Bloomin vehicles

I changed cars last year, when the finance deal on the last one ran its course, so my current Passat is on a variable servicing schedule. For some folks it means longer intervals between visits to the garage. With me it means that the service indicator has just kicked in and is now pointing out I have 1800 miles to my next service. I think this gives me about 9 weeks.

And its MOT time for the bike. With cars over the last few years they have been serviced at the same place as do the MOT, so it is pretty straightforward to book it in and they fix whatever is needed for the MOT, which is not usually very much with a relatively new car.

With the bike it is slightly different, my BMW is over 10 years old and isn’t in daily use, so things come up with it. Last year I put the bike in at a local motorcycle mechanic in the next village to get a once over in anticipation of the MOT, and right enough he made a couple of tweaks and it passed. This time I decided to do the same as he is BMW trained, but got a different chap. And it comes back with a shortish but expensive list:

  • Play in the bush in the bottom of the front suspension strut (combined shock absorber / coil spring unit), which apparently you can’t buy seperately and therefore need a new strut.
  • Front brakes seized, and with two calipers working on the two discs, so a couple of kits to replace the four pistons and their seal kits for each caliper.
  • Front discs looking scabby, so two new discs, and they are rattling a bit, so new brake bobbins.
  • Too much movement in the rubber mounts for the handlebars, so two new rubber mounts there.

And a fair chunk of labour to pull things apart, clean them, fit the new parts in and reassemble. It was a bit of a shock hearing that worse case scenario was about £700 ish, for a bike I bought for £1995. Don’t get me wrong, safety stuff like brakes is not to be messed with, but the bike passed its MOT with the discs about 4000 miles ago (tops) and I don’t think they look that different.

So I’ve arranged to have the chap in South Queensferry look at it, and give me his verdict. He had to strip down the calipers last year, and I tried to follow the advice of washing the salt off, but they have seized up again after the season. It could be that replacing the pistons and seals would do the job, but he can tell me what he thinks. I am really hoping I don’t need to spend three figures getting them sorted. In the meantime I have to put the restart of the Advanced Motorcycling on hold, as the bike isn’t rideable. I’ll push it a little taking it over to get fixed, but I’m not going any further.

I’m going to hold on the particular lesson learned, but perhaps it does well to stick to have the same person looking after the bike, despite the minor inconvenience of public transport between Livingston and South Queensferry.