Herman BMWR1200GS

The Prep - Getting Herman

I made my decision.

I made my decision. I'm going with Herman, my trusty 2007 BMW GS1200.

There is nothing wrong with my BMW GS1250, but when going on a six-month journey into faraway lands, I'm banking on the ruggedness and simplicity of the old.
Done. All good, right? Ah... No.

There are two problems. 

  • The first, Herman, is in England, and I'm currently in Germany.
  • And the second, it's Winter! It's cold and wet. The pinnacle of lousy weather.

If you think I'm anti-winter, you're right. I'm perfectly OK without it. I wouldn't lose a minute of sleep over it if I never had to experience Winter again. Not that I don't like the crisp and sunny Winter days you get in the Alps, but this mess?  No, Thank you. I'm getting carried away with my rant here.

The ticket is booked. I go and get the old grinder.

My plan is as follows.

  1. Fly to England and get the motorbike going.
  2. Get an essential service. Just the usual. Oils, filters and a simple once-over. 
  3. Ride the motorbike 1000 miles back to Germany and take care of the rest.

Sounds easy right?

The flight was unspectacular. Show up in time and fly from Nurnberg to Frankfurt. Cross the Airport underground to catch the next flight to Manchester.

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I'm on my way to get Herman

All in good time, no rush, no hassle. Back in Liverpool, I went straight to my garage to check on Herman. Turned the key, magic. The old 1200 sprang into action without a glitch.

I'm feeling proud and vindicated in making the right choice. This old machine was standing around for the last three years doing nothing. The Batterie is nine years old. Ah, I'm feeling like a proud dad. 

This out of the way, I booked Herman in for a service with Ed, the "Fixer" or "Schrauber," as we call a gifted repairman for motorcycles in Germany. A very thorough mechanic. Taking care of any details that a hobby, overenthusiastic wannabe mechanic like me inevitably would miss. Done.

In the meantime, I hit the world of online shopping. There are a few things I like to sort out and replace.
The side stand is wangling around a bit too much.
Also, a new battery and rubber gaiter for the shaft drive are in order, not much in the scheme of things.
Well, all great so far. Not much money spend. But we all know it will not end there.

New 16Ah motorbike battery
Stephan in the Garage

There is one fact I figured out a long time ago. If you made your calculation on costs for your bike. Just double it. You know it makes sense.

A couple of days later, Herman had his service appointment. The plan of dropping the bike off in the morning and picking it up later in the afternoon changed in an instant. We made it all the way to the workshop. Filling up the tank on the way. All great.

Until the moment when I was packing up and reversing, and the engine stopped. I straightened up the handlebar and started the engine. No problem. It does not compute with my brain. Did I press the kill switch? What? No?Not sure. An uneasy feeling, and you just retrace your steps. Handlebar to the left, .... boom. Engine out, dashboard dark. Oh, come on. What is this all about?

OBD Adaptor for the HEX 911
new side stand bolt

And at this moment, you know, this is not just a service. Sh.t

Help was at hand. I showed the problem to Ed. He fiddled and wiggled with the cabling, and a few minutes later, Herman was starting again. It's not a normal service, then.

The next day, I got a call from Ed. Some enthusiasts used too many cable ties in the wrong places with too much tension. As I'm the only suspect in this case, I just admitted my guilt. Did you know that a cable loom on your bike can get dry and brittle over time? I know now.

Status update:

Herman . as two broken wires and one just hanging by a hair. No service has been done so far.

  • Herman will stay there till the middle of next week. 
  • More testing is required. 

I'm happy with the outcome. Just imagine if the fault showed up on my way back to Germany!
The result? I can't book my ferry ticket at the moment. Nor can I make arrangements for my return trip.

So, the story continues another day.

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