Maintenance and the usual checks are usually essential on a Lambretta. Gearbox oil, cables, tyre tread and air pressure, carburetor, spark plug, petrol flow, filters, connections, the list goes on, but have you ever been complacent when everything seems to be ticking along nicely without a worry? Have you ever got lazy when checking for the simple things like the wheel nuts? I have, a lot. About a week before I was heading to France for my Western Front Run I “dodged a bullet”.
The video will show me pulling up to traffic lights at a junction. These lights are the bane of my local scootering. It’s about a mile from my house and I use it a lot when going to Belfast City Centre and other places. This time the junction that annoys me so much, may have saved me a nasty experience on the Lambretta.
I left home on my way to the city, as I was coming up to the lights the front end felt odd, when I reached the lights (that take a lifetime to cycle through the sequence) I lent over the headset to take a look, giving the headset a wobble to see what was going on. I couldn’t see properly, but I thought I’d ride on and check at the next opportunity. The lights changed to green and as I set off the wobble returned, so I rode off the crossroads and pulled over onto the pavement.
I stopped the engine and got off. My first thoughts were steering issues or fork problems. I was in for a shock.
Three of the four SIP nuts were gone. The last one turned in my fingers. The last thing I thought it could have been was the wheel nuts. It’s the first time I’ve ever had wheel nuts come loose.
Now, I’ve been running SIP Tubeless rims for a while now and I’ve had no problems like this (there’s that complacency I was talking about). It was suggested to me by Martin Hyland of Just Lambretta some time ago that I could use Kart nuts. These are M8, but they take a 10mm socket and the important bit is, they fit the well the nut goes into. More importantly, you can see easier for any loose nuts. I had forgotten all about these (which I had already ordered). I replaced the SIP nuts with these as soon as I got home.
What if the lights at the junction were green when I reached them? Knowing me, I’d probably had ridden on until I stopped for a proper look, but the wheel would have come off long before that.
When was the last time you checked your nuts?
Watch the video linked below.