I’ve always wanted to make a Holiday Gift Guide here on IAATB, and never seem to have the time to do it right. So this year, I am going to do it half-assed, but do it nonetheless. Between now and the last night that you can reasonably expect something to arrive in time for Christmas whilst paying through the nose for overnight shipping, I’ll give you a few suggestions. First up is the Giant Loop Zigzag Handlebar Bag. It’s made with the super heavy tarp material that Giant Loop uses in their other waterproof bags like the Great Basin saddlebag, and a hook-and-loop mounting system that should fit just about any bike. I bought one for myself because I’ve been looking for a small “glove compartment” type bag for my BMW F800 GS, since I’m really getting sick of the whole big tank bag thing. This is big enough to hold some documents like your registration papers, maybe some keys, and maybe a pair of shades. I’ll be honest, when I got it, I thought it was going to be a little bigger. Maybe that is the point? I haven’t ridden with it yet, but I can speak to the quality of Giant Loop from previous experiences. There is a nice little zippered mesh pocket on the inside, a nice touch. For $50 plus shipping, this would put a smile on any Motard’s face. I consider it a Grade A stocking stuffer.
Folks, I have been put on this earth to warn you that if you own a BMW F800 GS, you need to have your wheel bearings checked. Here is my story and my warning to you:
I was riding from Bear Lake in Utah, through Evanston, Wyoming. As I was approaching the outskirts of Evanston after having passed through Woodruff, Utah, I felt a slight wobble in my rear wheel, almost like some grooves in the pavement, although there didn’t seem to be any. It bothered me enough to pull over. As I was slowing down, my rear wheel wobble was more pronounced, like a rear flat tire. I put the bike on the side stand and visually inspected the tires. First mistake. I should have lifted it up on the center stand and spun the wheel and checked for any side to side play, but I didn’t. I got on the bike and proceeded cautiously into Evanston to get a full tank of fuel. Everything seemed normal. No noise, and the wobble seemed to have disappeared, so in my mind I thought I had just gone through some wavy pavement. After fueling up, I proceeded on Route 150, otherwise known as the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, a motorcyclists favorite around these parts. I kept the speed at a decent clip, 65-70 mph or so. As I approached the climb to Mirror Lake, my ABS warning light came on. While I thought it was odd that it just popped on, there was nothing else giving me any feedback there was something wrong with the bike. Then, I went around an uphill switchback, and mid turn, my rear wheel skipped, as if I had just run over a gummy snake, otherwise known as the road sealant they use to fill cracks in the pavement. Now I was starting to get the creeps. I decided I would stop at the scenic turnout a few hundred yards further. As I clutched in and started to coast into a nice spot, my rear wheel seized up. Good thing I was barely moving. I could not move the bike a centimeter. I shut her down, leaned it on the side stand, and prepared myself mentally for the coming to grips with the concept of WTF. I never could have guessed the horror I would then see. The rear brake rotor was covered in smeared silver metal, it almost looked like metallic grease. But this was no grease. It was molten metal from a disintegrated wheel bearing that had cooled and welded my rear wheel in an unmovable state. The ABS sensor was melted from the obvious heat that was transferred through the rear brake caliper. The forged caliper mount, discolored brown from the heat. As I write this, my bike is sitting on a trailer, waiting to be taken to my local mechanic to have the damage assessed, but for sure, the rear wheel is completely toast, as is the rear brake caliper, caliper mount, ABS sensor, and who knows what else, at this point. How can a small part that costs less than a hundred dollars fail and be responsible for thousands of dollars in repairs? How can BMW put a product out on the market with this lack of quality? I suppose it could have been worse. I could have kept going through the downhill switchbacks, having the rear wheel fail and cause a deadly crash. After doing some research on ADVrider and seeing a few threads with stories such as mine, it seems I have been lucky to walk away from this.
The 2013 edition of the Crusher in the Tushar is just a few days away, and I can’t hold the cards to my chest any longer. It’s a funny game. The first year, the choice was all about mountain bike vs. cyclocross bike. I rode what I had at the time, with very little Crusher-specific modifications, and ended up winning the 40-49 category, and posting the fastest amateur time. Then, the obsession began to improve my weaponry. Disc brakes were needed. Better gearing. Although the bike I rode in year 2 seemed better fit for the race, I didn’t have the legs, and I flatted on the big down hill. No secrets here. Our new team, Squadra Flying Tigers, is sponsored by Jamis Bicyclesfor the 2013-2014 cyclocross season, and the Crusher is our coming out party. You will see me piloting a Jamis Supernova carbon bike, with my own tweaks and twizzles to make the 5 hours go by a little faster. Hopefully a lot faster. It’s a personal goal of mine to finish, and finish under 5 hours. Good luck, all ye Crushers. Let the games begin.
Words I’ve Heard
"I'm not a businessman. I'm a business, man." --Jay-Z
"The only thing keeping us from going is leaving." --Ewan Mcgregor
"Adventures suck, when you're having them." -- Anonymous Rally Car Driver
"It is, absolutely, without question, unequivocally, about the bike. Anyone who says otherwise is obviously a twatwaffle."--RULE #4, Velominati.com
"Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake."--W.C. Fields
Deal O’ The Day
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