I did go out briefly on work’s Triumph Tiger 800XRx – damn! That bike seriously carves up on the road! – but the Dominator’s in with Dan Vaughan awaiting a new flange gasket, the Suzuki had a battery problem, and I fitted some more replacement parts to the KTM. But I didn’t see any grasstracking going on at Marty’s, so the KTM stayed in the shed, too.
The battery on the Suzuki was an embarrassing episode.
The bike runs a total-loss system. To reduce weight as much as possible, there’s no alternator. To keep the battery in good shape I leave it connected to a ‘battery minder’ – a slow charger that constantly reads the voltage and charges or rests to keep the battery in good nick. The first round of the 2016 season was announced this week, so, all excited, I raced out to the shed to start the bike, circulate some oil, and generally give it a once-over.
Except it wouldn’t start.
The indicator lights on the battery minder were all flashing alternately like a disco set-up, which was something I’d never seen before.
I grabbed my little lithium-ion jump-starter and hooked it up. The bike roared into life and purred like a kitten, so I figured the battery was shagged. I pulled it out and headed into the battery store.
The guy on the counter took one look and said, “No problem!” He grabbed a battery off the shelf and I was good to go. Then he asked, “How do you know there’s a problem with the battery?”
I explained, he shrugged his shoulders and started processing the sale. I wondered, “Why do you ask?”
“It’s a fairly new battery,” he replied, punching in digits and swiping cards. “We haven’t seen anyone have any problem with them.”
I explained how it was being used, and pointed out that it was always connected to the battery minder, which I had in fact bought from that very same store. “It’s one of those,” I said, pointing.
“But that’s 12 volt,” he gawped.
“Isn’t that a 12-volt battery?” I asked.
“It’s six-volt,” he replied.
We looked at each other for a few seconds, neither saying anything, then I burbled, “Gee it’s hot, eh? Bet it’s uncomfortable in the workshop, huh? Ha, ha, ha.”
I grabbed my six-volt battery and ran.
Then I had to go back in and buy a six-volt battery minder. He had one ready on the counter. Not a word was said. Avoiding eye-contact I handed over my card, he swiped it, punched in the figures, then pretended to be busy as I quietly weasled my way out the door, getting smaller and smaller every second I was in there.
The bike goes good again, now.
Dave and Karen Ramsay are back from Thailand and seem to have had a raging good time, and other than that I haven’t heard from anyone this week. I hope you’re all having a raging good time!