Saved by RaceABS

I’m almost too ashamed to post this. But it needs to be said. Over and over again, until it’s second nature and not questionable by ill-conceived reason. Doubt has no place in going fast. Lack of confidence hasn’t a place there either and neither has the lackadaisical attitude I often exhibit when it comes to questionable situations of the “WTF?” variety. Instead of pulling over and investigating the cause for the “something’s off” warning light that goes off in my head, I make a “that must be it” excuse and keep going.

“Good gawd, I must have forgotten how to shift! I need retraining.”

Could just be that the shift rod assembly is working loose and shifting is getting less precise and when it is about to fall off you can’t even get into third without hitting a false neutral most of the time.

“Holy hell, I can’t get a proper start down anymore! I need to practice.”

Could just be that the clutch lever pivot bolt is over-torqued and slowly demolished its threads, and now your clutch is slipping like mad. Well, DOH!

What is wrong with this picture?!?

What is wrong with this picture?

“The front end feels funny. Sounds weird, and the feedback is strange. Must be the new brand of tires with a softer compound running a lower pressure.”

Could just be that you’ve forgotten to torque the caliper bolts on the right side.

Marked For Torque

Encounters of the Anal Retentive Kind: "Marked For Torque" Nm values next to the fasteners to speed up things at the track

And that is probably the main reason we have to safety wire all this junk! If the wire is undone you know you haven’t torqued the bolt. Safety wiring was not required at JenningsGP, so I was lazy and didn’t redo them when I was done. I did four laps on brake caliper bolts that were only finger tight, the upper bolt backed out and the only thing holding it in was the RaceABS sensor cable. So the BMW S1000RR’s tech saved my dumb ass again, but not the way you would have thought.

I would have to thank my friend and my new tires for negating some of the stress those bolts were under and nothing worse happening than weaker brakes. I had brand new tires and was taking it easy and half a lap into putting the screws back on, the session was red flagged due to someone trying to pass my friend Margie Lee in T2 screwing it up and taking her out with him. They are both fine, although Mr. Red Ducati was a little worse for wear. He couldn’t remember who or where he was and had a mangled shoulder, but he’s going to be OK. Margie got checked out at the hospital, got a clean bill of health and went to work the next day. Ovaries of steel. My kind of woman there. 🙂 I knew there was a reason we hit it off.

After coming in from the session, pretty much the last one to leave the track, and not seeing her nor her bike in her pit, I got worried and ended up running around trying to figure out if it was indeed her who was involved and when I was told that it was, my heart just sank. The ambulance was taking forever at the crash site and the waiting game began. After all that, I wasn’t in the mood anymore; I just wasn’t feeling it, so we packed up and went home. This girl knows when to fold ’em. I didn’t notice the caliper bolts until I was putting the Pirate back into her street clothes in my driveway the next day.

Don’t be a moron like Miss Busa. Don’t be lazy and safety wire things back up, even if it is not required at the track you are on. It’s also a good idea to mark your bolts once you’re done. If it’s not marked with your little dot, safety wired or silicone sealed, you might want to check it out, just to be sure.

Also, don’t ignore feedback. If it seems off, it most definitely is. The bike is talking to you. Do yourself a favor and LISTEN.


7 Comments on “Saved by RaceABS”

  1. Ms XX Fast says:

    Awesome article!! I commend you for posting it. A bigger-browed, testicled person would not have done so. It’s a good reminder. I am glad nothing happened to you. I forgot to torque my front fender bolt once. Shawn caught it. DOH. They aren’t marked, wired, or siliconed obviously. Oh and my radiator reservoir rubber cap somehow worked itself off after a race. I wound up having to add some water and duct taped it. Can’t ziptie or wire that stupid part, and I am not siliconing it. The crap we deal with.

    Be safe!

    • Miss Busa says:

      “Bigger browed, testicled person” ROFLMAO That’s awesome. Nope, a lot of them are not, so I’ve decided to mark them puppies with red grease pencil. That should rub off when you put a tool to it. As a reminder to go around and check all of them after working on the bike.

      I also have written the torque values next to the corresponding fasteners. Paint Sharpies rule. I could have had the tire changed in 20 minutes if I hadn’t had to look those up and find the right tools in my shitty plastic tool box. 🙂 I wouldn’t have missed one session due to changing tires and I would have had a better chance for my mistake to spell out calamity for me later.

      Have you considered industrial strength Duck Tape? Maybe in a nice shade of hot pink? That should… never mind, I just re-read your comment. Yes you have. LOL

      Thank you for the kudos. I learn from my mistakes and I’m not too ashamed to put it out there so others may benefit from them also, that way my dumbassery isn’t a complete wasted effort. LOL

  2. Dandooligan says:

    I’ve done this too! I need to find a grease pen…

  3. Dandooligan says:

    lol, nah, forgetting to torque stuff…. I once rode a bike I’d been working on for about 6 months to a friend’s house to show it off, just to get there to have 1 of the 2 caliper bolts rattle loose and fall out somewhere along the road. Luckily nothing was wrong with the rear brake, so I just used that to get home…. Needless to say, I had to spend a few more weeks replacing bolts which had rattled loose and fallen off, and re-checking that everything was properly tight… what did I learn from this? To control my excitement. If I’m excited a project is done, let it sit 24hrs and then recheck everything. Then, get out and play…

  4. xclaufer says:

    Another good practice used in the aircraft industry is the use of Torque Seal inspection seal. It is a brittle paint that adheres well, but breaks and falls off when a fastener loosens (intentionally or unintentionally). Apply it as you torque fasteners, and you can know at a glance later if a fastener has loosened. Good for things that cannot be safety wired easily and don’t come off often.

    • Miss Busa says:

      That is an excellent idea! I have to get some of that, because the red nail polish system I’ve adopted is proving to be worthless since it doesn’t come off enough when taking the fasteners out and back in. So now it’s back to “have I or have I not?” especially a problem when I get interrupted in the middle and go back to it later.

      Also it breaking off when the fastener starts to loosen, that’s just the bee’s knees right there! The silicone gobs don’t do nothing much in that regard and are a pain in the arse to clean outta the spaces in between.

      Thank you for the tip. 🙂


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