Broken Bolts in Cobán

I woke up early knowing I had to find a mechanic to have the damage from Semuc Champey repaired. To complicate things I was in a town I didn’t know and would have to try to explain in Spanish what I needed done. Kyle and Trevor packed up to ride to Honduras to go scuba diving and I stayed in Cobán to find a shop that could fix my sheared bolts. The guard at the hotel had a motorcycle so I showed him what happened and he drew me a map to a mechanic. I pulled up to Taller Israel Moto Shop and showed them the problem. Two bolts holding my rear rack sheared off yesterday riding to Semuc Champey. They said yep they can fix it and we pulled the bike into the shop. I said I wanted to go from 6mm to 8mm (something I was told I should do before I left but I didn’t do). They started working on it and since I had never seen the process done before I didn’t know what to look for.


A few minutes later I looked over and they had put the biggest hole in my frame. Not centered or even round and much bigger than 8mm. In my little Spanish I told the shop this is bad work, no good. I think he was a little worried himself and made a few phone calls. A minute later a guy came who spoke English and translates. He said they need to take the bike to another shop to have it welded to fill in the hole. Then they’ll tap the 8mm thread. Cobán isn’t the biggest town so I was surprised they would have an aluminum welder (the G650X Challenge has an aluminum subframe). I had at least two good threads for the rack that didn’t break so I wasn’t too worried. I guess at that point there wasn’t much else I could do except hope the welder was good.

The welder couldn’t work on it till after 3 so I went back to the hotel and sat in the cafe; listening to music as the parrot outside the window talked nonstop.

No worries when you got a great spot like this to relax in.

No worries when you got a great spot like this to relax in.

I walked over at 3 and they weren’t ready yet so I went across the street to a small restaurant for a cup of coffee. The waitress set the coffee down and left. I love sugar in my coffee so I grabbed the spoon and scooped in two scoops from the bowl on the table. When I took a sip I instantly wanted to spit it up. Embarrassingly I will admit the first thought I had was “why did they put salt in my coffee?!” I thought that cause many of my meals here in Guatemala have been extremely salty. But no, I’m the idiot that thought the bowl on the table was sugar when in fact it was salt. The waitress got a good laugh out of the whole thing. She came back with a fresh cup and a cup of sugar. Even though it was my fault she only charged me for 1 cup. I said thank you but left money for two coffees.

Coffee con sal anyone?

Coffee con sal anyone?

I walked back across the street to the shop and finally my bike was ready. They ended up doing a really nice job and tapped the 8mm thread and removed the other broken 6mm bolt. I still wasn’t going to have them do the others. Earlier I went to the bolt store, yes there was a small store smaller than a shed that sold only bolts (tornillos in Spanish).


One of the four bolts that shook loose on the road to Lanquin and Semuc Champey

I replaced the missing bolts and made sure to use locktite and checked out the rest of the bike. Everything was tight and looked good. I paid $22 for all the work. Seemed reasonable and I will be back on the road tomorrow so it’s a small price to pay.

Once the work was finished, we washed off the two inches of mud off the bike

Once the work was finished, we washed off the two inches of mud off the bike

One of the mechanics love my helmet so I let him try it on.

One of the mechanics loved my helmet so I let him try it on.


  1. Ken Ford says

    My KLR is known for sub-frame bolts braking. An up grade I’m going to do this week. Great stuff, glad your back on the road and for 22 bucks. It would cost you that for the guys at the Beeemer shop, to walk out, look at your bike, and say, yah it’s broken.


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