Cars

Motorbike frames measured after accident damage: report

Poor Honda looks like a total wreck. The front broken, the headlight crooked, skid marks all over the right side. The most important question when it comes to accident motorcycles like this one is: Is it scrap – or will it be running again?

The answer is found by the man with the suitcase: Michaeldriver will measure the frame precisely. Thanks to infrared and laser, his judgment is accurate to a hundredth of a millimeter. Crooked or straight – that decides the fate of the black Transalp.

Driver’s shop in Hamburg looks like any motorcycle shop from the outside, but behind the meticulously clean workshop reveals the decades of knowledge of a specialist: there are dozens of frames, numerous measuring gauges, lathes and straightening benches, because the 67-year-old also straightens frames and rebuilds. (This is how you find the right motorcycle specialist workshop!)
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Just a few of the numerous frames that Michael Driver stores in his workshop.


Today he uses comparatively fine cutlery for the Transalp. Driver takes an arm-thick hanger out of his suitcase, equipped with two infrared cameras and a laser. This receiver, a “Scheibner Megamax”, is used precisely on both sides at the pivot point of the rear wheel swing arm.

Driver initially learned the hard way with the “Megamax”

He screws light-emitting diodes onto the handlebars, which send the cameras their position when the steering head turns to the side: left, right, left, everything precisely controlled. “The great advantage of this technology,” explains Michael Driver, “is that it measures on the motorcycle that hasn’t been dismantled.”

No dismantling, no loss of time. The qualified two-wheeler master mechanic was the first to use the “Megamax” nationwide and initially learned a lot when there were teething problems.

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The precision instrument costs around 14,000 euros. Infrared cameras that aim at LEDs (blue lines) are stuck in the black metal frame.


Today the Hamburger belongs to the Federal Association of Bicycle Experts. A body that has only existed since 1996 and has made the scene extremely professional. From tenths to thousandths, so to speak.

In his workshop, the frame doctor sits at the laptop over the measurements of the Transalp, which he compares with the target values ​​from Honda. He has saved more than 1850 data sets for a wide variety of motorcycles. And if there are no specifications, the compact measuring instrument allows him to take his own data from intact bikes.

Four main values ​​in each measurement

Driver takes four main values ​​(camber and steering head angle on the main frame, offset of the rear frame and torsion of the swingarm) with each measurement. Finally, the lower edge of the steering head comes on, which requires a special tool on a Harley-Davidson Dyna, for example: an offset measuring gauge.

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Driver reads the measured values ​​on the monitor. At the end, the customer receives a certificate that shows the deviation from the manufacturer’s specification. Cost: 219 euros.


“I’ve got everything,” Michael Driver grins contentedly and shows his own construction. He builds something like that on the side – next to two private Harleys, next to his racing BMW, which starts in the Classic Boxer Trophy, next to the repair of valuable frames, which have become his second mainstay. Realigning an accident Harley from the forties back to the hundredth, his face lights up.

Last question: has the master ever had to measure his own accident machine? “I was always too fast on the road, but flew off? No, never,” he says and prints out his measurement certificate: The Honda Transalp is straight. At least the framework. Let’s see if it’s worth rebuilding.

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