Chris' 1994  R100GS/PDChris' new bike, a 1996 F650 ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650
Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

July 4th, 2001

Change of Bikes

Chris' 1994  R100GS/PD     Chris' 1996 F650

-- Story by Chris --

Happy 4th of July!!  This is our 3rd celebration away from "home".  1999 at the Arctic Circle, 2000 was in Malaysia, and this year we had a few celebratory beers here in Queenstown.  Next year, we'll probably be somewhere in Central America!

Well, a lot has happened in the past month:   Although we aren't working, there's been a lot to keep us busy....

June 8th:  Just got back from our first day on the slopes -- what a blast!  Yup, that's right, one of the local ski areas opened their mountain last weekend (the rest open in a couple of weeks).  We were at the Brass Monkey Rally for the opening weekend, and thought it was time to check out the mountain.  They were predicting afternoon rain, but since we had season passes, we decided we had nothing to lose.  When the weather turns bad we can always just call it a day.

We drove the 20kms to the base lodge at Coronet Peak, parked, and headed up on the chair lift.  We were both nervous that we would struggle to stay upright, but after the third turn, we were finding our old groove.  Erin was on skis while I snowboarded, and we had a great time.   The snow was better than expected (mostly man-made) for so early in the season, but by 2pm it started to get icy so we called it a day.  The weather was warm and sunny, and the views were awesome.  Ahhh, this is living.....

As many of you may be aware, my beloved R100GSPD has been giving me an unusual amount of trouble in the past year.   Sure, problems can arise, and these problems have led to some of our best memories/friends to date.  However, my problems don't seem to stay fixed, and constantly require attention.  The trip was rapidly turning from a tour of tourist attractions to a tour of repair shops.  On the plus side, I've learned a lot.   On the negative side it was overtaking our trip, and became very frustrating.

And yet, even with the never-ending charging system problems, oil leaks, and starter motor issues, I love my PD.   We've shared memories through 35 countries, over more than 2 years, and across 54,516 land miles (87,716kms) on this journey.  She's taken me places I never dreamed I'd go, and always got me safely back again.  Just this month we appeared in NZ's top m/c magazine -- Kiwi Rider -- atop one of the highest points in NZ during the last BMW Safari.

So it was with great emotion and honesty (as in any relationship), that I decided it was time we took a break from each other.  My friend Don Siewert in Seattle has agreed to pick her up at the airport, and care for her until our return.  She'll need a complete overhaul in the future, and Don has graciously offered his assistance.

Chris' 1994  R100GS/PD     Chris' 1996 F650

And so on June 27th, we went for our last ride together, and the next day we rode to the airport in Christchurch to send her back to the states -- She will be flying on Qantas, because she liked it so much last time.

Wheel off, strapped to a skid -- that's it!

We found shipping from NZ to the states to be the same price by air as by sea, but with a lot less hassle.

Bike weight = 261kg (with skid)
Bike volume = 279kg

Freight Cost = NZ$4.65/kg (volume)
D/G Certificate = NZ$25
D/G Check fee = NZ$60
Documentation = NZ$40
Pallet = Donated by

TOTAL = NZ$1,420 = US$610

Price to LA = NZ$3.50/kg
Price to NYC = NZ$4.25/kg

Contact:  Jason McFadden

S B International Freight Ltd.
1 Ivan Jamieson Place
PO Box 14-232
Christchurch Airport
New Zealand
Phone:      +64 3 358-0637
Free Call:    0800 808 850
Fax:          +64 3 358-7852


The biggest mistake we've made in our trip preparations was to not bring two identical motorcycles.  Changing bikes at this point may seem unusual -- who knows, we've never done anything like this before.   But, we bought our two bikes specifically for our RTW trip.  It's now been over 26 months, and we have about another 18 to go -- Longer then the original 15 months we thought it would take for the entire trip!

Originally I thought I could buy a F650 here in New Zealand, and after completing our trip, import it into the States.  Motorcycle prices are less here than in the states, usually around 30% cheaper.  I soon learned there are two types of motorcycles manufactured in the world today:  US and non-US specifications.  I made some inquiries and was quoted rates of US$2,000 to US$8,000 just to register a non-US specified motorcycle into the states -- OUCH!  This would more than swallow up any savings I was finding.

Next I got in contact with Robbie Stevens, who would transport a bike from Los Angeles to New Zealand for NZ$600 (US$270), including all handling fees.   He imports cars/boats from LA to NZ, with shipments every few weeks (yes, feel free to contact him).  So, next all I had to do is locate a used F650 in the states, get it to LA, and have it delivered to me here -- piece of cake!

"They" say the internet has all the answers -- and although that may be stretching it a bit, I've discovered what a wonderful resource it can be.  With nothing to lose, I posted requests on the internet for help -- and the response was incredible!  Offers poured in across the ether-net -- leads on bikes, offers to test-ride, and even offers to deliver from the Mid-West to Los Angeles.  A few bikes were test-ridden, then followed up with reports and photos.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank some outstanding people:  Steve Johnson, Tom Burklow, Gino Fortunado, Clark Kimball, Mark Ernstrom, Phyllis Davies, Marilyn Armstrong, and Robbie Stevens.  I also want to thank Rick, Stan, and Kim -- all of whom were working with me on my crazy scheme for them to get their bikes to LA for me.

I was about to purchase one of the three US bikes, when I reformatted our laptop's hard-drive -- fixing what wasn't actually broke -- locking out all our contact info.  It took a few weeks to resurrect Windows, but only got it working properly a few hours ago (thanks Caroline, Nelson, and Nigel).

In the end, I got a call from Murray Spiers on the north island of NZ.  Murray and his wife Renate are fellow TABS (Trans-Atlantic Bikeshare) members who we've been talking with since we left New York.  Murray has a R100GSPD, and Renate has the F650.  I heard from many sources that they take good care of their machines, and a deal was reached:

RED 1996 F650, 52,000kms (31K miles) = NZ$5,500 (US$2,300)
with 21" front rim; heated grips; crash bars; tall windshield; and tankbag.
* To Add:  Ohlins shock; 27 liter tank; Scottoiler; Hand guards; and Al Jesse's new Odyssey panniers

with 21" front rim; heated grips; crash bars; tall windshield; and tankbag.
* To Add:  Ohlins shock; 27 liter tank; Scottoiler; Hand guards; and Al Jesse's new Odyssey panniers

Actual photo to follow:

Ross Williams here in NZ has a used tank (white) in good condition which will cost me US$120 (new =  US$350).  The shock is a rebuilt top of the line Ohlins from Hawera motorcycles in NZ (US$650), while Al Jesse (Jesse Luggage) is our newest sponsor and giving us a great deal on the panniers. 

We hope to get the red F650 down here to Queenstown around the end of July.  The new panniers will arrive here in August.  We'll hit the North Island at the beginning of September, and get both Ohlins shocks set up the local importer, then work our way up to Auckland where we'll convert Erin's front rim to 21".

John Glasswell of BMW New Zealand (motorcycles) in Auckland has graciously agreed to give both bikes a thorough check before we head off to South America at the end of September.

OK -- getting excited now!!!!

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