Sometimes you just know that you’ve done something stupid before it even happens. It’s that moment when you see something and say, “I should really do something about that” but for any one of many reasons just don’t. The consequences are sometimes of little importance, other times they can become bigger problems, stress relationships, and/or ultimately cost a few bucks.
Well, this past Thursday I had the trifecta: after parking my R1100S in it’s Condor Pit Stand in the garage — something I’ve done just about every day since I’ve owned the bike over the past five years — it just didn’t look like it was sitting quite right. So, I pulled the bike out of the stand, repositioned the stand and then re-parked the bike. It still didn’t look quite right so I adjusted it again and then a third and final time. However, even after the third attempt it still appeared to be listing just a little bit to the right but having seen it that way in the past I figured, good enough… I had things to do.
Now, let me set this up a little. The bike was being parked somewhere that it’s not usually parked so that I could put the Wide Glide next to the Road King where it would be easier to get out. I’d decided since no one has any interest in buying the Wide Glide for a fair price I’d just begin riding it to work on days when there wasn’t any rain in the forecast. That would cut down on the number of hours the R1100S spent sitting in the sun as well as wear and tear in general. So, the BMW is in an unusual place but it’s working out just fine. However, also out of the norm, I’ve left my power washer sitting in the garage next to the BMW… again, not something I’d normally do: it belongs in the garden shed. However, I’ve been cleaning the house and wasn’t quite done. So, rather than taking the power washer back to the shed I just decided to leave it in the garage.
After giving the bike a little nudge to stand it upright I went into the house to get changed so I could get to work on another project. As often times happens, I got distracted while I was inside the house and didn’t come right back out to the garage to start on my next project. If I had, I may have had a second chance to save the BMW, but that didn’t happen. Instead, after putzing around for 15 minutes — vacuuming carpets and sweeping the kitchen floor — I came out to the garage and caught a strong gasoline odor: I knew at that moment what had happened because I’d just filled the tank on the BMW. Sure enough, it was laying on its side. Worse yet, the front end had hit the power washer when it fell which amplified the damage by about $800.
Instead of just falling on its cylinder head and having most of the other parts protected from impact, the power washer came in contact the windscreen and headlight, shattering both. The rear case also hit at just the right angle to shatter the leading edge. The cylinder head cover was, as expected, a bit scuffed up. All told, about $1000 in damage. Really, $1000?
Yes, the headlight is about $700 to replace as they don’t sell the lens as a separate item. The windscreen is $130, the rear case lid $120 and then add in another $50 for paint since the rear case lid needs to be color matched to the bike and then cleared. The cylinder head will also need to be sanded and re-cleared. Unbelievable and completely preventable.
Oh yeah, and I wrenched my back lifting the bike. The way it fell and the gasoline spill on the floor made for lousy positioning to walk the bike back up “the right way”. So, my improvised lift was accompanied by a loud cracking sound from my lower back that has left me with another temporary reminder of my blunder. Getting up, bending over and the like are not exactly easy to do some four days later and two of those days were spent cycling. No, it wasn’t an ideal activity for a wrenched back. With any luck, all I did was annoy a ligament… at least that’s what it feels like, having wrenched my back in the past. Time will tell.
I’ve been scouring the internet for a used headlight, but to no avail. They are rarely listed anywhere and when they pop-up they disappear in a day. Folks have spent months waiting and watching the boards, but no such luck. So, I’ll probably pay a visit to the folks at Atlanta BMW on Tuesday and plead my case for a good guy price.
On the bright side, it could have been worse. It’s normally parked next to the Road King. And, yes, it has fallen out of the Condor once before… into the truck. That little incident cost about $300 to fix and left the side of my Tundra with some permanent dents. Does that mean the Condor stands are flawed? After all, our friend David had a Harley fall out of one while he was loading the bike on a trailer. No, I’m pretty sure it’s operator error. You’ve got to have the bike dead-nuts in the stand and upright. If the bike is leaning to one side and the stand isn’t anchored, the bike’s weight is going to turn the stand as the front wheel rotates. As the wheel and stand rotate together the bike will lean further and further to one side until gravity pulls it out of the stand and onto the ground.
Not a happy camper at the moment as I can think of a lot of things I’d rather do with $1000 than put it into repairing damage that was completely avoidable., Oh well, live and learn.
26 MAY UPDATE: My local BMW dealer — Atlanta BMW, Ducati, Husqvarna — has my new headlight on order. Even the gentleman who helped me was surprised at how much the part sold for. But, even more surprising, was discovering there’s not a single one in any of the US warehouses. Nope, the headlight will have to come out of Europe and no telling when it might arrive. Yeah, I’m still kicking myself. The right city case lid is also on order, but at least that’s coming from Pennsylvania. I’ll need to get it painted Pacific Blue to match the bike, so now I just need to decide if that’s something I want to tackle or have done by Terry, the local Harley paint guy. I’m thinking Terry might get the call on this one. The 12″ light smoke grey windscreen will be another aftermarket one from Jurock on ebay; a direct replacement for the one that shattered. Still finding new scratches but, hey… it ain’t no museum piece or garage queen. The carbon cylinder cover will be stripped, sanded and then recleared with an automotive quality clear. I think I still have some Pacific Blue touch-up that I can use on two nicks on the Tupperware at the right rear corner of the bike. On the bright side, it’s been sitting in the stand for five days without falling!! Time to go for a new record.