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Old 11-12-2012, 06:24 PM   #91
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Location: Bend, Oregon
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I'm glad to hear you made it home safe despite what look like some serious burns on your fingers...

I was really enjoying your ride report and great photography right up until the fire. Do you have any idea what caused the fire?

Wishing you all of the best in your healing as well as with the acquisition of a new bike!
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:08 AM   #92
tee bee
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Good luck with the insurance claim mike ....
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:17 AM   #93
Joined: May 2011
Location: On a motorway near you!!
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I was totally engrossed in the RR, talk about took me by surprise!! That was not the outcome i was expecting.
Glad your'e not too bad, the burns will heal and if your'e lucky you end up with no recognisable fingerprints, opens up a whole raft of future possibilities!!
You want a nice 2002 K2 V Strom 1000 you do, funnily enough i am selling one!!

Good luck Mike, hope the outcome is all you want from the experience,

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Old 11-13-2012, 11:48 AM   #94
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Mike, whether you like it or not you get the honour of my first post on here.

Ive been a lurcker for ages, and was saving my first post for my first travel report, (maybe not a wise decision).

Any how your last report "dolomite sprint" was an inspiration, i was also enjoying this one untill, well you know.

Heartfelt commiserations, i just have it in the back of my mind your gonna lose out with the insurance debackle.

The bike will of been worth alot more to you than some insurance companies valuation.

Best of luck,

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Old 11-13-2012, 12:57 PM   #95
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Hey Mike!!
Man, I thought I had all the bad luck! Sorry about the Beemer...Glad you made it mostly unscathed. I hope the fingers heal quickly. Really great report and photos. Best of thoughts in your insurance claim and finding that next bike, I'm sure the paperwork will be stacked high before things get settled. Take care and ride safe...
Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

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Old 11-13-2012, 02:01 PM   #96
Frey Bentos
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Jesus chap. Hard luck. The picture of the beloved bike going up is just fecking horrible. Hope I never see mine that way( I do my own mechanical work, so .........) Glad you got home safe. Your story is a great advertisement for travel insurance. SOmetimes life does go tits up.
Any thoughts to the cause?
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:26 PM   #97
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Bad luck all around Mike. As they say, "Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right, it's not the end".
'06 Ducati Multistrada
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:22 PM   #98
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Great ride report. Tragic ending but you will ride on and I hope continue to write on.

Please follow up with all the detail and the cause of the fire.

Salute to you sir, a true adventurer.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:31 PM   #99
Neil Claydon
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What a horrible way for a ride to end, I feel for you as I know first hand just what it feels like

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Old 11-17-2012, 05:28 AM   #100
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Madrid, SP
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...but the bike went in Style
Sorry, very Sorry to read and see what has happened, but you are OK and that's the most important thing.
And, if i have read it right, you save Betty and your computer, so we only have to find you anote ADV 1150!!!...we'll keep you informed about the "Search and Rescue ADV 1150 Operation" in Spain

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Old 11-18-2012, 08:39 AM   #101
Mr Head
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I'm sorry to read of this Mike. Your reports from your travels on the bike set the bar and tone for reports around here.
Mann a time I would see a rusting collection of old cars and "hear" your question ring in my mind.
Here's to the insurance being relatively pain free and your next ride being less eventful.
"You don't go to Mongolia for the food." - Sebastian & Kim
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:31 AM   #102
Joined: Sep 2009
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Any news from the insurance company?

Hello Mike,

Just a question: Do you have any news from the insurance company? We are already looking for a ADV1150 in Spain...
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:27 AM   #103
MikeO OP
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5th December 2012

Well, it has been 25 days since the fire. Aviva paid the agreed settlement into my bank account this morning.

I cannot express adequately how good Aviva have been about this.

My Claims Manager Richard contacted me two days after I got home, giving me his direct dial in number and personal (ie not "claims@...") email address. He told me that his job was to make sure that I got treated fairly and ensure we reached a settlement that was fair for all concerned.

He asked if there was anything he could do immediately. I had just finished washing my riding kit and noticed both the trousers and jacket had burn holes in them (presumably from when I was rescuing the tank bag). He asked me to email him pictures of the damage and a link to the cost of replacing them – he did warn me that with any clothing there would be a reduction in value for wear and tear. I did as he asked and also sent a picture of the tank bag I had left in Spain…

…asking him if he could do anything about that, or whether it should be left to the main settlement. I also told him that the riding gear had been bought way back in 2007, although it was generally in pretty good order since it was winter stuff and not used as often as my hot weather gear.

Richard emailed me within three hours saying that he would pay the maximum allowable for ‘personal items’ (£250) for the tank bag and that he would deduct just 10% for the wear and tear on the kit. If this was acceptable (and it was!), then he would arrange for a cheque to be sent the next day.

I called him the next day and we spoke at length about the difficulty in reaching a value for the bike. On the face of it, it was a ten year old bike with 160k miles on the clock. But – a little like your Grandfather’s axe (he put on a new blade and your father replaced the handle) - there was very little of the bike that was ten years old or had covered 160k miles.

He told me that, once the damage report had been received from the Spanish engineer, Aviva’s British engineer would assess the value of the bike.

Here’s the interesting bit. Richard told me that the philosophy behind the settlement would be to put me, as far as was possible, in the position I was in five minutes before the fire – rather than to pay me ‘what I could have sold my bike for’.

This was a significant point.

In order to get a fair settlement, he asked me if I could provide evidence, pics etc to back up the modifications I had declared on the original proposal (which I got through Devitt Insurance).

Well, he’d come to the right place

I had half a tea chest full of every receipt for every bit of work done on the bike. I have also photo-journaled most of the refits, modifications etc.

I spent an afternoon and evening with Excel and ‘Paintbrush’ preparing a spreadsheet listing EVERY modification and accessory on the bike at the time of the fire. I was able to provide pics taken a week before the fire showing just about everything on the spreadsheet.

I then produced a load of pictures – here’s an example…

…showing where each item was on the bike. I also listed the new replacement price for these parts and the location where they could be checked on line.

I met up with Richard on Friday lunchtime – it turns out we both work in the same business park…

I showed him the ring binder full of pics, backed up with 25 A4 colour pics of the bike...

...straight after its refit earlier this year...

...(I used an entire set of inkjet cartridges at home )...

I gave him a box file crammed with the relevant receipts – right back to the one for the original purchase of the bike.

He told me he’d never seen such a well-prepared case (which I think was a polite way of calling me a geek ) and that I had reduced the engineer’s job from a week’s work to an afternoon’s.

He asked me what I wanted as a settlement and I told him, explaining the calculation as follows:

1. I accept that an unmodified 2002 Adv with 160k miles would have a low value (£x).
2. I listed the modifications and their total value (£y).
3. I accepted that any bike I bought to replace the Adv was going to be:
a. Newer and
b. Have lower mileage - and that I was content to pay for that.
4. I also accepted that any replacement bike would come with some of the stuff I wanted to fit it out with; that some I would have to buy new and some I could source second hand.

I therefore thought that the settlement should be £x + (£y x 0.6) = £z

Richard agreed with my rationale and told me the engineer would be in touch early the following week.

Aviva were swamped () by flood claims (a lot of the UK has been hit by severe weather in the past couple of weeks) and this meant things took a little longer than normal, but the engineer, Gary, called me yesterday afternoon.

He started by thanking me for making his job easier and then described how he had done a similar calculation and ended at a slightly lower figure. We discussed it and we agreed to a compromise and the deal was done.

Richard emailed me today to tell me the BACS payment had gone through. I rang him to express my appreciation for his efforts and then wrote a long letter to his manager explaining that this incident had changed my view of insurance companies.

Like most people, I have always bought insurance on the basis of the lowest premium available. It’s only when you get into a situation like this that you get a measure of the company you are in contract with.

Richard and his team have have made this experience a positive one – something I could not have imagined as I stood in the road watching my motorcycle burn less that four weeks ago...

Personally, I will be contacting Aviva for the first quote on any type of insurance I take out from now on.

But first, I have a bike to pick up…

All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2015
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:02 PM   #104
Mr Head
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That is wonderful news Mike!

Can't wait to read and see the next installment of our adventures.
"You don't go to Mongolia for the food." - Sebastian & Kim
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My Life With The 990R
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:30 PM   #105
MikeO OP
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So –what happened?

The short answer is – I don’t know.

First – a recap…

Originally Posted by Mike O View Post

The lovely Claire and Letty wave me goodbye and I set off.

In order to get onto the motorway I have to double back through an industrial estate. Without warning the bike slows – it has started firing on only one cylinder. I keep the engine running and turn into a roadway in the industrial area. I find I can keep the engine running on one cylinder, so long as I keep the revs above 2500. I set the throttle lock to this setting and put the bike on its side stand...

I feel each of the headers in turn with my (gloved) hands and the right header is considerably cooler – indicating that this is where the trouble is. I take off my gloves, pull my tool kit out and undo the two bolts holding on the right hand side-panel. I turn away to pick up my camera, turn back, noticing a sudden smell of petrol and, with a dull whoosh, a large fire develops in front of me. I later found that I took a picture – probably a reflex action.

I quickly turn off the kill switch to stop fuel supply, but it’s obvious this fire is going to be catastrophic.
So, the bike started firing on one cylinder (the left). I stopped, keeping the engine running at about 2500 rpm (from memory) using the throttle lock at nearly full throttle to do this.

Being a geek – I just took this as another part of the ride, so took time to take two pictures of the bike (the first one is above – here’s the other)…

With the engine still running, I took my toolkit out and removed the two bolts holding the right hand side-panel on. I turned to put the panel on the pavement, picked up my camera and was just turning back to face the bike when I noticed a very strong smell of petrol. Almost at the same time a significant fire developed with a ‘whoosh’ clearly audible above the engine. As I mentioned at the time, I must have taken the picture by reflex, because I got busy rescuing kit etc straight away and only saw the pic later.

Now it’s very tempting to tie the fire and the misfire together, as one happened so soon after the other. One thing’s for sure – we’re never going to know for certain what happened, because the components involved are plastic, rubber and alloy, so any evidence is long gone.

From a maintenance point of view, all the fuel pipes had been replaced during the winter refit (2011/12) and chromed brass QD connectors fitted with BMW crimped hose clamps. These had performed perfectly all the year. The last time the QDs were apart was in October to chase down an electrical fault (nowhere near the fire and not related), and the bike had run several thousand miles without a snag since then.

The fuel injectors had been serviced in the Spring of this year – and had performed faultlessly throughout the Dolomites trip in July and this trip.

But let’s have a closer look at the fire picture…

I can clearly see the red fuel line disconnected and the electrical connection for the injector seems to have come off.

It certainly looks like something fairly dramatic happened when my back was turned. I know for sure that the QDs were correctly joined when I took the side panel off – because I was looking for a fault in that area. I am familiar with what this part of the bike is meant to look like and am convinced I would have seen the injector connector disconnected…

To produce a fire you need fuel and a source of ignition.

Could my injector have come apart somehow (fatigue crack – whatever)? There would certainly be a source of ignition (ie the spark plug and any unburned fuel) in the cylinder and throttle body, if it were all suddenly exposed to air.

I can’t discount somebody tampering with the bike – it was under a carport in front of the hotel and there were a load of drunken footballers (youngsters) staying the night before. But it started and ran fine for half a klick or so, before the misfire started.

All speculation - we’ll never find out. But something fairly dramatic happened to the right side of my bike in a very shot space of time…
All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2015
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