Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Maintenance and your fellow riders.

Last week I made it in to Grassroots BMW, Cape Giradeau, MO, for last checkup before 36,000 mile warranty expired.  Having curtailed my riding for a couple days I arrived with 35,997 miles on the odometer.   Just in time!

The dealer in Modesto told me as I was departing that my rear shock was leaking.   Grassroots agreed and ordered the replacement part for tomorrow install.   While they gave the bike a 20-point inspection I started applying for mortgages, lines-of-credit and instant cash pawn shops...   Here's the summary:

Rear Shock, 36,000 and leaking
Front and Rear Brake Pads - 36,000 and still signs of life.
Chain and sprockets - 10,00 miles.  Mechanics says front sprocket was installed backwards!  Will be talkin to, BMW about that one!  That could have also caused bearing failure.
Rear Bearing - 22,000 miles.   Hermy's installed a set last July.

Now to an example of how this could have affected other riders...   Flash back three weeks to the BMW GA Mountain Rally in Hiawassee, GA.   200 miles before my destination I stopped for fuel and the side stand gave way.   (I think this was featured in this blog previously)  Next day, knowing that I would be challenged to dismount and put bike on center-stand by myself I took off on a ride with Skert and FootLoose.  

Getting on the bike I press the starter and it won't crank.   OH... (I figured)   the side stand interlock switch might be bent.   So I wiggle the bungie'd side stand and the bike cranks and starts.   No problem...   (or so I thought...)

We head out on Skert's 'cooler route' (so named because it is a way to cool your need for speed after traveling distances...)  South to an un-named back road, West on GA 180 (gotta love that road) and on to 129 South.   By this time Skert is leaving me in her dust and Footloose (Cliff) is breathing up my tail.   We turn south and Cliff rockets past me at a wide spot and the two of them disappear up past the Appalachian Trail Crossing.  Little do they know that my engine died.   I kicked the side stand and things came back to life...   at least until I was over the crest of the mountain.  Starting downhill I see them going slow looking for any indication that I was following.   They see me, get back on the throttle(s) and my engine dies again...  with no kicking helping the side stand interlock switch to find it's happy place.

I coast more than a mile down Rt 129.   This is the same twisty asphalt that makes up Tail of the Dragon some miles north.   Light traffic is in my favor so I'm rolling along on a silent 650 with flashers blazing and just thrilled that there weren't any Harley's or Crotch-rockets catching up with me with giggles...   That's all I need to find on Youtube...   I make it down one hill, up a rise, do some dog paddling over another crest to roll a bit and finally come to dead stop just past a right-hand curve.   All of 6" of a gravel shoulder between me and an abrupt drop to bear country.

Now what???   I sit and ponder.  No sign or sound of them returning for a few minutes... they are probably in TN or nearby Turner's Corners, having a brew and saying, "He's a big boy..." 

Not wanting to get rear-ended by an 18-wheeled logging truck, (mind you, I am still of the pavement where I have a PRAYER of getting the center stand down) .  Logic tells me that If Skert (Google Carol SKERT Youorski) and Cliff come back and find that I am NOT UNDER the bike with tools I can just kiss salvation and good friends good bye.  OK, so I get off the bike and do one of those super-human lift-the-railroad-car-off-the-victim moves and the bike is up on center stand.  I place my hi-viz helmet uphill about 50 yards back as a warning to approaching motorists to put down their beer and take a wide pass at this curve.

I know that this story is getting long, but it's all good stuff.   Continuing:::   I lay down on the shoulder side of the road and drag myself under the bike.  When side stand let go it pressed the interlock (plastic) switch up against the exhaust.  Problem identified.  AND Skert and Cliff come rolling in.

Here I am, started the ride KNOWING that I had an issue.  Now here three of us sit on one of GA's best roads creating an obstacle to others.  My two bestest friends are standing in harms way with their travel day interrupted because I didn't take the time, before I rode today, to fix a problem that I knew existed.

The same goes for loose gear hanging off the luggage.  Socks blowing in the wind to dry, held on by aging bungies and flapping at 75 miles per hour.   What are we thinking?

Guess it's time to own up to my own personal Wardrobe  Malfunctions.  

Story to post today!

More to follow.

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