Wednesday, March 28, 2007


It's been a while....

The NEW wheel I ordered finally came in and I picked it up at my favorite little local motorcycle shop yesterday. It's ready to go with a fresh Pilot Road tire and a nice shiny, bug-free finish (Oooooh shiny!). I still need to install my brake rotors and ABS-ring before the R1200ST can come down off it's perch on the car jack.

I'm also in urgent need of some new brake pads. I'm slightly bitter at my local shop for talking me out of ordering them a week ago. But really.. I love my shop. They mostly do Japanese bikes, so I understand them being a little confused by the peculiarities of my BMW.

The conversation went like this...

A week (or so) ago:
Me: "I'm ordering this outrageously expensive new wheel. I know that I need new front brake pads too. Should I buy them now too?"
Shop: "Nah...we've got plenty of brake pads in stock. You can pick them up when you pick up the wheel in a week."

Me: "Oooh...nice wheel. Looks good. So how about those brake pads?"
Shop: "Let me just look in my handy dandy catalog to check what brake pads your bike takes. Oh! We don't stock those. Would you like me to order them for you?"
Me: ARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH. No. I'll order them online and get them shipped to my door.

Me (looking online at aftermarket pads): BACKORDERED?!?!?!?! Til mid-April?!?!?!?!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Not My Weekend

Rebecca and I rode up to Hico last Saturday for a TWTex pie run at the Koffee Kup Family Restaurant.

The day started out with a little rain storm as we were leaving Houston and then culminated in some of the windiest, dustiest weather I’ve ever ridden in….which contributed to less than stellar gas mileage on the R1200ST’s part and less than stellar decision making on my part.

Read Rebecca’s ride report for the day on her blog here.

Having spent the night with a friend in Huntsville, I planned a nice relaxing Sunday enjoying some east Texas Piney Woods riding.

The day started with a dash of adrenaline as I used my ABS to avoid colliding with a left-turning farm truck that decided to ignore my approach and then stop in the middle of my lane. The event was made more exciting by the waiting truck following the original truck, which was taking up the other lane, giving me no escape route.

I grabbed a sandwich and a peach iced tea at a Sonic Diner in Onalaska, enjoying the beautiful blue skies and light cool breeze. The relaxation and refreshment seemed to set a tone for my ride.

I ran down the roads, heading further and further northeast. The BMW was running perfectly, traffic was minimal, and each field of lush green grass or waving evergreen bough seemed to be exclaiming “Spring is coming!”

Cresting a hill on FM942 east of Leggett, I suddenly found a long 2x6 with a few other misc boards nailed to it (part of a pallet?) taking up most of my lane.

I immediately braked on reflex and then got off the brakes to cross the lumber with neutral input.

It felt like a piece of the wood was caught in my wheel, or perhaps caught between the wheel and the engine. I pulled my speed down carefully, trying not to aggravate the oscillation in my handlebars. Pulling to a stop about 1/8 mile down the road, I deployed my kickstand and dismounted to see the damage.

After a few minutes of well-deserved swearing, I dug in my tankbag to find my cellphone. My tri-mode Verizon phone had one bar of service, but it was enough to interrupt my parents’ relaxing afternoon at home and get them into my truck for the 115 mile (each way) drive to pick me up.

The 2.5 hour wait wasn’t all that bad, actually. I relaxed with a book in the combined shade of my bike and the surrounding trees. The culvert next to the road contained a stony creek, babbling over the rocks.

Many of the cars that passed me stopped to offer help. A couple of them stand out in my memory.

One older gentleman in a work truck pulled up behind the R1200ST about 1 hour into my wait. He was a fellow rider and had seen me sitting there in a previous pass but was busy at the time. He helped me move the R1200ST closer to the shoulder (the bend in the wheel rim was making it difficult to roll).

A group of men in a pickup passed heading toward town early into my wait. Seeing the coolers in the back, I asked if they had any water. They apologized, but offered me a bottle of beer, which I declined. Passing the other direction half an hour later, they stopped to hand me a cold bottled water and wished me luck with my wait.

Mom and Dad finally showed up with the truck around 4:45pm, shortly after I had dug a jacket out of my luggage to ward against the growing evening chill. With some difficulty, we loaded the BMW into the truck and tied it down.

Coming into Houston on US59, we were passed by a huge procession of cruisers. There must have been at least 100 bikes. Red-faced, I sank into my seat and mentally apologized to the R1200ST for the ignominy of being seen on the back of a truck by so many motorcyclists.

I have a few more pictures from the ride that will be posted eventually.

What’s next?

Tomorrow I’m going to be stripping down the front wheel and taking it to a highly recommended local wheel repair shop to see if anything can be done. A replacement wheel will cost roughly $700 from BMW, not counting the tire (which was coming due for replacement anyway). I’ve been unable to source a used wheel…. Those ST’s are just too rare.

I’ll also be taking the downtime to change the front brake pads, do my next valve adjust, and an oil change. The R1200ST is now past 24,000 miles.