Broken Belts and Broken Hearts

The other day I was on my way out for the day looking forward to a day of fun in the sun while riding my little scoot. After about 2 miles I heard a noise that sounded like… well there is no delicate way to put this but you know that noise and feeling you get when you have stomach problems and something just dropped and you need to go? Well my bike made that noise the only problem was there was no go. I rolled to a stop and immediately knew that it was my belt that had broken. Thankfully I didn’t have anywhere to be and my lovely wife was in the area so I was able to get my spare belt pretty easily. After a bit of fuss and some burnt fingers I got the replacement belt put on and decided to head back home instead of test fate anymore for a bit. Later that day after a call from my wife I decided to head out to see her after she was done with work. So I set out on my way and something didn’t seem quite right. Speed wasn’t quite there and that is saying something since I’m not that quick when I’m at the top of my game, then after putting up an overpass it made the noise yet again. I was crushed, the only saving grace was that I wasn’t far from home and I could push it home. So now what? I had no more belts and it was after 6:00 so both the scooter stores were closed for the day so nothing else could be done that day and it would have to wait for the next.

I woke up way to early and took my beautiful wife to work in her car and headed home to clean out the continuous variable transmission (CVT) case to get ready for the new belt. There were belt shards everywhere and it was a black mess in that case and stuck all over everything. I took the variator and clutch assembly off of the bike and made sure all the belt pieces were cleaned away and put it all back together. Now all that was left was a new belt. After looking on the internet I was expecting to have to spend at least 25 bucks on a new belt and probably 35 to 40 for the one I wanted. I was surprised by one standard that I saw said that a belt life is only 1500 miles… I have 3300 miles on my scooter so if that report was right I did pretty darn good on one of my belts… the other belt was complete crap and I will never purchase a belt from them ever again. I got to Wild Hogs Scooters (www.wildhogsscooters.com) and was in and out very quickly with a heck of a deal on 2 belts (one for now and a back up that will now be carried with me at all times). Better than a deal on 2 belts was 2 of the belts I actually wanted and not having to compromise again like I did when I bought the other off of the internet.

After I got home I was able to get it all put back together and it started right up. Needless to say I was still a bit hesitant to try and go anywhere after the last belt shredding right away but I took a few laps around the parking lot and then ventured over to Publix to try a little further. After a few laps I was reasonably sure that everything was set and ready to go so I took it on a real road. As I climbed the overpass I was sweating bullets and hoping worried that I would hear that sound again but thankfully my worries did not come true. I headed down the road and was a bit worried by the fact that I was not reaching quite the speed I normally would on this road but after passing a flag that was flying right at me and noticing that I was on an slight uphill I decided it probably wasn’t the belts fault the speed wasn’t up as high as it could. I pulled over into a parking lot to take a look and see if I noticed anything and everything still seemed good so I continued my quest to break in the new belt. I headed back towards the house, still not wanting to venture to far away from home and now with the wind to my back and a strong tail wind I noticed some speeds I hadn’t seen in a quite a while. This boosted my confidence a little so I turned away from home once more and headed over to Universal to give the parking garage ramp a try and to find out which one of the 2 annual passes in my wallet actually worked. Got to universal and still was going nice and strong. The throttle was responding very well and my speed was back to what is was not too long ago so I guess my belt had probably been deteriorating for quite a while. On my way home after that I actually hit and maintained 40 mph over a overpass which I’m not sure if I’ve ever achieved that before so I am pretty darn happy with it.

So the first of those 2 days basically stunk, but I’m very happy that I was able to resolve it and was able to do so on my own. I’ve noticed something on this vehicle that I have never noticed before. When I have a problem I get personally hurt by that problem, and it makes me feel like a failure. Now on the reverse side of that when I solve a problem I am ecstatic and get a high from that feeling of achievement that I have not felt from other things since I was doing woodworking.

What have I learned? Have a spare belt with you and make sure it is a good quality one. I can’t say for sure right now but I believe that the Gates Powerlink belts are quality and worth the extra cash. I’ll keep you posted on this overtime of course.

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