At last its just a few days to go before I jet off to San Francisco. It’s finally the 4th June and the bike is all ready to go, I have packed her up, with new saddle bags and the huge tail bag I bought for the V-Rod…
It’s time to go and drop her off to Universal Packing at Heathrow to be crated up for her flight over to San Francisco.
I am met by Kathy from Motofreight who goes over everything with me and soon it is time to kiss the girl goodbye as I hand her over to Troy, (I don’t actually know his name but he has Troy tattooed on the side of his neck so that either him or his boyfriend – wink, wink – so it’ll do).
Troy promises to take some photos of her in her crate for me, which is kind of him.
So that’s it done, only a minor drama in that the front forks are leaking at the top on both sides.. grrrrr! Think I will have to try and deal with them when I pick it up in San Francisco, sigh!
Overnight I am obsessing about the fork oil leak… how am I going to sort that out in the middle of San Francisco airport with a small tool roll…. I toss and turn… no it’s no good I’m going to have to go to the workshop in the morning in the car, pick up the tools and scissor lift, drive to work in south london, finish work at lunchtime and drive over to Heathrow to see if I can sort out the fork oil leak. I also decide that as I am going to lift the front of the bike and undo the fork nuts I might as well fit a couple of rubber gaiters that I bought for it and didn’t have time to fit…. it’s that silver lining thing again haha!
So that’s what I decide to do. I email Kathy at Motofreight to get permission to access the bike, she responds very quickly saying that if I am working with oil I will have to wheel the bike outside; ok no problem am happy to do that.
I have risen very early to give myself time to get over to the workshop in the car. All goes surprisingly smoothly and I even arrive at work on time! Luckily it’s just an hours job so I am soon on my way, avoiding the M25 like the plague, and arrive at the packaging company around 1pm. I assure them I am not going to make any mess and I’m only going to be an hour, so they allow me to work on the bike inside the warehouse.
I soon have the bars off, laid back on the fuel tank and have undone the fork nuts, there is quite a bit of oil leakage and I can see that it’s probably because the fork legs are not fully up to the top of the yolk. I have brought new rubber washers with me that go at the top of the fork legs so am going to put them in. Having put the scissor stand under the front of the bike I can raise up the front to drop the front wheel and forks out, pop the rubber gaiters on and refit the forks.. sounds easy doesn’t it… well… it’s a Bridget Bodge-it job so of course it doesn’t go exactly to plan.
First of all I need to raise the bike up quite high, over a foot or so, (almost a half a metre for you young uns), so I have to put something at the back of the rear wheel to stop it rolling backwards off of the lift… but what… ahhhh the disk lock will do, fab. I undo the bottom yoke and raise the bike up very slowly. Eventually I am able to drop the forks out, but because the wheel is still in it’s very heavy and the front wheel is trying to roll away.. I quickly chock the front wheel against a small compressor that just happens to be there.. whew! Of course I have had to slide the front indicators off as well, blimey I hope they are still working when I’ve finished. I very quickly push the rubber gaiters on and refit the front forks into the bottom yoke and almost push the bike off the scissor lift… eh why is it moving what happened to the disk lock?? I can’t hold the front forks and check the rear wheel so have to press on. I slowly lower the scissor lift, then push the front wheel backwards to make the forks go up into the bottom yoke then pull the compressor forward against the front tyre to prevent the forks rolling forward, then lower the bike a bit more, push the wheel forward, move the compressor… well you get the picture. I continue like this until.. yikes the bike almost topples off of the scissor lift as it is now down to the bottom.. I quickly raise it up enough to make the bike stable and then have to try and push the front forks in. I realise I need to raise the bike up again, push the front in and up, pull the compressor in, drop the scissor lift, push the front forks in, move the compressor, raise the scissor lift, push the forks in, move compressor… backwards and forwards, up and down, round and round the mulberry bush…. omg what a bloody nightmare!!
An hour and a half later and I have finally got the forks all the way in, remembering to replace the front indicators too of course. The forks are still not completely level at the top but I decide that is enough so now I need to top up the fork oil. I check the rear wheel and find the disk lock is now under the rear wheel… seriously!! I manage to rescue it though.
Next I need to look on google for some tips on levels and of course none of the guidance is about topping up the oil with the springs in. I don’t have anything to extract the springs with so I am going to have to guess it. The top of the fork leg to the top of the oil distance without the springs in situ is supposed to be 5 inches so my guess is if I allow for 5 inches with the springs in that should be ok because if the oil is 5 inches without the springs in then when the springs are inserted that would displace the oil and therefore the distance from the top of the forks to the top of the oil would be a lot less than 5 inches. The current level of the oil in the left fork is about 10 inches and the right fork about 8 inches so to my mind it is definitely way too low. 5 inches is still too low, but as I don’t know what the correct level is I am going to go with that for the time being. I have decided that if there is still a problem with the oil leaking from the fork nuts then I am going to have to take it to the dealers in San Francisco and pay for them to check them out… no way am I doing this up and down, backwards and forwards again.
I am measuring the oil level using a long cable tie, topping up the oil and then dipping the cable tie in to measure the level… it takes ages to get it to around 5 inches gap in each leg. At last I’m done.. I drop in the new rubber washers and put in the top nuts tightening them as much as I can as I have don’t have a socket big enough to use the torque wrench. I then tighten up the bottom yoke, tighten the indicator mounts, refit the handlebars remembering to keep them lowered to just above the fuel tank, check the indicators are working… yay all good, tidy up my mess and take my tools and scissor lift back to the car.
All together it has taken almost 4 hours… Bridget Bodge-it strikes again folks!!
I have to say I cannot recommend Motofreight highly enough, they have been just brilliant so far and the Universal Packing Company who are crating my bike have been fantastic too.
With less than two weeks to go its time for me to get sorted… I am waiting for the paperwork that I will need to collect my bike. Kathy says they will wait til the last moment to ‘spot purchase’ the flight for the bike to try and reduce the cost so she won’t be going straight away. Before I know it the next week has rolled around and by the 11th I still don’t have the paperwork for the bike so now I’m getting anxious. I email Kathy who immediately responds reassuring me that the bike is going to be crated up on Wednesday and then will fly out to San Francisco after that.
Sure enough on Wednesday I receive an email from Kathy with the airwaybill and several other documents that I need to complete to clear US customs and the following photos…
There she is in her own crate…. pretty good I think, am well pleased. I also receive the invoice and pay it immediately, the spot purchase has saved me £50 so am please with that.
Now I just have to get myself over there. Am flying on Sunday 17th at 1.25pm UK time, the flight is 11 hours and I arrive in San Francisco at 4.25pm Pacific Time…. jet lag here we come!!
As I have to collect the bike at San Francisco airport I’ve booked my first nights stay at the Radisson actually at the airport itself. Once I have the bike I’ll ride up into the Oakland hills to the AirBnB apartment I am renting for the week.
Am really excited now… next update will be from San Francisco, yahoooooo xx