After the experience with my bike on the Dalton, I had a big decision to make; do I keep the Frakenbike and put thousands into fixing it up or invest in another bike?
Dave and I arrived back in Fairbanks on the afternoon of Aug. 21. It was comforting to roll up Ed and Jill’s driveway and shut the bike off. The first thing I did was crater onto the lawn in all my gear. Laying there I saw Dave go over and pick up the garden hose. Time to get up or he’ll spray me, although I desperately needed it with my riding gear covered shoulder armour to toe armour in fine silt.
So happy to be off the Dalton.
It took a few hours to clean the bikes, our luggage and our gear. The calcium chloride did not come off easily. We had to use a scrubby to get everything off. Jill and Ed fed us a wonderful dinner that night and we slept blissfully, putting troubles aside for the time being.
Dave cleans the calcium chloride off our bikes.
The next day, good friends from Revelstoke, B.C. Canada visited us for the afternoon. Drew and Jen were travelling around Alaska in a super cool retro RV. We imagined the relaxing qualities of driving in a covered vehicle that had heat and music and indoor cooking facilities. Dave and I stared at the four-wheeled wonder like kids stare into the windows of candy stores. I glared over at my malfunctioning G650GS.
Our friends from Revelstoke, Jen and Drew and their sweet travel wheels.
After Drew and Jen left, Dave and I walked over to the BMW dealer to inquire what it would cost to fix my bike just to get it back to B.C. Then we discussed the cost to inspire the confidence needed to take it over to Africa and Europe. The bike needed a new radiator, front and rear brakes, stator, battery and control unit, a new side stand, front fork rebuild and a new set of tires front and rear… the list went on and the price rose and rose and got even worse once we looked into the cost of shipping parts to Alaska along with the time we needed to wait around until they arrived.
It didn’t stop there either. These were just the repairs to get the bike out of the north. It didn’t include modifications to have the bike worthy for the next half of our trip. These mods included replacing the front wheel, which had a flat spot in it from the time I smoked a huge pothole going 120 mph (75 mph) in Mexico.
The flat spot on my rim after hitting a pothole in Mexico.
My G650GS had a 19 inch rim. If I was going to have to fix the rim anyway, I’d replace it for a 21 inch rim, which was going to be about $2,000 CAN ($1,600 USD). And then a new tire of course. We were also going to replace the fake exhaust at the back. A G650GS is a single cylinder but there are two pipes out the back, I guess for aesthetics.
The above photo shows the single cylinder 650’s twin exhaust.
This wastes valuable space so we were going to re-route the exhaust to the main and convert the extra space to hold extra fuel. That was going to be about $670 CAN ($550 USD). All of this and the fact the bike already had over 55,000 km (34,175 mi), which I’d double next year, had me decided. I needed to break up with my bike. It wasn’t pulling its weight, was costing me a fortune to maintain and kept letting me down.
I eventually found an F800GS that had lowered suspension. I was very nervous to try this bike. I’d always thought Dave’s F800 looked huge and intimidating and now I was on something similar in size. But part of me was curious if I was riding enough now that I could ride bigger bikes.
After a few test rides, I felt fairly sure I could handle the bike and so before I could change my mind or agonize over spending extra money while on a tight two-year budget, I committed to a new relationship with another bike that I hoped I could count on. Dave was already in love with the 650’s replacement. I was on the rebound and still reserving my feelings until I got some miles riding it and tested myself on some technical terrain.
My replacement bike; an F800GS with Dave’s bike behind and the old 650 in the background, jealous.
There were a few sleepless nights wondering if it was worth it. If I should just fix the 650 and accept its limitations. We had such history together. It had patina. It had, sniff, a very expensive, custom-made seat just for me. Something I couldn’t transfer over to the F800. But as I write this now, after putting over 11,200 km (7,000 mi) on the F800 in under two months, both Dave and I have already been amazed at the difference in my riding. It’s interesting what can happen when you trust your steed!The 650’s replacement is also younger, more handsome, has a nicer body and has more endurance, if you know what I mean…
We decided to crate and ship the 650 back to the west coast where we would keep it until we returned from our travels in the future. If we can spend time getting parts in an easier part of the world and fix the Frakenbike, it’ll still be a great bike for many adventures. Just not ours.
After Dave had nailed the last spike into the coffin, I mean crate, I kissed the 650’s ass goodbye and looked longingly over at its replacement. It wasn’t long before Dave and I planned the next adventure. We were off within a few hours to explore the Denali Highway.
Kissing the Fraknebike goodbye. For now…
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