Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Stuff Happens

For those who have been wondering what happened to me and my posts, it's a short but sad story. The bike let me down...

Having replaced the final drive, and thinking it was ready to go, I noticed fresh oil on the pavement below the final drive a few days later. In investigating the situation, I dropped the final drive and found that the transmission was leaking. While not good, it was not a show-stopper. However, upon closer inspection, I discovered the universal joint had exposed bearings. A very bad thing, particularly just days before the ride was to begin.

Exposed bearings indicate a potential universal joint failure, which, in an extreme situation, could result in the drive shaft breaking loose from the joint and locking the rear wheel so that it could not turn. A very bad thing if riding at 70-80mph! A more likely scenario is that it breaks loose and just tears up parts of the frame of the bike. Very expensive!

And with it just 3 days before the trip, there was no time to get it fixed. The fix would be pretty expensive (~$1,000), and I decided that I did not want to pour another thousand dollars on a 5 year old bike with 83,000 miles on it.

So, I canceled the trip. It was not fair to Gary to mess up his only major road trip of the summer, but I couldn't do anything about it. He was gracious and offered to let me ride one of his bikes, but I declined, afraid that if anything happened to the bike, it could cause a problem with our relationship. And I didn't want to take that chance.

I decided to buy a newer model and sell the old one "as is". So, I placed an ad in one of the forums I use a lot, saying I was looking for a 2008 or newer RT at a good price. Within a couple of days, I had two hits, one in Dallas, and one in Detroit. Weird, but I got only two hits--I would have thought that I'd have a number to contact me, but there were only two.

I contacted each seller to get more information about their bike and prices. Both answered all of my questions and sent lots of pictures. However, there was a $3,750 difference in prices between the two 2009 bikes, both equipped pretty much the same. The higher priced one had only 1,500 miles, and the lower one had 11,300 miles. I decided that the 10,000 miles difference was not worth $3,750.

So, today I made an offer, negotiated just a bit, and we have a deal. I should take possession of the new bike on Tuesday of next week. Then I'll remove some of the things from the old one to use on the new one. After that, I'll put the 05 on the market.

I hate that it turned out this way. I've spent way too much money on the 05 already. And I didn't want to spend even more money on a newer one right now, but as much as I ride, I couldn't see continuing to pour money on a bike with high mileage.

I feel really bad about the impact on Gary, but, again, I don't see how I could do anything different if it happened again. If it had happened even a week earlier, I may have been able to buy a suitable bike and made the ride. But only 3 days before a ride, I could not be rushed to just buy any bike; it's too big an investment.

He and I did go to Indianapolis to see the MotoGP races. I took the Civic, and we had a good time and saw some amazing racing. But we didn't go on the trip we had planned.

So, I'll close this blog with a couple of pics--one from the universal joint, and one of the new bike.

Hopefully next year's ride will work as planned...