I spent the day shopping in Portland today. More on that later. After leaving REI and heading to a boot shop, I stopped to fill the bike with gas. I looked down to see oil dripping rapidly from the bike. Uh oh. Then on closer inspection I noticed that the counter shaft sprocket nut had completely come off the shaft. It was caught between the plastic casing and the shaft. Double uh oh.
This nut is what keeps the front sprocket attached. The sprocket in turn connects to the chain, which drives the wheel. Losing that sprocket means no more driving of the motorcycle. Uh oh.
I checked my phone for nearby wifi signals. There was a coffee shop across the street with wifi. I parked the bike in the gas station, grabbed my laptop, and hit the internet. After a little searching I figured I’d ask the guy in the shop, get the local low down. A customer sitting near the counter jumped in and told me about a bike shop about a mile away. I tried calling but got an answering machine. So I took a risk and headed over there.
At the shop I met Chris VanderVoort of Cycletune. I explained my problems to Chris. He didn’t have the part to fix the oil leak, but he very kindly rescrewed my counter sprocket nut. More than anything, Chris put my mind at rest. If you’re ever in need of motorcycle maintenance in Portland I thoroughly recommend stopping by Chris’s place.
It looked like the shifter seal had gone. Chris didn’t have the part to fix it but he recommended another dealer about 20 minutes away. After lots of phone calls I found a dealer in Seattle, Renton Motorcycles, who agreed to order the part for me. The part itself was only $10, shipping was $16 then the labour was going to be $190.
However, after the sprocket was fixed, the oil leakage stopped. The bike hasn’t dripped any oil since, despite being driven quite hard. I called back Patrick at Renton Motorcycles and asked his advice. He said there’s a seal behind the sprocket that might have come loose while the sprocket was floating about. That may have caused the leak, and now it may be resolved.
Happy days. It looks like I don’t have to spend $200 having a $10 part installed. Instead I’ll get the guys at Renton to change my oil now that I have a mix of synthetic and regular oil. The oil change only costs $40. 🙂