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Old 01-14-2011, 08:12 PM   #36
Joe Motocross OP
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Joined: May 2007
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Here's a little more on Day 3. The first shop we came across, I showed they guys the problem with the valve. They had a look on their faces that was not good and one guy says in broken english "this bike needs big hospital"!

Indian taxi?

I don't know if Buurrt got across just how intense the situation at Kiratpur was. It was dirty as all get out with dust flying everywhere, trucks rolling in and out and people scurrying all over. We had a major language barrier there making it hard to discuss what was going on with the bike. Here is a very typical scene in India. Westerners will start to draw a crowd. Indians will slowly start to appear and watch. Many of them are friendly and will try to help EVEN IF THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING! But they are trying to give you assistance. It's great and I really like that they just want to help you. Others that aren't helping will just watch. And watch. And watch. Even if you're not broken down, maybe you're just pulled over to rest and have some water, Indians will start to appear and watch.

More dudes are coming out of the woodwork offering their opinions. We get Smart Motors on the phone with the main mechanic and Myheap at Smart Motors tells the guy to adjust the push rod and send us on our way. I know there's something way worse with the head then just a push rod out of adjustment.

In the meantime, we've adjusted the push rod as best we can and these guys are suggesting we try starting the bike. I'm thinking, "no way, there's something not good in the head". But we kick the thing and it fires up!! I can't believe it. It's definitely not running right but these guys say just go easy and it'll make it to the next shop. We got a tow rope so we're not concerned if it breaks down so we take off. It's mid day now.

Well, we make it to Natu's Enfield shop. Now we're where we want to be. This dude who we dub "The Guru" knows the Enfield like he was the engineer who designed it. He starts the diagnosis. He speaks no english but I can communicate just by showing him parts and demonstrating the problem. He's of the Sikh (Seek) religion. We found that we really liked all the Sikhs that we'd meet.

The Guru is swamped with customers! (tells you something about how much maintenance the Enfields need) He's doing a sort of "Enfield Mechanic Triage" which we would learn was a common task among Enfield mechanics. It consists of sorting out the customers bike issues and tending to them in a manner that keeps people flowing through, thus, maximizing the amount of bikes he can attend to.

He's constantly jumping from bike to bike, diagnosing and deciding what task is next. The Guru is cool as a cat, moves slow but deliberately and is very efficient. He's got a number of young apprentices that he keeps busy with easy tasks. If you've got more serious issues, he'll triage you out as he takes care of other easier repairs at the same time, jumping back and forth, putting his apprentices to work on the routine stuff. Things like chain adjustments and clutch issues get taken care of quick.

We decide the head has to come off our bike. Again, we put Myheap from Smart Motors on the phone and have The Guru inform him of what's the issue. Myheap agrees and we proceed. It looks scary but it's no big deal. It takes a few minutes and we get it off. Buuurrt showed photos of the valve seat that had popped out.

So the Guru sends me back to Kiratur and I'm at this little rat hole of a shop and the machinist starts CUTTING A VALVE SEAT FROM SCRATCH!! I'm totally impressed!! He's centering the piece with simple tools and measuring with basic calipers. He finishes it, pops it back in the head, laps the valve and sends me on my way for $300 rupees ($6)! I'm dumpfounded.

It's late in the afternoon now but I get back to the Guru's and we assemble the bike, he takes it for a ride and pronounces it ready. We tell him of our intended route and he give's us thumbs up. This guy had a heart of gold and was genuinely a very honest dude. I try to start the bike but it doesn't start the first few kicks. That's when he gives us a lesson on starting the Enfields. I've got big boots on and I'm kicking it like a 500cc dirt bike, just giving it all I've got! He's got flip flops on and finesses the kick starter with an easy stroke and the thing just starts purring. So that's how it's done!! I must say that when the Enfields are running properly, the do purr real nice. Just a slow quiet engine.

We hop on and once again head for the hills. I've still got those metal shavings in the back of my mind and I'm not really seeing how they were related to this repair we just did. It'll turn out they weren't related. It's raining and we put on our rain gear. Like Buurrt said, it's raining heavily and we advance 10km past the hotel we stayed the previous night to Swarghat and find another hotel, get cleaned up, have cocktails and dinner and re-live the intense day we just had, amazed to have made at least 10km headway!!
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