Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Mechanics
Just thought I'd share this for those who are interested. About a year ago I was working in SLO in an office building located across the street from where CoastRiders Powersports was located previously. They've since moved further up Higuera, closer to downtown. Well anyway, my office was so close, I could walk directly across the street and be at their doorstep. Now having sold my 08' Harley-Davidson (Ultra Classic) prior to relocating my family to the Central Coast, I found myself without a bike and going crazy working in an office across the street from a motorcycle dealer, seeing and hearing bikes going in and out all day long. That's never a good thing for one's pocketbook. Well that lasted about 6 months and I found myself lurking around the dealership during my lunches. You know, "Just looking." Having owned two Harley's in approximately the past 15 years, a few other brands in between those years and several more over my 30 year riding career as a whole, I thought maybe....just maybe it was time for something entirely different....a project bike. It would be something that I could wrench on in my man cave to keep myself busy and out of trouble in my spare time. So here's a helpful tip. If you're looking for a project bike, buy a BMW. If you want reliability, buy a Honda. I'm kidding of course! Well.....sorta.
Anyway, one fine day while eating my brown bag lunch at the dealership, I stumbled across an '89 BMW K100RS (anniversary edition) in the highly sought after blue/white color combo. In the mid '80's, as a teenager in high school, I remember lusting after the K100RS. It was the most high tech looking bike being built at the time and to my teenage sensibilities, also the sexiest looking. All the unique looking German gauges and switchgear really made the bike stand apart, especially when compared to other bikes of that period. I still remember a popular wall poster that hung in many teenage boy's bedrooms and for that matter...many men's garages, of a certain scantily clad young bikini model adorning a K100RS. Wow! What an image. 30 years later....I still remember it, but I digress.
Getting back to the bike, at the low asking price of $2,000 it was almost a no brainer and I was tempted to just write them a check, but something stopped me. This bike was a perfect 10 foot bike. Meaning that from 10 feet away, it looked almost perfect, but up close it really showed its age, broken panels and pieces that were not so cleverly reattached with glue and painted over, etc.. As I really began to inspect it more closely, I began to feel that the bike wasn't merely showing its age and years of use, it seemed to me that it just wasn't properly cared for. Even neglected in some ways. It would take money to correct these deficiencies to at least bring it up to my standard. I rationalized, that if I could get the price down a bit further, it still might be worth it. So I took the next couple of days to think it over as I researched the cost of replacing the body parts I had noted earlier. Turns out replacing those obsolete and hard to find parts were so expensive, it made the project no longer viable. For this reason, many people opt to go the cafe bike route. They start with a good donor bike and they strip it down to the essentials completely transforming the look. If I were looking for a cafe bike project, then it would have been a good bike for that sort of project. However seeing it from my perspective, this particular bike was special, being an anniversary bike and the very last year the K100RS was made. So keeping the bike completely original was the only way to go as far as I was concerned. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be so I moved on to something else.
The bike sat for months on the dealer's floor with a sign that stated sale proceeds would go to a certain charity which I can no longer recall. Eventually the bike vanished from the dealer's floor. As a bike that was on consignment, I don't know if the owner ever sold it or if he decided to keep it. Whatever the outcome, I hope that whoever owns the bike will restore it to it's original factory condition and not dismantle it, selling off pieces on eBay and transforming it in to a Frankenstein like K-motor cafe bike.
So that brings me to my current bike which by now you've seen in some of the photos that I've posted on our site. In the intervening months, while doing more "research", I found an impossibly clean, well maintained and cared for 2002 BMW R1150RT in the color of Titan Silver. This happened again during one of my lunch breaks at CoastRiders. As the story goes, the bike was bought as a matching pair by person from Alta Loma. He apparently didn't like to ride alone, so he bought a matching set and kept both bikes at his second home to enjoy when he and his guests would come for a visit. This bike was the "spare bike" and when I found it, the odometer showed slightly less than 21,000 original miles. At that time the bike was 14 years old and with such low mileage, it meant the previous owner averaged less than 1,500 miles per year. Wow! I thought BMW's were always known to be high mileage bikes. Well anyway, this bike had all the service records, receipts and even the original sales paperwork and the correspondence between the buyer and dealer on negotiating the price for both bikes, along with all the accessories to be added before delivery. I must say....I like this guy's style. He has impeccable taste. I suppose that I can cut to the chase, because you already know how that deal turned out. I left the dealer a deposit, went home and told the wife of my intentions (read ask for permission) and returned the next day with a check in hand. That was the beginning of a whole new chapter in my riding life with the bike I refer to as, Der Beemer. So after purchasing the the bike, the next logical question was...."What the hell am I gonna do now with all this Harley clothing?" Ha! Ha!
Next month is October which marks 1 year since I brought Der Beemer home to live in my garage. The year has gone by very fast and I haven't put on nearly as many miles as I would have liked, but I've been busy with work, family and life in general. However, I've learned a lot about the bike in that time. I've come to appreciate some of it's unique and even entertaining qualities and I've discovered a few things that I didn't spot or know about when I bought the bike (read little surprises). I'm currently in the process of performing the bike's first Major Service, which BMW calls for at 24,000 miles. It's also the first service of any kind that I've performed on the bike, but I'm equipped and prepared for it....or so I think. I'll let you know how it all turns out.
To be continued.....