Ok. No suspense. I traded the V7 Classic for another bike. Last July I took her in for a 24,000 mile service to the local Dealer — TT Motorcycles — and told them to add change the tires and fix anything that they might find. TTM is a small, family-run operation. You wait for them to get to you, as everyone gets individual service and there are only so many bodies in the store. Could it be more efficient? Yes. Would it lose some of its charm in the process? Yes. Be patient.
While I was there, I walked around the showroom. They had a lot of bikes — many favorites. A 1200 Sport. Nice Monsters. A Tuono. Griso… There it was…
A killer little 2008 Orange Aprilia Shiver with 1800 miles on the clock. I threw a leg over it. hmmm. fits… so nice…. I got off, and asked about the bike. It was a one-owner, with actual miles, bone stock. 19 months left on the factory warranty.
I signed the work order and left the store. The bike kept talking to me… I no longer had that beastly commute on weekends between Chicago and Detroit as I had now moved to the area. My commute was from Grosse Pointe to Farmington Hills, as I had begun consulting at Mercedes Benz Financial Services; a 70 mile round trip. The Guzzi had 24,000 miles and was out of warranty. the Aprilia had 1800… The Aprilia had 77 horsepower….
It just gnawed on me for days. I went back to the shop to see how things were going. It was mid July and the shop was jammed with bikes in for work. I hadn’t ridden in a week except for the Parilla, which was hardly a commuter bike for a 65-mile round trip. I asked, casually, about the Aprilia. He gave me the details. I said that it was interesting, and “I wonder what the out-the-door” difference would be in trade for my bike. He got diverted and we decided to talk later.
TT had my bike for 10 days. I pressed. He gave me a number. I shot back, and we got close. I saw a Suomy “Tattoo” Helmet that looked cool. He said he would throw it in.
So for very little money, I had a virtually new bike with warranty and a $500 helmet for a 24,000 mile bike. And I’m back on the road.
…For three weeks. I had just gotten back from the Mods vs Rockers Show in Cleveland where I had ridden the Parilla (and won Best European bike). The show was held during an unbelievably warm spell there, and I found out that the little Parilla really likes to be run hard; not go with too much stop-and-go traffic (I was riding with the mods).
I finally waved them off and met them at the location, with a quick blast around the beltways. This show is on my list. Great town. Really great people.
Upon my return, I continued commuting on the Shiver. All of a sudden I get the dreaded “Service” light, familiar to early Aprilia Shiver riders. I checked the Aprilia forums, and it seems that this is a “rite of passage” for ownership of the earlier bikes. Since it was under warranty, I dropped the bike off in hopes that it would be a small fix.
It wasn’t a small fix, but it was a “free” fix. The boys at TT Motorcycles actually arranged a conference call with the Factory, TWICE, and they took voltage readings across the throttle settings. Turns out the throttle bodies were bad, and they replaced everything within two weeks. I think the amazing part of this story is how Piaggio has gotten its act together over the last 4-5 years and streamlined the ability to deliver parts to the customers in a reasonable time, and to work with the dealers to ensure that these same customers are happy and riding their bikes, instead of complaining about them over a beer to their friends that will be purchasing a bike sometime in the future.
Not much to tell about the rest of the riding season, as it involved a whole lot of commuting, nice morning blasts up the Lodge Freeway, and a couple of short trips around the area. There was a great Britbike show, where my Parilla came in second in European behind a spectacular Ducati 750SS that was very, very, original. Still, I rode (insert sour grapes) the 40 miles to the event.
It was a nice long autumn.
Paying the “Stupid Tax”
In early November I decided to get one last commute ride in before it got too cold. The weather man said the high would be about 58°, and I looked at the weather, showing 38° in the morning. I geared up and fired up the bike. Rolling out of the driveway, I took a left onto Meriweather, and then a right-left on Ridge to get down to Mack.
That was the plan. On the right-left “chicane” on Ridge, there were a few wet leaves that got under my front wheel, and just as I swapped my weight, I was skidding across the tarmac before I even knew what happened. It was only a 5mph low-side, but it was just plain silly and embarrassing I snapped off the brake lever, scratched the clutch cover, rubbed a tank bumper and plastic panel, and ground a little off the brake lever. $250 in stupid tax. Of course Piaggio had the parts in less than a week, shipped directly to me via my dealer.
Sometimes it pays to think a little before firing up. I let my want get the better of my better sense, and paid the price. I guess it was lucky I wasn’t on the freeway.
I have a couple of aggregation sites that I watch showing Craigslist listings over most of the US. One of these showed a Moto Guzzi Stornello Sport in Indianapolis for $450. I traded some emails with the owner, and just after Christmas I picked it up. I promised Sheila that I would work on it after the kitchen is finished. It is very complete, and after running the serial numbers, I found it to be a 1965 Sport America, surprisingly stock, but in need of cosmetics and some of the chrome bits and stuff cleaned up, along with a complete wiring harness. Nothing scary.
It’s all there. 17 inch wheels and all. I can’t wait to fire it up this summer. Trying to decide on a color scheme. I think I have one in mind, along with a very stylized early 50’s Moto Guzzi logo. Oh boy, it’s going to be a fun 2013.