Friday, March 30, 2012

How many retired journalists does it take to change a motorcycle headlight bulb? Today, just one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I pulled into my parking space at the Post Office this morning and glanced at my reflection in the glass door, I knew the day had come.
I always ride the ‘94 K75S with the headlight on high beam, but the reflection in the door told me the high beam was out. I flicked down to low beam and the headlight came on.
So after collecting our mail, I rode to AutoZone and bought a Sylvania H4 halogen headlight bulb for $11.92.
I’ve been anticipating this day with mixed feelings for years. Headlight bulb changes were a snap on my old ‘91 K100RS. I could stand in front of the bike, straddling the front wheel and reach around into the fairing to do a bulb change by feel. Nothing to it. Just pull the three-blade plug, remove the rubber seal, unlatch the locking mechanism and swing it to the port side of the bike and remove the old bulb. Reverse the procedure and you’re done.
But one look at the K75S fairing told me it wouldn’t be that easy, even though the mechanisms are identical.
Instead of reaching around from a standing position, a bulb change on the K75SOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA involves coming up from the bottom of the inside of the fairing – considerably more uncomfortable and awkward.
Nevertheless, when I got home, I put the bike on the centerstand, got my rolling mechanic’s stool to lean upon, and went to work. It turned out to be way easier than I’d expected, especially since the nightmare of a headlight bulb change on my K1200GT is still fresh in my memory.
I’m always somewhat apprehensive when I tackle a bike maintenance project for the first time, no matter how simple it is. After all, I’m a writer, not a mechanic.
But now that it’s done, I have the experience in my database and it will be no big deal at all the next time.
For what it’s worth, I think this was the original bulb, which means it lasted about 18 years and 11,000+ miles. At that rate, I’ll be 84 before I have to replace the bulb I installed today.

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