Monday, July 02, 2007

The Buddha Told Me to Maintain My Own Bike

It's official, I can't afford the Triumph. At least, not if I'm not going to do the maintenance myself.

In the last year I spent close to $2,000 bringing my delightful motorcycle to the shop for it's routine maintenances. That's a little more than a quarter of the cost of the bike! If I'd known I was going to spend that much on the bike, I would have just gotten the damn Ducati.

As was pointed out to me, if I'm going to keep the Triumph I'm going to have to start doing my own maintenance. Chains, Tires, Valve Checks, they're just too expensive to pay some other guy to do the work for me. If I'd spent that $2000 on tools and the bits and pieces I need to do the work, I think I'd be ahead (and actually coming out ahead with the fuel cost savings). Even after the really expensive tools.

So, can I do it? Probably. I'm not a complete moron when it comes to technical stuff (righty tighty, lefty loosey. What else is there to know, really?). Will I do it? I guess so.

As I zipped home on the Vespa today, I thought about the Buddhist concept of attachment. Essentially, attachment leads to suffering. I am attached to the Triumph, I admit. When Lady Luck suggested I sell it to get a KLR650 (cheap and easy to maintain!), my mind recoiled in horror. I sputtered. I objected. I rationalized. I suggested that I keep the bike "for special," like shoes for church, and get an easy-to-work-on beater to really rack the miles up on.

In other words, I really don't like the idea of getting rid of the Triumph. And it is a great bike. I have a grin on my face every time I get off the darn thing.

Still puttering along on the Vespa, I wondered if I should get rid of the Triumph because I'm attached to it. It would be sort of a moral lesson/exercise: the bike does not own me, I own the bike.

Let me tell you, it's a tough call. I mean, I really probably can do the work. And I'll probably end up doing a better job than the shop, since I'm not trying to make a profit. Also I recently learned that doing my own work on the bike won't void the warranty, so long as I keep documentation of what I've done.

But if I do start doing the work in order to keep the bike, does that make me desperate to keep the bike? Should I get rid of it just because I want to keep it?


Wolfie said...

I'd say that your attachment to the bike has reached dangerous levels once you have to go into financial hardship to maintain it. Until then, to use Buddhism against Buddhism, turn your bike-maintenance into meditation and an exercise in Total Awareness (i.e. can you spot and fix a problem before it happens?).

Gary said...

My Ducati owned me. I own my KLR. You are definitely onto something here.

Get a KLR, and you will ride more, wrench less, and go to more interesting places. Trust me on this.

Ride well,

Combatscoot said...

That Triumph really doesn't have any more maintenance to do than the KLR. It's a tough lump of a motor. I wouldn't worry about the valves- hardly move for the first 35,000 or so miles. Is it fuel-injected or carby? If carby, drain those suckers once-a-year, change the oil and filter every 4-6000 miles, lube that chain every 200-or-so miles, and let 'er ride. Replacing spark plugs is a pain because you have to remove the tank, but only has to be done every 12,000 miles. Not sure about the fuel filter, but I'd replace it every year if it's inline, and something like two years if it's in the tank. Coolant and brake fluid should be replaced every two years. Tires are a bit of a problem, but it's cheaper to have them done by a shop if you remove the wheels and take them in.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about the Triumph. You saw my post about the decision to buy. I have about 1200 miles on it now and love it. Smooth is the best way to describe it.

Also, there is nothing like maintaining your own bike. It's a great felling and you know it's done right.