seized swinging arm bearings – BADLY SEIZED! and how we removed

Hello again – as promised a blog post about this Ducati 916 swinging arm bearing, pivot/pin that we had some issues with. This might be a long one, so please do bookmark this page.

The story started off with a customer of our who booked his bike in for an annual/routine service, and an MoT.

During the MoT test, the tester noticed the rear suspension not working as it should – it was pretty stiff. This then followed by Terry, our track day expert, testing the rear suspension (he knows his way around what a bike should feel like!), and it didn’t budge at all.

This then followed by Terry taking a seat on the bike, myself on the pillion seat and both of us bouncing on the bike whilst Simon hold it upright – not even an inch on movement, so we imagined the rear shock absorber was totally seized solid!

Having rang the customer, he approved for us to remove the shock absorber to take a closer look – and we proceeded.

But there was only one issue – as you remove the shock, you need to support the swingarm, so as it does not drop down. Of course, we had it all secured, but the swingarm didn’t move much –  soon as you remove the shock, there should be nothing holding the swinging arm up, except for the pivot pin/bolt, so it should simply drop.

That’s where the problem was.

Magically, a swingarm floats, as per above pics.

The swingarm wouldnt budge at all – having done a quick internet search, we found various online forums where people just seem to argue and talk about horsepower and cylinder porting, and not many have the solution. Drilling and hammering parts is the *last* resort, according to most workshops and technicians, and it is for us too!

So we got out some tools, only to get some bad results..

A few slight hammer taps and still not going anywhere, so we got the big boy tools onto it. Below you will see a spring compressor adapted to suit the situation at hand.

It still didn’t want to budge. It got to the point where there was strain on the flat parts of the spring compressor.

Simon is very handy with a lathe, and welding equipment (well, he did build a few bikes – check out the 48 cylinder for a good example of his work!)

He manufactured a drift, which was the perfect diameter to mate against the swingarm pivot pin, but small enough to not damage the surrounding area. Even that, and a big hammer – the only result, a bad hand, and a very bad drift. See below pic for the results.

Running out of options, and the customers bill going up due to the time spent, we decided to start cutting. Even that was tricky, as it can only go so deep, so it was a case of drilling, pushing the pin from the other side, and more drilling. Eventually, we had one broken swingarm pin (well, remnants and powder of!) and a very warm drill bit! Not to mention various blisters from the whole job.

We replaced the pin – of course – and all the bearings and seals.

In the end, it was nearer 20 hours of labour – a whopping bill. We did manage to cap it to 12 hours however, but what a long job.

20 hours later, many blisters, skinned knuckles, a broken 1/2 inch drive allen bit, a bent drift – it was mission complete.

All this, because they weren’t greased as per required – so next time your bike is in for a service and the girl or guy behind the counter asks “would you like to have your swingarm bearings, or steering head bearings greased?” you now know what to say. Many customers still insist that they’ll do it next time; its better done now than having to pay over 10 hours in the future!

Most service schedules insist that they are greased every 4 years or so – when did you last grease, or have greased, your bearings?….

I’d like you to service my bike, JUST an oil and filter change – leave the rest, i’ll do it next time.. Dont do the brakes

Many workshop owners, managers and technician would probably hear the same thing time and time again.

Servicing – most items from the service can be classed under one of two categories; MAINTENANCE, and PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE. The latter PREVENTS issues form happening.

Time and time again we have a bike comes in, owner asks for a service. When given the estimate, he/she says, actually, change the oil and filter, air filter, plugs and maybe coolant, and leave the rest (I haven’t got the funds, I’ll do it next time – and its gets left and neglected) – thinking that they have just had their bikes serviced.

Recently we had a Ducati in, on which we had to “cap” the labour on the bill as it was so much!! This was a seized swingarm – which was discovered as part of the MoT – initially I had thought it to be a shock absorber, and then when we removed it to free it up, the swingarm didn’t drop down! [We will do a blog on this shortly!].In a nutshell, they weren’t greased when they were supposed to be, and by the looks of it the bike was left idle for quite a while.

Anyhow, This post will concentrate on the importance of all the little extra that are carried out during the service. The bits that owners dont see when they say “Why did you spend 4 hours doing a basic service?
!”- servicing your brakes is one of them.

Brakes are important. pretty important.

Take a look at the few pics below to see what we found – the bike actually passed an MoT, as from the visual check as well as a braking test on the brake tester they seemed fine.

The brakes were a little sticky, so after the MoT, we decided to go ahead and take them apart for cleaning and to free them up – looks like they came apart a bit too much.

Yes, what you see is the braking surface coming off the pads’ backing!

So next time you go in for a service, or service your own bike, please do follow the service schedule!