Zac takes a face plant during his daily commute. Time to see how well the Konker crashes …
I’m a lucky guy. I just may be the only rider to leave the scene of a motorcycle accident in a hearse and live to tell about it.
CMG readers know that Editor ‘Arris kindly loaned me the CMG Konker dual-sport for a month for my two cents on the machine, the only caveat being to return it in good shape.
That went out the window last week when the front tire suddenly blew out during my commute to work.
It all happened very quickly and I remember wrestling with the bars for a quick second, but I soon ended up sliding down the road, the motorcycle scraping merrily behind me.
Thankfully, this being New Brunswick, there were no cars anywhere around me, so the bike and I didn’t get run over. So once it all came to a sad stop, I peeled myself off the pavement and limped around assessing the damage.
I’d left my motorcycle pants at home, and was simply wearing a pair of cargo pants, which the asphalt shredded, leaving my left leg with a healthy coating of road rash. Lesson learned!
My Olympia AST Jacket saved my upper body from most of the scraping (but now the jacket needs to be replaced) and my helmet had slid along the pavement briefly, so it was a write-off too.
But what about the bike?
As I painfully picked up the Konker and started to roll it off the pavement, I was instantly swarmed by funeral home workers. This is not a joke. In very CMG style, I’d conveniently crashed right outside a funeral home, only — luckily for me — I wasn’t dead.
A trio of very kind ladies raced across the road, helped me push the bike to the curb, and asked if I was all right? I thought so. Did I need a ride home? Well, now that you mention it . . .
One of the girls ran back to the funeral home and came back, driving the company van. That’s right – the same van they drive coffins around in. Thankfully, this trip was in the front seat, not the back. The Konker rode in the rear, damaged but not dead.
After unloading the bike, I did a walk-around and was rather relieved to find that the damage was minimal.
The rear bodywork does stick out somewhat and as a result was scraped badly, the front fender too had a patch of rash, the signal lights and bar ends were scraped and the front rim wasn’t going to win any awards in the looks department.
It appears that the left footpeg had taken most of the load during the crash and as a result, for the most part, everything was fairly intact.
I went in, soaked my leg in the tub, and called Rob with the bad news.
So, what caused the tube to fail?
Most likely it was my fault as I was running lower than normal pressures for off-road, and had neglected to re-adjust them for street use. The tube also ripped at the valve stem which further supports this theory.
However, I bought a Kenda Tuff Tube as the replacement, because I didn’t feel like taking any chances – there’s a reason that many Chinese bike owners replace their tire tubes as one of the first orders of business, just in case.
Because the bike and I have been laid up for a few days, there’s no further ride review this week. But for those who’ve asked me how the Konker stacks up against the Lifan I used to own, here’s the skinny:
The Konker is definitely a better bike. The suspension has proven to be much more capable to this point (although only time will tell if it continues to hold up in the long term).
I personally prefer the Kenda tires, and the plastics look much better, although they are still painted, not colour-in, which tends to make them less crash/scrape friendly.
Even little touches like the grips and signal lights are an improvement over the Lifan – the blinkers are on flexible stems and both survived their scrape along the pavement.
When I picked up the Konker, I was especially happy to find it didn’t need a tune-up – it took a few weeks of fiddling with the carb on my Lifan before I got it running the way I wanted.
The only real disappointments with the bike were the poor choice for the final drive gear ratios (the Lifan had much more highway capability), and the lack of handguards – though the Lifan handguards were so flimsy that they were quickly replaced anyway.
Talking of gearing, I mentioned in the last article that I was chasing down a Suzuki sprocket to increase the Konker’s top speed. I tried Konker directly but they don’t sell the unit, though they did recommended a sprocket off a Suzuki 125cc enduro that’s supposed to fit.
I ordered the part through a local dealer, but when it arrived, it was the wrong unit. Bummer! They are working on correcting the mistake, but for now, there’s no sprocket update. The handguards I was promised haven’t arrived yet either.
This is a good point to remember with Chinese bikes like the Konker – you’re going to have to do some digging to find out what fits as there isn’t an aftermarket yet.
Also, don’t expect to get the same support you’d get from a Big Four manufacturer. I’m lucky that I have a good relationship with a local parts counter worker who’s patient enough to help me find what I need.
If we wanted to replace the damaged parts, what would the cost be? Well, Konker have a very handy online parts ordering site and here’s the tally based on their listed pricing:
|Inner Tube (Kenda Tuff Tube)||$19.95|
|21″ front wheel rim||N/A|