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Bush mechanics Pt 2: Getting your bike out of the bush | Features

Breaking down out on the trails isn’t fun, but there are a few tricks that might save you from pushing your bike out of the bush, or worse, leaving it there. Here are a few of them.

Getting your bike out of the bush #2

Broken throttle cable

Having the end of a throttle cable snap off is a fun killer. Your bike is running fine but you just can’t move the throttle slide open to get it to move. If the surrounding terrain is flat and mostly open trail there are a couple of ways to make it home under your own steam. You can just wind up the idle and control the bike with the clutch, gears and kill button. On the dirt roads it was almost fun. But if it’s in tough conditions it’s not going to be much fun. Still wind up the idle but not too far and make yourself a new throttle. If you can get to the end of the cable you can attach a couple of zip ties. Tie the broken end into a knot and use two zip ties to make a loop. Using more zip ties attach the cable to the handle bar so the loop is positioned near your thumb and you should be able to control the throttle by pulling it with the thumb and still have your hand on the bars.

Collapsed wheel bearings

Been out on the trail and someone notices their rear wheel bearings are gone? It is almost always the sprocket side, and once they start clunking that is usually it for the day. But if the bearing isn’t too far gone you still have options. You can remove the wheel and swap the bearing from the disc side. The disc side is usually in better shape and doesn’t have much load on it compared to the drive side. Once we even robbed a good bearing from another bike to get mobile. Most rear hubs have two bearings on the drive side and we just shared two good bearings between the two bikes and got them both home.

Holed crank cases

A simple encounter with a rock or one of your mate’s foot pegs can crack or punch a hole in your cases and cause an oil leak. Depending on the size and location of the hole you can usually stem the flow with a bit of trail side work.
Small thin cracks can be sealed with epoxy products. Lay over the bike so the oil runs away from the crack. Clean and dry the area around the crack and wash off the surface with some fuel, preferably four stroke fuel without the premix oil and let it dry completely. Mix up your epoxy and smooth it over the area of the crack. Build it up about a millimetre or two thick and be sure to spread it about five to ten millimetres either side of the crack to give it the best chance to seal the oil in.

If it is a hole or a piece is missing you can seal it up but you will need to bridge the gap with something. You can always find old cokes can or other rubbish trail side or even use a leaf, to cover the gap with a 5-10 mm overhang. Lay down a bead of epoxy to stick the patch down and then cover the patch to really seal it. The secret is to take your time and prepare the surface and patch well and then give the epoxy time to dry completely (at least an hour in warm weather) and you should get a good seal.

Be prepared

All of the fixes in this story are impossible without the tools and consumables needed. As every Boy Scout knows, you need to be prepared and carrying these items with you to affect the repair.

If you haven’t read Part One of our two-part feature on ‘Bush Mechanics’, check it out here.


All of the advice and techniques related here are to be taken as potentially dangerous and should be used only as a method to extract yourself from the bush and back to safety where proper repairs can be made. Fuel and oil are flammable and every effort should be made to transport them safely and avoid any possibility of dangerous spills and possible ignition. Hot oil and coolant can cause severe burns and injury so be sure to let the bike cool down before attempting working on it and be very careful to shield yourself from any possible leaks from poor temporary repairs. Once you get your bike running be sure to ride out in a safe manner with regards to the temporary repair.

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