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Back from the dead, kind of

June 24, 2009
The GTS is home!

Welcome back, GTS! (Orin O'Neill photo)

I has a GTS. Finally.

After almost eight weeks, the GTS is home. The last few days have been the most difficult, its arrival at my swingin’ bachelor pad pushed back a few times as Jeff wanted to be absolutely certain the GTS’ nasty habit of shutting off mid-ride had been cured. I don’t doubt he and the rest of the Big People staff wanted the GTS to be fixed as much as I did.

Turned out to be a bad HT coil. Nothing to do with electronics, the oldest of internal combustion engines use a coil to step 6 or 12 volts up to several thousand, in order to ensure a strong spark.

I got the call from Michael this afternoon; “I’ll be over in 20 minutes,” he said. Taking it off the trailer, he asked if he should wheel the GTS into the garage. “No,” I said, “I’m going for a ride.” Michael grinned.

Turn the key, hit the starter button. The GTS fires right up. It did that the last time, too. I must admit, I was wondering if I’d forget how to ride the thing. I pulled onto California Avenue, heading north. No, I didn’t forget. It was a bit disconcerting having the wind hit me in the chest, but it was just as much the actual wind as the aero rush.

A few blocks north of Admiral, I turned around and headed back for the garage. The bike was dirty, and one of the mirror stalks needed adjustment. I pulled onto the sidewalk and turned off the key. So far, so good.

Back on the road, I decide to go to Alki via Fairmount Avenue. It’s downhill, in case anything happened. Nothing bad happened. The GTS ran flawlessly all the way to Harbor Avenue.

It was well past lunchtime when I stopped for a Spud fish & chip fix. The GTS fired right up, so I decided to head for Beach Drive.

Gee, I need to re-learn corner carving. This is also the first time in a long time the rear tire has been fully inflated. Of course, that means you get the full effect of some of some of the worst pavement in the city. But that’s okay.

Still going strong, I give it some stick going up Erskine Way. No worries, no faltering, just strong acceleration. Nice. I allow myself a grin. I’m not quite ready to let go of the dread, but I’m feeling better about the GTS with every mile.

I stopped by Mr. Robert’s Styling Studio to say hi, and show off. Congratulations, says Mr. Robert.

From there, it’s down the Admiral Way hill toward Luna Park and Avalon Way. Let’s take a ride on “I-35,” I think. Traffic moves fast on 35th Avenue SW, and there are some sizable hills. A good test, I think.

Oh, yeah. The GTS pulls strongly up the hills, the speedometer needle tantalizingly close to 50 mph. I approach SW Thistle Street and think, “why not?” I haven’t taken it anywhere, lately.

Thistle has a good-sized hill as well, and once again, no there’s hesitation. Thistle takes an arterial right and becomes California. Going downhill, you can see the Morgan Junction. The bike’s compression braking is good, and it’s running at its normal temperature. Running strongly, I might add.

Back at the garage, I turn the key off. So far, so good. Learning to trust the GTS again will take a few more rides. That’s okay. I have plenty of time to ride. And Insanity is happening this weekend. Favicon

  1. June 24, 2009 5:49 pm

    Great to hear the GTS is back home where it belongs. May the next few rides exceed all your expectations.

  2. Ken permalink
    June 24, 2009 8:44 pm

    You have not been the only one anxious about the return of the GTS. The sound of you stomping about in frustration during good weather has been audible in NZ. Like you, I am so relieved that you have your two wheels back. And in time for Insanity—whew!. That is hair-line timing! Must ask Goetz if he has heard of or experienced coil failures.

    Here’s to a fine weekend and lots of fun; you have some distance to make up!
    Best wishes.

  3. June 24, 2009 8:50 pm

    thank goodness you’re back on two wheels, instead of TWO shoes. You’ve got another month of testing before you head north for the Hamster Run in Bellingham . Hope they found the problem


  4. June 25, 2009 10:49 am

    Thanks, guys, for your kind wishes. I went riding after writing this post and the experience just gets better and better. Saw 60 mph on the Viaduct, even though it was quite windy. Yes, it’s good to be back…

  5. June 25, 2009 7:33 pm

    It has been a long wait, Orin, but well worth it. Congrats!

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