Monday, 16 April 2012

And Now The Saddlebags Are Where I Want Them

I wasn't happy with the saddlebags. I told you they stuck out .. a lot, that was so they didn't hit my shocks and to clear the seat. What that meant was, that I was practically sitting on them, not quite, but lucky my bum ain't so big or I woulda been. It also meant it was near impossible for me to get my leg over the bags as well as the seat. It was hurting my back lifting my leg up so high, have I mentioned I'm vertically challenged. So I wanted them moved and was making myself unhappy about it for a while now. I tried to ask the motorcycle shop to move them for me, and they hedged and ummed and ahhed and wouldn't give me a quote for it until they had talked about it with their mechanic. How long will it take for me to get a quote? Oh bout a week, just for a quote, what are you a builder or a plumber? So I told them forget it I'll work it out myself.

I figured I would live with them where they were til after the trip to Queensland, that's coming up quick now. Then I got a new (second hand) sissy bar set. I decided I can at least put that on myself .. wrong. I was starting to get fed up with it all, I needed longer bolts (yeah, that figured when I thought bout it, of course I'd need longer bolts), so I put the fender rail, and the bolts and spacers that held my saddlebags, back on the bike and left that alone til I could chat with a mate bout helping me with it.

Sunday morning. We were heading off for a trip to Bathurst (that report coming soon, gonna be a novel :P) and I decided to take the saddlebags for extra stuff we might need for the cold weather that's the norm in Bathurst. Saddlebags wouldn't go on, the way those you beaut spacers were fitted meant that when I moved them they no longer lined up. OK nothing I could do about it then, we were on a schedule, so today I rang my mate.

'Hey Tony', I said, 'you know those saddlebags I wanted you to move after my holiday, they don't go on the bike at all anymore, and I'm gonna need them before I go on holidays. So I was wondering when you would be free ....' I didn't get to say anymore, he just said are you busy today, nope, be here wheneva you want today and we'll fix her up for ya. Man he's just such a nice guy :)

So I took my baby over to his work shed, this guy is a machinist and metal polisher, but he loves tinkering with anything to do with cars and bikes. He's worked on some damn nice projects.

Here's one of the projects that Tony has helped out with:

I felt pretty confident having him help me out with this stuff, that he would do what I wanted without making excuses, but also tell me if something I wanted just wouldn't work. As it turned out nothing I wanted was not doable. Took us the whole day, I hung around and listened to him chatting away about everything and anything, and watched everything he did with my baby. First he pulled her apart, but not as much as I did the first time, sheesh he made it look so easy and he had the sissy bar on in a jiffy.

Sissy bar in place already.
Working out the saddlebags ...

He got the saddlebags worked out pretty quick too, then we noticed that they would hit the shocks on one side. So I suggested we put them on opposite sides. That meant the brackets wouldn't fit properly, they had been lined up with their specific bolts, well I was causing problems but Tony didn't even flinch. He just fixed it with his trusty lathe. The man has the patience of a saint, but I did help, kinda, I found a couple of bolts to undo :D

At times he was hard to keep up with.
Then he'd stop ... look for a while,
and come up with the solution.

Thoughout the day he'd disappear into the shed to lathe, drill or play with a bit that needed fixing, talking the whole time and he just seemed to be having a ball. I think he was surprised that I stuck around for the whole day, but I was fascinated with how he was going about it all, watching him play with my baby and make her just right. And listening to his chatter the whole time, he has a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be tapped.

I swear when he stuck
 his tongue out it all went smoother.
Even when he was crawling round on the ground.

The saddlebags were all sorted out, it was getting late in the day and still had to reposition the blinkers. I had the thought they would look better on the bullnose thingy that holds the number plate light than on the number plate holder I have. I don't really like that holder, it's too wide, and with the blinkers on would be like a truck. So we pulled all that apart, I helped, I told him when bolts were on too tight :P Got it nearly all apart so he could drill holes when he realised it was plastic .... Right. Back to the holder that I don't really like, but I can change that later. The guy at the Honda place told me that it wouldn't work, too thin and the holes would weaken it ect. So I asked Tony, nope he says, not an issue. And next thing I knew holes were drilled and blinkers attached.

Blinkers in place and
wires waiting for their place in life
Just needed to finish up tidying up the wiring and put my baby back together again. Damn that looks great !

One happy guy!! (really he's happy)

Right, pic of the bike with the happy guy who fixed her up, pose now Tony ... smile .. OK ya smiling on the inside eh :D

Huge thanks to Tony!! You took all day, you put up with my input, even when it added extra hours to the job. You did a job that looks good and did the job that I wanted done. And the whole time you kept me entertained. Massive kudos to you!!

I rode her home with a big grin on my dial. Just like the ones I used to wear when I did something I found challenging (like stopping without doing injury to myself). I love having the saddlebags on, and I love that they look the way I had always imagined they would. They no longer sit way out from the bike like a couple of satellites, and I no longer kick them every time I get on the bike. The bolts are black still, but he machined the heads of them so they look pretty and then painted them a nice shiny black, they don't look outta place and I can get the heads chromed later if I want to. The blinker bracket isn't my ideal, I still think it looks to wide, but the wring is in place now thanks to Tony's hard work and when I want to change to a more streamlined one it will be easy cause of the top job he did putting in connectors where they are needed.

And my baby looks pretty again ....

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