Snow Leopard’s Protest

After finishing the Sikkim leg of our ride Snow Leopard, Denzil Nunes‘ Impulse, decided that enough was enough and sat down on the road in protest. Quite literally. The rear monoshock of the motorcycle gave up.

Luckily for us the motorcycle decided to stage a protest close to civilization in a village in West Bengal and not atop a freezing cold mountain pass. We moved the motorcycle to the side of the road and removed the monoshock so that our jugaad specialist Altaf Khalifa could inspect it.

Turns out the monoshock was half dead already. It’s spring had gone weak and the previous owner had stuffed some hard rubber into the bottom section as a packing with the aim of raising the tail of the motorcycle to compensate for the sag in the weak spring. The packing ate into the threaded portion and the shaft didn’t get enough threads to stay rigid. Over time and with all the abuse that the motorcycle endured in Sikkim, the shaft sheared the threads that were supposed to keep it in place and jumped out of the bottom.

Altaf tried to scrape out the packing in the hope that the shaft would be able to use the threads that were now exposed. It would be a temporary solution and we would try and find a permanent solution may be in Guwahati. But that path didn’t look too promising.

In the meantime Denzil and Irfan Khalifa went in search of a monoshock. The village we were in wasn’t a big one and it seemed unlikely that they would find a spare parts shop. The closest city was Kalimpong which was around 30 kms away in the direction opposite to where we were headed. But it was evening and by the time we got to Kalimpong, the shops would be closed.

Just when it appeared that we were screwed (pun intended), Denzil and Irfan returned back with a mechanic carrying an old monoshock of a Yamaha FZ. It was like we had hit the jackpot. It must have been the only monoshock available for miles in any direction and Snow Leopard was considerate enough to break down right next to it.

The mechanic studied the differences between both monoshocks and with Altaf’s help came up with a strategy to fit the FZ monoshock on the Impulse. He went to a nearby workshop, made the modification to return back and make Snow Leopard stand upright once again.

Luck was on our side that day. Big time.