Monday, October 23

The hospital bill for Queenie arrives...

And it's not pretty! The price tag to repair broken parts and do some other necessary improvements to heighten the bike's conspicuity is...drum roll, please nearly $700! Ouch! It's not like I have been itching to unload that amount of money on the bike. What could I do? Baby needed new shoes, so to speak. Bikes have stuff, and sometimes the stuff requires more stuff. I hope I never have to compromise the bike's looks or integrity when things need attending to by riding around on an inferior machine.

Slowly the bike is moving back to stock, if stock is an improvement over the aftermarket parts. Previous owner did a lot of things that were initially passable but really not to my liking. In general, stock items cost more than aftermarket items. While some aftermarket items are fine, some do not weather the test of time. For instance, an aftermarket rear seat compartment came apart on the bike. Somewhere between Chicago and Waukegan I lost a great new set of unused CruzTools, a tire repair kit and my Suzuki SV owner's manual. The compartment appeared made of some sort of thin board that were it not for being black and rigged would be plain old cardboard. The "screws" that held it together were cheap and plastic. That's all been replaced. The new stock compartment is a durable black, thick plastic tube thingy that is part of an entire rear tire guard system. It is sturdy and gives the bike a new sportier look.

The aftermarket turn signals got in the way more than a few times on the "long" trip. The Nelson Rigg luggage pushed against them and they became cockeyed and the plastic around them, became loose. I made it a habit to test its stability at check points. Upon closer inspection, they looked flimsy to begin with. The new tail unit has a space for inserting the stock turn signals. In it, will be new LED turn signals with "Priority Lights." The turn signal lights are always on at half power. Whenever the brakes are activated, these half powered lights illuminate brightly, they also rotate and pulse. When I signal a turn, the light's potency is increased. LEDS are unbeatable! The rear end lights are now akin to a tail light modulator but aren't specifically called that--don't know if this is a way to avoid a "tail light modulator" designation given that they are not--unlike headlight modulators--legal in every state. The new set up, combined with the LED license plate frame, gives Queenie a tail that is difficult to miss. Vocalist Beyonce, known for having a famous tail region could learn a thing or two from Queenie!

The bruised, unstable right mirror has been replaced. The bike now sports two chrome rectangular, wide angle bar end mirrors. It's a twofer: bar ends plus mirrors in one unit. These mirrors have a pliable neck that can be moved about in every direction. The mirror head can be rotated at various angles too, making it easier to find just the right viewing spot. I love two things about these mirrors: One is how well they match the new chrome stock handle bars. Two, when not in use, the mirrors can be folded down completely in front of the handlebars, out of the way--and view--of vile people who have no business near the bike. What I'll have to get accustomed to is how I see out of them. My eyes now focus down and out to the side rather than up and scrunching down, which is what the old flat, round "stock" mirrors required before. In this case, the stock wasn't the superior choice.

Two other modifications will wait until spring. The Givi windscreen to replace the Barracuda, and Givi hard luggage to replace the Nelson Rigg. We're talking another $1000--minimum--not counting brackets and labor for mounting it all. After that, I'm done (remind me of this!). At some point, I've got to cease with the add-ones and accept that I can only improve the bike so much.

Riding is not only's also expensive, especially if you don't do your own work. Hmmmm?

Pics of the gal-pal's new look soon...