Monday, May 14, 2012

Thoughts on motorcycles

Well, time to tell the world, I guess.

You can survive going down on a motorcycle at 70 miles per hour with nothing but a bruised left big toe, a bruised left index finger knuckle, and a slightly bruised left elbow.

Thought 1: Ever seen those tar strips that they put where there is a crack in the concrete?  The idea is to prevent water from seeping into the crack and expanding when it freezes, thereby increasing the size of the crack.  They are slippery when wet.  Generally doesn't make any difference because they are only two or three inches wide.

Thought 1a: Apparently some state worker, direct or contracted, thought that if two or three inches of tar was good, a foot or so of tar was better.  Remember slippery when wet?  Yeah.  Lean a motorcycle to change lanes (that's how you steer motorcycles, in case you are wondering), hit a foot wide strip of slippery tar, bam!  You are on the ground before you have a chance to even think about it.

Thought 3: When you fix the leaking rear head gasket on your Harley, wash off all the residual oil.  Otherwise you will go for a ride the next day, have oil all over the back of your engine, and conclude that you have a cracked cylinder head and need at least a thousand bucks worth of parts to fix your motor.

Thought 3a: When your bike has been sitting for most of the past six months because it was winter and because when it briefly didn't seem like winter you had a new Road King to ride, and when it doesn't run properly and backfires and loses power at highway speeds or at RPMs over 3,000, don't assume it has an electrical problem.  Start by cleaning the carburetor.  To be fair to me, although I am a very experienced Harley mechanic, I have never (ever, ever) had my Fat Boy sit for that long without being ridden a lot.  This having two bikes thing is very new to me.  Of course that's all in the past now.

Conclusion 3: I went from "I need new cylinder heads and a wiring harness" in the morning to riding a perfectly fine motorcycle in the afternoon.  Talk about mood swings.  No hormones or chemicals needed.

Thought 4: My insurance company (Name withheld for privacy so I'll just use the randomly selected name Progressive to refer to them from now on) thinks that my motorcycle is worth $10,600.  They got this figure by finding a bike for sale in Texas for $10,500 and adjusting for mileage since it has 66,000 (that's sixty six thousand) miles on it.  Somehow that is comparable to my 34,000 mile (ie low mileage) Road King.  I can't quite figure out what their formula is.  The lady said she'd send me a thing that showed me the breakdown and then sent me a file that says "The bike is worth $10,600".  Helpful.

Meanwhile I find one for sale in Massachusetts for $13,500, another for sale somewhere else for $13,200, the only two carburetted 2003 Anniversary edition Road Kings I can find listed, then they have the gall to tell me that carburetted models are generally worth less as EFI is an upgrade, so if I insist on arguing with them about the price they might do a search and lower their offer.

I switched to Progressive because we had a family issue with driver's licenses (ie not having them) but I'll be switching back to USAA as soon as this is resolved.

Thought 5: My Fat Boy has waaaaaaaaaaaaay less storage space than my Road King.  It was never an issue until today, but then I was trying to pack my school stuff, my jacket, my groceries all into the saddlebags on the FB...

Thought 6: I hated being without a motorcycle, even though it was for about five days and it rained the whole time.  It really sucked.


innominatus said...

Dunno where you are, but here in Corvallis, the road crews sure love that tar junk. Makes the roads last longer so they can waste highway funds on bike paths and pedestrian bridges.

heresolong said...

Just north of you. Same concept.

Claudio Mccarty said...

Sounds like you are quite a veteran in handling big bikes! Well, it is hard not love them since they are quite awesome. And I definitely agree with you on not letting your bike sit too long in the garage. These road giants need to be out on the streets once in a while. Riding them is a good exercise for you and the bike’s engine.[Claudio Mccarty]

Erik Lucien said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erik Lucien said...

You and I though the same of "Thought 6"! I I don’t let a day pass without riding my bike. My family and friends can attest to that! Haha. No matter how busy I am with work, I still see to it that I can still ride my motorcycle, even if it’s just for 30min. :)

Erik Lucien

Max Piedra said...

@Erik: You remind me of my eldest son who loves riding on his motorcycle as well. And, I guess that’s what you really want to do whenever you have free time on your hands. He always asks me to ride with him during the weekends. It’s fun, actually! It’s one of those great father-son bonding activities that I really like! :D

Max Piedra

Hannah Parkin said...

I would like to add something to thought #3a. In the winter, make sure that the fuel tank doesn’t have air inside of it. Moisture in the air can create condensation inside the tank, introducing water into your fuel. And, the water would sink because it is much heavier than fuel, which can freeze the line if it gets cold.

@Hannah Parkin