I have just been reading a review of the new Kawasaki H2 SX. It is a beautiful thing, 200bhp of supercharged touring machine, guaranteed to get you where you want to go with a grin on your face. However, as I read that review and a couple of others comparing it and it’s sportier brother to other bikes, I couldn’t help but think that bikes have really got complicated. Then I started to think “if it broke down on the side of the road could I bodge it to get it back home?”
This isn't a bodge, this is just before a match and an insurance claim.
A bodge, if you didn’t know is “a clumsy or inelegant job, usually as a temporary repair.” Its origins are from the Middle English word “boccen “which meant “to mend”.
Being able to get a bike home when something has gone wrong has always been a great source of pride to motorcyclists, and of course a great source of stories down the pub after you have got back. I guess it is part of that feeling of independence that we love so much. We are not controlled by the machine, we don’t pay others to get us out of a problem and we never, ever, give up. These new bikes with their computer controlled systems however are beginning to erode some of that independence.
Perfectly acceptable, and will probably last for years
In the old days throttle cables ruled the roost. If they snapped there were loads of methods of bodging your way home. Undoing the switch gear, clamping the broken end in it and then just pulling on the cable is one way. On a push pull system you could just swap the cable round, ok you had to close the throttle to open it but it worked, hell, if need be you could even use a piece of string attached to the throttle body to get you home if needs be or just turn the tick over up! Now with the advent of fly by wire technology all those avenues are closed to you. Ok, I am not stupid, I know fly by wire is more reliable but what happens if it does go wrong? I suppose the only repairable thing would be a broken wire which would be easy enough to do...anything else though and you are pretty much fucked.
A classic bodge, where would we be without them?
I know, I am stupid to argue for a less reliable bike so that I can fix it myself, after all they are not just more reliable, they are also more powerful and better engineered, they are just better. However, I like knowing how my machine works, I like to not pay huge dealer fees for repairs and I like to tell stories in the pub, it is part of what motorcycling is to me.
Luckily, for me, this problem really does only apply to the engine, the electrical system (not including the “black box”) basically remains the same and fuses will always be able to be replaced by a nail or bent piece of fencing wire, and wiring repaired with a twist and some tape. The cycle parts will still be able to be held together with wooden splints, radiator caps can still be replaced by a cork and some cable ties and talking of cable ties, fairings can be held on by them and at a push so can footpegs.
Ok , maybe I was talking crap, maybe the bodge can still be alive and well in the 21st century, in which case I best start saving because those H2’s look like real fun things to ride.