08:30 Saturday I leave my hotel room to be greeted by a bike that won't start. One brief, seemingly normal start sequence terminated by a short 'bump' of the starter and then poof! No OBC display, no more starter, nothing. The clocks quiver and the OBC is completely blank. This isn't my first rodeo - the same thing happened on my other ST around the 14 month mark and I'm at 17 months on this one. I call BMW Roadside Assistance (they were good help last time) and was told that they had to try to jump start the bike before they could do anything, so I said OK, just be sure the truck they send to jump start can also carry me to a dealer in case that doesn't work.
After an hour, I notice a Toyota Yaris circling the hotel parking lot and I get a phone call from the driver (I'm standing right by him when he calls) asking for directions to help him find me. He wasn't told that he should be looking for a motorcycle so he's come armed with a sub-compact car and a pair of jumper cables looking for a BMW ...car.
He tries to jump start the bike which runs fine until he disconnects the battery at which point it starts to sputter, the OBC flickers, and the the warning lights all blink in time to the sputtering. He revs the engine, which smooths it all out, but it starts the same behavior again as soon as he lets it idle. I turn the bike off, telling him that the battery is the only filter I have on the alternator and it's obviously open so I don't want to subject the electronics to the unfiltered alternator output. I sign for the service and call roadside assistance again and ask if they're happy enough now to send a truck which they agree to do. The trucking company calls a bit later and I ask if they know its a motorcycle. NOPE. They only have two drivers that know how to load a bike and the one they sent to me isn't one of them. Fortunately, though, they did get the right guy to me and I was at the nearest dealer shortly after 11:00, which I thought was commendably rapid service.
The dealer tells me that BMW requires the new battery to be charged on the bench for 'several hours' before they can put it in the bike and then the entire bike must be tested. OK, I'm stuck here (in Texas) trying to head home to Illinois, so I walk around waiting to get the call from them that my bike is ready. Around 6:15 they tell me that the battery did, indeed, have an 'open cell' but they can't finish testing the bike today (Saturday), are closed Sunday and Monday but they're back at work Tuesday and will call me as soon as the bike is ready.
It's Tuesday afternoon and I haven't heard from them, so I call to see how's it's going. They say that the bike 'probably' needs a new ring antenna now, but they don't have a replacement and will need 'at least a week' to get the bike going!!??.
I got off the phone with the dealer and called A&S BMW who told me they had a few in stock and that their computer shows over 200 here in the U.S. (can A&S really check that?). They could send it for $37.73 plus overnight shipping. I called the dealer back and they said they'll have to check to see if they can get permission to transfer the part from another dealer.
I thought BMW had a policy to overnight parts to help a warranty repair to minimize the interruption to a rider on the road (I'm over 900 miles from home and it's either my bike or my boots if I'm going anywhere).
Who else can I call to try to get these guys motivated? They're an official BMW dealer (although if it wasn't for used bikes, they'd only have a couple of BMWs among their dozens of Ducati's and Triumph's), so I would hope that Motorrad US could 'help' if I could talk to the right person.
Why does a BMW dealer need a full day to replace a battery and then, 'at least a week', to get a ring antenna? I still love this bike, but the dealer network has a few weak links....
If you have any contact information you are willing to share, please send me a PM. Thanks.