Monday, May 4, 2015
Oh Harley, Every Time I Try
Blue needed a new rear tire. I get a rear tire 4 or more times a year. (I know, people have told me to run a car tire back there but I'm not that gutsy yet). I know the prices, I know where to go but each time I like to call the local Harley dealer to see what their price is. I like to give them the chance to prove they aren't a rip off. So, this time was no different. I called Zion Harley and was quoted $340 rear tire and install. I felt kind of bad but I literally laughed out loud on the phone with the poor guy. I asked to speak to the owner or manager thinking maybe I could get a deal traveling the way I do and promoting their dealership. The manager was nice but oblivious and she said she could do a discount of 10% but she would get me in touch with the Service Manager to see what kind of deal he could give. I talk to the Service Manager and they did offer me a discount of $40... So $300 for the rear tire and install.
Well, being that I get so many tires I know for a fact I can get a rear tire and install from everywhere other than Harley for around $200. When I can, I order the tire from Dennis Kirk and have it shipped to me for around $130... And it even says Harley Davidson on the side of the tire. Then I take it to a Honda dealer or a mom and pop local mechanic and can get it installed for around $50.
Since I couldn't get it shipped to me I started calling the other motorcycle shops. First one had the Dunlap tire I needed (without the 'Harley Davidson' on the side but yet works on a Harley.. Hehe) for $150. They couldn't put it on but got me in with another guy who installed for $70. Even with the more expensive install I'm still over $100 cheaper than the original price at Harley and this was without a discount.
Also, going to these mom and pop mechanics I have a mechanic with more experience. A lot of them have worked for Harley at one point and went thru the Harley Certification. They worked their time at Harley and decided they would be better off opening their own shop. At Harley, you may get someone with years of experience but a lot of the time, especially with something like a rear tire change, you get a newbie. I know we all need experience but when I'm pulling a trailer in the middle of nowhere I would like to know someone with experience looked over my bike. Not that it is always helpful.
I like to be able to watch,.. Not that I don't trust them... More to learn and to look over things as they go. They tell me what's going on, maybe what will be needed and it is always amazing when I watch they find something a mechanic should of seen long before. Last year, about this time, I got new rotors... All 3 of them. When this mechanic took off the rear tire my brake pads were almost completely gone and the ware on the rotor was as if I had ridden for years. Quite frustrating... This last year the rear tire had been taken off 6 times. Four times for tires and two times for other maintenance needed. Six times and no one noticed ware on the rotor or brake pads. Seriously?? That is once every other month... Less than 5000 miles in between rear tire removal. To me, this is completely irresponsible! A mechanic, who knows I pull TicTac... Because it is attached when I bring it in... Sends me off without checking the brake pads. Rates right up there with the time the Harley shop in Simi Valley forgot to attach my mufflers after replacing the Y-pipe. I drove 40 miles thru LA traffic before I realized they were on only by the slip on connection to the rest of the pipe. Or the time I started to pull out of the Harley shop in Newburgh New York and realized that the brake cable from the hand brake was disconnected. Neglectful is all I can say, any of these things could bring me down... Could cause an accident or my death. This is in their basic job description... They are suppose to check all of these basic things when you bring in your bike for maintenance... But we live in a world that the mechanics is someone special and going out of their way if they actually do their job.
I don't know if it is being busy... Me being a woman... But there is no excuse. It is difficult as a woman in Harley shops... Not as bad in the mom and pop places. I don't know if people haven't heard of Google but I Google everything... I can probably find a YouTube video that tells me how to do it myself. There isn't any mystery anymore about the maintenance of a motorcycle... Plus, I never do anything to the bike without consulting my dad... In case it is needed for him, as a man, to call to get something done. So why do they still tell lies... Or not the whole truth.... Or think a woman has no idea what she is talking about or doing??? I had a Harley shop once thought my dad owned a Harley shop... Had one Harley shop after multiple times of bringing in my bike for the same thing sent my dad a gift... My dad!... Who doesn't own the bike... And his time want wasted... But sent him a gift.
No one knows their bike better than the person who rides it everyday. I have 117,000 miles to know Blue so I know every squeak, bobble, and bump to her. No mechanic can tell me something I don't already know, I have been telling the mechanics for quite some time there was something wrong with the back brake but yet they said it was nothing... I didn't know how to use my brakes... It's because I pull a trailer.., I need to learn to downshift.
The only difference between a woman and a man comes when birthing babies. Other than that a woman can do everything a man can do. I do everything a man does on a motorcycle but I pull a trailer. Nothing is more frustrating than a man coming up to me, grunting, spitting, grabbing his crotch (sometimes I think they may lift a leg) to tell me my bike is a bit big for me... Or the trailer is a little big for my bike... And always ending with sweetheart, honey or babe. I give them a look and say I've been on the road for 2 1/2 years and have almost 117,000 miles on my bike... I think we are ok. They then get a shocked look and walk away. I take a deep breath and tell myself that meeting these type of people will change the way they view the world. They may have never known a woman who rode... or who lived on the road. There are many of us and by living our truth and doing what we want we change the view of each person we meet. So, taking a deep breath I am thankful Blue got some work done. She needs an oil change but I think I will do that myself at my next stop.