The Beast is Back

I thought this was worth interupting the blogs for.

Good news, as the title says the bike is back on the road.

For anyone not paying attention at the back !

We had a crash mid corner on our way back to Melbourne 27th April 2012 and bounced the bike and us up the road (and off a crash barrier according to the police report) We were doing 80-90km/h at the time on tarmac so it did quite a bit of damage to us and the bike. Karen is still in hospital with multiple fractures to her pelvis, ribs and collarbone but is on the mend. I somehow managed to get away with cuts and industrial bruising much to the disbelief of the hospital who scanned me with everything they had because they couldn’t believe I hadn’t broken anything or sustained some internal injuries.

Here is a pic of me with the bike on it’s first run outside St Pauls Cathedral in Melbourne. (More of the reason for that when the blogs catch up)                              

I am wearing my new jacket and riding trousers (or pants depending on where you are from). Thank you very much to Neds riding gear ( for the replacement kevlar cargos and their continuing support and Martin from for replacing our jackets with some of his cordura ones. Martin is an extremely good judge of size and my new jacket is an amazing fit, if it were tailor made to my measurements it could not fit any better.


Here are some pictures of the mangled bits we were faced with.

The first is the right hand racking which supports the panniers, the second is a view we have already shown but it shows the extent of the damage you can see one of the back roof supports is like a banana, next shows the racking badly twisted from the underside, here I am looking down at the screen frame, the centre stand in three pieces and last a view showing how twisted the main panniers were.


And here are some pictures of how we straightened it out. Thank you to Pierre also from the Vic Guzzi Club for the loan of his portapower hydraulic ram which was invaluable as you can see below.

The first and second are looking from where the outrigger wheels at the back sit, the rear wheel has to go back in here, the last is trying to straighten out the front box fridge.


Here are some more pics of us beating things. Craig the president of the Victoria Guzzi Club lent me the scooter which has been invaluable for getting around Melbourne. Here it is coming back from the metalshop with some new box section taped to the handlebars. The other pics are John and I persuading things to return to their original shape, that crowbar came in useful


During the accident I felt the back wheel lock up, we were not definite what caused it so as a precaution we stripped the gearbox and drivebox to see if everything was okay in there. I did wonder if something had come adrift inside and jammed between two gears but when we had a look it was all okay. There were a couple of things that needed attention, Martin spotted that the left hand thread nut on the end of the output shaft was coming undone and was only hanging on by a couple of threads. This was easily sorted by cleaning the shaft, applying some threadlock and tightening it back up, peening over the crush washer again. If you are ever inside a Guzzi gearbox it’s worth checking this as Martin said he found quite a few that had worked loose over the years when he was doing this stuff professionally.  We also found one thrust washer that fell apart upon disassembly which we obviously replaced. Other than that it was in quite good shape in there considering how many hard miles it has done. We put a new clutch in it too while it was apart and easy to get at.

We had to have a look at everything just to be sure but I think we are back to the original theory that the accident was probably caused by a sudden tyre deflation although we may never know for sure. We were actually just pitching into a right hander at about 80 to 90km/h when the back end did a mighty S weave, I think possibly the tyre was pushed off the wheel to the extent that it jammed up against the swing arm and brake caliper causing the rear wheel to lock up. The tyre was only replaced 4th April and certainly had plenty of tread left on it but we did notice some slight damage when we were at Jingelic caused we think by something from the dirt road trail we had been riding previously. It didn’t look that serious and besides which we could not replace it until we got back to Melbourne anyway as we were out in the boonies. It’s always easy in hindsight to say what you should or shouldn’t have done but we were both agreed to continue at the time and keep an eye on it.


The Victoria Guzzi Club is a very active branch and there is always something going on. They have two service days a year where members bring their bikes along and have a servicing party and barbeque afterward. This gives less confident mechanics a helping hand and a chance to share information and learn about their machine. These started at peoples houses but is now held at A1 motorcycles in Melbourne as the dealer sold quite a few service items and everyone could get anything they needed easily. What a great idea !

Another great idea they have is a set of club tools. These have been purchased over the years as required and anyone who makes a tool for a specific job chucks that in the bucket as well. That way when you have a big job on you borrow the bucket and have access to all the useful service tools that make life so much easier. Here is said bucket.


There is still a little bit more to do, some of  the ally panniers have splits and need tig welding. Craig has managed to find someone local to do this so that hopefully should not be a problem. The boxes and racks are now all back on as is the screen minus plastic (which I hope to sort out this week).

The crashbars and panniers absorbed most of the damage and almost certainly saved the bike (and possibly us) from irrepairable damage. The frame is straight and undamaged and the bike rides straight and true which is incredible considering the battering it received. It could have been the end of our dream in more ways than one but we hope it’s going to have a happy ending.

Of course I didn’t do this without help, while I have the opportunity I need to say a few more thank you’s.

The UK Moto Guzzi club surprised us with a nice donation to help keep the wheels rolling. A big thank you to everyone there, we were really touched. In between trying to catch up with the blogs, finishing fixing the bike and making sure Karen isn’t going stir crazy I am trying to make a presentation of pictures that are going to be projected up onto one of the walls at this years V twin rally in the UK.

We are also very grateful to Pete Roper who donated us a back wheel which has saved us a chunk of money and helped get the bike back on the road so quickly.

A big thank you to John for the use of his workshop and his help and ingenuity fixing the bike. I really appreciate your help and Martin for coming to help out too.

I am also much indebted to Neil and family for putting me up and running me around in the early days. Neil is a great guy and  he and his family dropped everything to make me so welcome when I first got out of hospital.

Thank you also to Steve and Mark both from the Vic Guzzi club for their help welding up the damage to the racks and crashbars. There was quite a few hours work in them and I am grateful for your help fellas !

And last but definitely not least Craig and family for putting me up in town, being so helpful and making me so welcome.

Just a quick update on Karen, nothing much has changed signifiantly she is gaining more flexability as the muscles and tendons loosen up around the trauma site. She has an xray on 18th June when she hopes she will be able to weight bear on her left arm again, this will increase her mobility massively. Incidently a few people have asked for Karen’s address in hospital it is as follows:

Karen Browne ,Room 17B,  Ward 3NS, Normanby Building  Epworth Rehab Hospital, 89 Bridge Road, Richmond,  Melbourne, Victoria 3121

Phone  Melbourne (0061) (3) 9426 8437

She also would like say a very big thanks to all the people who have phoned and visited her.


That’s it,  back to Tasmania with you !

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