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The Living Dead Scooter

Something didn’t feel quite right – after the top end rebuild in Whitehorse and a careful break-in on the Alaska Highway, I expected Red to be ready to tear up the roads through Canada and the US. Instead I found myself still sticking to around 40MPH due to a slight vibration and a perceived lack of smoothness in the engine. I wanted a professional to take a look before sliding around the deserts and mountains of the US and stopped by Fritz Scooter & Motorcycle Repair in Seattle for a health check.

The result wasn’t good. Within a few minutes Jake realized Red was a dead scooter riding: the crankshaft is shot. The piston is burned to shreds, bearings are loose, seals are leaking, and the crankshaft is bent. This is definitely the reason for the original failure and it’s unfortunate that it wasn’t spotted in Whitehorse, though it’s understandable since they don’t work on these every day.

So, nearly 12,000 miles into this journey, I’m stuck again waiting for parts from Chicago (which will hopefully get here much faster than they did to Whitehorse!) to do an engine rebuild. Jake and Nick at Fritz have been totally awesome, opening up on a Monday to help me out and sharing beers and their entire day with me yesterday and today (and most likely tomorrow).  Equally, Genuine and Scooterworks have been fantastic with the tech support on the road.

I’m pretty happy either way – for those not familiar with two-strokes, let’s just say these engines aren’t at all designed for the type of duty cycle I’ve been running this through. I’m stoked that this Rattler 110 has held up as long and as well as it has, it’s really a testament to the quality of the machine that it didn’t tear itself apart much earlier. When I planned this trip originally I expected an engine rebuild during a one month/5k mile ride and didn’t expect this to turn into an epic 15k+ mile over three months journey – if I had, maybe I would’ve picked up a four-stroke.

Nonetheless, I’m stoked, looking forward to getting the parts in and the engine rebuilt, then breaking Red back in again carefully along the Pacific Coast Highway. This is what life is all about!


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