I wouldn't have decommissioned Silent E without another way to get to work. About three weeks ago, Dad sold me his motor scooter, The Red Devil.

It's a red 1995 Honda Elite SR, model number SA50. It's got a 50cc two-stroke motor, and its top speed is supposedly 30 MPH. Obviously it's not named for its performance.

Dad had upgraded it with rear-view mirrors and higher-capacity tires. The tires were especially nice, since its rated capacity is only 150 lbs. I'm nearly double that. He'd also done the regular tuning and maintenance required to start riding a motor scooter. Then he made a mistake while braking and pitched himself over the front, incidentally breaking the right mirror.

I received it with a bunch of minor problems and one major issue: the rear brakes weren't working correctly. Many of the bolts had rusted shut during its down months, so I had to rip up some of the side covers to get the rear wheel off. It turned a two-hour job into a two-weekend job. Not to mention trashing $150 worth of rubber. But Eri said she needed me to ride it by Monday so all the other scheduling could work out. When the wife commands, I perform: I would be riding by the end of the weekend!

The manual was overly simplistic about taking off the wheel: it wanted you to "loosen the muffler bolts", which were completely hidden behind a body panel and a storage compartment that it said nothing about. It also said "remove the wheel", which turned out to be ten minutes of wiggling, pulling, thwacking, and perspiration.

When I got the wheel off, it turned out the little cam that moves the brake pads apart was completely seized. I twisted the sucker out, then applied some white lithium grease that I keep around (is there anything lithium can't do?).

Not to mention that the rubber "brake pad stops" were missing. I can't figure out what they do, though, so I'm not too worried about them.

I put it back together, without the side covers, charged the depleted battery, and went on the inaugural ride. I kept hearing this odd noise; luckily Eri was watching, and told me the kickstand was dragging.

I thought perhaps the spring had gotten weak, but no: both the spring's mounting hole and the kickstand's axle were severely worn.

The mounting hole was on a tab welded to the frame. I tried cutting a slot on the opposite side of the tab with my Dremel, but the spring wouldn't fit when the kickstand was down. In the end, I wound up drilling a replacement hole, just a little closer to the frame. Worked a charm, although I nearly drilled right through my fuel line. Since I don't have a motorcycle lift, I had to lay the bike on its side. That worsened some cracks in the body panels, and spilled fuel all over the place.

Then I took it on its inaugural road run, to the gas station to make sure the tires were fully inflated. Of course, the valve stem is too close to the wheel's hub for the air hose nozzle to fit. And Discount Auto Parts doesn't sell anything for that. I'll have to inflate it with a bike pump.

Finally I came home, exhausted, but having met my deadline. The bike was in working condition, ready for Monday, although there were a bunch of minor problems to work on. Eh, a man needs a hobby, right?

THEN -- then my loving wife informs me that she meant NEXT Monday.

THAT'S why it's called The Red Devil.