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Mirror, mirror

March 26, 2007
The PX

Ain’t she purty?

All last week, I’d put in the tracking number, and all last week, it said the same thing.

“3/20/2007 – Departure scan, Doraville, Ga.” said UPS Tracking. I guess the truck went straight from Atlanta to Seattle. No matter. I got back from breakfast to find a box from Scooter Parts Direct leaning up against the door. Yay! The mirrors!!

This is almost better than Christmas, I think as I cut the tape and toss aside the packing material. As advertised, there’s a left and right mirror, each including a separately-packaged bracket, two bolts and a lock nut.

The first order of business is to try the bolts in the underside of the headset. They should spin on fairly easily by hand; doing this before you actually take the socket to them will cut through any globs of paint in the threads. Spin them out once you’re satisfied the bolts are going to work.

So far, so good. Next, take the bracket, and position it so the first two holes line up with the threaded bosses (that’s the straight part) and the third hole is on the part that curves outward. That third hole is where the mirror will attach. This will require a 10 mm socket on your ratchet drive. Tighten up the bolts. You can do one side at a time or do the brackets, then the nuts. As Emeril says, there are no PX mirror assembly police.

Before doing the left bracket, I took the left mirror off. The easiest way to do this is to remove the upper jam nut, which holds the mirror stalk in place, and take the mirror off. Then take a 14 mm deep socket and remove the bolt. This will be difficult, because Piaggio puts Loctite or something like it on this bolt’s threads, so if you have an adapter for a half-inch ratchet drive, you’ll get more leverage. Be patient.

Mirror bolts

Notice the bolt on the right

You’ll see in the picture which bolt is the broken one. It was a very clean break.

Anyway, once you get the brackets on, you can attach the mirrors. Turns out the stalks on the new ones are the same length as the old ones, but since they are mounted about two inches further outboard than the old ones, the field of vision should be better. While the exact orientation of the mirror stalks is a matter of personal preference, I mount them so the kinked part that attaches to the mirror head is roughly parallel to the edges of the floorboards. This gives maximum adjustability in any direction.

However, the new mirrors are about ¾ of an inch smaller in diameter than the OEM ones, and they don’t say “Objects in the mirror are smaller than they appear.” Hmm. It appears I have about the same field of vision as the OEM mirrors, but without my shoulders and upper arms in the picture. Okay, I’ll try it for now, but I’ll keep the original mirrors. The threaded shaft on the original bolt is much too small for the hole in the bracket, but maybe something similar exists that will make it possible to fit the OEM mirrors on the brackets. In the meantime, everything goes into the box of original parts, to be saved for future experiments or to be turned over to a subsequent owner who wants to go completely back to the original configuration. Always a good idea for any (potentially) collectible vehicle.

Bouncy ball

Hey, it fills the hole… (Orin O'Neill photos)

What about the holes in the top half of the headset, you ask. Yes, Scooterworks has the piece, but without the holes. It might be possible to get a good paint match with a rattle can of black enamel, but at this point I’d rather not spend any more money than I absolutely have to.

The local auto body supply store didn’t have a plug for a hole nearly an inch in diameter. Luckily, Archie McPhee did. Well, strictly speaking, it’s a Day-Glo Bouncy Ball with a smiley face and the admonition, “Jesus Loves You.” But they fit snug as a bug in a rug, and will keep water out of the headset. Total price: 54 cents, including tax.

A bit of 3M adhesive remover makes short work of the gunk that was left over from the black duct tape I’d used to cover the hole. Duct tape is not a good solution long-term, as it dries out and the adhesive calcifies and destroys the paint. But it works as a temporary fix. Ask anyone who owns a race car.

All done, and it looks good if I do say so myself. The sun is out, and I’m thinking it’s time for a test ride. Favicon

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4 Comments
  1. Allen permalink
    April 26, 2007 7:32 pm

    Thanks for the tips – I have the same scooter and HATE the looks of the original mirrors. I made brackets for the under-headstock bosses and have ordered mirrors from JP Cycles. Your photos were helpful because trying to secure the original mirrors made me wonder what the hell they were attached to under the cover! Now I know. Hope mine don’t “clean-break” like your one did when the replacement mirrors arrive and I remove the original mirrors.

  2. Allen permalink
    April 30, 2007 7:36 pm

    Greetings again. Couple of thoughts. First, the holes left in the head cover after the mirrors are removed can be filled with orange balls from Archie McPhee’s – or – 3/4″ black plastic covers from home stores (Lowe’s, Home Depot), or chrome bicycle bar-ends covers. Second, part of the difficulty of removing the left mirror is it scraps the gearshift rod! The rub doesn’t seem to hurt anything, but, yikes! Be careful out there.

    Allen

  3. May 1, 2007 11:28 am

    Allen, thanks so much for the tips. Yes, I was thinking the left mirror shaft had some interaction with the shifter as I was removing it. I would guess removing and reinstalling the stock mirror regularly and often would create some kind of issue with the shifter, but since I have removed it permanently I think everything will be fine.

    Also, upon closer examination of a Stella headset cover, it might not work on a PX… the PX piece has a fairing that covers the brake light switch and related wire, while the Stella has a wire that plugs into a hole in the leading edge of the cover.

  4. Gordon permalink
    May 14, 2007 9:08 pm

    Warning: The narrow section of the stock mirror adapter (second photo down from top) is designed to wrap around the shift and throttle tubes. The best way to remove them is to at least partially remove the tubes from the headset. If you don’t, you apply a great amount of upward force against the tube; enough to crack or distort the cast tube receiver section of the headset, or bend the tube. If you take the top cover off you will be horrified (as I was, after I forced the throttle side) to see how serious the situation is. Why Piaggio bothered to flare out the base of that part is beyond me – very poor design.

    I agree that the stock mirrors, while being very high quality, don’t do anything looks-wise for the bike. Orin’s mirrors are only slightly different from the originals, yet they look dramatically better. The lower bar angle goes a long way to minimize the Mickey Mouse effect. I may have to use the same part on my bike but I might try the asymmetric look of a single left-hand mirror.

    I have yet to find an aftermarket mirror for the stock adapters.

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