Potato, Potahto – Who Cares? Let’s Fix My Bike

Don’t you just hate it when you lose a front brake caliper bolt when you’re riding your motorcycle? Yea. Me too.

When I pulled into the parking lot in town on Sunday night, I gave the Husky brake lever a squeeze as I approached the entrance booth. Instead of gliding to a gentle stop I was met with metallic crunching sound, an odd feel on the lever and well, no brakes.

Without actually knowing what was wrong, it was obvious what was wrong. I leaned towards Kenny who was riding next to me and said, “I think my front brake caliper just fell off.”

This of course was met with a look that said, “Whaaaat?” without saying a word. He may or may not have slowly opened his helmets sunshade for dramatic “are you crazy?” effect.

The parking lot entrance booth

The parking lot entrance booth.

I rolled myself past the booth and pulled directly in front of it to get out of the way of the incoming traffic. I hopped off the bike and saw indeed that my front brake caliper was cocked back and  balancing along the edge of the brake rotor. The lower bolt had sacrificed itself to the road gods somewhere on my short journey.

Like my own personal pit crew – in about 2 seconds flat Kenny had parked his bike, jettisoned his gear, walked back to me and began looking at my front wheel. If you don’t already have your own pit crew, you might consider getting one. It is a very nice service.

While he was laying on the hot summer asphalt next to my front wheel, he struck the pose of a man with a purpose who was actually doing something other than, you know – hanging out on the blacktop near the 2 lanes of traffic by a parking entrance booth.

From out of the parking booth right behind us, a squeaky teenaged voice said, “you can park your bike in any spot anywhere in the lot.

I turned and looked at her, smiled and politely and said, “If I could, I would.

Actually… my look probably wasn’t entirely polite. It may have appeared more along the lines of “Really? You’re kidding. I can PARK in the spaces in this PARKING LOT? You mean everyone who comes into this lot on a motorcycle doesn’t strip off all of their gear and lay down on the hot blacktop RIGHT HERE and poke at the moving parts on their bike ALL the time?”

But I did smile.

I took a quick walk around the entrance driveway to see if my bolt had by some chance wiggled itself out there. Of course, it was nowhere to be found. We had to figure out some other quick fix.

With the caliper shoved back into its normal position on the disc, I pushed the bike over into the motorcycle parking spaces. You know, because I can park in any of them. We just needed something to steady the caliper in it’s rightful place since I didn’t have another bolt. Some safety wire or … Oh! A zip tie would do.

“We could just zip tie it in place for now,” I said.

“You mean wire tie?” Kenny replied.

::blink:blink:: “What? Yes. Wire tie.”

It was at this moment that I finally realized that men are indeed from Mars and women from Venus. We were saying the same damned thing. Zip tie, wire tie, cable tie, potahto – whatever you want to call it, let’s just go ahead and fix my bike.

I swear. It’s hard to find good help that won’t talk back these days.

zip tied caliper

I’m happy to report that the temporary fix worked like a charm and that my caliper bolt has been replaced.

I have also docked Kenny’s pay for being insubordinate. Beatings will continue until morale improves.

Which do you say?

Zip, cable or wire tie?


Rachael is the whimsical writer behind the 20+ year old Girlie Motorcycle Blog. As a freelance blogger, she is on a mission to inspire laughter, self-examination, curiosity, and human connection. Girlie Motorcycle Blog can be found on several Best Motorcycle Blog lists.

You may also like...

19 Responses

  1. It’s always been “zip tie” to me. “Tie wrap” also seems to be popular. By any name, it’s one of those miracle fix-its I always carry, like duct tape…or do I mean “duck tape”?

  2. Zoe says:

    Cable tie… but any of those will do, I’d know what to go fetch from the tool kit!

  3. Conchscooter says:

    Zip. I grew up with jubilee clips and discovered they are actually called hose clamps. Equally useful, irregardless. Awesome.
    Oh and try getting rid of the word salad, you’d be stunned how little your comments will be spammed and how much easier it is for real
    people to comment.

  4. Glantern says:

    Ziptie all the way!

    I think he was messing with you………he has said ZipTie a bunch of times.

  5. Trobairitz says:

    Not so great that you lost the bolt, but a great post. I always love the humor and sarcasm in your posts.

    I’d never heard the term ‘zip tie’ until we moved to Oregon. Growing up in British Columbia – they were ‘zap straps’ Ask for one of those in this country and see what kind of looks you get.

  6. RichardM says:

    A while back, I worked with a international group setting up a network for a networking conference. We were all amazed at the different names everyone had for common items such as these. I think the most common name for these were plastic tie-wraps (as opposed to the velcro ones.)

    Wonderful post about what could have been a very serious problem…

  7. OG says:

    Crikey, I had to think about this for a moment. As specific as I am about nomenclature, I may in fact, use all three interchangeably. That said, I think my personal hierarchy is something like, “wire tie, zip tie then cable tie” with the odd “tie wrap” added for spice.

  8. DUC748 says:

    Zip tie for me as well. I lost the same bolt on my 748 once but I didn’t lose my ability to brake. I knew something was up when I pulled the lever and heard a metallic clank from up front. It was a slow easy ride to the shop to replace the bolt…you know, because the rear brakes on our bikes are crap! =\

    • Fuzzygalore says:

      It was weird, the caliper was completely kicked back off of the rotor. You’d think it would just kind of dangle down and keep the brake pads partially on the disc, but it didn’t. ::shrug::

      Rear brake? 748/996 have a rear brake? 😆

  9. Kathy says:

    I, too, have my own personal pit crew. He rocks. Although he has the sarcasm issue, too.

    I usually call them wire ties. You know all three times I think I ever used that particular term in a sentence. But I knew exactly what you meant when you said zip tie! Us women just understand stuff like that.

    I think “zap strap”, which I’d never heard before, Trob, is my favorite alternate term for that little device. 🙂

  10. Noah says:

    Zip or cable; depends on whether I’m talking to to ‘murricans or furnurs. Or my mood. Or the position of the moon. Or what I had for breakfast during the previous sunspot cycle.

  11. Clever fix. Continue the beatings. You make me smile!

  12. Shybiker says:

    You make me laugh. Which doesn’t mean I’d want to be married to you. You’re amusing — from a distance. 🙂

  13. Crudmop says:

    LOL – what’s REALLY Mars and Venus here is the difference in opinions on what really transpired, because my recollection is a bit different 🙂

  14. “Beatings will continue until morale improves”

    Then you wonder how on earth did your front caliper bolt mysteriously work itself loose and fall off?

    Things that make you go Hmmmm…

  15. Jason says:

    I’ve always called them zip ties. I think this is a case of Kleenex vs. Tissue. Zip Tie may in fact be a brand name, but don’t quote me on that. I work at a major home improvement chain so you’d think I would be able to say this with more authority. Cable tie is the second most common thing to call them I think, at least with people I know. I’m aware of all 3 terms though and likely would not argue to any of them.

  16. Arc says:

    Did said piece of material go “zzzzzzip” when it was tightened? If so its a zip tie. A cable tie refers to something that ties cables together, a zip tie can offer that service though in a non-permanent install such as an event or temporary networking solution they are not ideal as the need for dikes (or angled pliers, another word battle for you) is needed to remove. A cable tie is correctly known as something that provides the the same solution but made out of fabric and velcro allowing for reuse, unlike the one used on your bike.

    Trust me, I’m an ex video technician. We know everything.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: