BMW Blues & Indian’s Open House: Saturday Was Busy


20150718_080157The day started out well in that I was able to wet sand and buff-out the city case lid to a level of finish I found acceptable. There are still a few spots that will need a little more attention after the paint fully cures in about a month, but as I said… my goal was “good enough” for how I use the BMW, i.e., daily commuter not a garage queen / show bike.

20150718_094045With the lid in good shape I went ahead and installed it on the case body and finished up the buffing and polishing with the case installed on the BMW; it was  a lot easier than buffing just the lid by itself.  Of course, I had to be mindful that while doing this the first time I buffed off the clear coat in a few places and got into the color coat.  I made a point of applying three coats of clear this time as a hedge against that and as best as I can tell I did not buff through the clear.

20150718_095708Once the finish was “good enough” I went ahead and added the BMW roundel and a red reflector to the case, noting that for some reason the original owner had amber reflectors on the rear cases. Never quite understood that so if nothing else at least both cases now have the correct, red reflectors, i.e., yellow go in front and rear go in back for all vehicle marker lights and reflectors. The finishing touch was putting on the same series of four white square decals that are on the back of the gas tank cover as part of the Boxer Cup paint scheme.  The original owner had them put on by whoever painted the original case lids and it actually makes the cases look like they belong on the bike so I decided to keep it that way.  So, all done for now with just a little touch up buffing and polishing to do in a month or so. Hey, maybe I’ll even have a headlight by then!



On Friday afternoon I received an odd message from BMW of Atlanta telling me my “parts” were in.  I was expecting the headlight, but that was about it. No big deal, I’d just call in the morning and confirm that it was in. If it was, that would be fantastic as I’d be able to get the BMW back into commuter duty on Monday.

I decided to make a three-stop trip on Blue given how nice the weather was.  I attached Blue’s now rarely seen or used removable luggage rack as the headlight would be too large to fit in a saddlebag and headed off towards the eastern end of the Dobbins AFB runway where both BMW, Ducati, Husqvarna of Atlanta and the new Indian dealerships were located on US Route 41: these were my first two stops.

doc_brianIndian Motorcycle of Marietta was having its official Open House now that the showroom was complete and they had most of their inventory on hand.  I figured I’d just stop in, take a quick look, say hello to Doc & Lee (former Earl Small’s H-D sales & finance guys) and then pick up the headlight at BMW on my way back home.  Interestingly enough, Indian now occupies the former BMW motorcycle location after Bobby Wooldridge moved his business to a larger building about a 1/2 mile north on US 41.  Doc was busy writing up a customer sale when I walked through the dealership while Lee was working the crowd. Both of them were as enthusiastic and positive as I’ve ever seen them, so it would appear their move from Earl Small’s to Indian was a good one: it’s always an amazing opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new start-up.


Left to Right: Ricky Kelley, Doc and Lee having a quick meeting at the Open House.

Well, kind of a start-up. The owner is apparently Ricky Kelley who recently opened Indian Motorcycles of Music City near Nashville and the two stores are apparently fraternal twins, even sharing the same Grand Opening DJ’s, etc.   And, even more interesting, Ricky also owned or still owns two Harley-Davidson dealerships near Nashville: Harley-Davidson of Columbia and Harley-Davidson of Cool-Springs.  Talk about covering your bets, that’s pretty amazing and from what I could tell just watching Ricky moving about at his Marietta Open House, he’s a very hands-on, detail oriented owner. His social media outreach also suggests he’s incredibly passionate about all of his dealerships and other interests: he’s a very busy guy. Again, I think Doc & Lee have definitely landed in a good place: I’d want to be there if I was in the business as well mentoring under Ricky to learn the business.

bmwdealershipAfter saying hello to Lee & Doc, I stopped in and picked up the headlight from Dan in parts at BMW.  I haven’t made mention of it, but should…. the new building is AMAZING. They clearly quadrupled their showroom floorspace which allowed them to put all of their inventory on the floor, whereas in the previous location more than 1/2 of the new bikes were hidden away in a warehouse.  The build out is very BMW: clean, bright and high-tech which is a stark contrast to the clean, dark and classic look of the Indian dealership I just left.  And, both of those are a stark contrast to Hellbender H-D which looks more and more like a Walmart every time I visit: what’s the deal with that?

FB_IMG_1437236117563With my headlight strapped on Blue’s luggage rack I was off to my next destination and perhaps the most important one of the trip: grabbing a couple of to-go burgers from The Red Eyed Mule. Debbie and I weren’t able to meet for lunch at The Mule on Friday, so I figured the next best thing was bringing home a couple burgers for lunch on Saturday. I definitely threw off Lisa who had our Friday order down pat. Not only was I in on the wrong day, I was an hour late, didn’t have Debbie and ordered two burgers, not just one.  Jake’s Big Daddy was a given, but I also brought home a Jake’s Sloppy Slaw burger just for a change of pace.  Debbie had 1/2 of the Big Daddy and I had 1/2 of the Sloppy Slaw: yummy!!!  And, best of all, left-overs for Sunday!


20150718_130824After lunch I turned my attention back to the BMW and I felt like victory was close at hand. All I had to do was pull the rear saddle cowl, saddle, windscreen, rear view mirrors, left & right cowls and headlight / headlight cover off, swap out the headlights and put it all back together: all told 25 screws and about 40-minutes.

After I had the old headlight and its surrounding cover separated I prepped the new headlight for installation.  It looked a little different but was otherwise a direct replacement.  However, as I began to handle it I noticed the light housing that holds the projector beam and halogen high beam bulbs wasn’t attached to the rear housing.

20150718_130812Nope, it was  just flopping around inside the housing and lens as it appeared that the headlight aiming system’s ball and socket on the left upper corner had never been mated during assembly and the fixing screw in the upper right corner hadn’t been screwed-in.  Moreover, there was no way to fix either of those things without removing the lens.  Regular readers may recall I removed the lens from the original headlight back in February and it was a PIA to do.

20150718_134152 20150718_134120

I called the parts guys at BMW (I believe it was Ryan) to let them know the headlight was defective and they said they’d place another one on order immediately.  Of course, what that means is I’d be waiting at least another week to 10 days before I could finish the project: Ugg!

Oh well, when you’re served lemons you make lemonade. Thankfully, with a stable full of motorcycles it’s not like I’m being kept from my daily commute by motorcycle and the associated therapeutic value it provides. But, it’s still been a challenge to fix my self-inflicted wounds on the BMW.  In fact, the closer I looked at my shattered headlight the more that I realized I was also probably to blame for why it shattered.

DSCN1146As mentioned, back in February I decided to remove the lens from the headlight assembly so I could clean off the haze that had formed inside the lens.  It took about 20 minutes to cut through the silicone seal and pry the headlight away from the assembly. During that process I nicked the edge of the lens. The nick didn’t propagate which was a blessing, but that cracked edge was simply a huge stress riser just waiting for the right time to act. Well, when the motorcycle fell over the impact was all that stress riser needed. Had I not nicked the lens the headlight probably wouldn’t have shattered the way it did. So, there you have it.  I thought I’d dodged the bullet back in February when I only nicked the lens, the fall-over was the coup de grace.  I am simply my own worst enemy at times and in talking with others I don’t think I’m alone in this.

Regardless, I’m now in waiting mode again and have the BMW pieced back together to keep parts from getting dinged or lost and those 25 fasteners are tagged and bagged and waiting to go back on once the headlight comes back in.

20150718_151447  20150718_150709


Given the BMW was stripped of the “Tupperware” I figured I’d take advantage of that and strip it down a little more and clean the air filter. It’s amazing how deeply buried the air box and air cleaners can be on some motorcycles. On the Harley’s, they’re right there in your face: easy-peasy to service.  On my Honda sport bikes they were under the gas tank which on a few of the later models like the CBR1100XX, meant pulling off the cowls. The same is true of the BMW R bikes: the Tupperware has to come off and if you want to avoid doing weird contortions it’s best to pull the fuel tank off as well. The quick disconnects on the fuel lines make this a relatively easy process: they should come standard on everything with a removable fuel tank.

20150718_150034 20150718_144648Photo Above: Tank On, Tank Off exposing the air box, battery, CPU & alternator 20150718_131944  20150718_132907Photo Above: There’s a lot of stuff hiding under that tank.20150718_132851Photo Above: K&N Filter sits at the heart of the San Jose BMW Cold Air Induction system with the “Power Filter” and “SuperDuct”.  A little cleaning solvent, air drying and then re-oiling the filter media to give it that distinctive K&N red filter color.20150718_143814 20150718_143955Photo Above: All clean & re-oiled and then back into the Power Filter frame and air box.20150718_144030 20150718_144414Photo Above: Power Filter back in the air box and then buried by the Superduct & battery.

More to follow… as soon as that headlight comes in.

All-in-all, and despite the issues with the BMW’s headlight, Saturday was a good and productive day. Loving the Indian Motorcycle dealership and if I had a pocket full of change I’d love to add either a classic / antique Indian to the stable or do some mods to a “Classic” to make it more “me”.  Just not into the skirted fender look and also not ready to give up Blue: Blue is about perfect, other than the hot-running motor.  Hmmm, I wonder if an Indian 111 motor could be retrofitted to a FLHR?  Wouldn’t that be something to see!  An Indian powered Harley-Davidson CVO!  I’m telling you, part of me want’s to retire immediately and sign-on as an intern to learn the motorcycle business from Indian of Marietta’s owner, Ricky.  The guy is definitely living the dream.  Of course, not sure how tandem cycling might fit into that model, but when there’s a will and a passion there’s always a way!

We closed out the day with dinner back at Henry’s in Acworth. We “almost” connected with our friends for dinner on the lake, but it just wasn’t in the cards and that’s OK too. Sometimes you just gotta roll with how things play out and our evening played out nicely. Actually, all of our evenings play out nicely!  I’m a lucky guy with an awesome gal.


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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