How to Fix a Motorcycle (With Your Teeth)

Feb 14, 2012
Outside Magazine

Parked motorcycle during a long ride in India    Photo: cell105/Flickr

Pop! That's the sound of trouble on two wheels. If your clutch cable snaps, you can find yourself stranded A LONG WAY FROM HOME, in the wrong place at the wrong time. It happened to me eight years ago in Cambodia while riding a rented motorbike between Khmer Rouge and government positions after a day of negotiating for interviews with Maoist maniacs. I coasted to a stop. It was sunset, and I was ten miles from safety in a heavily mined no-man's-land of poisonous snakes and AK-47-toting farmers, with a bunch of murderers on my tail. You're always told to pack a spare cable, and I did—inside my saddlebags, 6,000 miles away. In the real world, there are often no parts, few tools, and less time, so:

(1) Use a rock to smash open the cable's metal tip;
(2) strip back the plastic covering (your teeth will work);
(3) find the broken wire and bite it;
(4) pull;
(5) knot the stub around a small pebble;
(6) slot it all into the bottom of your clutch handle; and
(7) get outta Dodge.