Rolling With The Punches



Part two of my story ended with me finally getting to take the bike back to Cleveland and fun times were had by all. That is until just a few days later when I went on a quick ride to Nancy’s cousins place.

Before I get into that I will note that I had taken the bike out in the rain one other time. It had just finished putting a nice layer of water down on the ground and it was still a bit misty and sprinkling. No big deal. I was able to roll right through that stuff. Also, I had taken the bike around a few places before my second rainy trip. I rode to a few stores to pick up some tools and even over to Nancy’s parents house. Simple rides. I was basically just getting the feel for how the bike rides around town here. Now, onto the monsoon that I got caught in and the fixing that needed to happen next.

I looked at the forecast and I was told it shouldn’t rain until about 7pm so I hopped on the bike and headed into Lakewood. It was only a 10 minute ride at around 5:30pm but I could see the weather beginning to change. I parked and waited for some people to show up and began to worry. No rain suit, no clue how this thing would really handle in the water and no alternative other than to ride wet if it came to it.

To cut a long story a bit short, I left early and got absolutely poured on. It started raining at around 5:45 and I must have driven right into the heart of it. I got drenched. I can’t think of a time where I was more wet when I didn’t want to be. The bike started sputtering and stalled twice from all the water. The ignition coils are out in the open and I think some water just got into the wire harnesses and would short it out a bit. Whatever. I overcame this by just giving a constant stream of power to the engine. That means revving the engine like a madman while stopped at lights or stop signs. I also have no front fender and that turned out to be a horrible idea as well. As I would ride down the road the water would fly upward from the front wheel and I’d ride right into it. Not only am I getting rained on but I’m also riding right into a mess of my own making. In between all the rain, wind, bad brakes and engine cutoffs my turn signals also took a shit on me. Ha! What else could go wrong? So now I’m down to using hand signals in driving rain with terrible braking power (front brakes only).

I get home and park the bastard. I don’t think I rode it again for a week. It probably rained a few more days and so I wasn’t even in a big hurry to get on it. For a few days the turn signals wouldn’t come on at all. Eventually I could get them to light up but not flicker. Whatever, hand signals work enough to be able to get me back to Clyde to work on it. I think after about two weeks I was able to ride back to the Kustom Persuasion shop for a bit more work.

The first thing we did was try to find out why the turn signals wouldn’t work. We untaped about half of the wiring harness just trying to get a good look at what was in there and in the end we found out that there is a circular canister that is the signal flicker box. We took it out and gave it a good look. We found that there is a small hole punctured into the side and rightly assumed that the box had shit the bed when water got on it. We eventually got it to work a bit but it still needs a new part. I’ll get one eventually from the same salvage yard that I got my kicker and mirrors from. It’s actually an easy fix and for right now I have signals again. They cut out early from time to time but it works so I’m not complaining.

The next bunch of work that the bike got was new brakes. I ordered some brake shoes from an online store and then a few days later got an email saying that they were out of stock. Good job. Way to keep your site updated, ya losers. I then grabbed two more sets of shoes for the bike from an Amazon store. The cost jumped 100% but they came quick and installed easily. For anyone wondering, the parts for a 1980 Yamaha XS400 Special II with drum brakes are EBC 513 for the front and EBC 516 for the rear. It will fit right in and work just the way it should.

So now I have brakes and now I have signals. What was I to do? How about go on a ride! Nancy had never been on a motorcycle before so Garry was kind enough to allow her to ride with him. Neither myself or my mom have room for a second person on our motorcycles. I’d love to be able to go on rides with her but as of right now that’s just not possible.


My mom forced Naners to take photos while we were out as well. The family always called my grandma the “photo Nazi” back in the day because of her insistence and controlling ways with taking family photos. I guess the nut didn’t fall far from the tree.




We rode about 50-60 miles and all was well. The trip took us out through the country and into a few towns. Mostly scenic stuff. An easy ride for a lazy day. Nancy enjoyed herself, I got to go on another ride with my mom and we wasted a few hours. I’m looking forward to getting out and about on the bike again soon. It’s raining now but once I get some sun and dry days I’ll be back out there and hopefully I’ll get some more photos of my rides. Some stuff from my perspective on and off the bike.

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