Sunday, July 31, 2011

So, Vikki is probably history.....

Bobskoot had emailed me a link to a posting which turned out very apropos as to why I've been so quiet lately in the blogosphere.

BLUF: (Bottom Line Up Front)

Vikki, my 2004 Suzuki V-Strom tug is more than likely, toast.

The V-Strom's drive chain coming off the rear sprocket two weekends ago at the end of my trip to Montana had apparently flailed about while wrapping itself around the front sprocket.  The end result was not only a busted clutch actuator rod, damaged drive chain,  but small holes carved into the left side engine casing and some other associated damage.

The dealer where I took her for repairs said it would take around $3700 in parts (apparently the engine casing's replacement involves also all sort of bearings and other internal parts which are a mandatory and or best practice replacement).  Tack on another estimated $1500 in labor (the engine has to be removed to remove and replace the casing) and you can do the math.

I am waiting for the insurance company's own evaluation as to the motorcycle's repairability before they decide what to do with her.  Vikki was picked up from the dealer this past Thursday afternoon I found so they'll hopefully evaluate her tomorrow, Monday.


My options, as I see them, are as follows and will be driven by whatever amount the insurance company deems Vikki is worth.

Option 1:
Replace the tug (that's Vikki in sidecarist lingo) with another used V-Strom, put the sidecar back on and carry on riding.  This is the least cost option as I have all the mounting hardware.

Option 2:
Find a new tug, a used BMW Oilhead GS perhaps and use that as a tug.  This option will cost me an additional $1500 or more due to having to purchase a GS-specific sub-frame mount to use to attach it to the sidecar; not to mention also, the cost of a good used GS is higher than a good used V-Strom!  An older airhead tug, is not an option with the Dauntless sidecar I have according the the manufacturer as my sidecar is a "high end" dualsport sidecar, the A-arms on the sidecar would have to be "custom made" with the tug at ther facility, more money.

Option 3:
Take the insurance money and put in bank.  Then sell the Dauntless sidecar and put proceeds in bank.  Cut my losses and ride Brigitta, my dependable R80 Airhead Beemer while we see what the future brings.  Perhaps a 2007 or newer Ural sidecar rig which are more mechanically dependable, or perhaps a R90/6 with sidecar.  Both of these would cost more money than the proceeds above would generate I fear.

More to follow.


Arizona Harley Dude said...

That is just awful news. Hate to hear stories like this.

Canajun said...

One other option would be to find an engine from a salvage bike. Can be hard to find sometimes, but cheap in comparison to a repair.

FATTKAW said...

why not option number 4 and drop a used engine in?? has to be cheaper then a rebuild and worth it if you like the set-up of the rig..

Charlie6 said...

AZ HD, yeah, sucks.

Canajun and FATTKAW, hmmm, good idea, I'll ask the insurance guy on Monday.

Steve Williams said...

I've been watching and wondering what was going to happen.

My guess is you'll be most happy with a late model Ural rig. You like machining gears while you ride and it is the hardcore choice.

Dropping in a new engine has some benefits though. I suppose it would be prudent to check.

Good luck with this latest adventure. I'm glad Vikki didn't throw the chain when I was riding her. That would have been bad.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks
Follow me on Twitter

Allen Madding said...

Buddy, I am sick to my stomach reading this news. I hope careful evaluation of options after the insurance company gives you their numbers results with a solution that will bring a smile to your face as well as putting you back in the saddle.


Circle Blue said...

I just hated seeing the headline of this post.

It does always seem to be something doesn't it.

Good luck with the insurance. Those dealings always seems a little slippery to me.

Raftnn said...

Bummed for you mate, I hope and i am sure some thing good will come from all this.

Charlie6 said...

Circle Blue, so far the dealings with the insurance guy have been good. Thanks for commenting.

Raftnn, thanks, I hope so too.

FATTKAW, sorry, I hit the del instead of publish on your second comment. But to answer your question, I realized from it that I was unclear in my original posting, will edit it.

Andrew said...

Man that sucks! I'm with the guys suggesting a new donk! Maybe if you can't find a DL then you might be able to find an SV motor - those squids on sportsbikes have a habit of spraying them all over the road.

(Oops, better be careful - I dropped the DL yesterday).

Charlie6 said...

Steve, great minds think alike, my thoughts HAVE been straying towards a new Ural.....hmmmm, oh it was Natasha that you rode, and she had a shaft drive.

Andrew, Donk? I assume that means engine, thought it was the nickname for the big guy at the bar in "Crocodile Dundee". : )

irondad said...

Ouch, and darn! Although it would seem fortunate that a flailing chain only hit machinery and not the rider.

Hope it comes up roses for you. Never does for me.

RichardM said...

Wow, the adventure continues. I was really wondering what happened. I guess, I'm sort of in the camp of those suggesting looking for a used driveline, especially if you are satisfied with the rest of the bike. In other words, why start over again with a completely new set of unknowns.

Did the new chain come off due to stretching or did the old chain really wear out the sprockets accelerating wear?


SonjaM said...

Sorry for your loss. Poor Vikki (Poor Dom, too). Still, I am glad that you didn't get harmed back when the incident happened. You know what they are saying: when one door closes, another opens. Meanwhile enjoy the rest of the summer on Brigitta. She will certainly appreciate the attention.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

I am going to say what everyone else is thinking; Shit!

Now, I was under the impression that you were running a new chain on that V-Strom... Yes? Then my question is, "Will the sidecar application bust the chain everytme? Or was this just a freak occurrence? Can you measure the existing, damaged chain against a new one to see what the fatigue issues were?

If so, is there a stronger chain option you can pursue should you decide to drop another engine on this bike? Or, can you contact that GS sidecar rig rider to ascertain what the wear factors are like on his shaft driven bike? It seems to me that there are high-performance issues with a hack rig (and I don't know anything about them).

I think the idea of putting a salvaged engine on the V-Strom is a good one. Some kid bought a V-strom and ran it into a tree, bending the forks back to the frame, leaving the motor intact. I bet you could get a low mileage V-strom engine for $3k or less.

Or, you could take what the insurance company gives you, sell the sidecar, and buy a low mileage K1200GT (2004 vintage) and just ride around at outrageously high speeds, yelling like a cowboy. Not only would this raise your spirits, but it would impress the neighbors as well.

However, I am delighted that the chain did not become a chainsaw, and go through your ankle.

Fondest regards,
Twisted Roads

bobskoot said...


I hope whatever you decide, is that you can get back on the road with minimum expense to yourself. As mentioned by others it is lucky that nothing serious happened to YOU.

Riding the Wet Coast

Steve Williams said...

I rode Vikki--- don't you remember:An Unexpected Ride

I took that Suzuki for a spin the first day and danced with Natasha the second.

You need a Ural.

bluekat said...

Dom, this is terrible news. I'm so sorry! I'm glad you are okay though. That's the most important thing. Which ever way things go, I hope everything works out well in the end.

motoroz said...

Sorry to hear about this. I am sure you will choose a good option. We will wait to hear from you.