My Bike is Totaled! Now What?
After hitting a deer with my 2014 BMW 1200 GS on Red Mountain Pass, I had BMW of Denver inspect the bike for the insurance company. They called to say that the frame was bent and that my bike was probably a total loss. With less than 2 weeks from a planned, week-long ride through Colorado’s back country, I didn’t have a bike!
It is mid-June and I needed to find a bike fast! None of the dealers I contacted had any used GS’s and the new 2018 model is beyond my budget. Searching Craigslist, Cycle Trader and any other publications I could find, the pickings for a 2013-2017 1200 GS were slim! I found one in Denver, but when I called, the owner stated that someone had just purchased it 15 minutes earlier.
I found another one in Phoenix. Knowing it is only a 9-hour drive, my wife and I could make a weekend out of it. Speaking with the owner, he stated the bike was in excellent condition. My brother-in-law Larry lives in Phoenix, so I asked him if he would go take a look at it. When he got to the owner’s house, he discovered that the right cylinder had some deep and long scratches in it. The handlebar guard were pretty scratched up as well. The owner explained to Larry that the bike had just tipped over in the garage before he had gotten there. This was not from a garage tip-over! Glad I didn’t drive 9 hours to find that out!
With eleven days before our planned departure, I found another 2014 GS for sale about 70 miles from the house! I contacted the owner and he stated that he was selling the GS to purchase a BMW 1200 RT, as he wanted a more touring capable bike. We arranged to meet the following day. The next morning, I receive a call from him and he says he had ridden the RT and didn’t like it, so he was keeping the GS.
With our departure day creeping ever closer, my search for a bike was becoming more frantic. I kept pushing the thought of not going on the ride out my mind. Yes, there were other bikes out there that would have worked for this trip, but the BMW R 1200GS is such an amazing motorcycle. Its capabilities are legendary. I swear it makes you a better rider!
As I am furiously searching the web to find a bike, my wife is sitting across the room making fun of me for my futile efforts. Thinking maybe if I just search a little further away. Adding just few hundred more miles to the search, something will be pop up. Sure enough, it does. The ad reads, “2016 BMW 1200 GS 1300 actual miles”. No way! A 2-year-old motorcycle with 1300 miles? It is in Riverside California. Just a short 1,000-mile drive away! When I click on the ad, it opens to show this shiny, Triple Black R 1200GS! It is tricked out with all sorts of accessories. The description goes on to say that the owner bought the bike and then got too busy with work to ride it. So, it has been sitting in his garage for the last 14 months and it was time to get rid of it. In typical Craigslist fashion, the ad went on to state that only serious buyers should contact him and that he didn’t want any ‘Ass-hats’ trying to trade their ’64 Rambler wagon for it.
Well, I never considered myself an ‘Ass-hat’ (not sure what that is), so I called him. We spoke for several minutes and negotiated a deal. I told him I would be driving out from Colorado and would pick the bike up on the following Monday. As with any on-line transaction, it is best to be cautious, but I needed a bike and after speaking with the owner, felt confident enough to send him a $1,000 deposit the next day. It was a good faith gesture and to tell him I wasn’t an Ass-hat! With the owner confirming he received the deposit and our Monday morning meeting scheduled, I began making arrangements to go to California.
The plan was to leave Sunday afternoon, driving to Mesquite, Nevada and then blast into Southern California Monday morning. I would load the bike on the trailer and then drive back to Las Vegas, spend the night and bee-line it home on Tuesday. When my two boys, Daniel and Ryan heard what I was doing, they said they wanted to go as well. I was thrilled to have their company and share the driving! Nothing better than a father and sons road trip! Especially when it involves motorcycles!
While working with BMW of Denver to have the insurance company pick up the totaled bike, I mentioned that I was purchasing a 2016 model out of California. They did a quick VIN search on it and found that there was a recall for the front forks that had not been done yet. They would be happy to schedule it for the following Friday. Well, that wasn’t going to do me any good as we were leaving for our ride on Thursday!
This was a critical recall that needed to be done before taking the bike over the likes of Corkscrew, Cinnamon and California passes. These are rugged, 4-wheel drive roads that are very unforgiving on equipment. So, it needed to get done. Since the plan was to stay in Las Vegas Monday night, the idea hit me that maybe the Las Vegas dealer could fit it in Tuesday morning. It was a long shot, considering it was the height of riding season and all of the shops were so busy. I called EuroCycle Las Vegas and spoke with their service department manager. He called himself ‘Shadow’, (even his business card had that on it!) and he said it wouldn’t be a problem to fit me in Tuesday morning. Just be at his shop by 9:00 am.
Tuesday morning, we were at EuroCycle at 8:45 am. Shadow was already there and welcomed us in. When we go to unload the bike off the trailer, we discover that the front tire is flat. The previous owner had pointed out that he had put a plug in it but said it had been holding air. Well upon further inspection, the plug wasn’t big enough for the hole in the tire. I didn’t want to worry about having tire issues on this ride, so it was time to replace it. When I mentioned to Shadow that the Service light was on, he look at the service records for the bike and discovered that the initial 500 mile servicing was never done. So, our 2-hour recall job is now going to take 5-6 hours to get done. With a 10-hour drive in front of us, we weren’t going to get home much before 2:00 am.
It is was 115 degrees in Vegas that day and we had 6 hours to kill. Not being much of a gambler, the casinos weren’t really an option. Well, leave it to my boys to come up with a plan! Daniel, my oldest son is the manager at the EagleRider motorcycle rental franchise in Grand Junction. Turns out, EuroCycle is an EagleRider franchise as well and he knows the manager there! Daniel suggests that maybe we could get some rental bikes for the day. He heads out of the service area to talk to the EagleRider manager. Just like that, we have a plan for our 6-hour wait. After signing the necessary paperwork, there are 3 motorcycles sitting in front of us! Daniel selected a brand-new Triumph Tiger Explorer. Ryan picked out a BMW R 1200 RT and I got to ride the new BMW Bagger, the K 1600 B.
With a route programmed into the GPS, we were off to Mount Charleston north of Las Vegas. As we headed into the mountains, the temperature began to drop, eventually leveling off to a comfortable 85 degrees! We spent several hours riding the two-lane roads and seeing the sights.
When we arrived back at the dealership, we found my bike sitting next to the truck, completely serviced and ready to go. After dropping the rental bikes off, we loaded my bike on the trailer and began the drive back home. Each of us remarking on what an incredible day it had been and thankful that we got to spend it together!
We pulled into our driveway at 2:30 am Wednesday morning. Tired and relieved that we had made it back. I crawled into bed and fell asleep. What a roller coaster ride! With a day to spare, I had a bike sitting in my shop ready to go on our Colorado Adventure! More about that in the next post!