Sold! Candy now lives in sunny Florida.
Before the story of Candy is actually told, I find myself having to sell the dedicated race bike that the awesome Mr. Slow has bought for me last fall. The bike is located in the Augusta, GA area.
Check out the ad on Craig’s List for detailed info.
No wonder I was about to pull my hair out and commit arson.
The following morning the husband, in an attempt to make me see reason, plopped down a cup of coffee in front of my lifeless body slumped over the kitchen table and waited. Waited for me to start imbibing my morning dose of liquid wakefulness. I grimaced slightly as the first sip of dark roast assaulted my palate. He nodded: “Jet Fuel. I thought you needed Jet Fuel this morning.” I respond with a half-hearted “Uh-huh.”
He waits a little while longer to make sure the first cup is working its magic, then states the painfully obvious with the grace of a news anchor delivering the latest in human tragedy: “You have to put the bike back together so you can sell it.”
I groan. “You have to be logical about this? The thought had occurred to me.”
“Collect all your parts and take your problem to a shop.”
Did he just tell me I needed professional help? He did, didn’t he?
Later that same day, I miss a phone call from said professional, leaving a VM telling me they need authorization to order some parts.
A projected bill of $160 in parts and $30 in labor confirms that I wasn’t going crazy, after all. The R1′s rear axle was so funked up that it was no wonder that I couldn’t figure out what parts went where because none of them matched the service manual nor the microfiche and none of them were actually OEM, save for the missing ones I had already acquired. All the internal bearings were the wrong type. A lot of the parts showed damage. Some of them were shoved in there backwards, which I had already surmised, and required brute force removal to free the hub of its alien internals.
They will rebuild my axle to OEM specs with OEM parts.
Another one of those situations where my lack of confidence in my own abilities caused unnecessary distress. I had an inkling something was off when I first rode the bike. I wondered why in the world the spacing between the chain and the rim was so tight that I could barely get a tire warmer squeezed in there. I had the nagging suspicion that something wasn’t quite as it should be when I shot a laser across the sprockets and found the alignment suspect. I also eventually stumbled across the reason why there was a notch cut into one side of the swingarm’s axle mount, but not the other. I had come to the realization that maybe some of the parts may not even be stock, but there was no way for me to tell for certain. I should have taken it to the shop right then. But in an effort to save money, and in keeping with my teutonic stubbornness (I can do this!) I refused to give up. On five different occasions I tackled this particular problem only to walk away from it in disgust.
I knew they had turned the axle around for some odd reason. The reason being, as someone in the know had explained to me, some racers do that on purpose, since they want the axle nut on the chain side. That does make sense, since a gearing change can then be affected from working on only one side of the bike. However, if stepping around the bike to loosen and then re-torquing an axle nut wastes too much time, you probably are taking club racing a little too seriously. But to each their own.
As for me, I don’t trust previous owner mods. I have to at least be familiar with the transformation from stock and know the reasoning behind said modification. It also needs to be mechanically sound, which in this case it definitely was not, as evidenced by stressed and broken parts. And I really don’t have a pressing need for the axle nut to be on the chain side, even though the Yami is the first bike I have owned that didn’t.
Yet another lesson learned the hard way. Hopefully, next time I trust my instincts (and my intellect) and save myself a whole lot of aggravation.
Maybe now I am one step closer to enjoying the beast without confidence-robbing trust issues. I hope so, because that girl is a ferocious beast and she shifts way smoother than the Pirate. I hate to admit it, but DynoJet’s Quick Shifter add-on is a freaking world apart from BMW’s implementation of the same principle of enabling full-throttle, clutchless upshifts. It is so smooth I occasionally catch myself looking down at the instrument panel to see if I’m actually in the next higher gear only to find the thing doesn’t have a gear indicator.
This is not fun anymore. In retrospect this hasn’t been fun in quite a while.
I want to ride these things as fast as I dare, not try and put them together and figure out what the previous owner(s) had done (or fucked up) so I can get an engineering degree online and learn to fix it. In the process I found out the following: I can teach myself mechanics if I can start from a baseline. I put a crashed S1000RR back together without this much fuss. Given, it took me 13 weeks and approximately $1300 in parts and tools, but it was a journey that was much more gratifying and taught me a lot about how motorcycles actually work. A road well traveled and worth it.
However, wrenching on the R1 feels like putting together a puzzle. I hate puzzles! You would have to put me on some serious medication for me to enjoy putting together some crappy picture printed on cardboard pieces.
Who in the world could enjoy sitting down to a 5000-piece puzzle and put it together when you a.) don’t have the box anymore with the picture on it, but you vaguely remember what it looked like; and b.) there are some puzzle pieces, from another 5000-piece puzzle, that don’t belong, but got mixed into the pile, but you don’t know that (yet).
I’m selling the R1.
I HAVE HAD IT!
That is all.
I have reached the point where the benefit does not outweigh the work put in and the frustrations encountered along the way.
I admit defeat. Shamefully, I throw in the towel, pack it up, and go home. I want to go back to paying somebody to do this shit for me, and I can only do that by returning to my roots: being a high-mileage street rider and combat commuter, who (maybe) goes to the occasional track day to keep most of the shenanigans off the street in an attempt to avoid going to jail for free body-cavity searches and crappy food.
This is the first time I have ever let an inanimate object (or a massive collection of them) beat me. My IQ will recover… eventually. Time heals most wounds. In the meantime I just allow myself to feel stupid as hell.
I apologize to Mr. Slow who has leaped tall buildings in a single bound to make it possible for me to own a dedicated race bike and has been nothing but supportive along the way. He has given up so much to enable me to chase some arbitrary dream I started having for reasons I still don’t quite comprehend.
It’s time for me to wake up and rejoin reality. I really should steal his license plate, move the electrical tape dot over one character and slap it on my bike. Although, my man would look pretty silly cruising down the road with “Rocket Girl” hanging off his tail.
Today, I am the MRS.LOW to his MR.SLOW because I feel painfully ungrateful by giving up.
Mr. Slow is actually faster than me, or could be, if he ever decided to trade his hard bags for knee pucks. But he is Mr. Slow because that’s his riding philosophy rather than a reflection upon his skill set. And that is my confession.
There is freedom within, there is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
There’s a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you’ll never see the end of the road
While you’re traveling with me