18 February 2012

Zen, And Motorcycle Repair

It was pretty exciting at first...
My son was chatting with friends about his Dad getting back into motorcycling.
That conversation evolved into how much money he might save if he learned to ride, then bought a bike to use on his commute to work rather than drive his truck.

His friend said, "I have a bike I'll give you... it's a 400cc Yamaha."
Not much skin off his nose really... the bike hadn't run in years and was covered with "stuff" in the back of his garage. They uncovered the bike, pushed it out into the sunlight, and sent me a photo of my son sitting on it. Like the bike in the above picture, it didn't LOOK bad.

The gas tank needed to be flushed. The carburetors would obviously need a cleaning.
But having done that, it was our hope the bike, with a fresh oil change, would spring to life and my son could cut his fuel bill in half (or more).

Problems started when they tried to flush the gas tank...
The fuel shutoff (petcock) leaked. Badly. Knowing the carburetors would also need a chemical bath, they took the bike to the local shop and asked them to do both jobs. In the meantime, my son took and passed the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Basic Rider Course. He was READY TO RIDE!

A week passed and the shop hadn't turned a wrench on the bike.
Another week passed... still nothing. The weather was perfect and my son was champing at the bit.
I told him, "Ask your friends at the MSF course to recommend a repair shop and take the bike there. These folks are jerking you around."
He loaded the bike up and took it to the shop they recommended.
And again it sat, and sat.

Then it hit me like a bolt from the blue-
My friend Stuart lived close and his vocation for decades has been... MOTORCYCLE MECHANIC!
"Go get the bike. Take it to Stu. I trust him."

But Stu's advice was disappointing. Over the phone to me he said, "GB, it may take $1500 or more to make this bike safe and dependable. It's been sitting a LONG time. The fuel system... fork seals, tires, chain, all need work, and that's just the start. What about the transmission and the electrics? It would be better to spend that money on a bike that's running."
So the bike is once again in the back of my son's friend's garage. And my son has no two-wheeled mount to use to cut his fuel bill in half.

So I volunteered the services of my old BMW. It's an easy bike to ride... comfortable as an old shoe and not much more difficult than the 400cc Yamaha would have been.
My son is ecstatic and is now trying to find a shipper that can move the bike to the Phoenix area at a reasonable cost.

The biggest downside? I LOVE riding that bike, so now I have to start looking for another!
eBay/craigslist, here we go again.


YYC Dispatcher said...

Try this website for shipping:


YYC Dispatcher

CnC said...

damn G.B., ride it out to him! you know it would be a great road trip.

Ed Bonderenka said...

What mileage does the Beemer get?
I only got 25mpg out of my Honda 750f, but I'm driving 90 miles a day to work.
I might cost justify another bike.

Greybeard said...

I have gotten between 38 and 45 mpg on it Ed, depending on whether I'm mostly puttering around town or out on the slab.
But it's simple, relatively smooth, quiet, and fun to ride. I recommend 'em.

Claudio Mccarty said...

That was a lot of money to put down to repair a bike! If that was the case, it would seem that the bike was in terrible condition, seeing as how it needed that much for it to be road-worthy again! All, in all though, it is sweet of you to give your motorcycle to your son, even though you love riding the bike yourself. Have you found a new motorcycle for yourself?

Greybeard said...

I went almost immediately and bought a 2003 Suzuki SV650, Claudio, and it has turned out to be one of my favorite rides!
Fixing up old machinery takes lots of $$$$$, and almost always is only worth it if it is specifically what you want.
New bikes run smoother, faster, get better fuel mileage, stop better, and parts cost less.
But my son IS enjoying the old BMW, and knows full well I want it back if/when he's ready for another bike.
Thanks for stopping and commenting!