The sgBikerBoy 2016 Trip – Day 13. Bad news.

So I woke up in the morning and, as usual, went searching for breakfast. The Royal Peninsular was probably the nicest hotel I’ve stayed in Thailand so far. But at 650THB, it didn’t come with breakfast. Without my bike now, it gave me the opportunity to take things a little slower and I walked the morning streets in search for food.

Walking along the old city of Chiang Mai. sgBikerBoy is now sgWalkingBoy.
Walking along the old city of Chiang Mai. sgBikerBoy is now sgWalkingBoy.

Couldn't find breakfast. So I settled for food at a cafe that sells Thai food typically consumed for lunch and dinner. That's fried rice with curry powder and chicken, and a glass of Thai iced-tea.
Couldn’t find breakfast. So I settled for food at a cafe that sells Thai food typically consumed for lunch and dinner. That’s fried rice with curry powder and chicken, and a glass of Thai iced-tea.

So without much to do, I went back to my hotel room and caught up with my blog and some emails. Perfect opportunity for me to slow down the pace a little. The guys at Piston Shop had 5 bikes to work on before it was my turn, and Nat estimated that they’ll get to start tearing down only at around 5pm or so.

Just as I was about to head out to the streets, it started raining, and so I’m stuck in my room. Ordered a Pat Thai delivered to my room for lunch, and took the opportunity to do some laundry.

At about 5pm, I called Nat to find out if they managed to start working on the Pulsar.

“You should come over and have a look. There’s a big problem with your engine.” Nat said over the phone.

Shit.

So I swung by Piston Shop and Nat greeted me with a grin.

“I don’t like that smile of yours” I said. “Something’s telling me it’s not good.”

Nat and his guys ushered me to the rear of the shop where they were working on the bike, and showed me the magnetic oil strainer. It was covered in metal shavings. Not good.
Nat and his guys ushered me to the rear of the shop where they were working on the bike, and showed me the magnetic oil strainer. It was covered in metal shavings. Not good.
And then he showed me what came out together with the oil. Ball bearings and metal bits. Oh dear!
And then he showed me what came out together with the oil. Ball bearings and metal bits. Oh dear!
Nat took the time to explain to me that they first took the spark plugs out and looked for telltale signs. The plugs looked good which suggested that the top part of the engine should be okay.
Nat took the time to explain to me that they first took the spark plugs out and looked for telltale signs. The plugs looked good which suggested that the top part of the engine should be okay.
The oil filter seem to have caught bits of iron shavings too. But the significant bits were on the magnet of the oil strainer.
The oil filter seem to have caught bits of iron shavings too. But the significant bits were on the magnet of the oil strainer.
This. Doesn't. Look. Good. =(
This. Doesn’t. Look. Good. =(
That's Nat on the right - the owner of Piston Shop, and his guys working on the bike.
That’s Nat on the right – the owner of Piston Shop, and his guys working on the bike.
Nat and I poured through the 200NS service manual and he suspected the bearings to come from either the conrod or the countershaft within the engine. He's guessing the countershaft bearings.
Nat and I poured through the 200NS service manual and he suspected the bearings to come from either the conrod or the countershaft within the engine. He’s guessing the countershaft bearings.

Nat was pretty surprised at the failure, and told me that it was rather rare. A possibility would be insufficient engine oil, but I ruled that out as I told him I’ve always been very careful about engine oil levels. He did note that I was using an ester-based oil (the Motul 300V signature green), and ruled out poor oil quality too. He asked me about the bike’s mileage, and when he learnt that the bike has only done about 33,000km so far, he suggested that I seek for warranty cover on this part.

“But it’s a 3 year old bike, and the warranty is already over. It’s typically 1 year warranty in Singapore” I said.

“You can try. I had a customer on a Ducati Multistrada who had a conrod bearing failure. It was also around 3 years old, but Ducati covered his repair under warranty, as it was later determined to be a manufacturing defect.” Nat quipped.

“Yes Nat. But I believe a budget Indian brand and an Italian superbike brand have totally different concepts of warranty and reputations to maintain.” I replied.

Nat just smiled and nodded.

As it was close to 6pm, we didn’t manage to tear the engine down to investigate further. This has to wait till Monday. Meanwhile, we discussed options between sending the parts over or shipping the bike back. Nat told me that he once knew of  a Malaysian rider who met with a rather nasty accident and had to send his bike back on a train. I told him that it’s not gonna be so easy for me as I have 2 borders to pass through. Also, Malaysia doesn’t have a dealership for Bajaj either, which means I cannot just send it to Malaysia and have them work on it.

The Pulsar 200NS engine design is based heavily on the KTM Duke 200 and shares many parts. In fact, the 2 machines are made in the same factory in Pune, India. I hope that whatever parts that we may need, the Duke 200 has an equivalent. While there is no KTM dealership in Chiang Mai, Nat informed me that there still is one in Bangkok.

“Cheer up! Enjoy Chiang Mai! At least it’s just a broken bike and not a bad accident!”

True. I guess we can only find out more come Monday.

Meanwhile, I tried to not let the incident spoil my adventure. Waited for the rain to stop and headed to the Saturday Night Market (or Walking Street as they call it).

The Saturday Night Market was smaller than the Sunday one. After some time, all night markets began to look the same.
The Saturday Night Market was smaller than the Sunday one. After some time, all night markets began to look the same.
Set up a BBQ pit and some bananas, and you're in business! That's simple!
Set up a BBQ pit and some bananas, and you’re in business! That’s simple!
Got myself some BBQ'ed octopus.
Got myself some BBQ’ed octopus.
After what has happened so far, I needed some blessings from heaven. So I got a bottle of fruit juice from heaven.
After what has happened so far, I needed some blessings from heaven. So I got a bottle of fruit juice from heaven.

9 thoughts on “The sgBikerBoy 2016 Trip – Day 13. Bad news.”

  1. Poor SGBikerBoy!! Oh what bad luck! Hope you back on your bike really soon. Maybe its time to change bike (when U are back here in Spore)!! Go for the warranty claim, as Nat suggested. Keep all the receipts for the bike repair,etc, and present it to the dealer back here. Gotta try Bro. Something’s better than nothing eh….

    1. Yeah… I’ll have to take it one step at a time… First, I gotta get my bike up and running. Will consider my options later. I have other things like sourcing of parts, immigration and length of stay here in Thailand to worry about for now.

  2. Will be keeping fingers crossed for you Bro, hoping that your bike makes a quick recovery so that you can get back on the road to continue your adventure. Aside from the bike worries, it looks like its been a great road trip so far. Hope everything pans out OK for you Bro. Take care!

    1. Yeah, it gave me an opportunity to take things at a slower pace and enjoy the time here in Chiang Mai. After being on the road for so many days, it’s actually rather refreshing to wander aimlessly around town and soaking up the atmostphere here. 🙂

  3. Hey SGBikerBoy,
    From your post, i can gather that you have a good understanding of your bike and how to (at least) do basic maintenance on it while you were on your trip. I too am a beginner biker who is looking at taking a similar trip – but one thing worry me… My knowledge of bike maintenance is close to zero. (Can’t even do a oil change 🙁 )

    While not knowing how to maintain our bike is not much a problem in Singapore when we have easy access to mechanics.. Having a bike breakdown on a trip can be quite a challenge. Can you share your sources / tips on how you got what you knew for the trip?

    1. Google, a curious mind, and a willingness to get your hands dirty are the essential ingredients to picking up any skill. With the availability of information these days, there’s not much you can’t learn from some Google research and YouTube videos. =)

  4. Oh – and … your trip is indeed an inspiration to us newbies – that it is indeed possible…
    Thanks again for your post. I benefit a lot from your experience.

      1. 🙂 currently in the “research” phase… and trying to figure out basic bike maintenance…

        Then i guess will take the baby step rides to Malaysia first.. and subsequently venture further north from there 😛

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