First Service = First Dings; Grrrrrr!!!

homerepairI tend to do a lot of the service on my motorcycles, as it’s fairly easy and one of the things that just goes with the territory.  However, when I’ve bought new vehicles that are covered by warranties I tend to have that initial service performed by an authorized dealer… just to benchmark that the bike was broken-in properly and given the prerequisite and all-important first service.  After that, I take care of anything that doesn’t require specialized equipment or advanced skills.  Note that this only applies to the motorcycles; I gave up working on our cars and trucks many moons ago.

So, getting back to our brand new CVO Road King, it easily passed by the 1,000 mile first service milestone on our trip home from Gatlinburg, TN on Monday; I think it ended up at 1,142 to be exact.  Therefore, it was definitely time to get it in for that initial service.

Upon our return home and getting everything unpacked on Monday afternoon, I put the Road King up on the J&S lift and gave it a thorough wash to remove the 600 miles of road grime and gunk that hadn’t been washed away by Sunday’s monsoon up on Clingman’s Dome, and then followed that up with a pretty comprehensive detailing session.  It was about as clean as it could be without being steam cleaned and then put up and out of the way until the service visit that I scheduled for Wednesday.  On Tuesday night I gave it one more coat of Zaino Z2 Pro as part of my typical Zaino treatment process for newly acquired vehicles.  So, it’s fair to say I had put my hands on every square inch of the bike and accounted for every dead bug, nick and scratch during that process.

Wednesday morning I had an uneventful ride into work on the Road King, although I certainly felt a bit sheepish taking it into work: I try not to bring any bling into the workplace as nothing good ever comes from that: a CVO Road King is about 850 lbs of bling, and my motorcycling brothers who park along side my BMW & Wide Glide at work certainly know one when they see one!

Anyway, as soon as 8:30am rolled around I headed out and dropped the bike for service. Around 2:00pm I got the call that the bike was ready and headed back over to pick-it up.  There weren’t any special notes or issues with the bike, so it was pretty much a sign & ride away deal.  I could see that the bike — which had been dropped off in pretty much spotless condition — had been washed after the service; ugg.  I should have said, “Do Not Wash or Detail”!  While they have the best of intentions, 9 times out of 10 the wash jobs are horrible and do more harm to the finish than good. Today was no exception; the bike had a nasty film from over-used wash bucket / sponge / towels and water spots were everywhere.  So glad I’d spent the time detailing it on Monday night, eh?  The nasty wash job was the only thing that caught my eye, so with that I was off.

Once I got home I knew I’d have to put the bike back up on the lift and give it a good cleaning with some Zaino Z-8 detailing spray.  As I worked my way around the bike I was stopped in my tracks when I discovered a nasty, perfectly round ding in the Derby cover’s anodized aluminum trim ring. If I had to guess, I’d say a Phillips head screwdriver was dropped tip first onto the trim ring just based on the “nick” at the bottom of the perfectly round crater dent in the trim ring.


I hate it when I find stuff like this, as it makes me question the integrity of the service shop’s staff. I figure if a mechanic or helper dings a bike, most owners will understand if they’re told about it right up front: hey, stuff happens.  Most of us get that, especially if we’ve done our own work on bikes.  Just own-up and make it right.

Of course, upon closer inspection I also found a new nick in a very obvious place on the gas tank; likely a tool mark. There was also some new blemishes on the chrome transmission cover where it looked like something was dragged or slipped past the cover and a 4″ long, think black line of something was on the left front chrome fork leg: at least that seems to have come off: hose line drag mark?  The nick in the tank is permanent: it’s got an edge to it. The marks on the chrome may polish out and I’m hoping there weren’t any scuffs under that long black scuff mark on the fork.

As it is now, it becomes a “my word vs your staff’s integrity issue” on all of these blems and that sucks for everyone.  But, there are clearly two things about the ding that make a compelling argument for why it had to happen in service today:

  1. About the only other thing that could have caused a ding with a perfectly round dimple and nick in the center would be a sharp projectile being shot into the side of the bike at a right angle while the bike was upright, i.e., being ridden or at a stop.  Pretty unlikely.
  2. From this past Saturday we have two very high-res photos — one taken at the Cherohala Skyway and another at the Tail of the Dragon — that clearly show a ding-free derby cover.

dragon_31Aug13 cherohala_31Aug13

Like I said, we’ll see how this plays out.  I’ve sent off a note to the Service Writer who helped me today, along with the digital photos of the ding from tonight and Saturday’s ding-free bike photo from the Dragon and in a second note made mention of the other new blemishes that were added at no extra cost during the service visit.

Pretty much my last service visit for the Road King; can’t think of too many things I can’t do at home for the next few thousand miles.


About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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