Warning, long post follows
Hi all, first post here. I’ve been having a ball riding my kitted and well-modified Puch maxi with the Casserollers since last year. Was gleefully looking forward to my first out of town rally to the Black Hills for the Big Dirty. Unfortunately, I crashed on the return leg of a ride two weeks ago and will be out of commission for awhile.
I just wanted to let y’all know how I screwed up, so perhaps someone else may avoid a similar outcome.
I decided earlier to remount the stock front fender because, you know… I might get wet or something. As I have aftermarket forks and a DIY stabilizer bar, I added a single tab to mount the upper fender, and used the original lower rods that loop under the axle nuts. Worked perfectly until the night of the ride…when it didn’t.
I hit a small bump and heard a small rattle. Hit another and heard a louder rattle. Glanced down and could see the top of the fender waving around. Hit a third bump and was immediately and violently slammed to the pavement at about 35mph.
I fortunately only wound up with a broken right hand, it could have been so much worse. It was nighttime, no other vehicles or people were involved, and no solid obstacles were present.
The cause was immediately and painfully (in more ways than one) evident. I had neglected to use any sort of safety on the single upper mount and when it vibrated loose, the fender rotated backward and contacted the spinning tire, which then grabbed the lower edge of the fender which instantaneously tried to wrap itself around the front of the wheel, twisting the steel support rods as it did.
I’ve had time to reflect on my mistake, and why I made it. The modification itself was probably ok. What I didn’t appreciate at the time was, by eliminating the upper support arms, the single connection to the torsion bar not only kept the top of the fender from flopping to and fro, but also prevented any rotational movement. A safety of some kind here was critical. I may have been thinking of the flimsy, seemingly afterthought fenders on bicycles, as opposed to the far more substantial fenders and mounts on motorcycles. And I just never experienced or heard of such a thing, so foolishly failed to realize the possible ramifications. There was no doubt a bit of complacency and/or laziness on my part as well.
Anyway, the other thing I wanted to express publicly, is my gratitude to all who were on that ride. While everyone shut their rides down and waited patiently expressing their support, Kim, John and Luke dove right in, removing the mangled fender and re-mounting the wheel. Trevor offered me shelter at his home nearby. Brad bundled the fender on his mount, and others helped out as well. We finished the remainder of the ride back. Next day I received numerous calls and texts of support and encouragement. What a great group of mopedders we have here in the Twin Cities! Hoping to be back in the saddle soon.