Welcome Spring Break … “down”

Spring is always a get busier time, especially for us motorcyclists who live with the cooler weather, common to those of us who live in North America. Well at least for us in Canada, and a lot of places south of us. Even New York in January, knows the big chill.

However, it is warming up here in the great white north, and the motorcycles are coming out from their garages, dust covers, lean-to’s and various parking places, underground or some, from sitting under an insulating blanket of snow, Brrrr. We live in the south west corner of Super Natural British Columbia, which at worst may see a few days of snow every year or two. Kind of like summer, fall, spring, summer, repeat. Still, it can be cold with rain blowing sideways, thanks to that big beautiful Pacific Ocean that sits only minutes away. Boundary bay and onto the Strait of Georgia are just a short ride.

Having said that, our motorcycles, hereafter referred to as “ bikes “, sit more through the cooler season, and then wheels are turning as the sun decides to stay a bit longer each day. Now is it because of the lengthened sit time, over winter? The cooler, dampish days? Maybe even ice and snow. Lack of attention in general? Hmmm, who knows, maybe it’s all of the above, and more, or less. Thus leading, often, to the aforementioned spring break…down.

Just brought the V Strom 1000 (the Veast) replacement home, a newer 2011 DL650, black on black (Mr. B). My wife has the Candy Dare Red one (Zuki). I downsized for many reasons, dependability being one. Ahem. So now riding weather abounds, and I had put 400 kms on my new ride, when suddenly, my rectifier decided to quit rectificating. I suppose this may entail a rubber glove? From what I can discern, the Stator is like the brother, or sister, of said rectifier, and they may very well quit together. You ride more, you stop more, that’s simple accounting, I suppose. Stuff wears out. And sure enough, once I got into the wee teardown, the stator showed its true colors. Burnt coppertone with a hue of melted plasteek. Voila! Definitely, a spring break down.

So yes, spring has sprung, and I am shifting into my home mechanic costume, and it can feel like a costume sometimes as I am really like an actor, impersonating a bonified mechanic. Still, I am always up for a little wrenching, unless it is too complicated, as in needing not only a specialized skill set, but maybe even some specialized tools. Yep, I have passed on a few of those projects. And for the better I’m sure. After much time spent taking these parts out and replacing them, a learning process also, I am, supposedly, ready to ride into the dawning summer, and fingers crossed, into the fall and beyond without another cluster. Riiight. Well stranger things have happened. I admittedly put on around 10,000 to 12,000 KM a year, as the last few years have shown (near death experiences excluded), and of course the more one rides , the more one maintains, “the bike”.

I must say, after extensive research, and even ordering a Haynes manual for my new bike, which is taking like, 3 and a half weeks to get here, (I’ll be long gone riding into the sunrise before it gets here), I believe I can change this rectifier / stator, as my experience level combined with my commitment to this project, makes it doable. I’ll save at least $150.00 in labour, and close to $300.00, using the non OEM parts. That’s almost 5 bills, which could mean new tires, and my helmet sucks. Well, it does. Time will tell if my how to was a good idea. I have a lot of ideas, but history has shown, they do not all progress to the “good idea” level.

As I sit here practising my unique style of typing, I have hope to believe that I have done a very decent mechanical job, and this afternoons planned ride, will hopefully, reinforce this belief, and prove it not hopeless. Maybe it will be the only hiccup of this spring, at least as far as the bikes go. Most assuredly the rest of life will be a kicking up some dust. I have done more hours wrench pulling on my 4 years with V Stroms than I did in 3 years with my old Shadow, which was a bike not too familiar with a spanner.

Luckily, I guess this is a spring time breakdown, not a mid-summer crisis, and I will be up and rolling. Once a few years ago, my now historic big Vee, sat at a dealership for 5 weeks, dealing with a mail order cluster, as my parts floated around the universe.  Sheeesh, that was too much, and I was fresh out of open heart surgery, recovering from a bacterial infection. I guess that was a spring break down too, but a bit more personal. How interesting.                           

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz … let’s go scratch some gravel. So cometh the spring break…down, and then chest out, shoulders squared, and taking care of business. Even Elvis Presley knew that was a good idea. Maybe I’ll learn something? Either way, I want to ride, I want to ride, I want… ya ya, whatever. I will post these words that do not move, along with pictures that do not move, an old school thing, yet something which I love, and the link to the world premiere videos of replacing a dead rectifier and a burnt stator from my 2011 V Strom DL650. Could you pass me that long shafted Phillips screwdriver? Thanks for coming out…now piss off!