7 Aug 2008

A broken brake may lead to a broken theory

A few months ago I took my friend Chenthil's Enfield Thunderbird with me.  On the way to Hyderabad from Bangalore itself I had an accident -- I fell off the bike due to its weird brake behaviour.  I thought then that the disk brake of Thunderbird bikes is too sharp (unlike Unicorn's) and that made me fall.

After this, for some strange reason the bike used to skid occasionally when I apply brakes and I had hard time balancing it.  I thought maybe I am not used to handling the bike well -- or maybe it's too heavy to handle.  I said to a friend that if at all I have any accident with this bike it would be due to its brake.  Soon, the skidding more or less stopped and I was riding away happily.

Then I had a couple more accidents.  The brake invariably had some part to play.  I started thinking maybe there's something wrong with my braking habits.  But I never fell off my Unicorn due to bad braking.  Being the irrational human I am, I concluded that Thunderbird is a badly engineered bike.  I thought, "Bikes like Unicorn are modern.  They were designed end-to-end anew.  But these Enfields are very old technology.  These guys take the existing design and just add a disk brake.  How could that possibly be a balanced design?"

So I thought until yesterday morning.  I knew for a fact that the rear brake of my Thunderbird was not functioning at all.  I could stand on the brake pedal and move the bike.  Somehow I just ignored this fact and never felt like fixing it.  Only yesterday it struck me that this broken brake could be causing all the skidding and thus accidents.

Now the bike is in service center getting its brake serviced.  Hope everything turns out good :)

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