Soooo…. yesterday, right before I went to work, I called the service manager to get an update on the Pirate’s surgery. They received the part. They stuck it in. The mechanic took it for a test ride. You know, I really do dislike the fact that they have to do that. The thought of some dude on MY bike, doing god only knows what, just makes me feel somewhat ill. I don’t mind them wrenching on it (at least not at this shop, but that’s for another story), but damn! Git yer ass offa my ride! It’s not even that they put miles on the clock that don’t belong to me, it’s the fact that I don’t exactly know what goes on when they go pleasure cru… I mean, test riding for those 15 minutes. Maybe I should test ride it and let the mech ride bitch. Nah, I would have to put the passenger pegs back on… Where was I? Oh yeah, he took my RR for a test ride and nada. No change. Back to looking at the ABS system. Amy said they were working in conjunction with BMW in Germany and she usually “hears back from them by 7”. Get another part (I’m assuming this time it’s going to be an ABS pump) overnighted, expect it delivered by Saturday. Stick it in, go forth and put some more miles on my ride and see if that solves the problem.
Now I’m back to looking at the scary thought of brake failure due to ABS component failure without the bike’s brain even knowing something’s amiss. And here I thought ABS failure had a ‘revert to hydraulic brakes’ failsafe built in. Ah, what the hell, stopping is overrated anyway. Hope the front brakes have a failsafe. I’ll let you know when they scrape me off the back wall because I couldn’t make my turn at about 133 miles per hour. This geek thinks something doesn’t quite add up. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that I thought my country(wo)men were better engineers than that. And the attention to detail that went into the S1000RR, which is quite evident when looking at the bike and even more so after you’ve owned it for a while and have had occasion to look under her skirts, makes the point quite clear.
I am the “lab rat”, as I have been told by my service dude, hence I will exercise my patience; which is not one of my strong virtues, as if you couldn’t tell already. If motorcycle repair is anything like troubleshooting PCs, they are doing it right. Eliminate all variables, in the proper sequence (and if applicable in all variations), one known-good component at a time until you arrive at the source(s) of the problem.
To add to my general malcontent: I’ve checked the schedules for open track days at four of the nearest race tracks and came up empty, for various reasons, most of which involved scheduling conflicts between work and what I’d rather be doing. Meh. If I don’t get any practice in soon… ah hell, I’m already screwed for next season; but I am a quick study and I can catch up if I can keep motivated about the whole affair, that is. If only I was independently wealthy… yeah, I’d have me a track day and a backup bike, a pearl splash white Hayabusa. Make that multiple track days and two backup bikes: I’ll be in need of a Six-Gixx, too, fo sho! I need a SUGADADDY!!!! Now accepting applications, send your resumes to MissBusa@weride… 😉
Last time I took the S1000RR to the BMW dealership to have it serviced according to its maintenance schedule, I pointed out that there seems to be something going on with the white LEDs on the bottom of the main display. One of them was turning a distinct yellowish color. The service tech looked at me and said: “LEDs are either on or off, they don’t dim and go out.” I replied: “That’s what I thought.” They checked it, found nothing wrong (as I knew it would turn out). I felt a little silly, but told the dude I wanted it on the record for future “just in case” reference. Not too long ago, I was washing my bike and I noticed another yellowish cast appearing on the left side of the display. Where once was one, now there are two. WTF?!? This has been bothering me. The bike gets hot. Damn hot! You can’t ride the thing in shorts, you will burn your knees on the frame. I found that one out the hard way when squidding around Myrtle Beach, SC in July. That’s the sort of heat we are talking about. In 100°F weather in rush hour stop-and-go traffic, the temperature readout climbs as high as 223°F. I’ve seen it in the 230s. But the bike doesn’t complain, as a matter of fact, so far it has been regulating its heat output without overheating. I don’t even know what the danger zone would be, but I’m assuming there’s an idiot light for that, too. With the recent rear brake failure issue, this is coming back to haunt my brain. Is there a way these symptoms could be related? The bike has always been finicky with the rear brake pedal. I like to drag rear brake during slow maneuvers and sometimes the brain of the operation just tells me no, and the lever loses all pressure and goes limp under my foot. Annoying. Overshot my driveway once because it did that to me and I was not expecting that at all. Putting the bike in ‘Race Mode’ seemed to have solved that problem, hence I thought that to be of design rather than a malfunction. Now? I’m not so sure. Then there is the issue of the turn signal failing to cancel. Sometimes it just won’t cancel when you push the button. I noticed it first after I had the first alarm system installed, on the way home from the dealership. But clicking the button to the right first, then pushing it in its center position for the cancel function seemed to help. Alternatively, I could wait for it to auto-cancel on its own. Here I thought it may have to do with the bike not accepting its new toy. We found out later, from BMW, that the unit was obsolete and had been superseded by a newer version, which my bike wanted.) I also had that checked, along with the main display when I had to come back to get the alarm units switched. Again, the fault could not be duplicated by the technician. Of course not, that’s The Law, after all. Hubby suggested it was probably an issue with the button itself or the contact underneath it. I let that one go, too. If it was a mechanical problem, it would quit altogether soon enough and it wouldn’t have to be reproduced, it would just be. Same with the LEDs, really. I figured eventually they would probably fail. And the warranty would take care of it. The strange thing is that the signal canceling issue became almost non-existent after the alarm units were switched and the anti-theft system was in perfect working order. Coincidence? Perhaps.
I still couldn’t leave it alone. The first clue that something could be amiss was the limp rear brake lever, the intense heat transmitted through the frame always made me wonder if that was within operating specs, then the first LED yellowed, shortly thereafter the turn signal cancel function stopped working intermittently, then the second LED yellowed, next was the rear brake failure due to ABS pump failure. So I did a little quick googling and I came across this gem on the web:
The original paper by Yimin Gu and Nadarajah Narendran can be found in PDF format at the RPI’s website. [direct link, opens in new browser window]
When I installed the rear fender eliminator kit and had to splice the new license plate LEDs into the stock wiring harness (before hitting the CANbus) and the ground wire came undone during routing of the wrapped wire bundle, the bike threw a fault. Told me plain and simple that I had a bulb out. Yeah. That’s important to know, if the rapidly blinking front right turn signal didn’t already give that little tidbit of information away. Truly, that is the mother of all idiot light warnings.
Cascading Systemic Failure… can you smell the ozone? OMG! This is so not funny! x/
…another thought keeps creeping into my mind: “heat is the main cause of electronic failure”. Screw this, I need a beer. Prost! *lifts her bottle of Warsteiner* We shall see what comes of this when the brake dust settles.
I just got off the phone with the service department of my Beemer dealership. They have no official diagnosis yet, but it looks as though the ABS pump is trying to decide whether it wants to work or not. The front is working fine. They’ve sent an emergency request to BMW for further analysis and instructions. The word from BMW is that they haven’t heard anything about a problem with the S1000RR’s brakes. There is (as of yet) no pattern of failure, in other words. Scary thought that the pump’s failure wouldn’t trip a fault in the bike’s self-diagnostic routine. Maybe the rear brake doesn’t rate a fault. Who the hell uses that thing for much of anything anyway? Who knows. But this is not very confidence inspiring. What if this had happened to the front brakes? With no indication whatsoever that something was amiss… during a pass on the strip or on the track, in rush-hour traffic… hell, I don’t even want to think about it too much. Amy said that the shop is now “at the mercy of BMW” and her best guess is that I’ll have my ride back by next weekend. We shall see…
It’s time for me and the Pirate to have a little heart to heart. What is this world coming to when a girl can’t even drag rear brake anymore when doing slow maneuvers in a parking lot or let’s say pulling up into her driveway. Here’s the thing: I abused rear brake pads to learn how to do the ‘Slow Race’ on the Hayabusa. I could almost be at a standstill with my feet up on the pegs and hold it in perfect balance. I pride myself on pulling up into the local bike night and NOT drag my damn feet while I find myself a hole to park the bike in. With the S1000RR, however, it’s like playing Russian Roulette. Sometimes you get to do it, and sometimes the bike’s electronic wizardry just tells you: “No! Absolutely NOT!” and the brake lever goes limp. I cannot describe how disconcerting that is. Not really dangerous, the brakes are linked, I could use the front brake to do the same, but damn it!!!! Who’s in control here?!? I know it’s just a matter of adjusting, but I don’t want to get used to relying on electronics to do my job for me. What if I get on another bike and ride it like it had DTC and ABS, but doesn’t. Yeah. I’ll be making payments on somebody else’s shit. I really want to continue learning as if I didn’t have all that wondrous junk hanging off my bike. I look at it as an extra safety margin (in case I screw up, it’ll give me an extra edge to save my bacon), but I don’t want it to control my riding. That’s one of the major reasons I love riding so much. Let me rephrase that: am addicted to riding; a motorcycle junkie, a two-wheeled therapy abuser, a slave to gyroscopic precession. It’s the only time I’m really in control. In control of all aspects of my life; at that precise moment, I’m the master of my destiny. The decider of my fate. When I’m on my bike. I’m the boss woman! And I don’t need that stinking Pirate to interfere with that. No ma’am. Not gonna have it. Since I am under the obligation of a promise I made to hubby that I would not turn off the DTC or ABS unless it is warranted, I need to learn how its brain works. The brake lever going limp is just a small little symptom of what is yet to come. Remember, I haven’t made neither the ABS nor the DTC intervene in any other way, and I’m riding this thing just as hard (maybe even harder) that I did the Hayabusa. That tells me one of two things: Either I’m a pussy or I’m doing something right.
On today’s menu: Experimental riding. I have the OK from hubby to turn the systems off selectively to find out if this newly discovered nuisance is by design or a malfunction. Time to go play.
It’s raining. I’m minding my own lane space as I roll in ‘Rain’ mode down Robinson Avenue, at a sedate pace of 35 miles per hour, which coincidentally is also the speed limit. I’m on my way to work, feeling fine and listening to Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’. Traffic is pretty heavy, since it’s rush hour in the big city of Grovetown. I like the way the S1000RR minds its manners in crap weather. The ‘Busa had it together, too, but this bike screams confidence, but not overly so.
I see him sitting there, in his black sedan with his chromed-out rims. He is stopped, and not antsy, like some of the drivers trying to make a left turn onto Robinson Avenue from Katherine Street. There is a line of cars behind him, also waiting to merge into Grovetown’s main artery. I’m closing the distance to the T-intersection, when suddenly he guns it and pulls out in front of me. I don’t have time to think, all I can do is react. I quickly bring my fingers up, curl them around the front brake lever as I roll the throttle closed in the same swift, desperate movement and grab the biggest handful to date in Miss Busa’s colorful 18-month riding career. Gone is the thought of “but… but it’s wet”, all I can think of is that I need to stop this rocket before my front tire kisses this joker’s rear bumper and high-sides me into oncoming traffic. Not that I have any other options. Oncoming traffic to the left, curb to the right. I couldn’t jump that anyway, the angle of approach wouldn’t be steep enough, and I’ve really had enough of curb jumping against all odds for the time being. I’ve done killed one Peregrine Falcon with that stunt, don’t need to add a Pirate Matey to the list of things wrecked due to impossible angles. The S1000RR does its thing (or I do), because I haul myself down in time to escape calamity. Straight, well behaved, controlled, without lockups. I don’t even put my foot down, but bang it down a gear into first, then ease out the clutch, which I had pulled in at some point during this fiasco, but can’t recall doing so. Holy hell! I glance down and see no telltale lights that speak of the Beemer’s intervention. Damn! Still couldn’t make neither the ABS nor the DTC come on and help a chica out. I’m beginning to worry… if anything this should have done it! Never mind that now… I show the jerk that he rates No. 1 in my book, but the single-digit salute doesn’t really do it for me. I want to make sure the asshat gets a good look at the face of the person he just put into a do or die situation. The face of the girl who could have had herself one pisser of a bad day courtesy of his stupid ass. And this is definitely NOT how I like to start my day, no sir! When the traffic clears I speed up, cross over into the oncoming lane. I buzz him really close and stare into his window as I pace him. He looks at me like I’m some sort of wacko. Ah, I hate that look. The look of non-comprehension. So he gunned it to cut off oncoming traffic, but never looked back to his right to see the girl on a motorcycle and the giant SUV behind her. Fuck me! It would have done my psyche better if he had just been a complete jackass and had done it on purpose… I don’t know why that matters… probably because that would take one shitty variable out of this messy equation. *sigh* I shake my fist at him anyway, then leave him to sniff my fumes and make sure I’m back to speed limit by the time I do my almost daily pass and review in front of the cop shop.
Damned if you do & damned if you don’t!
What really grinds my gears is this: If there is no contact between vehicles it is not ruled an accident. Think about this for a moment. Think about how that silly, asinine law affects motorcyclists. I would have hit his ass had I been in hubby’s truck; making double-sure of there being contact, had I not been able to stop in time. It would have been ruled his fault. I was traveling at speed limit, he cut off not just me, but oncoming traffic as well. Plenty of witnesses. On a motorcycle? Physical contact between their parts and yours needs to be avoided at all costs or you’ll really be in for a world of hurt. In my case, I had no outs, but to stop and hope for the best. Couldn’t swerve left due to oncoming traffic. Couldn’t swerve right due to the curb. Either of which would have resulted in a highside… to the left into a moving object. To the right into a stationary one. Hitting the offending car would have also resulted in my soft parts being lobbed into the air. Only way out? Lay it down, separate and hope you’ll stay in your lane as you slide to a stop on your ass and further hope the driver in the car behind you is paying attention. Not really all that comfortable with these odds. This is pissing me off all over again…. ARGH! To the point: Had I avoided impact but laid down my bike in the process, it would have been ruled my fault and I would have been turned into an unwilling pedestrian, since I can’t afford another freaking $1000 insurance deductible. Not to mention my rates would be so far down the crapper… enough said.
They need to change that stupid law (at least for motorcyclists)! If someone causes you to lose control of your vehicle because they violate your right of way, it should be deemed their fault, vehicle contact or not! We only have two wheels, after we screech to a halt, we still have to remain in balance to avoid damage to our vehicle.
I’m mounting a video camera to the bike permanently, and I will run it every time I ride. I had too many close calls now. Then I will use that footage, along with witness accounts and sue the pants off your driving-skill lacking ass or have my surviving hubby do it for me. LEARN TO DRIVE!
I’m still not calmed down. And this happened over seven hours ago. 😦 And something else just occurred to me: Had I been on my Hayabusa, this day would have been one hell of a bummer, indeed. There’s no way I could have stopped The Fat Lady in time to avoid a highside. Now I’m double-bummed… or maybe things happen for a reason?!?