Reunited At Last

7 weeks to the day, since the accident, and the love of my life is finally home.  Ironically, today is probably the last nice riding day of the year, but that’s the type of thing I’ll hold on to in my next life.  Instead, I spent my morning driving all over town to complete paperwork and get Betsy home.  (For those who don’t know, my bike’s full name is “Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth I”.  Betsy for short.)

First things first, let’s cover finances to explain how this turned out to be a wonderful turn of events, and the reason why I’ll only ever choose State Farm as my agent, ever again.  The bike is a 2012 Triumph Bonneville EFI, which is pretty much $10k new, out the door, after waiting about a year to get one, if you’re lucky.  Me, I’m a lucky SOB who bought mine a year old, with 1200 miles on it from a very good friend for only $6,000.  I was already ahead of the game by about a grand and a half at this point.

I rode the hell out of it for 2 seasons, putting another 4,500 miles on it, having the best time of my life on the finest motorcycle I could ever want.  Seriously, I completely ignored all of my other bikes for 2 years.  It’s that awesome.  But after 20+ years of riding without an incident, some asshole rear ended me so hard that it flipped the bike head over heels on top of me, then drove off, leaving me dead on the side of the road.  If Karma exists, I hope that driver is finding out that he has gonorrhea right about now.  Fucker.

I did the math in the time that I had after the crash, and came to a rough figure that the bike, in perfect shape, like it was, with the extras, would have an actual value of about $7,000.  I wound up making friends with the dude who runs the shop at the local dealership, and after he totaled up the actual costs of complete repairs, I was stunned to hear that he estimated it at $9,200!  As much as I wanted to just get back on my perfect gem, I knew that number was never going to fly with the claims folks.  I prepared for the worst.

Upon visiting the “wreck”, I was surprised to find that the actual damage was pretty minimal.  My amazing rear cage took the brunt of the collision, leaving the rest of the bike untouched.  In fact, due to the nature of the collision, it was me and my armored jacket that ate it the hardest, leaving Betsy in really great shape.  Granted, replacing the OEM parts tends to add up, but not nearly to the shop’s estimate.  Also, eBay.

I sat by the phone, waiting to hear that my insurance guys were going to cut a check that didn’t even cover the remaining $4,200 I had on the bank loan, and I was going to have to forfeit my favorite thing in the world or go deeply upside-down on it.  As it turns out, I was wrong.  State Farm came back with a quote of nearly $8k.  In my head, I thought, “worst case, I come out even.”  We go on to find out that they have to pay off the loan, first thing.  Sure, the moneylenders gotta get theirs’ first.  I have a $500 deductible, so we subtract that.  There’s paperwork fees with the BMV and all that, of course, and I’m sitting on what I’m guessing is about twenty-eight hundred bucks, give or take.  I suppose that’s an okay deposit on another bike, if I’m willing to wait a year to get it.  Or, if I’m blessed, maybe I can find one used.  Probably not.

This is where I got nervous.  I’m a bike guy.  I know what a fixer-upper is worth, and what it takes to make the necessary repairs to bring my girl back to the road.  Realistically, to a dude who pulls these apart to sell the parts, it’s worth, easily three grand.  I held my breath and waited for the number that the insurance guys wanted, for me to buy it back… The agent told me that he saw a similar bike go for $1750.  I played it cool, and hmmmed a bit.  He looked a little further, and found another that went for $1200.  I just saved $550 in 30 seconds by being crusty.  I would have taken it for $1750, but hell, I needed a little win.

In the end, I got my bike paid off, plus about $1600 back, which means I paid about $200 for it.  The rack is probably fucked, but it’s gonna go back to the the manufacturer to see if it can’t be repaired.  Worst case, new parts and cases, replacement controls and other bits to get the bike back to 100% will cost me $2,000.  Not too bad for a bike that will be worth somewhere around $12k when I’m done the the custom stuff.  Finally a bright light.

First things first, I need a new battery.  After sitting for weeks with the ignition on (thanks guys), the battery is fried.  It’s an EFI bike, so it has to hold at least 80% charge to turn over.  $56.67 and it’s on its’ way.  Until then, it’s just shopping online and getting some design ideas together for the custom stuff.  #1 is a sexy drop vintage headlight.  #2 might be some billet switches on clubman bars.  #3 is a couple rocket boosters so I can jump Devil’s Canyon.

Ironically, everything that got busted is the sort of stuff that I would totally change anyway.  Silver lining, I suppose.