Wednesday, April 21, 2010

another motorcycling milestone - 20,000 miles

Yesterday on my way home, on the express lanes just before the merge back to I-5 at Northgate to be precise, my bike turned over 20,000 miles. Obviously I have no way to take a picture while riding, so here is one I took this morning.

The last few months have been interesting, not least of which was due to the problems discovered with the bike in February. My ABS suddenly began having fits where it would turn off randomly, only turning back on after restarting the bike. Nothing in the users' manual provided any help, so I made an appointment to take the bike in to have them look at the computer. The morning I was to take the bike in, the auto-shutoff for my turn signals stopped working, which was even stranger. So I rolled into Ride West that afternoon, and the guys started looking at the bike to try and figure out what was wrong. A few minutes later one of the senior techs walked over, squinted at the bike, and then popped it up onto the center stand to show us what was wrong.

The back wheel had about 2" of play in it, meaning it was (a) knocking against the sensors that control the ABS and the turn signal shutoff and (b) in danger of falling off.

Needless to say, the bike stayed there that day and Chris had to come pick me up from the shop. They were able to order a new back wheel assembly, and this was easily covered under warranty so it did not cost me anything. However, they could not tell me how long the problem had occurred, just that it was probably gradual since I had not noticed a sudden change in how the bike handles.

When I got the bike back after the repair was complete, it was like night and day how it handled from when I dropped it off. Curves that I had been taking very slowly recently were now not a problem, turns no longer required hard braking, and the bike generally felt more stable. I had thought my slower curves/turns were simply due to a bit of lingering uneasiness from the getoff last July, but it turns out that I was unconsciously compensating for the changes in the bike's handling characteristics as the back wheel degraded over time. It's entirely possible that the wheel had started to degrade as far back as July, which means that while it was not the cause of my getoff on those steel plates, it is entirely possible that the reduced handling contributed to the accident. I'll never know for sure, unfortunately, but now I'm being extra paranoid about paying attention to the bike and how it's performing each and every time I ride it.

Now if I could just pop it up onto the center stand myself to check on it from time to time...unfortunately, that is simply beyond my abilities. I suppose that's why I have a husband!

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