atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4854: Why, no! I'm just taking my motorcycle for a walk!

Oftentimes I come up with wisecracks which end up not destined for use, which is probably just as well.

To quote the poet-philosopher-king Kyon, today is a "ridiculously nice day", so I decided that I'd take the bike to Og's to get the tool I'm borrowing to get the axle nut off so I can check the bearings that are probably the cause of the death wobble that makes it impossible to drive my Jeep at 50 MPH, making a long-distance commute miserable and possibly dangerous. (I am deliberately trying to stack as many subordinate clauses together as I can.)

Got up with Mrs. Fungus this morning, had a Cinnabon; I figured I'd get lunch on the way home from Og's, or eat leftovers. This was just a quick jaunt to Og's place for the tool.

Motorcycle ran sensationally and I had a fine ride, all but the last mile or so.

See: they're finally finishing the blacktop on $MAJOR_FUNGAL_ROAD, and they laid down fresh oil so that new asphalt will adhere properly to old asphalt; that's fine but it's not something you want to ride on, at least not very far. Tar trails on the pants, brightwork, etc, you know, besides having less than optimal traction. I resolved that on my return trip I would eschew that route and took the back way, and was very happy to be riding my motorcycle on such a fine day.

Stopped at a gas station to tank up; bike started fine.

At Og's I had to shut the bike off again, because the trunk key is not detachable from the rest of the keys, and it wouldn't even crank. No problem; just have to push-start it--but I'd better go straight home rather than taking an extended ride or stopping at the store. The alternator is enough to run the bike, but why take chances? And I hate push-starting it, because it makes me look foolish.

At the intersection of $M_F_R and $MAIN_HIGHWAY I noticed that my turn signals were not blinking, except when I revved the engine.

"Ah," I thought ruefully, "it appears that going straight home is the best idea, because the battery has seen its day."

So I rode merrily up $BACK_ROAD, all the way to the stop sign at Route 1...and as soon as I hauled in the clutch, the bike quit completely. Just died, no warning, no sputtering, no nothin'. Clutch released, bike running normally; clutch in, off.

And push-starting yielded no fruit whatsoever. (Needless to say, pressing the starter button did nothing.) I couldn't even see if any lights were on.

Sighing, I got the bike out of the road and had a gander at the battery; it looked normal. I tried push-starting it again, with similar results to the first attempt; finally I put it in neutral and started pushing it homeward. I had an inordinate amount of trouble getting it into neutral, of course, since I was standing beside the bike on a crowned road with a slope, having to support the thing and keep the brake on while standing on one foot and trying to work the shifter with the other and-and-and.

Soon enough, however, I was wheeling her homeward. And thought that if anyone stopped and asked me if I was having trouble, I could reply that I was simply taking my motorcycle for a walk.


No one offered any help, and after a few blocks I stopped for a rest. For yucks I tried the starter again and the solenoid rattled, so I tried push-starting it, and mirabile visu it started, so I yanked my gear on again and rode home. I didn't stop for stop signs; the bike tried to die every time my speed went too low and a couple of times I had to pop the clutch to get her kicked over again. I got lucky, though, and managed to get her all the way home before she died again.

So: the battery in the bike has died almost completely, to the point that it won't run unless the engine is running above a certain speed. My big fear is that the generator/alternator/stator/WTF-ever has lost its efficacy, which would be moderately expensive and a big pain in the ass to repair, but since I know the battery has been iffy for quite some time now, that's going to be my first resort.

Heck: that battery lasted almost four years, which is pretty good for a motorcycle battery. I recall--it doesn't seem like all that long ago, but it's been decades--that car batteries used to only be good for 3-5 years before they crapped up and died. I can remember them being classified by how many months they were guaranteed for--36, 48, and so on--and I was surprised that I got as many years out of the green Escort's original battery as I had. (I think it was seven or eight.)

O'Reilly lists the CB10L-A2 at $50 plus $10 for the core charge. Well, it's not happening this week.

Their motorcycle batteries come with a whopping three-month warranty. The aforementioned car batteries--36, 48, etc--had pro-rated warrantees, so that if you bought a 36-month battery for $36, each successive month would subtract $1 from the refund you'd get if you needed to replace it before the warranty was up.

So, yeah, in all probability you can't expect a motorcycle battery to last as long as a car's battery will. That's okay.

I'm just glad that the thing died close enough to home that I could have walked it all the way there if needed.

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