Monday, March 02, 2009

On to other things.

If you remember a while back I mentioned I received notice about an ignition switch recall on the 06-09 Yamaha FJR's. Actually, I was going to say, "If you recall" but then I would have written the word "recall" again and that would have been redundant. So I won't do it. There was some sort of heat problem in a connection which could cause the bike to quit running. Whatever you happened to be doing at the time!

I called Yamaha and they told me it wasn't in the system yet, but not to ride the bike in the meantime. What else could Yamaha say? Anyway, I finally received the official letter. You know how the first thing that goes through your mind at times like these is that you'll be facing a big hassle? Much to my relief and pleasure, things couldn't have gone more smoothly.

On a Saturday morning I called the dealer where I had purchased Elvira. It's Bob Lamphere's Beaverton Honda-Yamaha-Suzuki. A fellow named Nate told me he'd have to initiate a work order and order the ignition switch. When the switch came in, he'd call me to set up the actual work. That worked for me. About ten minutes later Nate called me back and said he actually had a switch in stock. We set up an appointment for the following Thursday.

At 9 AM when they opened I showed up at their new service location. It was a cold, brisk, 74 mile ride. Awesome! That was just one way and the ride home was still ahead of us. Elvira and I happened to roll up next to a fellow who turned out to be an employee. He was riding a beautiful copper colored R6 to work. I was greeted and shown to the roll-up door where I needed to be. Nate met me and said to give them two hours or so. I stashed my gear in a quiet corner of an empty room and headed out on foot. Quite conveniently, there's a huge mall called Washington Square located within a three quarter mile walk. Even better, there's two Starbucks!

I made some business phone calls while getting a little exercise strolling the corridors. True to his word, when the little hand on my watch was on 11 and the big hand on 12, a call came from Nate. Elvira was ready to go. Walking back to the shop, I saw Elvira sitting where I'd left her but facing the opposite direction. I signed the paperwork and was good to go. They'd even spiffed her up a little!

Lamphere's service department really deserves a hearty round of praise. The recall correction was handled for me as smoothly, professionally, and cheerfully as I could ever ask for. As I told the guys, they rock!

By the way, in case you're wondering why there's a picture of Elvira by a crate?

She's got a wicked heart under that bodywork. Elvira's sleek, agile, body and hot burning motor cause us to do things that, well, ummm, we probably shouldn't do. I'm a motorcycle safety professional, for heaven's sake! I don't condone or approve of those kind of things. Seriously, quit snickering. Elvira's a bad influence on me. Here I am, minding my own business, and she's trying to stir up trouble. So I parked her next to a crated FJR.

Got that, Elvira? Behave yourself or I'll sell you for scrap and buy another FJR that looks just like you!

Miles and smiles,



bobskoot said...

It's great that you found a "good" dealer. Perhaps it's the economy with people trying to give good service to retain customers (and their jobs). On my Honda commuter car I have had two warrantee claims and had no problems what-so-ever and their service department is excellent. I'll bet that Elvira was happy to get out after being couped up for the past month.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

abraxas said...

Makes it a pleasure when its simple, good service!

As to selling Elvira ... don't be nasty! ;-)

I always park Shian close to friends, i assme they "talk" to each other in some way.

*chuckle* have a great day

John McClane said...

I'm with Abraxas on this. I'm convinced the Suzuki will never be lonely if I park it with other scooters.

Dave said...

Care full there Dan
I thought I heard her say

Just wait till we are 100 miles from no ware

Its windy wet an cold threaten to scrap me will you :)

Old F

Charlie6 said...

Finding a good dealer is sometimes hard, I got lucky with mine.

They all know my name when I go there, helpful, heck even the manager comes out to shoot the breeze sometimes.

They took good care of Maria when she was being repaired from the crash back in June 08, even putting up with my many calls asking about her status.

Lastly, the even have an airhead specialist, who's been working on them forever!

What more could I ask?

Krysta in Milwaukee said...

Sounds like you found a great dealership! Nice to know there are still places like that. While it's important to bring problems to the attention of stores, it's just as important to let them (and others) know when you're happy.

As to exchanging Elvira, I'm with Dave...
"threaten to scrap me will you?" = being stranded
Besides, what makes you think the next one will have a personality that's much different?

Elvira was probably filling the unhatched one's head with talk of the adventures she'll have once she has a person. :)

"have an airhead specialist"
Charlie, you lucky dog!
If you don't do maintenance things yourself, as many Airheads do, having a mechanic like that is a godsend.
I have Karl. ;)


Dru_ said...

Service should be the defining part of a dealerships offerings, since it is also the most profitable aspect of the dealership for most.

The problem is that most dealerships fail to treat motorcycles and scooters as 'Primary Transportation'. The expectation of leaving a bike for a week to get an oil change pushes customers away.

Many scooter dealerships take this approach, as do many motorcycle dealerships. Back at the end of the summer, I needed a new rear tire on my BV500. I called around to find out who had it and could do it while I waited.

Around north Atlanta, no one could do it while I waited, so I ended up buying the tire online and running to a friends house where he had the equipment to change the tire there. I change my own oil for the same reason, I don't want to be down the amount of time the local shops want to do the jobs.

Doug C said...

Everyone is pointing out how great it is to have a dealer you can count on and how wise you were to 'remind' Elvira to behave. And these things are important.

But take home is this:

The mall has two Starbucks!


Stacy said...

Be happy that he's not addicted to Dutch Bros!

irondad said...

I actually rode Elvira during that time, at least a little. Mostly it was a good excuse to keep riding Sophie for a bit!

I have no doubt that you're right. It would be interesting to listen in on some of those conversations. We might end up not being too flattered, though!

The trouble is that they might teach each other bad things. At least for us. Have you ever thought of that?

You know, I really considered that possibility. I just felt it was more important to let her know who's Boss. That way she'll know exactly whom she's stranding.

I know some airheads that could use the services of a specialist.

You know, I never thought of that. I wouldn't put it past her to start corrupting a new bike early.

That is an awesome observation. That's been one of the reasons the Honda shop always took such timely care of me. I'd show up in the dead of Winter. They knew I was a serious rider. The problem is, there's a lot of riders who aren't bothered at all by leaving the bike off for a week. They sort of set the tone until we help the dealer understand we're different.

Doug C,
I'm estatic! You get me exactly. Leave it to you to catch the really important part.

Don't tempt me. I'm working on a travel mug that will sit securely in a tank bag. Dean showed me one that he had. Then I will be the terror of drive-thrus!

Take care,


Earl Thomas said...

Wish I could say the same things about my dealer. Like Dru stated, "Service should be the defining part of a dealership."

Frankly, when I buy a bike, my mind is already made up, it's how they take care of me after the sale, especially during that critical first year.

Fortunately, I have found a mechanic with a passion for big singles and goes over my "simple machine" thoroughly every time I bring her in for service.

Not this year, but somewhere in the future, I have my eyes set on a new sport touring ride (at the present moment, the Conc 14 looks delicious to me). With a bike as complex as the new Concours (or any other performance bike for that matter), I do have reservations about committing to a brand whose service department falls short in "Service".

It's good to see that your on a new topic, my head still hurts from the last few posts.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to put in a plug for Funmart of Moline IL. I bought my 07 FJR from a different dealer but after some less than satisfactory customer-service encounters on some pretty small matters I looked elsewhere. I approched them when I thought my ignition switch was bad. They found it was only a loose battery cable but agreed to do the recall no questions asked once they got the proper guidance from Yamaha. They have been great to deal with. This recall is a lot of work for the mechanics who have to drill out some anti theft bolts used on the assembly but they didn't complain.

David Salter
Rio IL

bobskoot said...


actually I didn't even mention that I found a highly recommended motorcycle mechanic who works out of a "private" garage (in a residential area) . He is very well known & respected in the local motorcycle community and has numerous accolades on local forums, and he keeps "my hours". If I need something done, I give him a call. He will order all the parts required. When in he will call me to arrange "Pickup" of the bike. so naturally this is after I get home from work. He comes by in his mini Van and loads up. When ready he calls to make sure I am home, and he brings it back. For simple things such as oil changes or simple repairs, he will just do them "on location" . Prices are about Half of commercial rates and jobs are done on time. I'm spoiled . . .

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Allen Madding said...

I've found two disticnt type of Harley dealerships in my short time of riding. One thiks they are hollywood rock stars and have a "kiss my butt if you want anything" attitude towards its customers. They think it seems Chic to make the customer wait 4 weeks for a new tire and could care less if the customer is on fire.

The second dealership seems to genuinely understand that the customer is intimately tied to their motorcycle and go the extra mile to ensure what service work they do is as soon as reasonably possible and work to ensure it is right before it is returned.

I have had experiences with both versions and am really happy to have found a dealership of type #2 :)


Baron's Life said...

If you're an avid rider, then you should teach yourself some basic Do it yourself tips... pure and simple.
I do not need to go to a dealer to change a tire...that's bull in my books folks... I don't need to go there to change a spark plug or the oil...firstly, they overcharge, secondly they look at you as if you were from another planet.
Everything you wanted to know about your, hopefully lubed ride, is available on the internat...just go for it...!