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Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Nice catch
Beth Stackpole   12/7/2011 7:27:37 AM
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Wow, that's one scary possible outcome from one very small design flaw. Just goes to show how important every component can be and why design for failure mode and effects analysis needs to be a critical part of the development workflow.

Alexander Wolfe
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Nice catch
Alexander Wolfe   12/7/2011 9:46:57 AM
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That's why bikes used to use chains. Seriously, though, this column points to a common design flaw found in many products, where there's a single point of failure. And when I say point, I mean it literally, in that it often comes down to a single screw or fastener. Further, when that fastener comes loose (and usually not in the way it was intended; i.e., it comes out violently), you often get a stripped, ripped, or otherwise broken mounting point, which makes repair difficult.

Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Riding without belt guard
Dave Palmer   12/7/2011 11:30:17 AM
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Glancing briefly at Harley owner fourms, I couldn't find any mentions of this problem.  On the other hand, there were a lot of comments from people who take the belt guard off because they don't like the way it looks.  Apparently, they prefer to take their chances with stones and gravel possibly taking out a belt! So it's possible that Harley is careless about the fastening strategy because they assume owners will just remove the part anyway.

Hopefully someone from Harley is reading this, because this sounds like a very risky bit of carelessness.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Riding without belt guard
Ann R. Thryft   12/7/2011 1:23:44 PM
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If there's no mention of this problem on user forums, I wonder if this is a recent "innovation" in Harley bike designs and what led to the change?


Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Riding without belt guard
Rob Spiegel   12/7/2011 3:09:04 PM
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Good observation, Ann. I checked the forums as well, just to see if the problem was widespread. I couldn't find anything. I went back to David for more info. Sure enough, there seems to be a design flaw.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Riding without belt guard
Rob Spiegel   12/7/2011 3:12:08 PM
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That is strange there is no screaming about this flaw in forums. I looked at quite a few. It could be that not many of the belt guards are actually falling off even with the design flaw.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Nice catch
Charles Murray   12/7/2011 3:22:38 PM
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I second what Alex said: It's hard to imagine that the belt guard has a single point of failure. Even the most insignificant components on many machines have some form of redundancy. Looks like someone decided the belt guard was too insignificant for redundancy. How scary.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
How tiny is tiny?
TJ McDermott   12/7/2011 3:32:26 PM
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What size is the screw?  Tiny like #10-32?  Tiny like 1/4-20?

How heavy is the cover?  If the cover is supported and constrained, a single fastener might make sense, if it had a reasonably good locking mechanism.

Even if it had two screws, losing one could cause a cover to pivot about the other for similar results.

ZooKeeper
User Rank
Iron
Re: Riding without belt guard
ZooKeeper   12/7/2011 3:36:24 PM
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acommontraitofharley-davidsonistoinstalllessthanpleasingcomponentsasstockappointments,atleastontheestheticoptions.theirtheoryseemstobethatownerswillopttotrade-uptomoreexpenseadd-onsthattheywouldn'tchosetobuyasanoriginalequipmentpackage.isupposethisallowsforamoreaffordablebuy-inpricepointaswellasfuelingtheirverylucrativereplacementpartssaleschannel.
beinganh-downersincetheamfdays,i’veneverseennorheardofanythingthislifethreateningonanyoftheirmodels.there’sgenerallyamoreappealing,betterperforming,highlypolishedchromereplacementformoststockitemsbutnotbecausetheoriginalwaspronetocatastrophicfailure.still,themoststringentfmeamightnotbeexercisedonapartthath-dexpectedtobereplacedwithinthefirst1kmilesorso.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Riding without belt guard
Rob Spiegel   12/7/2011 3:38:28 PM
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Hi ZooKeeper,

You seem to be having some technical problems with your post. Did you copy it from another format? Usually this systems works fine if you type directly into the comment window. We would like to hear what you have to say.

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