A 72cc solution for the spiral-fracture blues

Restoration Hardware

It was a bad break: your basic spiral fracture of the left lateral malleolus – that's hammer in Latin – otherwise known as the end of the fibula. I know. People have slipped on an icy patch of sidewalk and ended up with worse. But a few weeks after tipping over in a particularly determined Antelope Valley blizzard and being banished to these evil aluminum crutches, delayed-onset cabin fever is taking hold, and it's bad. Finding the bright spots takes a little effort.
First on that list: the bones are knitting themselves back together sans screws, plates, pins or other expensive orthopedic accoutrements. Amen to that. And there are some interesting distractions outside my little orbit. Ben Spies is running right behind Haga san's F09 1098 in qualifying for this weekend's World Superbike round in Valencia, so there's the drama of whether or not #19 can pull off another sweep. I'll go in record and say that he can. But with at least another two weeks without actually riding a motorcycle, Mrs. Carrithers has spies all over the neighborhood. Rumor has it the ice cream man has her cell phone on speed-dial, so don't even try. Still, I've got to do something. Nobody said I can't work on a motorcycle. Especially when the one in need of the most work technically isn't a motorcycle at all. It's my 72 Honda Trail, languishing pitifully in The Shed between an ancient Craftsman lawnmower and my mom's old KitchenAid stand mixer. It won't even start…yet.

My semi-ambulatory status made the shed extraction a bit dicey, but after a quick inspection, the initial prognosis is good. There’s no foul-smelling fuel in the tank. I actually had the foresight to drain it before the little bugger went into mothballs. The speedometer shows 932.2 original miles. Oil looks good. Chances are the internals are too. And aside from a ragged gash in the right-side frame decal, battle scars are few. The tiny 19mm Kehin carburetor’s float bowl gasket is shot, and the original battery succumbed to the ravages of sulfation a decade ago. But I’m not worried. The beauty of wrenching on one of Soichiro’s smallest progeny is that parts are cheap: $27.50 for a modern reproduction of that sticker I need. A new battery goes for about $20 bucks; a chain will set me back $14 more. The inevitable details - $1.87 each for muffler heat shield parts, for instance, add up. I know. But since I have a grand total of $300 invested so far, it’s the perfect project to stave off the riding jones in a down economy. I’ll keep you posted…so to speak.