The times, they are a-changin’

Bob Dylan, please accept my unqualified apology for quoting your song like that, but I couldn’t help it.

It used to be that we were safe from robots because – if nothing else – we could close a simple door and trap the robot on the other side of it. Lacking doors, we could head up a flight of stairs and languish, safe from a robot attack. Then Boston Dynamics and DARPA came along and gave robots the keys to our future. I, for one, welcome our future robot overlords. That kind of technology is amazing.

It was technology that had me thinking about robots, motorcycles and the future this morning when I set out before dawn with my 2005 R 1200 GS on a trailer behind my little van. My GS wouldn’t start, and I was convinced at first that it was the clutch switch that I have thought for a while needed adjusted. Spoiler alert – the clutch switch is fine.

After thinking about this for a couple of days, I decided that while the clutch switch might be a contributing factor, the problem most likely was in the shift indicator potentiometer.  Without getting into a huge long technical discussion, I connected my bike to a GS-911 and read the fault codes.  It came back with the following:

The fault code “10098 Tank Venting Valve defective” is a bit misleading, as the tank venting valve isn’t defective at all – it’s missing. I knew that and I expected to see that fault code.  The other code is the one I was hoping to see to verify my thought process, and sure enough there it was.

I cleared the code.

My bike started like it had never given me a moment of grief.

Let’s review the collection of items used to fix my motorcycle.  1) Key, used to remove the rider’s seat. 2) GS-911. 3) USB cable to connect GS-911 to computer (the wifi feature doesn’t work in the shop for some reason). 4) Windows-based laptop computer.

That’s it. Folks, I’m here to tell you I FIXED MY MOTORCYCLE WITH A COMPUTER.  On the drive home, trailering a bike that I can now start, I decided that Hexcode (inventors of the GS-911) and Ted Porter’s Beemer Shop (first to import the GS-911 into the USA) are my heroes. I even sent an email to Ted to tell him he saved my day and preserved my sanity! (By the way, Ted was on the show – check out his episode that first aired on 27 Nov 17.)

We are either in for a hell of a ride in the future, or we’re doomed. Either way, it’s going to be exciting to see what happens!

PS Look for a longer, more involved version of this story in an upcoming issue of Owners News, the flagship publication of the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America.

Video of the door-opening robot:

The stair-climbing robot: