It can get frustrating in the Gearhead Grrrl Tech Center, better known as the garage. Right now I have not a single vehicle still under manufacturer’s warranty, save maybe the frame on the Bike Friday. I’ve got a timing belt, plugs, and wires to do on the Mopar Minivan and now it’s fouling the number one plug with oil too. Done a thousand miles on the TDI since replacing it’s timing belt, but it still needs tires and a good cleanup. The Ranger still has a dragging front brake. And the Mini Cooper S? Total disaster!

That’s just the four wheelers… The BMW F800S is doing fine, but as the temps drop the sidecar season has definately begun. The week out of rehab GS is the still on the straight and narrow, and I want to put at least a thousand reliable miles on it to make sure it’ll be ready for next years campaign season. The ST with the other hack needs a valve job and rings, and I’m still trying to sort out it”s phantom charging problems. The LS is in the Tech Center Annex (AKA the living room), awaiting a clutch and rear spline replacement when I get time; Needs some cosmetics too. The Buell is as together as a Buell can be, but it’s in Florida. I hope to join it there by years end, which means I need to get everything fixed on at least one four wheeler and at least the two hack’d bikes ready for parade season next year.

Which reminds me ’bout that Buell- I bought it new in 2001 with a 7 year warranty extension. Was a good deal- cost me $900 and paid for $2000 in repairs! Brings to mind an “ownership model” I see in fleets a lot, and would maybe make sense for me. Works like this- buy a new vehicle, take out the longest extended warranty available, then when said extended warranty runs out you make it a spare and buy another new vehicle with extended warranty.

Now I do most of my riding on solo bikes out here in the country, and with plenty of dirt roads about I prefer a dual sport bike. I ride sidecars too, but less mileage and more local for parades and shopping. No point in buying a new bike to ‘hack, because the manufacturers will void the warranty.

So here’s my scheme- buy a new dual sport bike with a frame capable of hack’n, price less than $10,000 so the depreciation don’t get out of control. Get the extended warranty- the Japanese brands will go up to five years- and ride the wheels off it. When the warranty ends, replace with another, and if the old bike ain’t a lemon ‘hack it.

Financially, it’s probably not a whole lot more than what I’m already spending on all my old bikes for parts and such. Time wise, I’d have more time for the really important stuff like riding instead of trying to put quarter century old stuff back together.And I might actually get the half century old Mini restored because I’m not preoccupied with the quarter century old stuff.

Any opinions?