• Category Archives Stuff
  • A melting pot of personal thoughts, views, and comments on life in general.

  • Progress continues

    At the time of writing, I’ve invested around 8 hours of cleaning time into the GSX and there have been some positive and quite pleasing visual improvements. So far I’ve used 3 cans of either degreaser/brake cleaner, copious amounts of SDoc100, several toothbrushes and microfibre cloths, and a lot of elbow grease!

    Mikuni carburettor revealed

    The fairings were completely removed, as was the rear brake caliper, after I’d found there was zero life left in the pads. The footrests and brake pedal will be polished now the grime has been removed from them.

    The red tape that had been placed on the right hand clip on has been taken off and replaced with a more unobtrusive and far less visible black.

    The previous owner told me the Scotoiler wasn’t working, but given there’s no oil in it that’s hardly surprising, so hopefully that’s a simple cure?

    I want to fit some heavyweight silver bar ends I previously had on the BMW, but the bolts holding the current ones in place seem to have been loctitied on, so I think I’ll need an impact driver to remove them.

    I’ve yet to look at the front brake calipers, they’re on the list. What I have done is replace the rusty air filter, the fuel filter, and have new rear brake pads to fit.

    I took a dremel to the rusted side and centre stands and the odd bit of rust on the framework. I’ll rust treat them with either hammerite or gloss black paint dependant on location. Slightly more time consuming will be trying to paint a few of the engine case covers, which have either already started to peel or are bubbling badly. More dremel time and some decent prep with sandpaper, plus a few coats of high heat temperature paint should see those right, hopefully!

    30 seconds with some white spirit saw the removal of the breakers yard identification marks on the rear light, no idea why it hadn’t been done the day it had been fitted?

    The bike is a UK imported model so has an mph speedo. I’m looking for a kph overlay, although I’ll use a GPS for accurate speed readings once I’ve found the old mounting bracket and figured out where to fit it. In the meantime I’ve used coloured stickers to indicate key speed points.

    I’ve already hooked up the C-tek charger cable, and pleasingly it went to full charge very quickly, so no issues there.

    Amazing difference after some time and effort. Although the airbox cover in the right hand picture looks a bit dusty, it’s actually the sun gleaming off it!

    Today’s last go at it saw the painting of the stands, some odd rust spots and a couple of engine casings.

    Footrests are re-attached but the brake pedal bolt has stripped and can’t be tightened which is a PITA.

    I’ve tried disassembling the rear caliper but the pins are well and truly welded in place. Best I can hope is that copious amounts of WD40 or similar will dislodge them, otherwise I reckon a new one will be needed.

    Not bad for a rattle can spray effort, especially given most of it will be hiden behind the fairing
    The right side has now been painted and I’m pretty pleased with the result, so the next job is the cover to its left.

    I’ve got a 3 week holiday coming up so work will stop for a while, but with a lot of progress having already been made, the job shouldn’t be too daunting or take too long to complete once I get home. Once it’s finished I might even ride it!!!


  • The challenge ahead

    Following on from the previous intro post, I thought I’d put up some pics of my “new” purchase. Since I’m doing car and bike detailing now, I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to show what can be achieved with a little time and patience, although I wouldn’t expect other peoples bikes to be in this poor a condition or to have to invest the amount of hours I know this is going to take!

    Here it the very first picture after being trailered home. On face value it doesn’t look too bad, with just a mass of dead flies and a dirty screen, but the real issues are below the surface. The large circle you can see in the middle of the screen is where the previous owner had superglued his GPS mount. That won’t be able to be removed for sure.

    Very first job was to start dismantling, and here comes the first showing of the dust and dirt beneath the fairing

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Mudguard stay- not sure if this is dirt or rust yet?
    The frame doesn’t look like it’s been cleaned in a long time

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Rear of front mudguard
    Left side frame spar
    There’s a Mikuni carburettor hidden under all that gunk somewhere
    Level of dirt and grime increasing the closer it gets to the chain
    Underside of lower fairing and more chain lube
    Scratched lower fiaring. I’m hoping this will polish out
    With all bodywork removed it’s clear that it’s probably as bad, if not worse under the seat and plastics than the outside is!

    So now you’ve seen these pictures you’re either sympathising with the amount of work I’m going to have to do, or wondering why on earth I’ve bought something in this poor a condition. Well, visually I’ll admit it’s challenging, and the old adage “you can’t polish a turd”” springs to mind, but given that Suzuki engines and gearboxes on this model are known to be super strong, I’m not too worried about cosmetics at the moment, although I will try and improve the fuel damaged paintwork and eventually stove enamel the battle scarred wheels. I’m sure I can restore it back to a far better condition, and although it’ll never be a concours winner, it’ll have been cheap, and if I decide to move it on, I’ll likely be able to sell it on for more than I paid, result!


  • Something old, something new

    It’s been a while since I last posted. With the BMW sold last year, and a disastrous trip to Catalunya having finally pushed me towards the decision to sell the R1, there wasn’t much to write about. I didn’t imagine it would be very interesting to hear about how attempts to fit a new clutch resulted in either zero pressure at the lever, or too much, but those failures have meant it’s going to have to go to the dealer to be sorted out when I’ve got time, and once it’s finally done, it will be up for sale.

    So what’s new then you ask? Well, instead of tooling around on a €20k uber tourer or attempting to thrash round a track on a 1000cc race bike, I’ve changed direction and bought something completely different. My new purchase has the smallest engine in any bike I’ve owned in the past 10 years, and is much older too. Not a classic, and certainly not the prettiest bike on the planet, not even in great condition, but read on and I’ll explain why I’ve bought a bike my wife won’t even sit on, yet!

    Here it is, a year 2000 Suzuki GSX750F with 30,000 miles on the clock. Those of you who look closely enough will spot the rather dented petrol tank, the result of the previous owners off a few years ago, during which he broke a few parts and put a multitude of scratches into the plastics. Having an off can happen, it’s unfortunate and part of life, and bikes do dent and get scratched, what was inexplicable to me though, was the fact it seems never to have been cleaned. The bike is filthy. Years of accumulated grime, tar spots and dirt are everywhere. It’s an old school carbed bike, and the owner managed to leave the fuel tap on which meant fuel eventually leaked and dribbled down the fairing side, bubbling the paintwork and creating the mess you see below.

    So given it’s less than pleasing aesthetics, why on earth did I buy it you’re asking yourself? Well, the answer is that it was offered at a price that couldn’t be turned down. A short ride showed the engine to be strong, although I was confused why the revs remained so high when I got back, until the owner turned the choke off. I think the last bike I had with a choke was my RC45, and before that a 2 stroke Yamaha RD250 back in the 80’s. The brakes felt as if they weren’t pulling up 100% straight and according to reviews they can be a weak point, but, it handled ok, and at around 80kg lighter than the BMW K13000GT, it felt positively lightweight.

    The owner had advertised the bike as being of interest for someone who wanted either a cheap bike or a project, in truth it’s both. He only lived 10 minutes down the road from me, so I called and was first on the phone, went immediately to see it and bought it two days later. In good condition it would be valued at close to 4x the price I paid for it, but no-one ever gets book value do they? The average price of similar bikes advertised was nearly 3x what I paid, so even if I throw a few hundred at it for a new tank and plastics I’m not going to lose any money.  Co-incidentally, he had bought a Pan European to replace it, another bike I’d seen advertised and considered buying too.

    Once the bike had been trailered back home I didn’t even bother to ride it, but set about dismantling it to see if the horrors lurking below the plastics matched those visible outside, and unsurprisingly they did. The rear brake pads have zero pad depth on them, there is chain grease seemingly inches thick coating the swinging arm, it’s impossible to tell what colour the shock springs are, and it’s like that everywhere. I’ll post pictures and document the cleaning process as it goes on, as if I ever want my wife to ride with me again there will have to be some pretty extensive work done. I’ll buy a new tank (used) and try and remove some of the damaged paint on the fairing side, and doubtless there will be a few more bits and pieces that will become apparent as the cleaning process goes on. I’ll leave you with one picture that gives you an idea of the work ahead, try and figure how on earth rust got to this part, buried deep under the tank in the airbox, I’m baffled!


  • New venture!

    We’ve opened a suite of rooms in our home as a chambre d’hote/ Air BnB /bed and breakfast destination. Here’s the details:

     

    Maison Garde Barriere, Mareuil sur Belle, France

    This tastefully renovated old railway building is set in an acre of grounds in beautiful rural Dordogne, where its secluded and tranquil location offers a unique opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, allowing you to relax and de-stress whilst enjoying the sanctuary of true peace and quiet. Set in rolling countryside on a quiet road with next to no traffic or noise, there are lots of local walks, rides on quiet country roads if you’re a cyclist; picturesque riding roads if you’re a motorcyclist; great scenery for painters; and local markets, chateaux, and places of interest nearby if you’re a tourist.

    Accomodation is in a suite of rooms featuring a spacious double bedroom with King size bed with individual mattresses

    Large lounge with settee, TV, wi-fi, and access to DVD library, brand new refurbished bathroom (March 2018)

    and separate toilet.

     

    Enjoy expansive countryside views by day, spectacular sunsets in the evening, and beautiful clear star lit skies by night, unspoilt by light pollution, this really is a beautiful spot!

     

    This is THE place to come to chill, relax, and enjoy peace and quiet. If you’re a biker and need secure overnight parking you can use the internal garage.

    As an opening offer we will give a 5% discount to the first person to book from this site, all you need to do is confirm what was my first ever set of two wheels. If you’re a site reader that’s easy to find, if not, a quick search will reveal:

    Contact us at maisongb24@gmail.com

    Looking forward to taking your booking.

     

    Cheers

     

    Paul


  • Independence strikes in Catalonia affecting circuit entry

    It’s clear that we live in ever more troubled times. Today we woke up to hear 58 people had been killed and 515 wounded in a shooting in Las Vegas. The day before, the Catalan referendum had turned violent, whilst in the background the US and North Korea continue  playing their game of nuclear chicken. All we can do is watch and wonder how will it all end and hope for normality in our own lives, after all, thankfully these events are not really so close to us to have an impact, except that based on an email received tonight from the trackday organiser, they are going to!

     

    I’d laughed earlier in the day when my wife asked if the Spanish events would impact on us, but now it’s clear they’re going to. The email advised that the Catalunya circuit was going to be on strike tomorrow, and that there would be no entry for anyone until after midnight! That piece of news threw us a huge curved ball, as we’d planned to set off tomorrow at 09.00, meet at 16.00, and be at the circuit gates at 18.00, when they were originally supposed to open. Mark and I both have marquees to set up in the paddock, and we sleep in tents there too. Arriving at 18.00 always allows us plenty of time to get set up for the next day, but if we can’t get in til after midnight, we’re not only going to have to struggle pitching our gear in the dark, but we’ll finish late and be tired instead of well rested for the first day.

    The thought of queuing outside the circuit for 6 hours isn’t that appealing, neither is paying for a hotel, if we can find one, and then having to leave really early to try and get set up.  We’re only talking about our own personal travel plans now, but there will be an overall knock on for the whole event the next day, as registrations will be delayed, as will the collection of transponders, and the security briefing. How many riding sessions would that mean will be lost?

    I emailed the others and suggested we urgently needed to formulate a Plan B. We were going to use conference calling on Whatsapp but it didn’t work, so after a combination of Facetime and Skype calls we agreed to delay our meeting time by an hour and a half, and queue outside the circuit and hope it would open earlier than the previously advised midnight.

    Watch this space for tomorrows thrilling instalment!


  • Missing pictures and WordPress changes affecting site

    Back in 2009 when I started this site it was on a very small scale. There wasn’t a huge amount of content and the only way to post pictures was by using a service like Photobucket. Over the years I’ve posted hundreds of pictures using this option, but now it seems they’ve changed their policy and have arbitrarily decided to stop allowing this facility to be used unless people pay them $400 a year!! I have only found out today when looking back through some old posts that pretty much all of my pictures are now missing, only those I was able to upload directly from my laptop have survived. Also, changes to WordPress has meant that any words in a colour other than white are so dim that they can’t be seen.

    It will take an age to try and remember which images went with which story as there are over 330 posts here. I can only apologise to those who are reading through the site and can no longer see images supporting the stories. Clearly $400 a year is an exhorbitant amount of money which I do not intend paying, but hopefully the written content will still be the real reason people visit the site, the pictures just being the icing on the cake.

    I will begin the job of trying to repost the pictures over the coming months and hope Photobucket come to their senses and realise that their charges are way too high and offer an alternative plan, in the meantime, sorry you’re not able to see the full posts.

    Update 7/8/2017

    I started the work of trying to find which pictures go with which posts, and to simplify matters I decided to find which album each shot came from. Then I thought I’d download them to my laptop, but guess what, apparently there are technical problems when you try this, UNLESS you download each picture individually. This company sucks big style. I hope they lose the majority of their customers as these tactics to keep your pictures trapped is appalling.


  • Honda CBX550F

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    My first experience on two wheels started off on a bog basic Puch Maxi 50cc moped. I couldn’t wait to trade up to a “proper” bike though and a year later a Honda CB125N had replaced the dog slow slowped. It was a big upgrade at the time but I’d been bitten by the biking bug and soon wanted even more from  biking, leading me to take out my first bank loan for the purchase of a brand new Yamaha RD250C like the one below. The acceleration was staggering in its ferocity compared to the little Honda, the hit from the power band addictive, and the smoke and the smell of two stroke oil evocative of an era in which most of the Japanese bikes (excepting Hondas) were two strokes, think Kawasaki KH triples, Suzuki GT380,550,750’s and you get the picture.

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    Reminiscing again back to those golden days, I was reminded of a bike that took my fancy as my thoughts turned yet again to the purchase of a bigger engined bike. The object of my desire, the 1982 Honda CBX550F. It came in the red/white or blue/white options shown below, or a half faired version, the FII.

    cbx550f-1982

    blue-cbx550

    cbx550f2

    Often looking back we tend to see things through rose tinted glasses, so when I saw an article on the CBX in Motorcycle Sport and Leisure magazine, I had to buy it and find out whether I’d missed out on a great bike or not. Here’s what I found:

    The CBX 550F had a 2 valve per cylinder 572cc 4 stroke engine which made 62bhp at 10,000rpm and had a top speed of 118mph. It required servicing at 2000 mile intervals (imagine if you had those intervals on todays machines!) and the novel enclosed brake discs made wheel / tyre changes unnecessarily long and actually caused braking problems due to the heat and brake fade they created. It had CV carbs, electronic ignition, a Pro-Link rising rate air assisted rear monoshock,  and TRAC anti dive (air assisted) front forks, and a great looking 4 into 2 exhaust designed to mimic the CB400F pipes. At 196kg and with a range of only 100 miles due to its 35mpg thirst, it had some issues, none of which were anywhere near as bad as the camchain problems that surfaced soon after it’s launch though, which were then closely followed by issues with engine and clutch bearings. In the same way as the Honda V4 engines of this decade suffered with camshaft problems which did huge damage to their reputation, the CBX soon fell out of favour because of these problems and was dropped just a few years later, with Kawaski apparently picking up a lot of the sales that Honda lost.

    All of the above was quite an eye opener for me and really highlighted how memories and all that glistens is not gold! If someone wants to buy one of these pieces of two wheeled history, they apparently change hands for somewhere in the region of £1200-£1300. Sadly I won’t be buying one, but I still think they look good!

     

     

     


  • Reminiscing

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    The sale of my K1300GT will leave me in the strange position of being without a road bike for the first time in 20 years. In the past I’ve always had its replacement in the garage before I’d sold the old one, but this time it’s different. I’m in no rush, moneys tight, I’m missing my old riding buddies and the great trips we used to do, and I’m not feeling motivated to think about its replacement. I still have the R1 track bike though which does motivate me to get out on track, as it’s now close to how I’d like it to be vis a vis handling and mods, but it’s winter now and plenty of cold dark months and poor weather before next season comes around.

    So I’ve been reminiscing, like you do. Thinking of the good times, the bikes I’ve owned and loved, the one I owned and didn’t like, trips, tours, speed and adventure, so here are a few of my favourite memories.


    Bikes-

    I’ve owned two outstanding machines, well technically three if you consider I owned two models of the same machine, a Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird. I purchased the first one in Switzerland in Y2K with a mere 2600kms on the clock. I knew the second it purred out of the shop floor and onto the Geneva streets it was the one for me. Super smooth, quiet, refined, and SOOO fast, it was my pride and joy, and carried the wife and me half way round Europe at warp speed and in total reliability, well except for a regulator rectifier failure, but they all do that!

    Everyone knows that for a while the Bird was the fastest bike on the planet, but the best thing about it was the quiet exhaust note which allowed you to creep under the radar whilst Ducati’s and those with loud pipes were getting pulled over. The power came so smoothly and quietly with 100mph effortlessly and VERY rapidly passed, easy to get yourself in trouble with the law. I vividly remember being chased by a bunch of French riders on one occasion, and one coming up behind me shaping up for an overtake. No chance!, a rapid twist of the throttle and I was gone, warp drive engaged, and the guy disappeared in the rear view mirrors.

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    Then there was the ascent of the Pas de Casa in Andorra where we overtook a line of 10 cars in one go, but the best memory was riding back from the Misano superbikes with a mate and his Thunderace. The Italians allow free entry from the circuit onto the autostrada and then anarchy took over. Imagine hundreds of bikes let loose, all heading north and forgetting the speed limit. We set off together, but I soon had my Thunderace mounted mate disappearing in my mirrors as I gave the Bird the full throttle treatment. I averaged 220-240kph for the hour and a half it took all the way up to Bologna, at which time the fuel tank had been pretty much drained, and my hands were shaking with adrenaline. Crazy remembering those overtakes on either side of the traffic ahead just to maintain momentum. Could never happen again, and I’m amazed it did back then, but the bike was awesome. That adrenaline fix was actually better than maxxing it out at 285kph on a French dual carriageway and German autobahn some years later.

    Legal disclaimer- At this stage I should point out that none of these events ever happened, the stories are fictional, and are the result of an over active imagination and defective memory.

    The next “special” bike was the Honda RC45. This was a bike that excelled on the road and disappointed on the track, but however you rode it you were never going fast enough. The seat height was so low you couldn’t fail to get your knee down, the exhaust note so evocative it made you weep, and literally did when I rode it with a Micron open pipe for an hour and a half! The best thing, you rarely if ever saw another one on the roads so it always drew admiring glances from others, and questions from the younger generation who had no idea what it was. I had that bike nearly 10 years and loved every minute of it and to me was the very essence of why we ride bikes, because just looking at it made you want to ride, and when you got on it it never disappointed (on the road).

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    Disappointing bikes? I’ve only really owned one , a Laverda 750S, bought cheaply new when the company had gone bust (again) and only rode it for three months and 3000kms. It had lots of Gucci parts but the throttle control was awful and it stalled frequently. When my mates asked why I’d got it as it and gave their opinion of it having ridden it as being a piece of s**t, clearly it was time to get rid, and I did so very swiftly.

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    Most reluctant sale? Apart from the RC45, this has to be a low mileage ZX-10R l bought in Germany but had to sell when I moved back to France, due to that country’s barmy 100bhp law. This was a superb bike and obviously I didn’t ride it hard enough to be scared by its reputation as a wild ride, but the handling was sorted, it looked the dogs, went like stink, and was safe on track. Bloody French laws!

    2007-04-15 001 309

     

    Tours-

    Got to be the 15 day tour I took with the wife on the Blackbird back in 2003. We toured through Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France. 7 countries 3743kms and although it was our second big Euro tour since moving over in 1999, it was the most fun.

    I’ve also enjoyed my commercial Alpinebiker tours where I met some great people and shared some great rides and experiences.

    Not sure they count as tours, but I did so many ride outs with friends when I lived in Geneva that it’s difficult to pick any specific one out as being a favourite, I will say though, that sharing those days and tours shaped both my riding and long term memories, so to those people, you know who you are, thanks a million.

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    Encounters with the law-

    When you’ve ridden a bike for 20 years there are bound to have been the odd scrapes with the law, I’ve had a few although none of the ultra serious nature.

    The first came one summers evening whilst riding in Yorkshire with the wife on the back. I overtook a caravan and looking back saw a raplidly driven BMW with its lights flashing following me. No problem, go past I thought, the road ahead was clear, it wasn’t until he was closer behind me that I saw the blue lights flashing under the grill. One lecture later I’d got a ticket for 81mph for the caravan overtake but got let off the 92 I’d been doing earlier, oops.

    Strike 2 was on our 2003 tour when I got pulled over in Bosnia for allegedly doing 65 in a 50, but although I paid the fine I was shocked to see the policeman using the same speed gun reading on the next poor motorist who complained bitterly. Given the dubious nature of this ticket I don’t count it, in much the same way as the ticket in Austria, again for doing 65 in a 50 but I didn’t see any sign advertising the limit?

    bosnian-speeding-fine-001

    austrian-fine-001

    I then had many many years ticket free until I got one in France on a dealer loan bike. I wouldn’t have been on the road if my bike had been repaired on time and the loaner had had a motorway vignette, but it didn’t, so I ended up on a road I wouldn’t normally have been on which on that particular day the police had a radar trap on. Strangely the police seemed to think it amusing that a BMW was speeding, perhaps they see BMW’s as normally being ridden by the more conservative type of rider? Truth is I should have contested the fine though as they had got the speed reading from a 45 degree angle as I was crossing a bridge, and people have won cases before based on the fact you can’t get an accurate reading off a bikes angular surfaces from the side. Think that one cost me €90.

    I’m not proud of these and each time I get one I feel suitably chastised, but they’re all pretty minor offences (luckily). Given the 293,000kms I’ve ridden over the past 20 years, if these “speed awards” (as my US tour riders called them) are all I’ve got to show, then I’ve not done too badly considering!

    I could go on and on, but as I’ve written this it’s clear my life has been changed and shaped by biking, the machines I’ve ridden, the friendships made through ownership, and the special memories that rides, people, times and places create. Get another bike? Probably!


  • Quotations for a service-How hard can it be?

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    Is it me? Is my French so bad? Are dealers down here really so busy with winter coming that they don’t need work coming into their workshops to keep them going? Here’s the story.

    A week ago I decided that to try and make my K1300GT look a more attractive proposition as a purchase, I’d need to get the 90,000 service done before I advertised it for sale. I duly sent an email to three local BMW dealers asking for a quote for this service, which I know is likely to be at least €500 as it’s a major service where the valve clearances are checked. Here is the convoluted story of how this simple request fared in the wonderland that is BMW service .

     

    We start with a positive note as Dealer #1 replied to my enquiry the next day with a quote which was in line with my expectations at €464, but when I looked at it in detail I realised that most of the work quoted for had been done very recently at the 80,000 service (done late at 83,000), and that the radiator purge and refilling with new antifreeze had been done in July this year at 88,000 when I’d had a problem with it overheating. Not wanting to pay out again for work done quite recently, and given I’m selling it, I wrote back the following day with full details of the work done, and asked if they would give me a revised quote, but ONLY for work that they considered necessary, given the proximity and timing of the previous jobs and the fact I was going to be selling it. I guess I expected that they would drop the brake fluid and antifreeze, and maybe even the oil change, leaving the plugs and valve clearances, but still, they’re the experts, I figured they’d know best which elements were critical?

    A simple enough request you would think, but it then went deathly quiet and after hearing nothing for a week, I went back to them asking if they were going to reply or should I consider their silence an expression of their disinterest and that I should take my bike elsewhere? This elicited a response, but not in the form of the quote I was expecting, but a demand that I send them copies of the previous work I had done so that they could prepare an accurate quote. I sent these by return, but wondered why it was strictly necessary to do so, given that they had already had the same information in writing a week earlier!

    Expecting a reply that afternoon, guess what, I didn’t get one, so I chased again, and received a new quote, this time for €628!!!!  So after 9 days I’d now got a quote that had increased by €164 +35% over the original, which only differed from the first quote by definition of the exclusion of the brake fluid change, but now contained five jobs which had increased in price, the oil by +70%, and the addition of four items not even detailed in the original quotation.

    I wrote back telling them this quote was a joke and how was it possible that the original quote had been so inaccurate? I was left seriously unimpressed when I was informed that the original quote had been done by somebody else and contained errors and omissions, no kidding!!! It seems that I was expected to just suck it up and accept that the previous quote had been worthless, and that I shouldn’t balk at having to pay 35% more because they can’t quote correctly.

    I gave them one last chance, and asked for a quote for valve clearances and plugs only, and ended up with a price of €403, plus €50 for a loan bike, which incidently had previously been quoted as being €25. Unbelieveable. The words piss up in a brewery spring to mind.

     

    So would Dealer #2 be any better? The request for a quote was sent on the same day as to Dealer #1 . They replied two days later advising that their service manager wasn’t there and that they would reply at the end of the week. I then sent them the same mail I’d sent to the other dealer explaining about the prior work I’d had done, the fact I was selling it and asked if they would send a quote allowing for these items. I  received their confirmation back immediately that when their service manager came back he would quote allowing for these issues. Looks like they might be a bit more on the ball?

    Of course it turns out I was to be disappointed again, so the following week having not received any quote and knowing the service manager was back, I chased again and received a reply which apologised for the delay, but then asked what bike the work was required for? They also wanted a copy of the carte grise (registration document) so that they could quote correctly.

    In a bid to expedite the receipt of a quote I sent copies of the previous service invoices and the carte grise along with a note stating that the work was required for a BMW K1300GT, as per the heading of my previous two emails!!!!

    Finally, 8 days after my initial enquiry I received a quote for €571, which was €107 more than the original quote from Dealer #1, and they hadn’t removed any of the options I’d thought they might. Admittedly they had included an air filter, which to be fair I forgot to tell them wasn’t required, so this reduced the additional amount to +€62, although this appeared to be the cost of two joints(?) which had been omitted from the initial quote from  Dealer #1(but which subsequently were added to their revised quote). The big issue with the quote, apart from the price, was that they were unable to offer a courtesy bike and wanted mine the night before so that they could work on a cold engine. This is impractical and adds substantial costs and time as I’d then need to make multiple trips there and back by both car and bike to get the work done.

    In desperation I asked for a quote for the valve check and plug change only, but as of this post I’ve not had their offer.

    Wondering if all BMW dealers are so poor I tried to cover all bases by sending the same request to a third dealer (#3). This is probably the biggest of the three but is an hour and a half away. Their reply? After several days they asked to see copies of the last invoices of work done, so I decided to make it really simple and rather than send copies of the invoices I just asked that they quote for the valve clearance check and replacing the plugs, how difficult can that be? Two days later they came back asking for a copy of the carte grise. I GIVE UP!

    I hadn’t realised that asking for a quote was so difficult. I hadn’t expected that the first quote I received would have comprised so many errors that it wasn’t worth the paper it was sent on. It’s mildly insulting and shows inattention to detail when a dealer replies with an incorrect spelling of my name. It’s even worse when they ask what bike I want serviced when it is clearly indicated at the head of emails addressed to them; and asking for copies of registration documents to establish the bike model details days after an initial enquiry had been made when it should have been their first question? Professional, I think not!. Frankly it’s an appalling indictment of BMW service, and clearly if three dealers are showing the same ineptitude and delay in responding, it’s not an isolated incident.

    I’d write to the dealer CEO of each establishment to complain but frankly I can’t be bothered, and I’ve pretty much lost all interest in BMW. Shame, as it’s been a good bike with the odd fault, but BMW can say goodbye to another long term owner. I imagine they think there will be loads along to replace me, but I wonder how many others have given up too?

     

    PS- If you’re wondering what I did in the end? I decided to discount the price of the bike and let the next guy run the gamut of inefficiencies of BMW and their weird and wonderful world of customer service.