The battery has gone ghost.
You idiot!  What were you thinking?!

[ Tuesday - November 1, 2011 ]

It's so nice to have the giraffe back.  Of course I'm referring to the 8GS.  Getting back on the GS after riding the R12R for a while makes me feel like I'm riding on top of a giraffe.  It's freakin' tall.  Not only that... this giraffe hauls butt!  What am I mumbling about?  Simple... let's set the clock back a couple of week.  Back to even before the 2011 Sedona, AZ trip to see how everything unfolds.

A couple of days before the Sedona trip, the bike was hinting at me that there might be a problem with the battery.  Of course I was too stupid to notice the signs.  A couple of cold days (warm to some East Coast folks) has the 8GS stuttering on the early morning start.  My thoughts, "That's unusual?!  What is this about?  Is the battery starting to have problems?  I better keep an eye out.  Perhaps I'm not putting the bike on tender enough."  The 15 miles commute went fine.  The late afternoon start went without a hitch.  That is until the next morning.  The same struggle to start occurs again.  OK... I better put this thing on tender when I get back home.  In the meanwhile, I ride the bike at high revs (3K+ RPM) to charge the battery.  Once again no problems with the start for the commute home.  I put the bike on tender over night, but it still encountered the same sluggish start the next morning.  I call the dealer and was told that cold condition can effect the battery's output.  I chalked it up to cold temps and needing to put the bike on tender.  The night before the Sedona trip, I put the bike on tender.  The morning of the Sedona trip has the bike starting without any problems.  I guess it's solved...

On the 2nd and 3rd morning of the Sedona trip, the same sluggish start occurred, but this happens only in the cold morning.  The 4th day had the bike fire up without any problems in the warmer morning.

On a Monday commute, a week after the Sedona trip, the bike started in a strange way.  The starter cranked over and started the engine, but the computer rebooted.  The computer self check came on right after the engine started.  A flicker and a reboot of the bike computer.  This isn't good.  I should have rolled the GS back into the garage, but I was too stupid to do such a smart thing.  This happened twice more.  The second time after a quick stop at an ATM, and third when the bike was started for the commute home.  I was surprised to see this struggling start after the commute to work at 3K RPM.  Once I got home, I put the bike on tender and used the R12R for the next couple of days.

It's been at least two and a half days of being on tender.  The tender is even showing the battery is at full capacity.  If there is any de-sulfuring or conditioning of the battery needed, it's definitely done by now.  Sure enough, the following day shows the GS is running strong.  On the second day start I swear I heard a stutter in the starting process.  However, I brushed it off as me imagining things.  I started the bike again at least three more times and in all instances the bike started up fine.  Again, there were a couple instances where I thought I heard a stutter, but chalked it up to my imagination. At least that's the perception.

While on the last leg of the commute home, strange things started happening.  The first of it came in the form of the intercom cutting off.  I cycled power for the intercom a couple of time with no success.  I resolved to ride without music until I get home.  So much for that idea.  I tried again and the intercom works this time around.  Now I'm stuck in traffic.  I should have taken a different route home.  Next thing I know, the computer says I have a lamp problem.  What is it talking about?  The head light is fine.  Then I find out the computer is complaining about the indicators.  That's not right.  The indicators I have are LEDs.  They couldn't have gone bad already.  LEDs are suppose to last almost the life of the bike.  Not only that, but all indicators are malfunctioning.  What the heck is this?  This is definitely not right.  I make it a little further, just about 1 1/2 block from my house, when I had this brilliant idea to cycle power on the bike to see if I can clear these weird faults.  While sitting at a red light waiting for the left turn light to go green, I turn the key to the off position then turned the bike back on again.  The computer self check came on and appears to be OK.  Then I hit the start button.  No sound came from the bike.  I can only see the MFD flicker.  Not good!  Not good at all!  I hit the start button again and the same thing happened.  A flicker.  Right then I thought to myself, "You idiot!  What were you thinking?!  Why couldn't you have tried this outside of your garage instead of in the middle of the street?"  "You idiot!"  I look up quickly and see that the turn light is still red.  I quickly put the side stand down and got off the bike.  The light is still red.  I stand next to the GS and kick the side stand up waiting for the moment to start the heaving.  The turn light goes green.  The truck in front takes off.  That's the signal and I go... heave!!!  I push the GS and it jumps forward.  I'm sure I'm quite the spectacle in this busy intersection.  I'm pushing and running like my life depended on it.  Many thoughts run through my head, but none of them were about embarrassment.  "Man this thing is heavy!"  "Boy am I glad I have road boots on instead of off-road boots."  "At least it's a bike and not a car.  I wouldn't be able to manage this by myself if it was a car."  "Stop falling into me and keep on rolling."  "Damn this thing is heavy."  "It would have been fun to record this on video."  While all these thought are going through my head, I'm pushing the GS as hard and fast as I can to get out of the busy street while doing a bit of gutter rolling.  The people around me are nice enough to skirt around me and leave me alone.  I push the bike into a Sproud's parking lot and keep on pushing.  All in full gear.  At least I'm off of the busy street and into a relatively clam parking lot.  "Stop falling into me!"  "Stupid foot peg!  Stop preventing me from pushing the bike."  (looking at my hands) "This hurts."  "Hm... look at that!  I hadn't realize how tall this bike is.  The handle bars are at my chest level."  "Why are you slowing down?"  "No!  Don't stop!  AAaaarrrggg!!  Keeeeeepppp mmmmmooooovvviiinnnnggg!!!"  "Now why do they have to build the exit out of this lot so steep?"  I push even harder as I try to get the bike out of the Sproud's parking lot and onto the street to my house.  "This sure feels a lot heavier than 400 lbs"  "Thank god this thing is light enough for me to handle by myself." "Whoa boy!!  slow down and don't run away from me."  "Stand up and stop falling into me."  At last I push the GS up the entrance ramp into my complex and park the bike in front of the garage.  I'm soaked and breathing quite heavily.  Before rolling the bike into the garage, I give the start button another go.  Sure enough... a flicker and that is all.  I get undressed and put the bike on tender.  "The battery has to be dead."

I charge the bike over night and then contact the dealer the following day (Saturday).  They're not too busy so they can take my case since it's just a battery swap.  Thinking twice and thrice, I came to the conclusion that I don't want to get stuck again and removed the battery from the GS.  Let me just drive the battery to the dealer and get a new battery.  I get to the dealer, they were expecting the entire bike instead of just the battery, and they plug the battery into the tester.  The results comes back... "It's a good battery."  "Why don't you bring the bike in?"  Confused and dejected, I took the battery home and slapped it back into the GS.  I manage to get the GS to the dealer without any trouble.

Two days later, the results came back from the dealer.  The battery is bad and has been warrantied.  Awesome!  Now it's just a matter of negotiating traffic to get to the dealer for a pickup.  During the pickup process I purchased a second BMW tender so both bikes can be plugged in and charging at the same time instead of swapping the tender from bike to bike.  As mentioned earlier, the GS was hauling arshe back home and running strong.  It's obvious that the giraffe likes it's power.

The moral of the story?  Don't play around with the battery for an 8GS.  If a sluggish start is encountered after a one night charge, swap out the battery an continue on with your life.

Written on: November 1, 2011
Last modified: November 1, 2011