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Mechanical failure caused locked front brakes

Discussion in 'Your Near Misses - A Place to Vent' at netrider.net.au started by Unconnected, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. Well i had an exciting afternoon, here is the story;

    So i head over to Balmain Motorcycle Tyres/Mechanic shop (well known in sydney for cheap tyres) to get a new front put on my VFR after getting them to put a rear on a few days earlier. I get it done, and start to head to the old road to scrub them in and kill some time.

    I get up to old road, and am riding downhill through the 80 zone, taking it very easy on the front. for some reason, maybe the spider senses told me something was NQR, for this reason i was doing only 65.

    I come to the tightening radius left downhill corner. I start to brake down from 65 to 40, (as i am also entering roadworks a sign says 40kph, when suddenly all hell breaks loose.
    The front of the bike starts pogo-ing up and down and making all manner of crazy noises, and generally flopping from side to side. It screeches to a halt with a smell of burnt rubber, i still have no fcuking idea what has happened, but it soon becomes apparent my bike is totally immobile.
    I think maybe the new tyre has catastrophically let go, or maybe something got tangled in my back wheel locking it. I ascertain that my fronts locked, and count my blessings a million times over that it happened as i was going about 50kph not moments earlier on the F3 doing 110.

    I ring the workshop, and ask them if the perhaps did anything to my brakes, when asked why i let them know that me and my bike just came to an abrupt and unexpected halt because the fronts locked on.
    While talking too him i spot the missing top bolt of my caliper, and ask the guy if perhaps he knows how this might have happened. He doesnt. I ask if he would like to send a van or ute to the old road to collect their client who very nearly had himself sliding along a road only 40mins after you worked on their bike. He tells me he cant spare the staff currently, but they do have a van, i tell him would he be interested in paying for my tow truck back to balmain, he says no, i suggest we split the costs, he says no. fcuking ****. He tells me i should find some zip ties or maybe some wire and bodge it and then ride it back to balmain...from old road...about 55km through an entire city, and he says zip ties will do me fine when a steel bolt wouldnt.

    I force my caliper back to its proper position and begin the ride up to Old Road cafe, i notice quickly that the slightest touch causes the caliper to shift and lock and even bumps cause mini lock ups if the caliper shifts too far forward. Interest. I arrive at Old Road Cafe and beg for some zip ties, but they are fresh out. They tell me to go to kariong and beg some auto repairers, i decide that going further away from sydney at this point isnt a steller idea and make the decision to ride my bike 55km back to balmain, with no front brakes, on a bike with a rear brake that i use literally once a month tops, also im not that great at the rear it, and my reactions cause me to jam the fronts on in any kind of emergency, not the rear like many riders. What was once an awesome reaction that saved my ass is now a death sentence every time i need to slow down and my hand goes for the brake. I grab my throttle with a full fist and grip it tightly, figuring if i just keep my hand locked onto it, i will be able to suppress my muscle memory.

    So i begin a long trip back to balmain, literally repeating out loud DONT TOUCH THE FRONT OR YOU WILL DIE the entire time. Other than a few close calls and time spent waiting for my bike to cool, because it was a very hot day today and i didnt feel like going that fast on a bike with no brakes. Me and the VFR made it back to Balmain incident free, though it was probably one of the most stressful rides ive ever done.

    The guys apologised and fixed the bike, i didn't really rage at them, knowing that they wouldnt be any help and that i could just rage here and hopefully prevent some netriders from experiencing the same fate that i nearly did. Also the owner wasnt in today, so figured it would fall on deaf ears anyway.

    TLDR, Never ever go to balmain motorcycles no matter how cheap they seem. It actually pains me to say that, cus they seemed like top blokes and i had a good chat with the owner last time i was there about the VFR. But i mean, getting a brake caliper bolt done up properly is something with 0 room for error. I was fcuking lucky, and so where they, Not sending out a van or even agreeing to split a tow truck on a clients vehicle you nearly caused to be written off, with also large human consequences is very negligent in my books. I told them that if i dont make it home i would sue them for a new NC24 and medical costs. Lucky for them i did, a new NC24 or restoring mine would likely be a fcuking lot of money.

    here is a photo!

    Thanks for reading all that,
    A friend of mine's BF who rides told me that he has had 3 bikes worked on there, all with many issues after they worked on them, in his words 'they blew up'.

    This is what i get for being cheap, from now on, motorcycle weaponry all fcuking day! even for things as simple for tires.
  2. Sorry to hear about that. Bad luck. Glad you managed to ride the bike back okay and it sounds like you were way too nice to the guys at the tyre shop

    Do you reckon there might have been lasting damage done to the caliper or rotor?

    My solution is take wheel off bike, take wheel to shop, get new tyre on wheel, put wheel back on myself. Also saves about ten bucks I think
  3. Glad it finally worked out for you. Mess of a thing to deal with though.
    I'm getting tyres tomorrow. I "trust" them but this serves a reminder to look over the bike. Not that I'll be able to tell if a bolt is not torqued right up and might work loose though.

    I can remember as a kid seeing a car drive past while waiting at a Bus Stop when a front wheel came off and flew towards us. She had just been in for a tyre change.
  4. Check the flatness of the disc. There could be some distortion from the friction heat locked on in a single location... then maybe a tatts ticket. You're a lucky man.
  5. Im glad you didn't get injured! That was a close call..

    Im planning on getting my front tyre changed soon, this has gotten me a bit worried! Do you guys have any tips on what i should look out for when getting the bike back? Im thinking check for loose/missing bolts. Maybe I will take a photo before I drop it off and compare before and afters.
  6. This is why i don't let anyone touch my bikes, mainly because i don't trust them to take the care not to scratch stuff up, but also because people are lazy...

    I'm betting they put the calliper bolt in by hand and forgot to tighten it.

    I made the small investment and got myself a no-mar tyre stand a while ago and do my own tyres as well as servicing.
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  7. Reminds me of the time I changed brake pads front and rear.I couldn't get the rear to bleed so after trying for days I took it to the Marque specialist.They spent 4 hours on it and finally found the problem,the piston wasn't clearing the return bleed hole.
    So I pick it up and pay the really big bill and head home.I get to just before the Harbour Bridge and the brake stops working.I pull over to find the calliper hanging under the bike,it had fallen off and bounced around the road on the hose.Some one had forgotten to tighten the mounting bolts.If it had tangled with the wheel it would have been ugly.I made a nice polite phone call so that the boss could educate the Imbecile as to my near death experience.I still buy parts from them but no spanner work since.
  8. Wow. What a terrible experience. Absolutely atrocious workmanship and appalling customer service. Glad you're OK.

    This is why I only ever give tyre shops my rims to mess with. Less for them to screw up.
  9. done well to manage a front lock.

    I carry zip ties with me. It's suprising what they can do. They will hold a caliper in place.

    And learn to use the rear brake. You shouldn't be not using it.
  10. Appalling is the right word: appalling workmanship and even more appalling customer (lack of) service.
  11. yeah thanks guys, the service really was terrible i really did not expect to hear no as the answer when i asked for a tow or even just to split it, or in my words (didnt write this in OP, because it was already a wall of text), "maybe you can put in like $50 or something to help me, i am a student" no. Ok great ill just ride home with the equivalent of no brakes for about 50 kilometers. Sounds like a totally non negligent suggestion.

    fcuking disgusting service, but i didnt really want to rage at them until after they had properly put my caliper back on and had their engineer check it. I really hope the owner understands the seriousness and makes amends some how.

    As for the zip ties being ok, your all probably right, and i should have had some on me, but i doubt i could have used the fronts with any kind of confidence with just zipties. I doubt the ride home would have been much different with zip ties bcus id be on the rear only anyway out of fear of causing a uncontrollable lock up to 0 from happening on the pac highway at school zone time.
  12. Ring the workshop back tomorrow when the owner is back. I'd say the near death experience is worth a refund on your tyre price
  13. Disgusting, can't u get the wheel off without removing the caliper anyway?
  14. Not on some bikes. But yeah o would have thought with such small calipers there'd be room. Probably apprentice

  15. I'd say most dual front braked bike you couldn't. Depends how proud the disc sits to the rim. Even then I'd say you'd need a single sided caliper.
  16. I think I would have cried and then punched them in the nose.
    (Well I like to think I would)

    Kind of brings a new meaning to your user name though :)
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  17. The craziest part is you took it back to them to fix it!
  18. It seemed logical at the time, it was very hot and i was in kevlars and leather, decision making not the best when your dehydrated from standing around with a fcuked bike being like, what the hell.
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  19. That's insane! I've had so much shit workmanship from mechanics I could go on about it all day. I go out of my way to do everything possible myself now. If a part needs working on I'll take just that part to them. That'll usually save some decent coin too.

    I'd be hitting the assholes up for a new rotor and pad (or halves in a pair). I would guarantee you they're damaged.
  20. Haha you took this story to netrider and they tore you apart. It's a bad event but you just let it go. Why did you not tear the workshop apart? Good little pic of the burning toilet paper on your bike tank too. They're right too, and it's finally affirmed what I've believed, you no naught a fcuking thing about riding bikes. Oh and you love netrider but you bag everyone here over at netrider. Good job mate.
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