One of the things I have learnt since I bought this new bike is that since the last time I rode a bike, circa 2006 when I had the Suzuki GS750, things have changed somewhat in the field of bikes and parts manufacturing. Old fogies like me will always begin a sentence with words or phrases like, “Back in my day….” and then go rambling on about how things were better back then, as if we have moved into a society that somehow is failing us.
Oh wait, I forget. We have!
Whenever it gets to the point where such a debacle as I have recently endured can take place, I know that consumerism has taken over and biking, bikers and bikes have begun to suffer as a result. Let me explain. When I bought the bike in November last year, I did so knowing that there were some marks on her, on the box [a lot of scrapes and dents] and that sooner or later, I would have to change them out to make it look nicer, neater and newer. My OCD would never let me live with those marks.
Little did I realise the debacle that would follow.
When I got the bike, she looked like this.
She was and remains, a good looking beast, but upon closer inspection, a mark or two on the bodywork that cannot really be fixed by me means they will have to be left, but the back box needed sorting and I quickly decided that it would have to go in one way or another.
So, one day, I decided to get my meagre tool box out and try to remove the bolts. It is an easy job, I thought, but they had welded on with time over seven years and there was no way I was going to get this off without help and assistance from somewhere, so I shouted out in a facebook group I am in and someone just around the corner said come and see me. Twenty minutes after starting and getting air hoses and angle grinders on the thing, he asked do I want to keep the plate. Now here was my first error for I was so annoyed, I said, “No, do you want to use it, or sell it for your help?”
I am simply too nice at times!
It was a Honda box on from the birth of the bike and worth £450 new, but Muggins here did not know that until later, so my new friend got a right little earner there. So now, I was left with a rack where I could get a standard, universal box and all would be well. £20 later off Ebay and I am waiting for my new box to arrive. When it came I was elated, for it looked marvellous and had its own universal fitting kit, but could I get it fitted to the old [CBF1000] rack? You guessed it, the answer was in the negative. Now I had a bike that looked leaner yet all I could do with the rack was tie bungee ropes around black bags or something like that, if I wanted to go anywhere nice, like camping for bike races.
Lesson learnt. Never try to do anything yourself when you neither have the skills or the tools or even the know how. It is a waste of time and money. So far, this had cost me nothing apart from the loss of the box, so a local bike shop helped me take the rack off when I could not get that to shift either. Thus I ended up with a back end that just looked odd when the rack was removed. I was advised it was not the rack for the bike but I have come to think they might have been saying that for commercial sales reasons, trying to get me to spend more of my hard earned. The same racks on ebay are selling for £70.
Now, the bike looked like this on the back end and no matter how hard I tried, the box would not fit to the rack and when the rack went I had a choice; spend about £250 on a full Givi set, or buy a rack that is considered “Universal” to fit my bike so I could add my new box. Because of funds being sparse, I decided on being frugal and immediately regretted it because when the new rack came, there were issues. No matter how I tried to match plate to box [which would work], when you added the plate to the rack, there was no way the box was going to fit on.
Now I had a rack and a box that were useless, so again, I took advice. Someone had rewelded their rack to make the sissy bar more of a 90 degree angle than the 45 degree it came as [it was a sports rack designed for bungee roping things on the back etc] so I paid someone £10 to do that for me. When I finally got it back after a week of waiting, I put plate to box, and plate to rack, added it to the bike and found the holes where the bolts go through were out by about 8mm. No way would the rack ever fit to the bike! No way of sending it back as a reject because I had amended it. Thoughts of annoyance and anger at myself for not picking the Givi set idea in the first place. I am such a Numptie at times and should know better. Let those who do it professionally fit the thing.
So now, I had a box that was worthless, would not resell on ebay, a rack that would not fit and a bike that was naked. Two very special friends on Facebook put that to rights when one offered me an M5 plate for a Givi rack set, for free. I said yes please. It would save me £40 or thereabouts. The other offered me a set of grab rails at a very reasonable price, so I got both. The bike suddenly looked somewhere like it should be.
By this time, I had made the decision to ask the local dealer to help me out. I had tried to sell the new cheap box on ebay but there were no buyers out there, so that and the rack went to the skip. The man at the skip told me that if it was okay with me, they have a spare area for “bric-a-brac” where things are auctioned off for local charities. I said of course and left them with him. What he does next with it is up to him.
And then, when the time came for me to go down to the dealer, I had ordered a new Givi rack and 37 litre box. I had the M5 monokey plate, so all would be well, they assured me. On the day I go down, I get there and leave the bike with them and after an hour, return to find they are having “issues” getting it all to fit. We had fallen foul of a Givi decision made some time ago, making my gifted “M5” plate not be able to fit to the new rack that was the given rack on their system for my bike. The rack was on, but the plate would not fit to the rack!
It is at these times that you know someone has something against you! Fate has fouled you [I so wanted to type another word there]. Time has trampled over you and your beliefs that this will ever get sorted vanish. In the end, Givi had manufactured and sold the M5 plate for their CBF600 bikes through the Noughties to about 2009 and then, from 2010, they had manufactured a plated called an, “M5M” plate, that fitted the “M5M” rack designed for my bike. Gone were the days of get a rack, get a box and with two spanners, put the thing on! Gone were the days when the consumer was King!
I was more than demoralised by now!
But the mechanic, who sussed I was about to opt for buggering off down the road on the bike with just the grab rails, came up with an idea. He would look in their old stock, for an M5M plate. It would mean I would have to pay an extra £40 but it could all then be put together. The other option was to put one on order and wait a week or so to come back the 12 miles and have a go again. He knew, I think, what my reaction to that would be. This had been happening for weeks now, so he found one from somewhere [the cynic in me knows this was a sales ploy] and within ten minutes, the rack, plate and box were on.
At last, over a period of several weeks, I now have something worth looking at but what has it shown me? What lessons have I had to endure to get from grotty old box to this? Well the first is that I should have asked for help to get the Honda box off so it could be repaired. A few quid for repair would be better than this. Second, never ever try to fix something if it ain’t broken and my box, although damaged, still worked. Thirdly, never try to do something you know you cannot do. And lastly, if in doubt, order the whole thing rather than trying to cut corners. My friends in the CBF600 group on Facebook sure helped me out and I will be forever thankful [especially as I try to sell the M5 plate to recoup the money paid] but in the end, what I should have done was left it all alone, removed the Honda box, had it fixed and then added it back on.
With the money saved, I could have ordered and had fitted my next purchase, a Hugger for the back wheel.
Only time will tell if I do this and the truth of the matter is obvious. I am NOT about to try and fit it myself! In good old Yorkshire terms, “Sod that!”