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We had an ice storm and freezing spell in South Georgia. Very rare. Anyway the bike (Springfield) sat for at least a week. It warmed up and I went to start it.... but nothing. I assumed the battery was low from the cold. The gear indicator didn't work and the head lights did not come on. I never tender my bike because it usually gets a ride almost every day. So I bought a cig plug and wired it up to a charger and plugged it in. Well the battery was just fine. Then I discovered a little known secret. Since I was not riding for awhile I stopped carrying the key fob with me. And guess what...the bike doesn't like to start without it.
 

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2019 FTR 1200
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1,314 Posts
Worst mechanical mistake I've made is forgetting to torque my rear axle nut and re-insert the cotter pin after some routine chain maintenance on my dual sport. Didn't remember until I was about 30 km from home and about 15 km down a logging road. Didn't have any spare cotter pins with me, ended up torquing the nut with a spanner, sticking an allen key through the axle, and bending it over with a rock.

Worst riding mistake I've made was trail riding alone after dark about 10 km outside of cellular coverage without telling anybody where I was going. Had done it without issue multiple times before but eventually my luck ran out, I slid out on a corner, landed directly in a mud puddle on a pre-existing knee injury, and split my knee cap wide open along the center, exposing my patellar tendon and filling my knee with dirty water, gravel, and who knows what else. Fortunately I did have my first aid kit and was able to wrap the wound, start my bike, and ride one-legged back into cellular coverage with bent front forks. Fast forward through 4 or 5 hours in the Emergency Room, a day or two of intravenous antibiotics, 2 weeks of oral antibiotics, and about a month of recovery and I was back on the bike, but I haven't gone trail riding alone after dark since.
 

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Here's mine: 1989, 19 years old. A week or two after the last snow, sand still on some of the streets I decided to fly down Emery Road, a winding twisting road leading from the University of Kansas down to 9th street.

As I was roaring down the twisties on my trusty 1975 Kawasaki 454LTD I went into a sideways slide, hit a curb, flew off the bike, sailed through the air and bam smashed my face into a tree. No helmet, no gear and I was lucky some bumps and bruise, cracked rib, and a broken nose.

I in a state of adrenaline fueled WTF moment jumped back on the bike, started it up and rode on down into town. I got a few blocks down 9th street to Mass Street where I hit my first red light. I look down and blood was running down my face and all over the gas tank.

By now I am about in freak out mode. But I manage to get to my apartment. Called a friend and went to the ER. The only good thing that happened was the LEO just gave me warning and said, "it seems you learned your lesson on this one."

At the time, I had no license for riding on the street and I might have been lacking in the insurance department since I was 2nd year college student paying his own way, but I can't really remember!

The lesson was a 1975 Kawa sure didn't handle like one of those new fangled sport bikes some of my friends had in the mid to late 80s...
 
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Like was said, so many to choose from...But here is an INTERESTING one. When I bought my Russian bike (Dnepr)with side car from a guy, he gave me the book but showed me little else. That was ok, it was a real simple machine. I DID have a hard time starting it after I got it home though. Real erratic and I fouled a few plugs. Also, I thought maybe it was a little underpowered, but hey, it was an old bike with a fairly small engine. One of the few things the guy DID show me was how to choke the twin carbs. They were an older set of Mikuni's that had been retrofitted. Anyways, after about 3 months of riding it, and occasionally fighting to get it started, mostly when the engine was cold, I decided to check the condition of the air cleaner. Took everything apart, looked into the joint manifold collector box and...HEY, What's THAT? Looked like a choke mechanism to choke the collector manifold. And, of course, it was on FULL CHOKE! Barely a small slit to get air through. I'd been starting and riding the bike on full choke for all this time! Then I found the rather ingenious (practically hidden) mechanism to open it. Needless to say, it started a LOT better after I started using the "factory choke" AND, the engine had a LOT MORE POWER!
 

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I’ll stick to bike related for this. I count these as lessons.

Topping up my ducati 750GT that had 50 grade oil in it with 20/50. It was using a lot anyway but this killed it. I just didn’t know any better in1985.

Stripping a CZ350 (2 stroke twin) engine while I was off work with flu (that’s what I said it was anyway). I tried to split the crankcase (virtical split) but had the crank round the wrong way, I’d bet a con rod by the time I realised and the crank would no longer turn.

Leaving the pub on my 750F Honda to follow a couple of friends in a car and thinking “I ought to have checked the tyre pressure a couple of weeks ago”, Losing them at the lights but knowing they were going onto the motorway so set off in pursuit, I got up to 100mph when the rear tyre blew out and sent me tumbling up the fast lane. Someone put a coach across the 3 lanes so I could push the bike onto the hard shoulder (do you have those in the states?) Not long after my friends who had stopped for fuel pulled up and I was leaning into their window when I noticed a large purple lump on my wrist. I got away with a broken scaifoid (bone in the wrist if I’ve spelt that wrong) and a deep graze down to my kneecap. This was around 29 years ago.
 

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After doing my own oil changes and bring very mechanically inclined, changed the oil in a new to me Honda Accord.... Long story short, drained tranny fluid instead not knowingly, added 4 quarts of oil to engine that still had the old 4 quarts and drove 75 miles to work and back 4 quarts too much oil, no tranny fluid!!!!! Dumba$$!!! Funny it ran good except a slight hesitation up a long hill on way home ooooops
 

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Back in the early 80's, I was riding my '81 XR500R down a gravel road a couple of miles away from our farm and decided to ride a wheelie at 60 mph. (I had done this hundreds of times in the past) That time the front wheel came up and over center so fast I didn't hardly have time to react. When I heard the rear fender hit gravel, I bailed off the back of the bike. As I hit the ground, I tucked and rolled. When I felt that I was slowed down enough, I went spread eagle and slid to a stop.

As everything was still spinning in my head, I quickly realized that I was lying flat on my back in the middle of a country road, just over the crest of the hill. I got up on my knees and crawled over to the ditch. After a few moments, the spinning subsided. Then I realized, where's my bike? My XR500R was about ten yards further down the road lying by the ditch. I got up and walked over to the bike and picked it up and put it on the kickstand on the side of the road.

I checked myself over and had abrasions on my hands, elbows, back, arms and right leg. Tore my t-shirt and ripped my jeans. All-in-all, considering what just happened, I was OK. The bike was in worse shape. The rear fender was hanging by the tail light wiring, the forks were bent and the controls were screwed up. I healed back up in a couple days but it took me about a week to straighten the forks back out and replace the parts to get the bike back into shape.
 

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I have everyone of you beat, not about bikes but:
About 10 years ago, the first year the Iowa state fair had a craft beer tent, my beer club “brewing club” volunteers us to pour. Well they tell us that we are allowed 3 beers after our shift. Hahaha, we were not being paid so it ended up about 3 beers per hour. So after the wife picked me up, went home and I passed out on the deck, I woke up and needed a shower. That’s about all I remember because I was so tired and shit faced. Next thing I know, my wife is screaming at me to wake up, in the shower. Yep, I must have decided to take a nap because I have a tankless hot water heater. Yep, I but plugged the drain and flooded half the house. It only cost me a very quiet weekend with the wife and a couple of weeks later after everything dried out, I had to rip out the tile in the bathroom and redo it. (It needed it anyways). To this day I keep telling her I’m going to get a drain tattooed on my ass. We both just laugh about it now.
I win.
 

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Got off my bike, a '71 HD XLCH, at a gas station after a 110 mile ride and forgot to put the kickstand down. I turned around and headed for the rest room then heard a crash. Turned back to the bike and saw it on it's side. Pretty embarrassing. :confused:
 

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2 come to mind that are bike/car related.

About 30 years ago I took a corner too hard and flew out of it hitting a concrete wall with my 1981 Yamaha Xj550. I was pretty banged up, leather ripped everywhere. Bike was still ride-able at 20Km/h max speed due to the massive wobble in the front wheel. I rode it home 50Km that way, took forever. I completely stripped the bike to bare frame and took it 100km to a specialist frame guy to straighten it, as I was convinced the frame was out of wack. The mistake was that I striped the bike for nothing as the frame was straight as an arrow. All that work for nothing.

The other mistake was also in my youth when changing oil on my first car. I drained the old oil and grabbed the new oil and put in 4L, checked the dipstick...nothing, put in another 1/2 Litre should have been enough....checked the dipstick...still bone dry. Was about the pour the rest of it in, which normally would have overfilled it when I noticed that I was standing in oil.....yep forgot to fit the drain plug. Back then never told anybody as I would have never lived it down with my mates.
 
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