100K

First useage of the one wheeled trailer.

So last week it finally happened. I managed to break the one hundred thousand mile mark on my trusty Honda ST1100. This odyssey started eleven years ago when I bought the old girl off of a Craigslist ad from a guy up north in the iron range of Minnesota. Over the years she has been the most dependable of all the nearly forty motorcycles I have owned over the years. My only regret is that I didn’t buy her new. Together we have experienced a wide range of riding conditions from snow showers to driving rain that would rival a hurricane to one hundred degree heat and below freezing temperatures. There were plenty of picture perfect rides too, the kind of sunny and warm days where you didn’t want to stop but your aching body wouldn’t continue. Through it all the mighty ST never wavered and always delivered miles of smiles. I was never stranded or had to walk home while riding the bike. Sure, there were maintenance items to take care of. When I first bought the bike both tires were nearly bald and the fork seals were leaking badly. The drive shaft U-joint wore out one time and I could feel a strange vibration at about seventy miles per hour. A replacement was found on Ebay and after installation the vibration was gone. The final drive flange had some wear due to the previous owner not applying grease when needed. Once again the part was located on Ebay and the miles continued to pile on.
Early on, I set a goal of trying to put on ten thousand miles each year. Most of the miles were put on commuting to work and home, although the bike took me on at least seven or eight trips to Davenport Iowa for the annual vintage swap meet and races. Also there was one trip to mid Ohio five years ago that added fifteen hundred miles over the course of five days. Some years I made the goal easily, other years I fell a bit short, usually due to weather conditions that shortened the riding season. I know there are guys that put on many more than that each season but most of them are retired or have better jobs with more vacation time than I have.
I never did have any kind of accident with the bike even though there were some close calls with critters and distracted car drivers over the years. I did manage to drop the bike in the driveway a few times when the weight got away from me, one time pinning me up against the garage door frame and cracking the fairing plastic in the process.
So the final tally of parts replaced to reach the 100K mark is this: Eleven sets of tires. One set every year, average life span of eight thousand miles. Three batteries. Three seats. The stock seat was horrible and after replacing it with a Corbin the bike became a true long distance touring rig. Four windshields. Two sets of fork seals. Three sets of brake pads and a rear brake rotor that got too thin. Four sets of spark plugs. Two air filters with the current one being a K&N unit. One timing belt, even though the old one really didn’t look bad. Replacing it gave me peace of mind. I started using synthetic oil after the first year and continue with Amzoil that gets changed twice per season, using twenty two gallons of oil over the years. Gas mileage is a very respectable average of fifty miles per gallon. With that average the bike has used roughly two thousand gallons of premium, non-oxy fuel. I check the valve clearance every two years. I have yet to adjust them, a tribute to Honda engineering.
People sometimes ask me why I continue to ride in all kinds of weather when other bikers have parked their rides. For me it comes down to a couple of reasons. First of all it is still fun. If you have the right gear you can stay quite comfortable even in the most challenging conditions. You can’t make the 10K mark every year by only riding when the weather is perfect, not in this country. Secondly, there will come a time when I may not be able to ride. With age comes all kinds of issues that limit riding potential. I might as well ride as much as possible now while I still can. And lastly, there are many friends, classmates and former customers of mine that can no longer ride, because they have passed on. I ride for them because they can’t. This 100K milestone is dedicated to their memory. Here’s to many more miles in the saddle.

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