Friday, February 16, 2007

Gomoto Headlight

Brady Kelly writes to me:

Hi Weiers,

I hope your Gomoto is still treating you well, if not costing some in fines.

My headlight bulb has blown both filaments, and all the shops I have tried getting a new one at are only capable of looking at me blankly. Have you replaced yours ever, and what bulb did you use if so?


Brady Kelly

I have absolutely no idea. Perhaps one of the readers know.
I'll also ask at the shop when I take my gomoto in to be fixed.

Customer Service Round 3

A careful look at this picture will reveal a few broken spokes. This happened on Wednesday. The job that I do is to look after students in a dormitory. And I am probably the only dormitory dean in the world who puts students on the back of a Gomoto (or any motorbike) when they need to see a doctor. This student was late for his appointment and I think I went over a speed bump too fast. When I came to the first turn in the road I felt my back wheel wobble.

This is quite a familiar feeling, as this has happened to me once before.

Now at the outset I want to state that I do not blame Gomoto for this. I think I was careless and had not taken heed of the contraints of the bike.

But, having said that, I think this is probably going to be a litmus test on whether I will continue my relationship with Gomoto for much longer or not. I have previously (and before that)had real trouble with their customer service.

My goal is to get my spoke wheel replaced with a mag-wheel within a reasonable period of time and I will document my efforts here:

Wed 14 Feb at 14:15: I called Scooter World to ask them to please help me find a Mag Wheel along with the extra parts that is needed to make it fit onto the back of my bike. (The mag-wheels come standard with all new Gomotos, but they are smaller than the spoked wheels). I did this within minutes after my bike broke. In fact I was making the phone call as I was waiting for the student at the doctor's rooms. I was surprised to find that Scooter World seems to be under new management.

Wed 14 Feb at 15:15: I called Gomoto's customer service line 0860 GOMOTO and asked if they had stock of the rimmed wheels. I was informed that they did and that the dealer can order it from them.

Wed 14 Feb at 15:20: I made a pain of myself and called Scooter World again informing them that the Gomoto is expecting their call. They said they had left a message at Gomoto and that they are waiting for a response.

Thursday: 15 Feb: In the morning sometime. I spoke to scooter world. They were waiting for a fax quote from Gomoto for the parts. I asked them to go ahead and order the part if it would cost under R1200.00. I also arranged that I would take the Motorbike in to their workshop on Friday, 16 February as I have to be in Mosselbay/Hartenbos for work related meetings from Sunday - Thursday. (The sad part is that I was planning to take a drive to Mosselbay with my Gomoto.)

I will update the blog as the situation develops.

UPDATE 1: Friday 16 February, 10:15

I just received a call from Scooter World.
They received a faxed quote from Gomoto. The cost of the components to replace the rear wheel comes to R1293.94. This includes about 5 components - the rim, the break drum, breaks, rubbers, sprockets etc.

Along with that there will be a fee of approximately R240 to install (and given my experience with the indicators in front, it is probably not an option to do it myself :-).)

So far I feel quite good. I will deliver my bike at the workshop this afternoon and see how the situation develops.

The Encyclopedia of Motorcycles

I was in the Somerset Mall today and went into the Paperweight bookshop.

There I discovered a thick volume called, "The Encyclopedia of Motorcycles". It costs over R400, so I do not see myself buying one soon. I saw one interesting article in there on the history of Motorcycles in China.

I scanned the article quickly.

The history of the manufacture of motorcycles is quite different in China than in the West. In the times of the world wars the communist government responded to the needs of the Military to provide them with effective transport. They set up a large factory to build a very limited number of motorcycle models - the most well known one was a copy of a BMW-500cc engine.

In the 1950's the postal service also demanded motorcycles and the factories expanded.

There was no great drive to produce large numbers of motorcycles in this time. The government policy did not really encourage large scale mobility. If I recall, motorcycle production reached approximate 250 000 units per year in the 1950's/1960's.

In the late 1970's and 1980's government began to change their policy. They encouraged the corporations to mass produce motorcycles for the populace. The corporations were still run by government and were managed by means of 5 year plans, but the populace were free to buy the motorcycles as they needed and the corporations became profit driven.

The corporations produced large numbers of motorcycles. Most of the models were imitations of Japanese or European makes, made out of inferior parts in order to keep them affordable. Most of these motorcycles fall in the 50cc - 150cc range.

I cannot remember the exact figures, but today several million motorycles are produced each year.

The article mentions that a very small proportion of these motorcycles make their way out of China. (That is obviously where we come in). The article also believes that these motorcycles will never be a threat to the motorcycle industry in the west. This industry is historically driven by different values (not affordable mass transit but speed, precision, power, and luxury.)

I wish I had time to study the article in more depth. I'll be returning to the shop soon :-). I am quite happy to be associated with a movement (can a person call it that in South Africa) that attempts to popularise the use of affordable and sustainable means of transit over and above the more exclusive and elitist luxury transport industry.

Sexy Chick in Gomoto Outfit

Hehe, I wonder if this title will draw a lot of readers.

My wife teaches at the local high school. They have a yearly interhouse gala. This year her team's cheerleaders chose the theme of Motorbikes and Biking Culture. They did quite a good job and the whole permiter of the pool was surrounded with Quad bikes and motorbikes.

I wasn't able to contribute my bike to the fray due to the spoke problem, but my wife decided to put on my Gomoto Jacket. I must say she looks quite good in it.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Indicator Improvisation

I followed Francois' advice and ordered myself a new pair of indicators for my Gomoto from Motoward. So yesterday I started the project of actually installing them.

Now is the time to tell people that I am a little bit technically challenged. When I was a student somebody tried to teach me how to work on the valves of a motorcar and I ended up dropping the same bolt down the timing chain section into the sump two times. (Then I left the sump off until I got the valves sorted out.)

The process of installing these indicators can be described in a similar way. It is really easy to remove the old indicators and then to put the new indicators into the same place and stick the wires into the headlight area.

Then to figure out where the positive wire should go, and then the negative wire (and in the process discover that it actually makes no difference).

And after doing all of that I discover that I never put the bolts in place for the new indicators and I had to undo all the wiring.

The second time went much faster and I fastened the new indicators and even taped the small wires up with insulation tape. And then when I tried to put the head-light back in its place I discovered that the ministalk indicators obstruct the headlamp in such a way that I cannot get it positioned correctly.

Hehe.. I'm still working on that problem, but it is going to require some courage from me because I will have to drill a hole in the plate which originally held the Gomoto indicators. If I do that I will not be able to ever install Gomoto indicators again. Mnnn. I am still working up the courage to do that.

It does not really matter. In a short while I will be so good at replacing indicators and headlamps that Gomoto dealerships will be able to employ me to do just that. :-)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Who would have thought

I got the fine in October when I decided to drive down to the Beach early in the morning for a jog. I paid it in January.

Speed: 81km in a 60km zone

And yes, I was driving my Gomoto. I should actually have asked for a printout of the photo taken by the traffic officer.

A Friend's Warning

I received an email from a friend, Brady Kelly, early in January. I have not experienced this as yet. The worst that has happened to me is that the lock-nut that keeps the starter in place vibrated loose. I do think it is worth taking note.

Hi Weiers,

I just thought I’d warn you, although your Gomoto is much older than mine, about a little problem I had yesterday.

In the morning on the way to work, the bike was vibrating quite a bit harsher than before. I asked advice on the BikeSA web site technical forum, and I was advised to check engine and exhaust mountings. When I left work I had a brief look, and found the swing-arm axle bolt had lost its nut and started pulling out!

I bought insulation tape and taped up the end of the bolt to keep it from pulling too fast, and rode home very slowly, stopping to check and tap it in every 100m or so.

I have just found out that this has also happened to another Gomoto owner as well and thought I’d let you know.


Brady Kelly


Brady has subsequently sent me some more information:

I used insulation tape on the thread end of the bolt, to stop it vibrating out, and believe me it moves a lot from vibration. Then I took the main street route home instead of the freeway, so I had the opportunity to stop often and give it a reassuring kick to keep it all the way in. I took it back to the shop the next day where they replaced the nut and checked all the other bolts etc.

I hope your Gomoto is still alright. Mine is still a pleasure now that the little issue is over.