Sorry it’s been so long loyal readers (both of you), but you’ll see at least part of the reason why as you read on…
Well, I did indeed ride the Indian in as I said I would. I apparently do have the electrical problem licked. However, on the last leg of the ride the Big Chief began making an ominous clunking noise in the rear tranny area. So the question then becomes, do I push on to work (by far the shortest distance left) or do I turn around and get back on the boat and head home. Work is, as I said, the shortest distance, but I have only what’s in my tool roll to work on it with. Home is everything I need to work on it, but many more miles.
I pushed on, fairly sure that the problem was that I was low on gear oil in the transmission (perhaps I didn’t get the gasket properly sealed when I replaced it last Summer). I had no gear oil at work, but I did manage to con a friend into taking me to fetch some. I then had to scramble around work to find an Allen wrench big enough to take the tranny plug out. I pulled the plug and discovered to my chagrin that there was PLENTY of oil.
Never have I been so disappointed to have done a good job! Well, I put it back together and decided to start it up and see if it was still having problem… Who knows, maybe the bike fairies showed and fixed it?! No luck… and no start. The clunking noise was apparently the starter not fully disengaging, and now it won’t engage no matter how much I attempt to ‘persuade’ it.
Well, once again AAA isn’t going to make any money off me. During the tow home, I came the very difficult decision that I can no longer keep the Chief. Right now, two bikes is all I can reasonably afford to maintain, and the Chief is just a bit too long in the tooth to depend on as an every day commuter. So, once I finally get the ol’ boy starting again, I’ll be selling him to someone who can give him a good home.
He’s still a great bike with tons of life left in him. For anyone who will ride him as most bikes are ridden, when the weather is nice on weekends and the occasional day trip, he’s perfect. It’s just the constant demands of start, ride 25 miles, stop; start again load on the boat & sit; start again and ride 10 miles (in traffic) and do the whole thing in reverse going home. Do that every day, lather, rinse, repeat. It’s a tough life for a bike.
So, the inevitable question right now is, what do I replace him with? The leading contender is this beauty, the Victory Vision Tour. Not sure exactly when, and I’ll probably look for a good low mileage used one. But, this is the leading candidate right now. I was also, briefly considering the Triumph Rocket Tour III, with it’s truly monstrous 2300 cc motor (that’s right boys & girls, a motorcycle with a 2.3 liter engine)! But, I’m really looking for a full dress bike this time around. I want the full Garbage Truck package to give me a bit more protection during the winter commute.
Why not a Goldwing, I hear from the peanut gallery. Well, have you priced them lately? You can get a Harley Ultra Classic for less money. A ‘Wing is still in the running, but way on the outside. If Honda was still making them, I would pull a trigger on new Valkyrie Interstate on the way home tonight! But, sadly, the newest of those I can get are almost as old as the Chief…
I’ll keep everyone posted as I work though the process.