Back on Lombok we got a tip from Oliver about a particular bike shop in Kuala Lumpur that was supposed to be extremely friendly to overlanders. Since it has been more than 8000 km since Rocinante’s last service in Darwin, I was intend to find out for myself. I have not been disappointed!
I showed up and hesitantly asked if I could work on my bike in their workshop and maybe have some help with the more difficult bits later on. Within 15 minutes, I got a work space cleared for me by lead mechanic Jing Sheng and his two fellows. Everyone was extremely helpful and I got started at stripping down Rocinante according to the manual on my phone.
The entire shop is just amazing. They have all the cool imported parts that an adventure rider could ever want and the workshop is just something else. All day, riders were coming and going. Some to get their bike worked on, some just for a chat. People are allowed in the workshop and you constantly meet interesting people. The shop was filled to equal parts with adventure bikes (mostly shiny 1200GSs) and performance bikes. Plus, everyone really knows what they are talking about.
My mission for the day was to prepare the bike to get the clearance of the valves checked and, if need be, adjusted. Last time I payed 400 € for the procedure, so I was determined to do as much as possible myself this time around. The issue here for my bike is not the actual procedure, that is really straight forward, but getting to the things in the first place. To reach the eight valves to check, the cylinder head cover needs to come off. Which, for my bike means digging through 4 1/2 layers of stuff. That is what I paid for last time, but it is also relatively easy to do, just laborious. It is also a good opportunity to check all the parts removed for wear or damage.
It took me 5 hours to get to the point where the cylinder head covers were ready to come off and another hour of cussing, wiggling and loosening extra parts to get this done. It may be because the collective consensus was not to follow the workshop manual and take the whole exhaust off as well to get a heat shield out of the way (not before I broke one of the rusted exhaust shells, though). Still the rear cylinder head cover was so tightly wedged in under the frame that we had to rotate the crank manually half way through to get the rocker arms out of the way. Jing Sheng told me that it was worse on the older V-twins and you had to tilt the entire engine slightly for a routine maintenance job.
In the end I even got to do the adjustment myself, with confidence inducing guidance from Jing Sheng. The guys are just amazing. I learned more about my bike in one day than ever before in Germany.
Even though it was late and I should come home for dinner, I got encouraged to re-assemble and test the same night. I did manage to put enough of it back together to get Rocinante started smoothly and get back to Mont Kiara before everyone everyone else had to starve. I even got a quick shower to get most of the grease off me 🙂 In the mean time, Nina gave me an update on her progress regarding our list, which included finally getting her boots to a cobbler for re-soling.
That night we went to a wonderful northern Indian restaurant. I must say, the food is one thing for sure I am looking forward to going to India.