Thursday, May 15, 2014

Get your Kicks on Route 61

Today's post is a guest posting by Kiara Wilson.


U.S. Route 61

If Route 66 and US-62 allow travelers to experience the country's varying cultures through lateral transportation, U.S. Route 61 exists to bring southerners up north. The highway system itself is closer to the middle of the country than it is the east, connecting New Orleans, LA with Wyoming, MN. Stretching just over 1,400 miles, this highway system was very important for trade before the continental highway system was ever in place. While trade was possible in the early 19th century thanks to the Mississippi River, U.S. Route 61 allowed wagons to deliver goods more easily and quickly than ever before. Also known as the Great River Road, U.S. Route 61 follows the direction of the Mississippi River almost perfectly.
 



The Great River Road passes through eight different states on its journey north into Minnesota. After departing Louisiana and entering Mississippi, U.S. Route 61 then takes riders into Tennessee and Arkansas. From there, travelers will then hit Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin and finally Minnesota. There are no mountain roads or crazy switchbacks that lead riders through adrenaline-pumping terrains. U.S. 61 is more of an adventurous ride that takes motorcyclists through a bit of United States history. While the original U.S. 61 reached all the way to the Canada border, it was later shortened when Minnesota built a newer highway system and decommissioned the final 300 miles of U.S. 61.
The path that U.S. Route 61 follows has been used for centuries by natives, European explorers and American settlers alike. Because of its close proximity to the Mississippi River, towns along the Great River Road offer travelers a window into yesteryear. Because of this, the entire duration of the highway is well worth a travel if you have some time on your side. No matter where you start or where you're headed, the Louisiana stretch of U.S. Route 61 should be a top priority for your motorcycle ride. With an ending destination of New Orleans, nearby highways and road systems offer travelers beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico.




If you plan on making the journey on U.S. Route 61 all at once, or at least traveling through consecutive days, you'll want to take the time of year into great consideration. Mid-70-degree weather in Louisiana is one thing, while Minnesota could harbor weather in the low 40s. You'll want to pack a few different types of jackets, from River Road's Mesa jacket to their Harrier vest. Both offer similar protection, while each one offers a very different ability for riders to breathe. If you're a seasoned rider and this isn't your first multi-day road trip, you probably already know how much you need to pack.
The Great River Road is unlike many other highway systems in the country. Sure, Route 66 is iconic in its own way, but there's good reason why Bob Dylan titled one of his most recognizable albums Highway 61 Revisited. There's a certain American flair that comes with traveling U.S. 61, and it simply cannot be replicated anywhere in the world.




About the author:
KiaraWilson has been riding for over 6 years; you can also follow her on twitter and know about his riding. Love to Ride and Share on two wheels and share her experience with world
 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

End of Day










Stan
Outside of my family I can count on one hand the people that have had a great impact or influence on me. In terms of motorcycling, one comes to mind and that is Stan Botway. You can read a little bit about Stan here as I have mentioned him before and I've also mentioned him in an article for the BMWMOA for their My First Bike column of June 2013. I had been thinking of Stan lately as I usually hear from him through email once a month and hadn't heard from him in a few months and decided to email him to see what's up. My heart sank a little when I received a rejection notice that his email address was unknown. I decided to send an email to the plethora of people that he would include on some of his emails, hoping for a quick response. In the meantime, I decided to do a simple Google search and found this. With my fears confirmed, I had wished I hadn't sent an email out asking if his other friends had heard from him. Then the onslaught began. Many of his friends knew he had passed away, but a surprising amount did not. What was more intriguing is the information passed along to me about their friendship with Stan. Some of which paralleled mine and some I had no idea existed. As Paul Harvey would say, "now you know the rest of the story." And I do now.  Stan was a colorful person that's for sure and to a person, no matter their point of view, all agreed he will be missed and he is. He did sort of have one last suggestion if not wish for me. Last year he advised me I should compile this blog into a book. May be I will take him up on it. In the meantime, here's to Stanley Leon Botway, friend. If there is an afterlife, I will see you down the road, if not, it was time well spent. Thank you.

A couple pictures of Stan in his prime:

 
Looks like the sidecar rig he tried to do a CC run



Classic Stan with BMW suspenders and cigarette in hand


Thank you for reading this blog

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Life Is Good









Life is Good is the sign off of one Greg Kinman, AKA, Hickok45 a shootist of the highest order that has a Youtube channel where he posts videos on his latest firearms test or just ramblings on a subject to do with firearms or gun rights. I like Greg or may be the perception I have of him. I think we would get along okey dokey and what impresses me most is a certain humbleness/ordinariness that comes across as genuine and I really believe he is grateful and expresses it at the end of his videos with "Life is good". Anyway, I digress greatly here.

For the last month I have been on assignment doing contract IT work in central Phoenix and not long after starting the job, I was told I couldn't use my motorcycle to come to work as I would have to go onsite to other locations of this particular business and may have to carry equipment. One, I wasn't told this before I started the job and two, it's rubbish for the most part, but I don't want to get too much into it as it would make me seem a complainer.  It is what it is and at least it's contract and I'll just find a gig where I can ride to work. That said, I'd never take a job where I couldn't ride. Anyway, the BMW has been sitting for over 3 weeks on the float charger, all alone in the garage. I've almost forgotten I had it and I went down to take a look see. I decided to wash it, which is a four times a year ritual and afterwards I sat on a 5 gallon bucket in front of the bike staring at it like a dog stares out a window focused intently on god knows what. In my case I actually thought, that really is a cool fucking bike. As much as I have bitched and moaned about the vagaries of how BMW deals with customers and common issues, BMW makes a very good and unique machine. Anyone that ventures into the Teutonic world of vehicular mechanization soon finds out there's a totally different mindset at work. One part anal, one part eccentric, one part genius and one part pazzo as we say in Italian. No motorcycle manufacturer gets the right combination of characteristics and attributes like BMW. The only other company that I think gets it is Apple Inc®.

So, I was sitting there admiring my motorbike and thinking that in spite of being underemployed, fat, middle-aged and bored out of my mind, life is indeed good. It could be a lot worse, has been and I am still here. There's a lot to be thankful for in this holiday season and there' was only one way I could make it better: Go for a ride. So I took the back way to Rio Verde and back, then rode the back side of the town in the hills and back home. I feel better already.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Get New Rubber, Lose The Juice











Well, I finally broke down and replaced my rear tire. Usually I replace in sets, but the front has a couple thousand left, back didn't as it was down to the wear bars and I am unemployed. Part of the impetus was that putting gas in the Suburban is killing me and I miss riding. So, I went to Mototire in Phoenix to have the rear replaced. The owner Danny was so fast that he had done before I paid for it. I've never seen someone change a bike tire that fast. Anyway, I thought I was home free. Fast forward to this morning. I had an appointment so I thought I would ride to it. The bike cranked a little slow, but I was off. I got about a mile and I stalled the bike. I thought, no problem, I'll just start it back up. Click. Oops...Seems I haven't ridden much in the last couple months and the battery must be weak. The first sign was the slow cranking. At this point I was frustrated, but happy I wasn't far from home. I decided to walk when someone pulled over and asked if I needed a ride. I happily said yes as it's uphill both ways going home and this would be faster too. I got the Burb and returned to the bike, jump starting it and riding it home. Once home, I rode a bicycle back to get the Suburban. Once back home, I hooked up the battery tender and hopefully I won't have to get a new battery, but it might be a good idea at some point in the near future. Now that this job is done, on to the next job, which is finding a job. All in a day's work I say...


Thank you for reading this blog.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Nothing to Report










Nothing new to report as I lost my job a month ago and needed new tires for the bike to boot. I thought I'd be re-employed by now, but as they say, hope springs eternal, but reality is a bitch. Hopefully I will have something more interesting to write about soon...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Space(d), the Final Frontier









Well, not the final frontier, but it could be, but may be I should back up a bit. The other day, I was riding to work and at one point I had no idea how I got from one point in my commute to another. It was like someone else was riding the bike. I experience this from time to time in a car, but I never have experienced this on a bike. It's not like I blacked out, but that my riding must have been autonomic. In martial arts, this is known as Mushin or "no mind".  What bothers me is that while nothing bad happened, would my "no mindedness" react properly to negative circumstances, or not because I was actually spacing out. It would be nice to believe the former, which is a state attained by a highly trained body, mind and soul. Not given to fits of egotism, my first suspicion is the latter, which is I was spacing because I was tired...or may be something else? May be my commute has become so mundane and I have done it so many times or enough times that on some level the ride has become autonomic. In a car this isn't quite as critical being surround by metal and safety glass. On a bike, exposed to everything around a rider, which can be everything from concrete, steel, asphalt, cars and barrel cactus, the results of a close encounter of the sixth kind could be out of this world. Due to my size and the effects gravity has on my body, I thoroughly eschew cycle-astronautical training.

So, that leaves me with one question: What the hell happened?

Thank you for reading this blog.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Final Drive: A Dream Deferred










Have you ever had a dream deferred?

This was a question that came into my head as I was commuting down the Beeline one morning when the air was still cool enough and traffic was light enough that I could not only think such thoughts, but get into a nice rhythm at speed that wouldn't be possible on the return commute home. Humans may not be the only animals to dream, but we are probably the only ones to make them come true or not. Some dreams are simple, like a cross country trip on our motorcycles feeling the freedom of the road and living in both the moment and the naked environment, curve after curve with soaring vistas of amber waves of grain, purple mountains majesty and waves crashing on beaches that never end. Some of our dreams are more mundane, like having an empty and quiet house, getting the parking spot closest to the building at work or getting the last peanut M&M in the bowl. Others may have more serious pursuits, like finding a soul mate, the perfect job, career or to be happy. Some dreams come true, many do not. Failure becomes the sadness that nourishes regret and yet we still have dreams in our hearts that fester to the point that they can rot like stinking meat in our souls that prevent us from moving on to greater dreams and possibilities. May be the idea of taking that cross country trip doesn't mean what it did when we were 30 years younger, doesn't fit reality anymore and yet we still hang on to the notion of being a Charlie Boorman or Ewan MacGregor. Or may be we think that a S1000RR is all we need to have to feel young again. May be it will. Who am I to say and it's a small dream really.

Have you ever had a dream deferred?

Besides wanting a real motorcycle, one of my early dreams was to become a Chiropractor. My Chiropractor was also one of the major influences in getting me into motorcycling and he impressed me enough that I thought that I might like being a Chiropractor too. Stan lived a good life and he would take off 4-8 weeks a year and go hither and yonder all over North America on a motorcycle with his lovely wife Missy. Stan was a top notch Chiro I trusted and a friend.  Unfortunately the weight of the dream came sagged under the load of 5 hours of organic chemistry labs and exploded after meeting the very lovely and intelligent Miss Jean Ribarich and after which I was side tracked enough that my grades suffered and precluded me from pursuing that dream further. All of it was my fault and that dream died rather quickly on the vine.

Have you ever had a dream deferred?

My next dream was to become a journalist. I got into New York University's Arthur L Carter Graduate School of Journalism. A really top notch school for that field and just as expensive as it sounds too. Halfway through my studies my mom became terminally ill and money became tight as well. I never completed my studies there. I had dreams of becoming a moto-journalist, something that festered for a long time after leaving the school. A year later I met my future wife and a year and half after that we were married and the rest as they say is history. Festering is a good word as I always felt like I had unfinished business. The years passed and I had been working in IT for a long time when I felt I should give it a second look as what I was doing wasn't it. The digital age was upon us and blogging was and is a way to at least feel like I am writing in a public way.  The thing is, so is everyone else and realistically, what makes my voice in this crowded wilderness any better than someone else? It's a sobering thought and an honest one too. To that end I am still here, but no Pulitzer or paychecks have been forthcoming. I guess consistency has its own reward. This dream seems to drying up like a raisin in the sun.

Have you ever had a dream deferred?

 I've had other dreams too. Some die very hard under the weight of reality. A few years back I had the wonderful idea I could compete in the Iowa Games in the Strongman competition. I had seen it the year before and I thought that I could do that if I worked out hard. I am a big guy and had experience with weights (may be I should have been a trainer) and I thought it was possible. I wanted to be the next George Foreman, defying society's conventions of age and I wanted to be a champion at 48. After doing what was a combination of bodybuilding and power-lifting routines for 8  months, I hit a wall. Actually, I didn't hit a wall, but I found my limitations the hard way. After doing farmer's walks with 150lb dumbbells, I found I couldn't do incline dumbell presses with my left arm. When I say I couldn't do it, it was because it didn't work. My mind told my arm to press, but nothing happened. Long story short, it didn't get better by itself and I would have to get a 3 level cervical fusion and my strongman days were over at 48. I hit the trifecta with stenosis, bone spurs and bad disks. The doc basically said, don't do that anymore and I haven't. At 51, that dream is dead and buried.

Have you ever had a dream deferred?

So now I am looking for the next dream, hopefully unencumbered by past ones. Sometimes old dreams hold us back and we need to let go of the past to create a possible future. May be it will be simple and sweet, like the small joys we experience every day which can be as simple as getting one's face in the wind or may be it will be as grand and daring as anything I have tried before. At the very least I will be writing here. Stay tuned. Independence Day is upon us.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Final Drive: Believe









Believe. Do you believe? What do you believe? The sound of Josh Groban singing the hit single from the movie, Polar Express, comes to mind as I write this. I do not mean think or know or hope, which are different concepts in my mind. Somewhere in the bible it says "as a man believes in his heart, so he is" (For those that need to know, it's Proverbs chapter 23, verse 7). There are many contexts to this. When you are entering a right hand decreasing radius downhill turn too hot, do you believe you will make it through? Have you had moments when you are in over your head on a bike, does belief pull you through or is just luck, skill or a combination or all three? Imagine jumping out of a plane with a parachute. Do you know it will open, believe it will or just hope? Personally, I skip the skydiving altogether. Jumping out of a perfectly good plane is totally beyond belief to me.

Beliefs can be built upon knowledge and with the above examples, practice can give the foundation of believing as it were. But there are situations in our lives where believing doesn't have a foundation in knowledge and praxis per se, but the other way around. We use facts and limited experiences to justify what we believe. This is a much more common occurrence than one would believe and sometimes with dire consequences, most times just expressions of our ignorance. What's even more unbelievable to some is that marketing and sales people use this this knowledge,  some would say against us, or just to their advantage. Whatever the case, it can be amusing to watch and sometimes deflating to experience cognitive dissonance with regard to our beliefs. No, George Washington didn't chop down a cherry tree as related in Parson Weems' fable, there is no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny either. Our society seems bent on creating narratives that at best are untrue and at worst foment a hypocrisy that makes one wonder if anything we are told is true. At this point you are probably wondering where I am going with this. Believe me, you'll have to wait.

Speaking of marketing, sales and beliefs, an important part of all this is something called Top Of Mind Awareness or TOMA. When you think of mobile phones, what comes to mind? May be iPhone or Verizon? When someone says soft drink, what comes to mind? Coca Cola? Pepsi? When someone says motorcycle, what do you thing of first? Harley Davidson? This is TOMA. Along with these brand icons comes along a narrative that companies create, develop and promote in order to elicit emotions, usually and hopefully positive ones that either encourage you to purchase their product and if not, have it in the top of your mind when such a product class is mentioned. Sometimes groups of people that believe the narrative promoted by the manufacturer get together and form clubs. Sometimes they are called fans, true believers, Kool-Aid® drinkers, etc. Whole industries have grown around this, particularly journalism, which purports to report objectively about things, whether politics, homes or gardening and motorcycles too. In turn, advertising money is spent in these publications by said brands and the merry-go-round spins happily around. Like in the Wizard of Oz, what happens if we look behind the curtain or in Matrix talk, take the Red Pill?

Unstoppable
I usually do not subscribe to being a fan of anything, at least not in the last 10 years or so. The closest that I came was with Apple computers. I worked with them every day and not only did I believe they were the best, but somehow they had powers beyond what the facts supported. I still like them a lot and think (or believe) that the Mac operating system is the best that is out there right now. Magical? No. I've also looked at BMW motorcycles the same way in that the brand represents quality and quality that is above what other motorcycles not only represent, but are in reality. Sometimes reality challenges that narrative and cognitive dissonance ensues. BMW's narrative is "Unstoppable". Really. I haven't had any day ending problems on mine, but since owning one, it's become apparent that BMW's are less than "Unstoppable". I would read about the common problems: Failed final drives, fuel pump controllers and fuel strips on boxer based bikes (newer machines have leaky water pumps and switchgear that breaks eventually unless it is caressed with the lightest of touches). Even I had fuel strip failure and even felt like I was part of an inner circle of those with failed fuel strips, some of whom have had as many as 7 failures. Then a series of events in the last few weeks hit home. An owner of a 8 month old K1600GT had a fuel pump failure. OK. BMWs come with a 3 year/36K mile warranty, so it should be fixed. Well, BMWNA refused to replace the fuel pump under warranty because he didn't have enough mileage on it. You read that right. Since he only had 2000 miles in 8 months, BMW deemed he didn't ride it enough and it was his fault, due to his neglect that the fuel pump failed. Around the same time, a fellow BMWMOA member was having leaking seals problems with his R1200GS, I believe it is a 2005 model. It's been repaired under warranty and on his dime several times. BMWNA said that the problem was a defective engine block and it wasn't worth fixing because an engine costs $9000 and the bike is worth may be $8-9000. OK. So they offered him $2500 off a new one. The owner felt it was low and decided to go on a email campaign with the help of friends from the BMWMOA to persuade them to chip in a little more because the cost to him in dollars and inconvenience. They came back with a offer of $1200+ to buy it back and stern warning to those that participated in the email campaign:

BMW Motorrad: Hi Rxxxx, thanks for your opinion on the situation. We have provided what we feel is a reasonable solution and you have declined to accept it. We ask you to refrain from encouraging other fans to email members of the BMW staff because it may limit the response time for your fellow Motorrad community members who may have a problem or concern that needs solving. You are free to post on the main BMW Motorrad page however in future, if you continue to promote your situation on other BMW Motorrad users posts, we will have to delete them.

The arrogance of the BMW staff. What was more surprising is that a lot of beemer riders sided with BMWNA. Some called my acquaintance names because they believed he was looking for a freebee. Understand that BMW admitted the engine was defective and the owner had a lot of documentation of dealer repairs. Normally I thought most beemer riders were more logical than other motorcycle riders and didn't fall prey to narratives, Kool-Aid® drinking or other fanatical behavior. I was wrong. In fact they will put up with poor customer service and problems with their bikes that I don't even see with Harley Davidson riders or Harley Davidson bikes,  but in Harley Davidson's defense, I've heard from owners that say they get treated very well by dealers and the MoCo. My Kawasaki's and friends that own them (I am a member of the Vulcan Bagger Association) have had much fewer problems while outlaying much less cash.

So, the bloom is off the rose, there is no Santa Claus, no Easter Bunny and BMW Motorcycles aren't Unstoppable. Rather than wallow in cognitive dissonance, I would rather face reality for what it is: BMWNA is a faceless corporation that cares more about it's pennies than doing what is right. Got it. Check that one off. So, at this point, what I believe is based on experience as opposed to believing a narrative that isn't based on experience or any other facts. I guess they could say that their narrative isn't that they give the best customer service in the world. Fair enough, but I've never seen a company dig in its heels like this one. It's like doubling down on wrong.

So, what do you believe?

Thank you for reading this blog.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Final Drive: I Am Not a Professional: But I play one on TV










There are days I wonder to myself, what the hell am I doing? Have you had these days? Sometimes it's like everything I touch turns to crap. This doesn't happen often, may be every few or a little more years, but it is disconcerting none the less. I recently found myself asking myself that very same question after doing the 18K mile service on my R1200RT.

I had planned for the 18K mile service well in advance. I bought 4 quarts of Mobil 1 V-Twin the month before, which was $2 off a quart on sale at O'Reilly's, a quart of Valvoline Synthetic 75w-140 for the transmission, a quart of Mobil 1 75w-90 for the final drive, 4 NGK DCPR8EIX spark plugs (which were harder to find than a set of points for a 1923 Excelsior), a Mann MW75 oil filter and I already had the crush washers for the transmission and oil drain. I started at 9am on a Saturday morning, which is actually late for me. First, off with all the Tupperware, which takes 15-20 minutes to remove 90% of it. I started from the front, with the valve adjustment and spark plugs. Oops, the lower spark plugs have a retainer that requires a T-30, which I don't have. Off to O'Reilly's to pick it up. Just a comment here: Why does BMW, in their wisdom, make the bosses that the spark plugs are ensconced so small that anyone that changes plugs needs a socket that is as thin as a crepe? Can you say wafer thin? Valves were marginal in needing adjustment, which is a good thing. They've needed adjustment each time I adjusted them at 6K and 12K miles. Hopefully it is a sign that things are settling in. I then cleaned up the gaskets and mounting surfaces for the valve covers, mounted them and torqued to spec. My iPhone came in handy as I put in all the torque specs for the bike before I started work. Next, time to install plugs. Another lesson learned here on the lower spark plugs: Do not try to be GI Joe with Kung Fu grip when removing coils. Carefully wiggle the boot on the insulator to get the coil off the plug or it might be possible to break the plastic boss for the voltage lead plug for the coil. Talk about wafer thin, the plastic on that coil plug boss is thinner than this, but not nearly as enticing, but almost as expensive.

Next I moved on to the oil change, changing out the oil filter and replacing the crush washer on the drain plug. Torque to spec, or so I thought (later on that), I added 4 quarts of Mobil's best to the engine and on then next, on to the transmission. I drained the transmission, new crush washers on the fill and drain plugs, torque the drain plug to spec, fill with 75w-140, torque the fill plug to spec and move on. What is truly lovely about draining transmission fluid from a RT is that not only do you have to take off the right side body work to drain and refill, you need a small funnel or an ad hoc representative (I used a 1 liter water bottle. Aqua Fina seems to work fine) to route the fluid into a drain pan or the catalytic converter and god knows what else will get bathed in the stuff. For those that don't know what gear lube smells like, you are in for a treat. It's smells like a cross between turmeric and cat piss. It might appeal to someone that lives for Indian food, but it does nothing for me. Get it on your clothes and you'll hear from whomever does your laundry, I guarantee it. Next up: The final drive and I don't mean another column here, but the gear lube change for the final drive on my RT.

Changing the final drive fluid isn't bad. Remove the left pannier, muffler hanger bolt, loosen the muffler clamp, rotate the muffler clockwise (another idiom that has fallen out of favor in the digital age. If I have to explain it, you probably shouldn't be doing this.) which turns it down. When the muffler is at the floor, then we can remove the 5 bolts for the wheel, remove wheel and set it aside. At this point, I can open the fill plug, which is on the upper left side of the drive on the back and then remove the drain plug at 6 O'Clock (Here I go with the anachronistic idioms again), draining the drive, or remove the ABS/Speedometer sensor on the upper right on the back of the drive. I chose the latter (on model years prior to 2009 I believe, there is no fill plug. You have to go through the sensor hole.). It's a good idea to see if there is any metallic particles on the sensor and if so, clean it. The drive requires 180ml or cc of gear lube. It used to be something like 230cc's, but BMW revised this figure downward when there was a spate of final drive failures, which is a subject that lives on it's own. At this point, it's just wait for the drive to drain, reinstall the drain plug, torque to spec, fill the drive, and reinstall the sensor. All is well, right?

Well, as they say, all that glitters is not gold and Murphy was indeed an optimist. I've also come to some conclusions when working on BMW's. The week following the service, I smelled that lovely and familiar turmeric/cat piss smell after riding. Upon inspection, I saw the transmission drain plug was leaking. I also noticed some weeping of he engine oil drain plug. I checked the plugs with a torque wrench. The transmission was in spec, the oil drain wasn't (and stopped weeping after this.). Since I didn't have spares for the transmission and I didn't trust the third party I bought them from, I decided to go to the dealer and get some replacements, which I did. I again did the Tupperware dance, drained the transmission and installed the new, BMW crush washers. They seemed tight after this but...I smelled that familiar smell in ensuing days. In keeping with the Shakespeare theme here, O what smell through yon drain plug stinks of cat piss and turmeric? This time it was the drain on the final drive, which used an O-Ring. I had replaced the O-ring at 3500 miles when I changed the final drive fluid last, so I figured it was still good. I was wrong. What is interesting is that in between the transmission and final drive seepage/weepage was a fuel strip failure. When I had the bike in for that warranty repair, I asked the service writer to look at the final drive to see how it is, in terms of tightness (a sign of impending failure is too much movement while rocking the wheel while holding it at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock and it's not much movement either.) and the service writer said everything was fine. I wonder what the techs thought of the weepage on the final drive drain plug and the spotting on the wheel? I won't mention names here as I have already laid a stinker in the room in regards to GOAZ, but there was some evidence on the wheel of seepage/weepage on the wheel as well as the drain plug. This weekend I drained the final drive and replaced the o-rings for the sensor and the drain plug. We'll see, but I am hopeful.

So, Jim's Law of working on BMW Motorcycles:
  1. Always clean gasket/sealing surfaces scrupulously and use a solvent like acetone. 
  2. Always replace  o-rings and crush washers with each service where the drain/fill plugs are removed and use BMW parts. No exceptions.
  3. When unplugging connectors or removing an item that is plugged in, use extra-special care. BMW does not engineer these parts to withstand the power of Thor and you'll find that flimsy plastic piece will cost you a small fortune to replace, because you'll have to replace the whole unit of whatever it is.
  4. When their are requirements in the owners or shop manual, follow them to the letter. BMW is made by Germans. They are an exacting people, unlike Americans or the Japanese, who give a little more leeway at times. I have no idea about Italian bikes, other than being half Italian would lead me to believe that with a Ducati or Motoguzzi or other Italian bikes, it all depends...
So there you have it. An 18K mile service that seemed to span a few weeks. Normally I am very good about these things, but this time it was a real Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment or moments. The good thing is we live and learn, at least some of us do. We also have "those days" where we wish we could get a do over. In the end it's all good. I think...

Thank you for reading this blog. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Final Drive: Heat








No, I am not talking about the coming of summer in Arizona and the heat that comes along with it. I am talking about taking heat for my post, Make it Progresso, or Make it Yourself. Seems that some in the bike repair industry took umbrage. Billy Walker (you'll have to be a member to see this) doesn't think dealers ever do things wrong. OK, I overstate it, but he's definitely a cheerleader for motorcycle dealers and he didn't think my blog post was the best way to deal with my issue, which was small. One of my points is that if you can fix and maintain your own motorcycle, do so. You'll save a bundle and even Billy will agree that no one likes (loves) your motorcycle as much as you do and if you are competent in maintaining and repairing your bike, you'll have the pride of knowing it was done right. That said, to Billy's point, BMW mechanics spend time and money keeping their skills up to date, work hard and after thinking about it, may be I should have gone back and had them take care of it and publishing the article was the equivalent of pissing in the hot tub. Well, may be not quite that bad, but I have to admit I couldn't help myself when I got the idea for the article. I still think the general of the idea of the article is a good one. So, If I've stepped on any toes, I apologize, especially since Josiah from Dirtball Customs referred me to GOAZ. Josiah is a real nice guy and I would recommend his services to anyone that needs their bike looked after and I would recommend GOAZ as well.


Thank you for reading this blog.