2016 Prep

For the last 3 months I have been busy doing my best to get ready for the 2016 Scooter Cannonball. from Fernandina Beach, FL to Mukilteo, WA. The natural choice with this year’s route seemed to be the Vespa GTS. Unfortunately, it had been having stalling issues ever since the voltage regulator was replaced last year.  So my mission was to track down the problem and get it sorted. First a trip to AF1 Racing over in Austin discovered cracked fuel lines and several places on the electrical harness where the insulation had split exposing wiring. Evidence of intermittent arching shorts were determined to be likely causes of the fuel starvation dying symptoms I had been experiencing. Replaced both the fuel lines and affected portions of the wiring harness. We replaced the spark plug and cap since that’s a common cause of stalling on a GTS as well. AF1 suggested that I leave the scooter for a few days so they could make sure that those repairs resolved the stalling issue but since I had ridden over for a same day appointment with no way to return to Houston without the scoot that wasn’t feasible. Rode home taking a very circuitous route doubling the distance to make it a cannonball day mileage on my return home. Seemed like the problem was fixed and only a belt, roller and tire change closer to departure seemed needed to complete my prep.

With the goal of getting some butt time I went on a ride with others in the United Scooter Riders only to have the scooter stall after less than 30 miles. WTF?  It fired back up just as it had every other time it stalled and I continued to lunch with the group. After which I decided to head straight home and hopped on I-10. Scoot started to stall again but I was able to recover without a full stop. That caused me to get off the freeway where it stalled again. All in all it stalled 4-5 more times before I got home. Checking around based on the recommendation of a few fellow riders I took the scooter to a local non-dealer shop. There it was discovered that the fuel injector was broken. Plus when the scoot was repaired after my accident apparently the fork were not properly fixed. I had noticed that it didn’t seem to ride as well so had that taken care of as well.

IMG_4503Tabs for the headset that I had noticed were damaged would no longer hold the headset tight and needed replacing as well. Great, custom paint and the shop that did the paint sold to a new owner who doesn’t do body work anymore. I discovered that a chrome version was available and went with that.

Given the multiple issues I figured I should prepare my back-up scooter while trying to get the GTS sorted out. Fortunately this year there is an experimental class for “big bore” scooters. That gives me the option of taking my Scarabeo 500. True it would not be competitive in the main class but it is a scooter that I could be as certain as it is possible to be that I would be able to complete the cannonball and ride back to Texas. It was due for major service anyway after last year’s trips to Key West and the Mexico to Canada border to border ride for my brother’s birthday. So in it went for belt, rollers, spark plug, tires and install the Garmin GPS cradle. There I was in for another surprise – seems a rodent had decided to feast on my brake lines. Thankfully it wasn’t the entire wiring harness like my brother discovered on his BMW K1200LT and the brakes still worked. Replaced the brake line along with the scheduled maintenance and so my back-up is good to go.

Unfortunately by the time the GTS was out of the shop I only had a single day to test ride before leaving for a family trip to Alaska.  So here is my dilemma do have the belt, rollers and tires changed on the GTS and leave for Florida with an untested scooter with a recent history of problem appearing within 500 miles of service or take the tried and true distance scooter that is unlikely to be competitive even within the experimental class?

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