Buying a Siambretta – Owner Missing

It was 8am and I was waiting out on the sidewalk for my friend to turn up in his car. We had made this arrangement a couple of nights ago and as the time grew later I became concerned that he had forgotten our appointment. For me this was really important. I was about to buy a motorbike and needed his help to complete the paperwork.

By the time we left, I had already sorted everything out in my head. We would go and check for any debts on the number plate first, then make sure the bike was not used as collateral for any loans. This should take less than an hour so we will be able to head over to the house of the owner and buy it off him, secure that all is well.

It didn’t happen like that.

A typical sight in Corrientes while moving around the city.

The Owner Not The Owner
Instead, we headed to the main council chambers and discovered that there was a debt outstanding on the bike. This was for four years of unpaid fees for the number plates. Since it was not a great deal of money, I was still happy to proceed with the purchase, but there was a complication. Our current owner was not the man listed on the official paperwork.

So before we could do anything else, we needed to track down the real owner to see if he was willing to sign the necessary papers. Without his signature, all would be worthless because the bike would never end up in my name legally. Even more interesting was that if the guy was married, even though she is not mentioned on the papers in any place, she must sign the paperwork too or it is still worthless.

Back at the home of the seller of my bike-to-be.

Our first attempt to find the guy started at the home of the guy selling the bike. He shows us an old tatty receipt and claims that the scrawled signature is that of the cousin of the owner and that it is enough to prove that it is his bike. He bought the thing back in 1988 of this cousin but never knew the owner. The cousin had since returned to Brazil and he had lost contact with him.

Our seller was happy for us to search out the owner and gave us as much information as he could remember. It was not a great deal, but when we checked on the debt for the number plates we also were given the last known address for our missing owner. The address did not make sense though, as it did not exist.

Detective Work
So with nothing left to lose, we drive to the last house on the street and ask if they know where we could find a house numbered 1000 more than their house. Being a very old lady, she kindly smiled and told us that even though the street on the other side of the big school was now known by a different name, it really was the same street and we would find our house down there. Its name was changed by a politician wanting to give fame to one of his friends (or something like that).

The house we were looking for turned up easily enough, but after knocking for a while we managed to stir only the dogs. Nobody answered the door for us so we assumed they were all out. My friend, Sergio, thought it wise to ask at a local house, and owing to the very strong social networks in this society, we struck gold.

Well, maybe it was fools gold, but it was the best we had to go on at the time. The neighbours told us that nobody lived in the house now except for the grandmother and she was not answering the door to strangers. The son, who was our missing owner, lived somewhere unknown, but they heard him every now and then on one of the local radio stations. That was all they knew.

Finding a Radio Station
So tuning into Radio Sudamericana, 100.5 we listened for something that would help us find out more. Sure enough, after a short time a phone number for the station was given out over the air and in a shot we had given them a call. They knew about this person we were searching for, and even were kind enough to give us his mobile phone number, but when we rang it there was no answer.

The Radio Sudamericana building.

Our options were turning slim, so with nothing left to lose, we headed to the radio station to see if they knew any more about this guy. After explaining our plight they inform us that we can catch up with him around midday, yet another hour away. Our morning was almost over and we had not even started the paperwork.

How to Spend an Hour
Rather than start the process of paperwork, which would be useless without the agreement of this guy to sign the papers we needed, we headed into town instead. Here Sergio started with some inquiries into distant education for his children for when they move to Africa in two months time. He had already determined that he needed to go to the forth floor of the second building for this information, but upon asking was directed to the sub-secretary of education. This office was found by first visiting the secretary’s office, and after a long wait he discovered that the information will probably be found in the secretary’s office.

Avoiding Profiteering
By then an hour had already passed, so we returned to the radio station. Sergio entered alone, so that there were no foreigners visible, as many people in Corrientes ask crazy prices for anyone that is not from here. For example, Lehman and I asked about a beat up little 50cc motorbike and were told it was for sale for $1200 pesos. These bikes sell for $1500 pesos new. Being a poorer area of town the bikes should have been sold for lower than average prices, but because we were foreigners their price immediately doubled. These are not isolated incidents either.

Radio 100.5’s antenna in the middle of the city.

When Sergio returned, everything was sorted and the guy was happy to sign our documents in the morning. So now we will return once again in the morning to get all of the important papers signed. With that sorted, I will be able to take possession of the bike and then start all of the paperwork. Even this is not very straight forward.

The 3 Year Delay
As a foreigner, if I want to put the bike into my name, it will probably take about 3 years to do the paperwork. Being such an old bike, there is a lot of records involved and all of these have to be brought together in one place and then processed. If a person from Corrientes buys the bike then all of this paperwork will still take around 3 months. After that, if I want to change the bike over into my name, it will take significantly less time. Something to do with having all of the papers together in one place.

So there seems to be no other logical choice than to ask somebody that I trust to place the bike into their name first, then wait out the paperwork. After that, this person can transfer the bike over to my name and I only need to wait a short time. How short this refers to, I am not yet sure, but I am assured that a short time could be literally only a day. Most of my experiences tell me that it will be likely to be a little more than that however.

Tomorrow we check out the remaining chances for debt on the bike, sign the paperwork to put the bike into a friends name, pay the money, collect a receipt from the guy selling it, and walk away with a motorbike.

Continuing The Purchase
The purchase process is not over yet. We still need to fill out form 5 and form 13A, complete a simple sworn declaration, complete the payment of the number plate debt and change over the bike records to my friend’s name, sign a purchase deed before a Justice of the Peace, go to the police center and get them to check the frame and engine numbers have not changed, change over the ownership document into my friend’s name, and get a document proving that he is Argentine. Only then has the bike been officially purchased and ownership transferred.

That means that tomorrow we start the process. Until now it has only been preparation for the main event. But the best part is that I will soon be able to travel around in my Siambretta, even though official it won’t be mine for several months yet.

Buying a Siambretta – Getting the Bike

It was in between meetings, we had just finished our staff meeting and now there was a worship time with the students, that I talked with Sergio about our need to head into town right now. We had arranged to meet the real owner today at 11 am yet still needed to check if the bike had been used as collateral on any loan before we could sign the documents. If we did not do it, we could be walking into a huge trap.

Sergio asking for directions

We left the meeting and rang the owner once more. He was fine with the arrangements. After grabbing one of our needed documents from the Internet, we jumped in the car and headed for our other debt check. We had no idea how to find the place, which turned out to be somebody’s home, but once again through the helpful use of older people we found our way through the city to the other side and finally to the house we needed to be in.

The house we were looking for.

Free of Debt, Check Number 2
The lady greeted us in a very friendly manner and then told us that we could not check if the bike was free from any loans until the 24th of this month. That was 10 days away, and we needed to sign the papers in a little over one hour. We explained our dilemma to the lady and she kindly agreed to go through the process for us now because of our unique situation. We were ever so grateful.

Sergio filling out the triplicate forms.

It took almost the entire hour to complete, and included a walk down to the local photocopier place for three copies of the application form which then all needed to be filled in by hand, waiting for a very slow computer, and then signing and checking a further two forms and a book for the records. The photocopying cost $0.30, the "Libre Prenda" that we were asking for, $7.00, and we were done.

Local Cemetery
We also found the local cemetery near the photocopier’s. It was filled with what looked like city multi-story parking lots but turned out to be multi-storied burial plots instead. The whole area that we were in had a dangerous feel to it, even though there were some very rich looking houses. Later, as we headed out, we saw an extremely poor section of town separated from here only by a football field.

Local cemetery burial plots in multi-stories.

Officially Changing Names
By the time we had finished our paperwork for the loan, and discovered that the bike was completely free of any debt in this area, it was time to meet the real owner. We arrived at the "Escribano" office with sufficient time to explain that even though I was buying the motorbike, it was all going to be in Sergio’s name. With that explained I left Sergio in the office to do the paperwork and went for a walk through the local area.

One of my main reasons for walking through the local area was to avoid any profiteering that the owner may have tried just because I was a foreigner. As it turned out he was an honest man and there was no problems at all, but this sort of thing tends to be a little too common here in Corrientes.

With the paperwork completed, it was time to pick up my motorbike, and when we arrived the man was surprised that we had been able to achieve so much within a couple of days. He let us into the house and prepared the bike to give to me, repeating again his side of the story.

Back at the seller’s home.

I Don’t Want To Sell
When he came by our property the other day, he had no intentions of selling the bike. Nor did he intend to be in our area so long either. In searching for a friend in the area, he could not find their house and so rode around and around the area looking for it. He even stopped and asked where a telephone may be but there did not seem to be any working at the time.

It was at this point that he pulled up alongside our property to ask directions from one of the guys working there. Oscar saw the bike and knew that this was what I wanted, so asked him if he wanted to sell. He said no. He had no intention of selling the bike. Oscar probed again, asking if he had any plans to sell the bike at some point. Again he replied that he had no intentions to sell it.

When Oscar asked him again, he thought about a project that he wanted to finish on his house and replied that if somebody would pay him a sufficient number of pesos for the bike then he would be happy to sell it. That sufficient number just happened to be the amount he needed to finish this project on his house. He told us, I accepted, and now here we were in his house, ready to receive the bike.

Sealing the Purchase
Before we took the bike however, we wanted to be sure that all of the paperwork would be sufficient to cover us under all circumstances. So rather than handwriting a receipt, all three of us piled into the car and headed over to the "Escribano" once more to get the paperwork sorted out. An "Escribano" is somewhere between a Justice of the Peace and a Solicitor, with the powers of both.

Finishing the paperwork and sealing the deal.

Once the paperwork was sorted and mostly signed with only a few more signatures to happen tomorrow, and the money had changed hands, it was time to head back to the man’s house and pick up my new second-hand antique motorbike scooter.

Receiving the Bike
We returned to his house and received a quick run-down on how to use the Siambretta and some of the intricacies of an old bike like that, and then shook hands and pushed the bike outside. Just before I took off, I remembered that he had promised me a helmet too.

He called me into the back area of his house once more, and showed me three "helmets" that I could choose from. One was a construction worker’s helmet. Another was something like a canoeist’s helmet. The last one was a red, full-face helmet just like the one I had seen when I was praying for the bike. The helmet was old but still workable, and was the only serious choice.

My new old bike and red helmet. Not as sexy as the other photo.

I had everything now. My bike was complete. Jumping on the old beast, I fired it up and was ready to go. After not driving nor riding for over two years, this was going to be my first real ride, and I was really looking forward to it too.

The rest was now only paperwork. The bike was now mine. Yippee.

Buying a Siambretta – Er, Siambroken

Blind Purchase
Proud as punch, I took off on my new motorbike. This was my very first ride on it. It did not occur to me until after the purchase that I had never actually looked at the bike or checked it out for any mechanical failures or problems that it may have. I had bought this bike on complete faith. Faith in the man who was selling it to me, and faith in God, that the picture and things that I saw about this bike were from Him so therefore this was the bike to buy.

My new proud possession, complete with red helmet.

My purchase was also somewhat blind because finding a bike like this for sale was extremely rare and I really wanted one, so I figured that if there were problems then I would fix them up. Little did I know what was about to happen to me only moments away.

With the paperwork signed and sealed, a watertight agreement had been made. I had purchased the bike as it stood, with all of its faults and benefits. It was time to find out what they were. Twisting the left grip I engaged first gear, let out the clutch… and was on my way.

My First Ride
The first part of the journey took a little getting used to this new style of bike. Having riden many dirt bikes before, and a few road bikes, riding a scooter like this was different yet again. That, and the couple of years of not driving made my first few turns a little less than comfortable, but it did not take too long before I was back into the swing of things and starting to enjoy my new ride.

As our journey continued, Sergio started to stretch out ahead of me on the road, having seen how well the bike was going, and it was going pretty good too. With four gears, I was able to go more than fast enough to keep up with all of the traffic. The small wheels noticed the bumps and lumps in the road, and I quickly discovered that there was no more damping in the shock absorbers neither front nor back.

The steering head was twisted off center which caused me to worry that the chassis of the bike was twisted or damaged, but then I realised it was the same as a bicycle and I would be able to fix it later. My brakes were less than impressive, and at one set of traffic lights I almost passed through to the other side before stopping. Once I knew about them it was easy to allow more stopping distance in the future.

The key did not stay in the hole and fell down at my feet, making me glad that I was riding a scooter with a floor to catch it. It stayed on the floor where it fell, rattling around but not going anywhere. The whole bike rattled a fair bit actually, with some unusual vibrations coming from the front wheel. But then, with the front tire completely bald, it did not cause me any wonder that it may be doing that. New tires were high on my to-do list now that I had the bike.

Looking over the bald front tire and dented fender.

The Unthinkable
As I cruised along with the traffic, admiring all that the bike was and how wonderful it was to cruise along on a motorbike, free once again to venture and roam, the unthinkable happened. Suddenly the engine spluttered and coughed and after a short and feeble attempt to keep running under increasingly miserable conditions, it died.

The bike and I cruised to a stop along the side of the road. Sergio had disappeared around the corner and was nowhere to be seen. The way the engine stopped, I knew that there was no chance of kick starting it where I was. Something had to be changed or fixed first. I was stranded.

The Bike That Bit
On the off chance that Sergio noticed that I was not behind him and stopped, I started to push my bike along next to the edge of the footpath. On one of the first push-offs with my foot, as I pushed backwards hard, a searing pain coursed through the heel of my foot. In looking down I saw a deep gouge out of the side of my heel.

The culprit was the kickstand that protrudes out the side. After years of kicking it until it hits the ground, the forward edge had been sharpened into a nasty weapon. This weapon bit several other chunks out of my leg until I finally learned how to stay well clear of it.

The damage done by the kick starter (next to my leg).

With blood oozing out of my heel, I managed to catch up with Sergio. He is just as surprised as I am, but when I tell him that the fuel appears really low, he guides me to a nearby service station where I fill up with 2-stroke fuel. I kick the bike over many times but get no signs of life. What I do get however, is lots of attention.

Pushing Me Around
The service attendant that serves the fuel suggested to me that the bike was flooded and offered to push me around the station if I put it into second gear and jumped on. It seemed a great idea to me, and we raced out and about the station until he tired. The motorbike showed no signs of life. He left to attend another customer, and I started kicking the bike over again.

Before I could kick it over too many times, another guy came up and started offering suggestions. He told me some other positions to put the gears, throttle, and my head and then proceeded to push me around the station again. He had a lot more energy than the first guy, but even after several rounds of the station, the bike was not showing signs of life. It seemed very dead indeed.

We had not a single tool between us, so Sergio suggested that we take the bike back home and work on it there. I was trying to work out how we could do something like that when he told me. It was simple. Simply move the motorbike over to the passenger side door, reach in and grab a hold of the car, and don’t let go. So I did it.

Getting A Tow
As the car took off, I had to use my handhold and the strength of my arm to force my bike to accelerate with it. At the same time I also needed to ensure that my bike stayed well away from and never touched the edge of Sergio’s car. There was also watching out for potholes and obstacles on the road, riding with one hand and trying to brake at the same speed as the car.

This sort of thing was something that I had seen a fair bit of here in Argentina, and always caused me a little bit of incredulity and amazement that somebody would do something so dangerous and, I presumed, illegal. Now here I was doing the very same thing, except I was a foreigner that was doing it. I think I am adapting well to this culture now.

Each time we took off, the weight of the bike was so heavy that it felt like my arm elongated momentarily before both bike and car reached the same speed. There were too many stops along the way where I had to hang on hard until we were moving along again, but thankfully Corrientes is very flat and there were no hills to worry about.

At the service station I had put my helmet inside the car, and after all of the pushing and kick starting attempts it never occurred to me to put it back on again when I hung onto the car. So here I was with on hand hanging onto Sergio’s car and no helmet, cruising along some of the main roads of Corrientes and taking up a lot of the road.

Watch Out, Police!
In some parts of the journey the cars were trapped behind us until the road widened sufficiently for them to squeeze past. While concentrating on being towed along I noticed a police car passing us with the rest of the traffic. "Oh no," I thought, "now we are done for!" and wondered what Sergio’s reaction would be.

He simply continued on without blinking. In fact the police did not even look my way. Only a short way ahead the police had to stop at the traffic lights. We drove up next to them and stopped also. Not even a glance was exchanged. I was amazed. Even though I was relieved that we were able to continue without harassment or worse, it also shocked me at how the police turn a blind eye to many things that happen all the time.

The motorbike workshop checking out my sparkplug.

Along the road we found a motorcycle workshop and I pulled the bike into it. They checked the spark plug and told us that there was no spark, so it would take a fair while to fix. We had already made it over half way home, so it seemed easier to take it home and fix it ourselves. So we did.

Arriving Home
The further we went, the sorer my arms became, and the more the sun burned my skin. By the time we reached home, I was pretty red, with burning muscles. But we made it. I laughed as I told Sergio when we got closer, "What a way to arrive and present my new motorbike to everyone!"

On arrival I parked the bike and pacified the crowds that poured around me. Um, well, actually on arrival I simply parked the bike and went and did some work. Later on I tried to find out what was wrong with it. Oscar, and Rocky who are also mechanics, helped me in my search.

If It’s Not Broke, Don’t Fix It
A new spark plug, adjust the points, clean the carburetor check the ignition switch. Nothing seemed to work. Then in the middle of all of our playing one of the gearshift cables snapped, so I fixed that up and adjusted the clutch at the same time. A little later on the throttle stopped working, so I pulled the thing apart and found the simply fault and fixed it within a couple of minutes too. But it still wasn’t going.

We had found problems in every area that we looked, but there was still no idea as to why the bike did not run. Finally we checked the fuel tap for the third or fourth time. It worked. We already knew that. But I did something else. I turned it from one stop to the other stop, and it was here that I discovered our dastardly fault.

In turning on the fuel, we had actually turned it back off again. To turn on the fuel, we had to turn the tap to the middle position. The tap was not marked like this, being a remote handle protruding through the cowling of the engine. On knowing this, we turned it to the right angle and suddenly the motor fired into life. It was fixed.

As I thought back over my journey home, I vaguely remember reaching down to turn the fuel tap on a little more. Little did I know that I was actually turning the thing off instead. So when the motor spluttered and coughed and gave its last, it was all because I had simply turned off the fuel.

To find that out took almost half a day of work. But in so doing I have learned a lot more about my new old bike. Even though the bike would have gone with a little knowledge about the fuel tap, we found many other things that were just about to break and managed to fix them before they left me stranded in the street. I was very happy about that.

The True Test
After fixing my bike I now wanted to take it for a decent test run, but it was already night time. Everyone on staff was going out to eat tonight, so it seemed perfect to ride my bike into town to where we were going to eat. A quick check revealed that the lights worked fine, so I was right to go.

Oscar also has a motorbike, so I arranged to travel together with him to the restaurant, just in case something went wrong. Everyone else left in the city bus, and I returned to my house to get ready. We were all meeting at 9pm, and by the time I was out at my bike ready to go, it was already 8.45pm.

We took off, down the sandy dirt roads, choking on the dust of cars and bikes that had gone before us. I could now see one disadvantage to a motorbike. At the highway we rev up the bikes and cruise down to our next turn off at a reasonable 60km/h. My bike handles the speed well, and I cannot even use 4th gear yet because we were going so slow.

Around the corners, through the traffic, over the bumps. All was going well. It was amazing to be autonomous once again after two years of using buses. We zipped and raced and cruised along until finally reaching out destination. It took all of 15 minutes. The bus journey takes at least 40 minutes to arrive at the right bus stop, and then the walk here is another 20 minutes. What an amazing difference.

The rider’s view of my new old motorbike.

The Joy Of It All
I was really excited about having both a bike to ride and my bike working again after it died. There was a real buzz about travelling around on bike. In some ways it seemed just like re-living getting my licence for the very first time, and the first moments of being able to drive alone on the roads.

Liberating. Exhilarating. Exciting. Fun.

On the return home, I took my friend Lehman on the back. Oscar had his wife and two kids on his bike with him. Together we rode side by side where possible, yahooing, yehaawing, and gallivanting as we went. Horns beeping, short spurts of pretend racing (Oscar always won with his new bike), and waving our arms around having a great old time.

And the best part of it all is that my Siambroken is once again a Siambretta!

Buying a Siambretta

Well, it has been over two years now that I have been here in Argentina and only recently have I decided that it was time to look at getting some form of transport. There are many options here, from the latest models of bikes and cars to antiques that are still used everyday. I wanted a motorbike.

One of the small Honda DAX bikes that are so plentiful here.

Being the sort of person that likes to be different to the next fella, I decided to look for something a little different when I began looking. There was the Honda DAX which is pretty common around here, and I liked its small size too, but for a bike to ride all over the country it just did not seem enough. The main issue for me was that it would be hard to carry my gear with me if I used something like that.

So after looking around a little, there were some serious sized motorbikes too. Old things made in Brazil or some other country but poorly supported in parts. So this did not seem like a great option either. Besides, I was not sure that I wanted something so ordinary in how it looked. This took me further afield in my searching.

The early B version Siambretta for sale for $2500 USD in Buenos Aires.

Every now and then I caught a glimpse of people riding on a motorbike with two seats that looked like bicycle seats. It was a very unusual looking bike, and not seen often, so I did not know what it was. Then one day I was in Buenos Aires with my friends and discovered this very bike in a fancy showroom. It looked pretty much like what I would want, but finding one was not going to be so easy.

The first thing I did was ask my friends to look out for a bike for me. It was Oscar that came back with news on a Siambretta that I could buy from an old guy in the city. It was similar to this first bike that I had seen in the showroom, except older and unfinished. My visit to the guy’s place revealed a graveyard of old bike frames and an old man with an avid interest in fixing and repairing these old bikes. He was the official mechanic for them when they were new and has continued to work on them ever since. This bike however was not the sort of thing that I had in mind, but I learned a lot of valuable information from that meeting.

The Siambretta man that helped me out with lots of information.

The next thing I did was search it out on the web. I had learned that it was a Siambretta, and after a lot of looking, the best website I found was the Lambretta Club of Great Britain. This then led me on a series of studies, which finally took me to read about the TV series 2 bikes. These were by far one of the best of the Siambretta bikes that existed, and with their bigger 175cc motor it was sure it would be fine for some serious travelling.

Now being a religious man, I prayed and asked God to help me find one. I finished that prayer believing that I would not need to look for the bike, but that it would find me. I had seen in my mind a cream Siambretta drive into our property with two helmets.

A Siambretta 125cc for sale but still under repair by the Siambretta man.

It was many days later, near the end of the week that this happened. I had already looked in the papers and asked many people but all to no avail. These bikes were hard to find. Then my friend Oscar came to my window and called me. His behaviour was unusual, as he simply walked away quickly. This was very different to how he normally behaved, so I followed him.

Outside was a cream Siambretta motorbike with blue trim. The man had stopped outside our property to ask directions, and when Oscar saw him, he discovered that it was for sale. The price is agreeable and it is the Series 2, 175cc engine that I was wanting. There is even a helmet thrown in with it. I was amazed, and agreed to buy the bike.

The Siambretta that arrived on my doorstep (slightly darker blues and much more used looking).

Now I am in the middle of the paperwork required for purchasing a motorbike here in Argentina. Apart from the normal precautions of checking for incumbrences and ownership, there are a further 9 processes to go through, adding up to a total of $153 pesos, before it is mine. Today we were able to start the process, but because the official offices are only open to the public in the morning, it will be Monday before we can continue with the rest of it.

So I am hoping that sometime before the end of next week I will be the proud owner of a Siambretta scooter.

Siambretta – Fixing the Broken, Hurt, and Dieing

Picking Up The Papers
There is not a lot of time this morning, after fixing my flat tyre and following Sergio to his mechanics it was already past 10am, leaving us with a couple of hours for both paperwork and buying some tyres. This was not a lot of time.

First off we stopped at the Office of Infractions and Fines to get our list of fines to pay. We were told it would be ready today, so we joined the line and waited. It took about half an hour to get to the front where we were presented with a pleasant clerk who took our paper and returned with the required information. Sergio looked at the paper then turned to head out the door saying nothing. I wanted to know what was on it, so I tried looking over his shoulder but could not see enough. When I asked him, he said there was fines of $70 pesos, then broke out in a big smile. There was not one cent owing. Awesome.

The police station
Waiting at the police station for our numbers inspection.

Our next stop was the other side of central, and we weaved our way through the traffic and rough roads to arrive. I overshot the turn-off first time around and we had to go around the block, but finally we arrived at the police station. We were here to get the engine and frame numbers verified with the information held on the owner’s Title document. Everything went well and we received our document for this after paying yet another processing fee.

Replacing The Broken, Hurt, and Dieing
That was the end of our paperwork for the day, but by now it was moving well on from 11am and I still needed to buy some tyres to replace the worn ones on my bike. Returning once again to the other side of the centre, we locate the same old shop that I had visited on the Saturday. They had tyres but the price of these tyres was a lot higher than the $40 that I had been told about, so the first time I thought I would go elsewhere to get the cheaper tyres. There was no elsewhere, so I came back to get these, which turned out to be cheaper than the few other places that sold them.

While there it seemed wise to ask about some of the other parts that I knew my bike needed. It seemed important to fix the bike up a little so that it would at least be reliable for my intended journeys. So with a list of parts in my head, I started purchasing the important things that the bike had been desperately needing:

  • 2 new tyres for the road and 2 new tubes to go in them
  • New cables for the front brake, clutch, gear changer (2), and accelerator
  • Clutch plates, gasket and seals to install it
  • New kickstart and pinion because the other was welded together and had a really sharp edge
  • Fuel tap that had a reserve position and that did not leak

the pile of parts
The pile of parts.

It was not a huge amount of items to purchase, but by the time I was finished we had a large bag of items to try and drag home with us on the bike. Fortunately I had brought a big bag for just that purpose, and it managed to sit on the platform between my legs for the journey. By the time that we had finished purchasing all of these items the store was already closed up. A big board had been placed over the entry doors and the fan, our only source of cooling during these really hot days was switched off.

It was after 12.30pm and everything was now shut, so we headed back toward home for the siesta. On the way I stopped off to pick up my freshly washed clothes at the laundry service, adding that also to the pile of parts that I was already struggling to hang onto with my legs as we cruised along. When we got back, I dropped off Sergio and set to work on my bike. Now that I had the parts it was time to replace them.

Getting Greasy
The first change I made to my bike on my return was taking that bald front tyre off and heading back to my tyre man to put the new tyre and tube on it. It was a bit of a struggle and he needed some help to get the old tyre off the rims, but I returned with a very cool looking wheel which I then fitted to the front of my bike.

new tyre
Both tyres on the bike were replaced with these new ones.

Next up was changing the cables. Virtually every cable on the bike was broken, breaking, or bent, and it was amazing that they had all lasted for as long as they did. The cables that I purchased were good, but not great, and each one was much longer than it needed to be, requiring cutting down to the right lengths. Each cable replaced changed the feel of that item completely.

The accelerator suddenly felt a lot more responsive when I removed the extra spring that had been added to counteract the old sticking cable. The gears on their throttle-like spinning handgrip finally started to work in the correct position rather than having the clutch lever pointing up in the air most of the time. The clutch immediately felt a lot lighter even though it did not change its behaviour, and although the front brake never really improved the cable was now doing what it needed to do – it was inside that was causing the problem now.

working on the bike
Feeding a cable up the steering shaft.

Late in the afternoon, Lehman wandered over and asked me how things were going. I told him that he could help out if he wanted to, and before long he was carting the rear and spare wheels off to the tyre man to put the new tyre on. Since the back tyre was still good, I swapped that to the spare wheel, which was totally useless. On his return I had finished a lot of my cable work, so we fitted the wheels and he then put together some of the panels that I had removed in the repair process.

It was my intention to replace the clutch at the same time, but it was already late in the afternoon so I stopped at the cables and other little bits. The one thing that excited me the most was replacing the fuel tap. The new tap now in place has a notch that you can feel at each quarter turn. To turn it on is really easy now, and there is no mistakes possible. Not only that, but there is a reserve position too, which means that there is a little bit left when I run out that I can hopefully use to get to a service station.

more repairs
Working on the front cables in my “open” workshop.

With everything except the clutch now fitted to my bike, it was time to take it for a test run. But rather than head up and down the street, Lehman and I cleaned up and then climbed aboard and headed into town for dinner. It was a great way to celebrate having the new bits and pieces on my bike. I had finally fixed up all of the broken, hurt and dieing parts.