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Foreign Breakdown Woes

Post Recieved 23 April 2020

By Bogger

A sorry tale, about good breakdown insurance but a really bad experience overall.

As a bit of a pre-amble to the story, a bit of context I think is required. The intrepid five all aboard Honda C90s had travelled from England to France, Belgium, France again, then Luxembourg. On into Germany followed by the Czech Republic, Back into Germany, through to Austria, Germany again and finally on the way home we passed through Freiburg in Germany across the Border and were just entering the town of Colmar in France. We'd had a brilliant trip. Up to now we'd had no breakdowns, no punctures, only one very low speed off and one fairly minor rear end collision. Happy days.

In the queue of cars and trucks is a group of riders all on C90s ready to tour in Europe

As we were riding along in convoy entering the town of Colmar one of the bikes starts to make an almighty racket from the rear end. Uh oh that doesn't sound good. I won't say who's bike it was as Pete would be upset. Darn it there you go.

We get the bike on the centre stand and try to spin the back wheel. It's almost locked up completely. We were on a busy road so we push/lift the bike onto the supermarket car park which is only a few metres away.

I originally thought it was a problem with the chain. But on removal of the chain guards it looked OK. We took the chain off via the split link and realised it was the rear wheel itself that was locking up.

Off came the rear wheel to reveal that one of the wheel bearings had disintegrated. O b******s. The other two were a bit wobbly but not too bad at all really. Okay who's brought new bearings with them? Blank looks all round. Nige did say that he had packed a full set then thought better of it and left them at home. Double b******s.
We all looked forlornly at the mess. Okay what to do now? One of use found a small screwdriver in his toolkit and another, a small magnet.

We set about digging all the swarf out of the bearing with the help of lashings of, no, not ginger beer, but WD40.

on the tarmac of a car park a rider pokes out swarf and grease from the collapsed wheel bearing

After ten minutes it was still wrecked, but would now just about turn. Luckily we had some grease with us so that was liberally applied and the bearing refitted. We knew this bodge would last five to ten very slow miles at best.

Right lets find out where the nearest campsite is. Fantastic, it's only two miles away. Secondly lets ask some of the supermarket shoppers where the nearest motorbike dealer is. Of course none of us speak any French which makes the task even harder. Finally we get one kind person who speaks good enough English to direct us to... a Kawasaki dealership.
Well a bearing is a bearing is a bearing, right? Not in France it isn't. We found the Kawasaki dealership and tried to explain what we needed. Now I've been to France many times and contrary to popular belief I have always found them to be polite, kind and very helpful. This one bloke behind the counter obviously hadn't read the script. Suffice to say we left without a bearing, not that they probably had one anyway. 

We retired to the local campsite somewhat dejected. I made an urgent call to one of our mates back in England and asked him to send over a full set of bearings to the campsite in Colmar. Just overnight them to us and don't worry about the cost, we'll sort it.

The C90 has hazard tape wrapped around it, to prevent it spreading and curses
A c90 with luggage, a lot of luggage and the rider lying on the floor fixing some part of the bikeLook at the weight on the Cub

You know what, tomorrow is another day. Another day of misery that is. We had enquired in the reception the previous evening if there was a Honda motorcycle dealer in town. Indeed there was, but it was the other side of town. No problem, we have bikes.

This was now Thursday morning and on the Saturday we were catching the early Calais ferry back to Dover. 

After breakfast two of us set off in search of the Honda dealer. The roads were completely deserted and no one was on the streets. How very strange. We must have ridden about four miles and passed one vehicle and literally no pedestrians??
We stopped and had a quick chat and couldn't figure out why everywhere was deserted and shut. Luckily we spied someone about three hundred metres in the distance heading our way. We gunned, well wheezed, the Cubs in his general direction. 

When we pulled up in front of him he looked a bit startled to say the least and his eyes flicked one way then the other looking for possible escape routes. Luckily the young chap spoke pretty good English. He told us where the dealer was, but that it would not be open as it was a national Bank Holiday. The light bulbs in our head lit up, but then were soon extinguished, as the realisation dawned on us. France is never open at the best of times. On a bank holiday you've got no chance. Yes the dealer was closed by the way.

Back at the campsite we tell our sorry tale. Pete puts a brave face on it and tells us to get our gear together and leave him behind. He said he has breakdown cover, but he would find the dealer tomorrow when they are open buy a bearing and get it sorted. We all look at each other not knowing what to do. Should we stay or should we go? Pete convinced us to go. So with a heavy heart and a good dose of guilt we set off North.

Pete, a big solid tall chap, pretends to kick the C90 and looks most disgruntled

Our journey all the way home over the next two days goes without mishap. 

3 C90s with camping kit heading down a long empty dual carriageway in glorious sun

I ring Pete on his home number a day later. He's not back yet. What? Now I felt really guilty.

So what happened to the poor Black Country soul?

He spent our departure day chilling out on the campsite just relaxing. There was nothing more he could do.

The next morning, the day after we had left, a bloke pulls up alongside Pete's tent and asks him where his mates are? Some mates eh? He gives a brief (unlike this tale) explanation of his circumstances. The chap is English and is on holiday in his motorhome, which tows behind it a Smart car. He kindly offers to take Pete to the Honda dealers in town. So off they trundle. Pete is six foot five, so I can only image what he looked like in the Smart car?

The Honda dealer is open. Hooray. But they don't have a bearing, for the most popular bike in the world ever. The parts bloke conjures up an apprentice who speaks pretty good English. Apparently there is a bearing factor not too far away and they might have a bearing or three.

Kind Smart car man does the honours and lo and behold the bearing factor has a bearing. It was one of those clenched fist ‘YES’ moments!  But, they only had one bearing not three. Not to worry. I only really need one. Don't I?

Back at the campsite the new bearing gets fitted and the other two get cleaned out and re-greased. Sorted. 

Pete is only a day behind us. He packs all his gear and is on the road at about mid-day. He Jumps onto the nearest toll road and heads for Nancy some ninety odd miles away. The only problem is, is that he doesn't get there. About sixty miles into the journey the problem returns except it's not just one bearing but now all three have collapsed. Now he really is in the s***.

There is an Aire (rest area) a couple of miles further on, so he wobbles up the hard shoulder to seek refuge. It is baking hot, so off comes the biking gear, boots and all, and on go the T shirt, shorts and for the fashionably challenged, a pair of Crocs. 

As you can imagine Pete's a bit low at this point, to say the least. But he's a resilient sort of a bloke, so he sets about asking the French lorry drivers (Pete drives a truck for a living) is there any chance of a lift North. Even possibly Calais?

The trouble was the language barrier and the fact that some sweaty, foreign oik is trying to cadge a lift. He was getting nowhere. As he is wandering around the Aire trying to find some kind person, he steps on a broken bottle which obviously goes straight through the sole on his Croc and cuts his foot open. So now he is paddling round and I quote ‘with blood p*****g out everywhere’.

I think he'd had better days somehow?

He could see his plight wasn't getting better. Time to ring the break down company. Personally I'd have rung them back in Colmar, but hey ho! When he rings the phone is answered pretty quickly. Obviously the person on the other end speaks only French. They ring Pete back and now there is a French guy speaking very good English. Things are looking up?

The gist of the conversation was that a recovery truck would be sent out load up Pete and the bike and get them to the Honda dealer in Nancy. He would also ring the dealer and give them an ETA.

Well a recovery truck turns up an hour or so later. Fantastic. This free "with the insurance" breakdown cover actually works.

The recovery operator takes a look at Pete, a look at the bike and then demands 197 euro before he will even touch the bike or take them anywhere. FFS. Pete gets back on the phone and speaks to the breakdown operative he spoke to before. He listens and asks Pete to hand the phone to the driver. It's obvious the driver is having a b********g. Within a few minutes they are on their way with no payment being exchanged.

Sure enough the Honda dealer is expecting them. Someone actually speaks English and no they don't have any wheel bearings and it'll take up to four days to get them.
It's getting late in the day, Pete is stranded in a strange city. Time to ring the break down people again.

They arrange and pay for a hotel room for him for the night and a taxi to get there. They also arrange a hire car for the next day to be delivered to him. What about my bike? They said that priority was to get him back to England as soon as possible and they would discuss repatriation when he was home. Fair enough.

The next day, in the hire car, he retrieves all his camping gear and panniers etc from the dealership and loads them into the car. He is absolutely mentally and physically knackered.
He then drives all the way to Calais in the Fiat Punto. At the port he hands back the car and gets all his stuff out. Tent, sleeping bag, panniers, clothes the whole lot and embarks as a foot passenger carrying all his gear. He said he looked like a bad game of Buckaroo and was sweating like a Robber's Oss.

As agreed there was another hire car waiting at the port in Dover. He dumped all his gear in and drove back to Dudley and got in at daft o clock in the morning.

After a couple of days rest he musters up the courage to ring the breakdown people about repatriation of his beloved Cub. In a nutshell it's not going to happen. They said the cost of getting the bike back outweighs the actual value of the bike. No amount of, how shall we put it, discussion would sway them. In the end he contacted a local courier company and paid them £400.00 to go and collect it for him. 

In hindsight, it may have been better to wait for the bearings from our mate in England to turn up? If indeed they ever did? Or contact the breakdown company when he was in Colmar.

Also when he had his hire car, what he should have done is drained the oil and fuel out of the Cub, removed the front and rear wheels and mud guards and put the bike in the back of the Punto. Rebuilt it at Calais and then strip it again at Dover for the journey home. Easy in hind sight but I don't think he was in the right frame of mind. Who would be?

He's over it now. Just. And I have vowed never to leave anyone behind again. I still feel guilty. Oh and we now all carry a full set of wheel bearings. 

So the moral of the story, if there is one? No matter how good your breakdown insurance, it's still a really, really crap experience.

One last thing. The wheel bearings that failed were fitted brand new just prior to the trip. That'll teach him to buy cheap Chinese bearings off Ebay!! Tightwad.


Maybe you should share your chronicle of chaos to help other riders prepare for the unexpected. Click here.

Reader's Comments

Ian Soady said :-
That condition about recovery not being done if it would cost more than the vehicle's value is a real sting in the tail. And they're all very coy about (a) how they establish the value (b) whether they will pay you its "value" and (c) as you will have exported the bike how you deal with duty etc.

I've never had to use breakdown services anywhere but the UK but my few experiences here have been reasonable - sometimes excellent.
15/06/2020 10:10:54 UTC
Bogger said :-
There was no way he was going to leave his Cub in France. The only upside was the Dealer in Colmar did not charge for storage. It has been there well over a week by the time the courier collected it.

15/06/2020 12:47:28 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Don't know if you can say but was it CN.
If so I am glad I've got the same cover, sounds pretty good service.
Shame about the repatriation, but you can see their point and it is in the small print.
I think a viking burial would have been appropriate........but don't tell what's his name.
15/06/2020 13:01:43 UTC
Bogger said :-
Dunno which insurance/broker it was I'll try to find out.
Viking burial? Pete or the bike, or both?

15/06/2020 13:36:17 UTC
Snod said :-
Did he knowingly buy Chinese bearings or were they counterfeits??
15/06/2020 16:52:57 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Isn't everything made in China?
15/06/2020 16:58:41 UTC
Bogger said :-
I don't think the origin of the bearings was actually advertised. But they turned out to be Chinese. Ah well.

15/06/2020 17:50:34 UTC
nab301 said :-
An acquaintance of mine had a similar (non) recovery experience last year in France . His 20yr old BMW K model was waiting for a new radiator before his holiday so he made the decision to take the back up ptw. He barely made it off the ferry when the rear hub/ wheel bearing of his 400cc(?) Honda scoot failed two up with luggage . Bike was recovered to nearest dealer , he ended up with a car but he never got the bike back , I'm sure it was worth around 2k euro . He would have to have organised parts and then organised flights back to collect the bike if the dealer could have repaired it .
16/06/2020 20:23:49 UTC
Bogger said :-
Hmm, not a great experience then. If it was me I'd have done what BCP did. Either get a courier to fetch it of I'd of hired a van and fetched it myself. 2K is too much just to let go IMO.

16/06/2020 21:12:06 UTC
crofty said :-
A sad story, glad Pete got his Cub back. You hope it never happens because you know deep down that if it does it doesn't really matter how good your breakdown insurance is its going to spoil the holiday and inconvenience anyone your travelling with. One thing I don,t understand in Pete's case and the scooter when the recovery is considered uneconomic is that it, is there no offer of a cash alternative ??
16/06/2020 21:33:53 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
The wording is "Your vehicle’s repatriation if the costs will exceed its UK market value". I always ASSUMED this meant "Your bike is worth £800 and it'll cost us £1200 to get it back to you. So, erm, here's £800 instead". But having re-read my Nationwide Building Society policy I fear my assumption may be wrong. "Your bike is worth £800 and it'll cost us £1200 to get it back to you. Unlucky!!"

With a £2,000 bike I struggle to think from "just off the ferry" back to the UK would cost that much. I suspect these insurance companies use this (in fact quite reasonable if it worked as I had assumed) clause to wriggle out of a lot of recoveries. I'd be interested if not a little distressed to hear other stories about this.
17/06/2020 07:06:01 UTC
Upt'North said :-
This is what is on the CN policy wording for European breakdowns. It's not clarified further. I do have an agreed value on the bike though so I envisage it would be OK. Although repatriation wouldn't be cheap and I suppose they decide how much that would be. There is slightly different wording for the UK which would seem to make this a non issue.

We will only repatriate your insured vehicle to the UK
if we believe the cost of doing so would be less than the
market value of the vehicle in the UK following the loss or

17/06/2020 08:59:35 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I too have the Nationwide flexplus Britannia cover. I think I'll email them and ask for a definitive answer. Of course all my bikes and car are priceless so it wouldn't affect me.....
17/06/2020 10:01:36 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Priceless as in the crown jewels type priceless or priceless as in it hasn't got a price because it's not worth anything? I would be most interested to hear what Nationwide have to say.

It'd be all too easy to say "Well the Glass' Guide values your vehicle at £2,500. We estimate the repatriation would cost £3,000. So, erm, go away :)".
17/06/2020 12:57:14 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I got a reply from Britannia who provide the Nationwide service. It's about what you suggest and might expect:

"We use the Glass Scale to determine the current market value of a vehicle before repatriation. If a vehicle is not repatriated due to the valuation we do not pay out for a vehicle. It is then up to the customer to determine whether they want to bring the car back to the UK or have it sold / scrapped in the European Country. Costs incurred would be the customers responsibility in this instance

If the customer has just paid extra to amend their pre booked tickets then we will only pay for the charge they pay to change the dates. We would also assist with a return journey home for the customer / family ( not pets ) if a pre booked return journey had been missed due to the breakdown."

This might prove difficult if it was my Norton which the insurance company value at £7,500 but Glass's guide probably just sees it as a 70 year old pile of scrap. Like Bogger I'd probably hire a van - indeed on my earlier foreign forays without breakdown cover that would have been my default. I will tell you one day about the time I hitched a lift with the Commando in a Transit then put it on a train......

18/06/2020 16:55:53 UTC
Pedro said :-
Always buy my bearings online from Simplybearings. You know what you are getting, Once you find the bearing you want, you have several quality and price options.
18/06/2020 19:09:46 UTC
Bogger said :-
Simply bearings is only just down the road from me 3mls away. I have used them in the past.

18/06/2020 20:10:41 UTC
said :-
This is what the RAC policy is.

Repatriation of the unaccompanied vehicle,
caravan or trailer by road transporter from the
place of the breakdown or road traffic accident
or the local repairer to your home or a repairer
in the territory chosen by you, providing the cost
is not more than the market value of the vehicle,
caravan or trailer. If the cost of repatriation is
more than this, you will have to pay the balance
between the market value of the vehicle, caravan
or trailer and the cost of repatriation before
service is provided.

18/06/2020 22:58:11 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Very very useful to know Ian and thank you. I think the thing that would worry me initially is finding somewhere to store the bike while I organise collection. I'm also curious as to what they set their costs at.

Imagine my CB500X, probably worth around 4k. If I'm in southern Spain and the ECU goes pop then how is the bike valued? £4k as it was before it went pop or £3k because it needs a grand of work and parts? Then what if even if the bike is almost new and valued at 5k, Britannia might just say well it'll cost us 6k to get it back. I know that's unreasonable, you know it and so does the rest of the world but if that's what they say then that's what they say.

Sharon's 250. £3k new, 25,000 miles. I bet Glass' value that at £1k. No chance, they'll not be bringing it home.

I seem to recall Sharon uses a policy whereby if you break down they just give you money! I think you have to justify it and there's a limit, £2k if I recall. That ought to be enough to store the bike and organise your own recovery.

It's all "shady" but it is useful to know what we're getting ourselves into.

Good call on Simply Bearings Pedro and Bogger. Bogger - I'm guessing they have a customer shop for the public or is it just online only? I'm only 25 minutes away from Leigh.
19/06/2020 08:55:05 UTC
Upt'North said :-
It would seem then that the best insurance policy to take abroad.........would be a match, maybe two.
Open fuel cap or loosen fuel line.
Strike match throw at orifice or leak and retire to safe distance.
Enjoy the warm if cold or remove coat if hot.
Book two train tickets to Dover.
Claim off bike and travel insurance.
Infact it could be a Battie approved policy, we could sell two matches for £100.00 in a nice leatherette pouch with the above advice included.

As an aside, the ST Forum has a RAN list for ST'ers which covers most of the world. I've had a Canadian turn up at my door with buggered wheel bearings/brakes/battery etc and he left happy enough.
If any Batties have issues you're welcome too.
19/06/2020 09:05:52 UTC
Pedro said :-
Anyone used one way international van rental? Don't know how much it costs, but could be a way to get bike and rider home.
19/06/2020 09:17:46 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I must say the idea of a friendly face, the wonder of local knowledge and maybe the use of a yard and some tools sounds genuinely reassuring.

Not too sure on publicising the Battie travel policy though Upt'. I suspect a few insurance companies would find this, erm, errrr, shall I say "questionable". We'd need to keep it underground on the dark web, hush hush say no more tip the wink kinda thing.
19/06/2020 09:24:07 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
A lot of clubs used to run similar schemes - the Norton Owners Club had a booklet and you were never too far from, as you say, a friendly face. But I think the move from using bikes as transport to leisure items (and here I confess to doing so myself), more use of breakdown services not to mention people's reluctance to give out phone numbers etc has put paid to many. Pan owners are probably unusual in that many of them do use their bikes for extended tours.
19/06/2020 10:26:10 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I must regrettably admit it would scare me to run such as scheme on here. We are becoming more litigious and I fear if Mr Jones contacts Mr Smith for help then steals Mr Smith's tools and/or motorcycle it could all to easily come back on myself for just allowing random folks to contact other random folks.
19/06/2020 14:57:16 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I think that's the kind of reason many of the clubs stopped doing it. I wonder how the ST people manage - but of course they're all gentlefolk so wouldn't dream of abusing it.
19/06/2020 16:22:08 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Actually that reminds me of something that happened shortly after I moved to sunny Brummy. I didn't have a bike at the time but a ratty old 105E Anglia. A bloke over the road was having carb trouble so I was helping him out. When we stopped for the day I left my tools in his car. He disappeared overnnght and I never saw my tools again. A sad introduction to big city life. For those who think theft is a recent development this was 1971.
19/06/2020 16:24:45 UTC
Upt'North said :-
I think the RAN works well Ian because most folk are regular and enthusiastic users of the site and it's a part of their lives. The thought of cheating on another member would be alien to most.
I do remember one incident where someone turned up at an address in Arizona and had his ST1300 gone through with many used and new parts fitted by the host but the guy said he would forward the payment on.
You can guess the rest.
The only one I've helped so far was a Canadian riding around Europe, he knew the bike had some issues and wanted some help sorting them. Then his battery went South before he got to me. I purchased one for him and it was charged and ready awaiting his arrival. There was no problem with payment, he couldn't believe how cheap it was.
His bike is currently stuck in Tunisia because of the lockdown, thankfully he was repatriated after a little while, and yes a member in Tunisia helped him out.
19/06/2020 19:08:38 UTC
nab301 said :-
@ Ren Quote " with a £2,000 bike I struggle to think from "just off the ferry back to the UK would cost that much."

Probably not Ren but I should have said this was Dublin , I actually spoke to that guy today ( currently on a 1200 Tiger Btw) His scoot was actually a Honda 600 silverwing , purchased for just under 2k Euro , insured for market value nearer 2.5k euro . Storage in France was 25 euro per day , the cost of the repair at main dealer prices in France was going to be almost astronomical, getting time off to drive back wasn't possible immediately and the storage charges were mounting , and in any case I'm sure van rental and ferry fares to and from Ireland could be near 1k euro . Add to that the cost of the repairs when the bike was recovered home and he was never going to save money . In the end the insurance company covered the storage charges so he just walked away plus had the use of a car.
19/06/2020 20:44:34 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Reading that nab301 and I just think your friend had just dropped 2 grand. That's it, that's that, 2k down the tubes with nothing to show for it, not even a broken down Silver Wing he can sell for spares. All he got from the breakdown cover was a route home.

It's not that I'm railing against the insurance companies. It is however eye-opening, shockingly so. I simply, wrongly and misinformedly assumed that if the bike was beyond economical recovery then I'd be given some part of the value of the bike. I now know better and will need to factor this in when considering trips, breakdown cover and the value of the bike I'm riding. I can only be thankful I've found out before I had a euro breakdown and not after.
20/06/2020 09:13:15 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I think you may be overstating it Ren. Unless the bike is totally written off - in which case your insurance would pay like your BATTLE cover - a one-way van rental to the nearest port would come in at less than £200 (I have yet to check as COVID is affecting vehicle rental quotes....). Get the bike out of the van at the port, take the van to the rental location then taxi back to the port. Push the bike onto the ferry. Then push it off the other end and call your UK breakdown people.

When I did my first long trip - to Greece and back with a 20 year old Norton Commando - that was what I would have done as a last resort. However the Norton was completely reliable over the 3,500 miles.
20/06/2020 11:55:25 UTC
ROD said :-
Ian, You have just evoked a very concerning image!

I have just imagined pushing my R1150RT with fully loaded luggage up one of those ramps to the boat.
I guess I would have to try the eurotunnel for the first time, as the loading looks a lot flatter for pushing bikes.

On second thoughts I do not think I would get the bike in or out of a van?

May be I need a smaller bike?
No, I have been there with these thoughts before.

No, A bigger van with a tail lift would do the job!
20/06/2020 14:39:08 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
When I relate the saga of hitching a lift with the Norton I'll tell you how we got it in the van!

But you posh blokes with BMWs have staff to do that sort of thing for you don't you? Seriously though, there's always be somebody around who'd help for the price of a couple of beers.
20/06/2020 16:25:36 UTC
ROD said :-
Good point on the staff Ian.

I will get the butler to follow me around Europe in the van. Sorted!
20/06/2020 17:20:37 UTC
nab301 said :-
I guess we can all reminisce fondly about breakdowns in the past , mine was in the early 80's less than 30 miles from home my Em Zed partially seized (the small end actually disintegrated) . With no phones or houses nearby I started pushing in the direction of home while considering what to do.... Shortly after, a Transit pick up van stopped , the driver hopped out and said " you'll be a long time pushing that home" Out came a few planks and in no time I was very near home , the driver apologising that he couldn't drop me all the way home because he'd miss the bus , he had to drop the works van back to the depot. Miraculously my bike started and clanked and rattled the final part of the journey home , I had the engine stripped by 1am , there were small end needle rollers embedded in the top of the piston!
I'm pretty sure in the modern world it's not permitted and indeed not physically possible to push a vehicle onto a ferry.
20/06/2020 19:38:55 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Agree nab301, I have been told on several occasions that you are not allowed to push a motorcycle onto a ferry. Whether this is carte blanche across all operators is unknown but it's not a policy I'd depend on. As for the chunnel, it's a LONG long way from the entrance to the train.

I think ROD has the right idea, get your batman (sic) to follow you around, but not in a van, no, a large luxurious motorhome would be better, with a spare motorcycle on board, well, you know, just in case.
20/06/2020 22:18:09 UTC
nab301 said :-
Looking into it more , the "freebie" recovery you get with your insurance is more correctly described as roadside assistance , I guess you can purchase a specific recovery policy that will repatriate your vehicle . The " Right of recovery " clause on the standard 3rd party insurance policy is the one that keeps me awake at night... Dear sir we paid your multi million dollar / pound / Euro claim but now realise that you invalidated your policy by fitting a modified screen , homemade handuards and coloured rim tape. Please send a cheque for the full amount including our legal costs of defending the case by return or we will be forced to start legal action to recover the full amount of X million from you , we notice from your application form that you are a home owner , you can start by vacating that, yours etc.......

28/06/2020 17:07:11 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I absolutely agree nab301. "Is the vehicle modified in any way" "Well yes, it hasn't got OEM tyres fitted as they wore out." "No we don't mean that" "Erm, screen extender?" "Let me check, no, that's OK" "Engine bars?" "Do they add value?" "Not really" "No that's OK".


"Well you didn't mention the engine bars..."
29/06/2020 06:49:00 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Here in very sunny, temp 30 plus and rising, Spain you have to declare things like hand guards and engine bars, hard panniers etc to their equivalent of the DVLA when fitting and then get the bike inspected and rematriculated if it is already registered. This involves a technical inspection with a new IVT (MOT) and registration certs being issued with the items included in the bikes description, and of course is not free.
I had mine fitted from new so it was easier as then it is on the certificate from day one and costs nothing.
Not sure about extra lights but anything that affects the stock width or length of the bike requires reporting, see Asa Forza’s blog about reimporting her bike yo Spain.
iwant to fit a switch to disable my ABS when off road but that has to be removed for IVT inspections or suitably disguised and disabled so they don't realise what exactly it is.
Hmmmm, I just finished changing my horn and I am about to lower my suspension, wonder if that counts.
29/06/2020 08:18:31 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Regarding modifications for Insurance purposes, send them pictures of the bike, front, back, left, right and hidden mods, keep the email with images and tuck it into the insurance docs. This was necessary for the BeaST because of agreed valuation anyway but it could apply to any application.
29/06/2020 08:57:25 UTC
Upt'North said :-
That sounds a faff Borsuk.
29/06/2020 08:58:30 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I've met Asa, Borsuk. So essentially any bodges created by myself would need some form of approval in Spain? Sheez yeah that does sound like a right old faff. We gripe and moan here in the UK but it seems we've got it easy... for now.
29/06/2020 10:09:45 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
Mmmm, I think the upshot of all this is that if ever I decide to do any European touring, I'll be taking my bicycle.....
30/06/2020 17:25:14 UTC
Bogger said :-
Me and my touring pals have discussed the situation of breakdowns abroad many times since this incident.

There are a few options.

1. Call the breakdown company and take whats on offer ref hire car, towing to nearest garage etc etc
2. Take as much breakdown 'stuff' with you to get you going again. Tubes, bearings, coil, cdi unit etc
3. Take the number plate off it and your gear and throw it in a hedge/ravine. Get a train/plane home
4. donate it to some local and catch a plane/train home
5. Don't go abroad....not an option

01/07/2020 07:15:53 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
There's something to be said for touring on a cheap old knacker. If it dies in a terminal fashion sell it for scrap and get home by any means.

I read and see the tales of the fabulously adventurous types travelling the world. They'll break down and it's a part of the adventure. 2 weeks waiting for a part to be shipped in while staying with the indigenous folks in their mud hut is "an experience". That's great! I'd like to think if I were in Spain or Croatia or Tibet or Chile there's no less reason to repair a bike there than there is in Blighty. The difference between myself and these adventure types is that I need to be home on Sunday as I'm back at work Monday. They can wait for parts, they have the time to find the friendly local with tools.
01/07/2020 07:44:41 UTC
Upt'North said :-
And don't forget the 12 vehicle back up team with factory trained mechanics and 2 million pounds worth of spares. The average "Adventure" probably has less idea than you or I Ed, God help em.
I think a lot showed their true colours recently during the Pandemic and I quote.....
"We were travelling the world on this big adventure, but we would like mummy and daddy to buy us flights back home please for tea and tiffin, business class would suffice".
Ed, forgot to say, to you and Sharon, fell across her review of the 250 somewhere on the interwebthingymabob yesterday. Very good write up, can't remember the site though.

01/07/2020 10:15:29 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
If you're talking Charlie and Ewan - quite so! I do know and have met a handful of people who've travelled the globe on two wheels with nothing more than some money in the bank and a wing and a prayer. Some folks organise and plan, some literally just seem to put some undies in a bag and set out.

I'm trying to think Upt' (difficult I know). Is it from here that's been, erm "borrowed" or what? You see I have this vague recollection of Sharon being asked to write a review and yet NO-ONE has even asked me to write a comment even though this site has been going for ages. Pffffft!
01/07/2020 12:10:06 UTC
Bogger said :-
Ed. Are you insinuating that my bikes are 'cheap old knackers'?

01/07/2020 13:08:45 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Here Ed.
01/07/2020 16:08:20 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Aaaah yes I remember now. Yes *SHE* was asked to do that while *I* having produced over 1,200 pages of drivel didn't even get a look in. Half a million miles and 30 years on two wheels, nada. Thank you for reminding me Upt', that'll be another 2 years of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Post Traumatic Counselling I'll have to go through.
02/07/2020 08:25:52 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Cheap old knackers Bogger? I suggest you see the doctor. Oh right! Yes I see. Erm, errrr, no, no I'd never insinuate that, not at all. It's a statement not an insinuation :-)

This being said the price of a C90 has gone through the roof. Ever since Ed March and Nathan Millward shared their C90/CT110 adventures everyone wants a piece of the action. What was once a £50 field bike is now a £900 classic in need of some restoration. It's like these barn finds, 3 rusty tubes, half a reg plate, a cracked cylinder head and a corroded badge equals "rare barn find, ready to restore £4,500"
02/07/2020 08:31:59 UTC

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