Yesterday I had a call from Northwest Scooters with a minor bit of bad news. The topbox got damaged in transit but they said not to worry as a new one would be shipped out later. They said they’d take the damaged one off and bin it, but – realising I wanted to make sure the helmet I was going to buy would fit in it – I asked them to leave it on. They said that was fine, I could just fit the new one when it arrived and bin the damaged one myself.
The bike arrived about 8.30 this morning, a little later than the 7-8am estimated ETA, but no worries. All looked fine except for a couple of tiny scuffs you could hardly make out. At first I thought they’d forgotten the spare battery I wanted so I could give it the 60V upgrade when I’d gotten to know it a little better, but shortly after I signed for it (adding in writing that the top-box was ‘missing’, as the driver suggested) I found it under the seat. Good idea!
I’d spent all yesterday fitting an external power socket to the wall in front of my flat, so I was all set to put it on charge as needed. The battery level lights all looked good anyway, and my first port of call was a motorbike shop to get a suitable helmet, so I donned one I borrowed off a neighbour for the morning and set out onto the road for the first time.
It was pretty much everything I expected, fun and smooth to drive, but horribly underpowered on the straight and struggling with steep hills (the fact that my ‘Onguard Beast‘ lock weighs nearly 10lbs doesn’t help). But my avid reading of the blogs of Nig and others had me fully prepared for this irritation.
But after using the front brakes a couple of times, uh-oh! There was a nasty knocking on the front end that you could feel through the handlebars, and which would persist for a while after I stopped applying the brakes.
Once I got back from my inaugoratory outing, I called up Northwest and asked what I should do. They said to take a look at the disc to see if anything was looked wrong (doh!), which I should have done first, really. Mounting the bike on its stand and whirling the front wheel identified the problem right away. The wheel wouldn’t rotate freely and was sticking on the disc every turn, – the disc was clearly warped. While I was fiddling with the front end, I noticed the bolts holding the mudguard to the frame and remembered that someone had blogged an incident where they’d had problems with these bolts ceasing up, so I unscrewed the lot of them, sprayed them and the holes with a decent helping of WD40, then put them back in, so hopefully I’d not suffer the same fate. Really I should use grease, but I didn’t have any handy. I can do that another time.
I called back Northwest again to tell them what the problem was. They were apologetic and said they’d checked it over before they shipped it and not spotted anything. It was easy to miss, though, as I only noticed it once I got out onto the open road and properly wedged down on the brakes for the first time. They said they’d take it back and fix it if I liked, or that they could just send out a new disc for me to fit myself. Not wanting to mess around and go without transport any longer, and also quite keen to start learning my way round the bike, I opted for the latter option. The guy I spoke to, Chris, called back a short while later to say he’d got one in stock and he’d put it in the mail the same day.