Back in Black

Almost 20,000km in 8 months. That has been the result of commuting daily, going away at weekends and one long summer trip since I took delivery of my AT at the end of March.

It hasn’t taken me long to work out that, at this rate, I will have put 100,000km on it in four years, and I can’t afford to change bikes so fast (I still don’t have a YouTube channel popular enough for BMW to give me free bikes…), so I have decided to use the AT at weekends and for adventure trips and put the V-Strom back in daily commuting service.

The bike had been stored for the 8 months I had had the AT, and this time I didn’t even bother unplugging the battery because I wanted to take it out every now and then at weekends to keep it running, but didn’t really have the time. In spite of this, the engine started first time and the bike went straight back into daily use a couple of weeks ago.

This weekend I finally had some time, so I gave it a major service to keep it running smoothly. I changed the oil and filter and the spark plugs, and poured some Metal Lube into the tank. Maybe it’s just psychological, but I would swear the bike is already running smoother. I also lubricated the clutch cable with this contraption I had bought for 4€ and some WD40.

I didn’t know how effective it would be, but I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised – the clutch is now much easier to operate, which makes a welcome difference in everyday traffic.

Here’s a video (not mine) showing how it works.

Having clocked over 150,000km, I am now just curious to see how many more this bike can take with daily use and regular servicing.

1,000-kilometre service in Nova Honda

Well, not exactly… after a weekend away running the bike in, it was more like 1,245km.

When I bought the bike I also got the Honda Plus card, which extends the warranty to four years and gives you the right to the use of a replacement bike while yours is being serviced, which is great for me as I need the bike daily to go to work. I booked the 1,000km service the same day I picked up the AT to make sure that the replacement bike would be available, and on Wednesday she went in for her first visit to the dealer’s workshop.

They took the AT in the moment I arrived and asked how everything was going. I told them about the problem with the 6th gear – occasionally it was difficult to change up into it and then it would jump into neutral – and they assured me they would look into it.

I filled in some paperwork and was given, as I feared, a replacement scooter… Well, at least it was not that bad, it was a brand new SH300 and even though I do not like scooters I have to admit that this one made a pretty convincing city runabout. I will go into my riding impressions more into detail in an upcoming post, for the moment suffice to say that it was more than adequate to take to work outside the city until I could pick up the AT the following day.

IMG_7933

In fact, the bike was ready on the same day, but since I did not finish work until 22:00 I could not pick it up until Thursday. The first service came at 143.64€ and included an oil and filter change and greasing and checking the chain. I had been hoping they would also clean the bike, but they did not… I am going to have to remove the mosquitoes from the weekend myself.

IMG_7938

The head mechanic told me that he tested the bike himself but having changed the oil he found nothing wrong with the 6th gear. He said that these issues tend to disappear with fresh oil and a bit on running in, and another owner on the local AT forum told me that that after 2,000km the gearbox on his bike had become noticeably smoother. I must say that the problem has not happened a single time since then.

All in all, I was quite satisfied with the quality of the service and the price, which was within the average of what I have read about in the forum. Since I was there, took the opportunity to order the tall screen as well. We will see how wind protection improves with it, and if it is not enough, I will fit a deflector on top of it, which was the definitive solution on the Super Ténéré.