Thursday, December 28, 2006

5200 km: Birthday Party in the Bike Shop

My bike has had its first birthday and all in all it has been a positive experience, except for the fact that I could not have a birthday party for the bike because it was in the repair shop.

The most frustrating part of owning a Gomoto has been that I could not get reliable and quick service from the Gomoto dealer that sold the bike to me.

I just received my Gomoto back from this dealer, yesterday (27 December 2006) after they had it for a full month. Somebody had borrowed my motorbike in the second last week of November and when I got it back about 8 or 9 wheel spokes in the rear wheel was broken. The wheel was wobbling all over the place.

I asked the bike dealer to replace the spoke rim with a new solid rim, as I had found out that this is indeed possible. I phoned the dealer every day for a week to find out what the progress was with the replacement. From what I could piece together from his answers is that Gomoto did not have any solid wheel rims available and that the next shipment would only arrive in a month's time. (I was told this in November, but apparently they still have not arrived.) The dealer said that Gomoto would let him know the next day if they could provide me with a wheel from one of their new bikes, but nothing came from that. I then asked the dealer to please fix the spokes.

After being without a bike for one week I was beginning to become very agitated. They finally offered to give me one of their Gomotos on loan, and I really appreciated that. In fact, I just stopped calling them.

Then, yesterday, as I was climbing up Table Mountain with some family members I received a call from the Gomoto dealer to inform me that my bike is fixed. The cost was R150 and he asked if I could please urgently bring their motorbike back because they need it. I was in Cape Town until late in the afternoon, and I thought that I waited so long for them to fix my bike, that they would not mind to receive their bike the next day. At 17:05 I received a very agitated call from the dealer asking where his bike was. I decided not to argue and took the bike back and paid for mine.

When I had received the bike, it did not have a drop of petrol in it. I had to push it to the petrol station next door to fill it up. I returned it to them with a near full tank.

I immediately became even more frustrated when I could not start my bike. It's battery was flat. I had to kick-start it. And as I was driving home the second of my front indicators fell off.

It is probably too much to wish for, but in my dreams I imagine a Gomoto dealer who would actually have noticed that my indicators were broken while they were fixing the spokes and given me a call suggesting that they replace them or put something more durable on and provide me with a quote. I really get the impression that this dealer really don't care.

I asked him why it took so long to fix my bike. He explained that their mechanic had become sick and actually passed away. They needed to appoint a new mechanic. In the mean time his son was working for them and they could only get to the most important tasks.

I reckon that those are very special circumstances and probably requires me to be more sympathetic. And I really feel bad for them. But I still feel un-cared for as their customer, especially since this is not the first time that I've had long delays in having my bike fixed.

I asked the dealer if he would call me when new stock of the solid rimmed wheels arrive. He said that it would not happen before the middle and end of January and that I should rather call them closer to the time. Again his response makes me feel as though he is not really interested in giving me the service that I would like.

I know that this is my experience with a specific dealer. I am currently debating with myself if I should not find another dealer in a town nearby. It would be more inconvenient, but what can be worse than to be without one's bike for a month at a time (twice in one year!.)

In the mean time, I am trying to find a solution to my broken indicators. Francois suggested that I look at indicators on offer by motorward.

I have also e-mailed a few bike-shops in Cape Town to get quotes and solutions from them.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Yet another Gomoto Experience

Yesterday I received yet another e-mail from a computer friend, Brady Kelly

He writes about his recently acquired Gomoto. I attach his experiences to this post:

Hi Weiers

I’ve just seen your recent blog updates, and I was quite impressed by the Ceres trip. I’m curious as to how the little engine handles long stretches.

I’m also curious as to my indicators. The bulbs seem to blow for nothing. Both my front units broke, one from vibration and one from catching the bike from falling over, and since I repaired them they seem to be like candle flames.


Brady Kelly

PS, I’m glad to see you also enjoyed Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Would you believe it was recommended reading on a first year computer science course?

It is interesting that he also experienced problems with broken indicators. One of my rear indicators broke relatively early in the life of my Gomoto, but that was my own stupidity due to over eagerness to demonstrate the effectiveness of a remote starter from 50 meters away. Little did I realise that my bike was in gear. (See a similar experience by Brady just further on)

Recently on my trip to Ceres, my right front indicator also just fell off. It cracked all by itself for no reason. It is now stuck on with some glue, but I think that I would like to put new indicators on when I get the opportunity.

Here is a follow up e-mail from Brady.

Hi Weiers

I’ve had mine for about two months now, and use it daily for my 15km commute to work. It really takes a lot of pain out of a freeway stretch that would normally take nearly an hour by car, and makes it 15 minutes!

I’m also sure your indicator just fell off. My front left did that, but I noticed it wobbling quite a lot so I pulled off and as I touched it it broke off. They really are cheap and nasty, and while bit of Pratley Steel is holding them together now, I am going to look for new ones. In my school years I went through a couple of indicators and there are lots out there.

Talking about electrics, I provided some entertainment in town yesterday when I accidentally nudged the start button. The bike leapt forward off the side stand, and like a stupid I grabbed it by the handle-bars to pick it up. Of course the engine was still running, so my grabbing action wheelied it up for lots of laughs from bystanders. No damage though.


Hehe, Brady, I hope you continue enjoying your Gomoto. Thanks for the contribution.


Due to a sudden rush of Spam-comments on my blog, I've enabled word verification. I hope it solves the problem.

I also hope that it does not detract readers from leaving their comments.

A Friend's Gomoto

Francois and I have become friends as a result of my blog. A few weeks ago he sent me some pictures of his his Gomoto. He keeps it in tip-top shape. I still plan to make time to go and visit Francois in Riebeek Valley - on the back of my Gomoto, of course.

He writes:
Hello Weiers,

Included are more descriptive pics and one of the Riebeeck Valley that
might be used as a wallpaper. Customizations include: Changed the
indicators, Moved the Ignition switch to between the dials, Changed the tail
light to an LED version.

For more info on Riebeeck Valley please visit the following website:
Riebeek Valley Handbook : The guide which tells you everything about the
Riebeek Valley

Please feel free to ask for more info if needed for your Website.


Look at where Francois' ignition switch is situated. This seems like a very good idea to me.

(Did I mention that my one indicator just fell off during my trip to Ceres? This seems to be a common problem with our gomotos and Francois solved it by fitting some custom indicators.)

I like the box on the back of his motorbike.

Friday, December 01, 2006


My work held their year-end function at the Houw Hoek Inn in the Elgin Valley past Grabouw.

My wife was teaching, so I drove to this brunch with my motorbike. I over-estimated how long it would take me to get there and I found myself there 40 minutes before the function was scheduled to start.

So I stopped at the Houw Hoek Farm Stall and discovered this. It somehow made me think of my Gomoto. The writing on the edges of the wrapper seems to indicate that the product comes from Russia. But a search of the Internet seems to point to its origins in Brazil.

I bought this packet of sweets for about R2.75.