Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.


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Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby 2008retiredplb » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:06 am



Has anyone ever had to deal with getting reimbursed for damages caused by a shop that really screwed up your bike while getting work done on it?

I have tried to get this shop owner to pay for the damage he did to my bike while it was in his shop getting new tires installed. He has denied that he did any of the damage, but I watched him do it and after he completely pissed me off, I took the bike to a Certified Honda dealer to have everything he messed up fixed. I am only asking for him to pay for the things he destroyed and the labor to repair those things, not the changing of the tires. He also had to order parts that were backordered and the supplier did not know when they could get them. This happened just before I was to leave for Wing Ding. I called the Honda dealer and they had the parts the next business day.

Just a note about his fix for one of the broken TPMS Sensors was. Wrap the sensor with duct tape and put it back on the wheel.

A quick explanation of what happened:
He broke both TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitor System) Sensors, one Valve stem, scratched the front rim and the gouged the rear rim (photo attached). It required R&R the front tire, a new rear rim, two new TPMS Sensors, one new Valve Stem and resetting the TPMS system.
My total cost for a tire change $900.05. Should have cost around $100.00. I am only asking for $760.05. I spent four hours polishing the front rim and did get most of the scratches out.

At this point, after talking with the owner many times, I am ready to take him to small claims court. He will no longer answer my email or phone calls and has refused to accept a certified letter from me about this subject. Has anyone had experience with a small claims court suit before, and how did it go? Any other suggestions on how I might handle this situation. My bike has been in a few bike shows and the one thing that most everyone says is, how my wheels are always clean and shined.
I do have detailed photos of everything he messed up.

One of the things I would like to warn people about is: be sure your mechanic is trusted, insured and he has changed tires with the TPMS before and knows how to do it without doing damage to the TPMS system.
The next thing is to go over the bike with the mechanic or owner before they work on your bike to inspect, and note on paper, any damage that you had before he works on it. You could also take photos of your bike before and after to show any damage that the shop did while it was in their possession.
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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:07 pm

When it comes to small claims court, you want documentation of every possible kind. You have pictures, that's great. Details from the dealership on what had to be fixed is good as well. What would be greatest would be any kind of evidence of the condition of your bike prior to going to the hack mechanic. What about the last time you had tires replaced, can you get an affidavit from THAT shop saying that the TPMS sensors/valve stems etc. were all in good condition? You basically want a preponderance of evidence to show that YOUR story is true, and the other guy is lying. Also good would be a copy of the Honda service bulletin explaining how inexperienced mechanics can easily damage TPMS sensors.

Incidentally, you should replace your valve stems whenever you replace your tires anyway.

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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby redial » Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:52 pm

Watch "Judge Judy". She always insists on receipts, photos, and (police) reports, the more documentation you have, the better prepared you are. You will be representing yourself, so think about it, plan your approach, rehearse, and go for it. There will be a lead time between when you lodge your claim, and when and if they schedule your hearing. Sometimes the thought of a judgement against them will make the mech belly up to the bar and put his hand in his pocket. Do not expect to get anything for your labour, your time, your pride, or your good looks, as these do not count in a small claims court. Do well, and have three different people read your submission before lodging it - working on the concept that more eyes makes for a better job. HTH
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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby landisr » Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:54 pm

Would you care to share the name of the shop so others can avoid doing business with them? I could understand if you might hesitate to do so if you decide to take him/them to court.

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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby cbx4evr » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:16 pm

I had a similar problem with a wheel on my car that got mangled at Canuck Tire when they were fixing a flat. I could clearly see that the tire changer spun the wheel weight around the rim. Went back to them and complained. They rebalanced the tire and wiped a bit of polish on it and called it good. Then they pointed out the sign above the service desk that read something like - Not Responsible For Damages blah, blah blah. Same weasel clause on the service doc you sign so I was basically screwed. My action was to drive around with a sign in my car to the effect of "CT screwed up my car. Go somewhere else."

You may end up cutting your loses and learning an expensive lesson. Even if you get a judgement in court you still have to get him to pay.
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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby redial » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:30 am

Even if you get a judgement in court you still have to get him to pay.


There are ways to get the court order enforced, as it becomes a contempt if the defendant ignores the judgement. Besides, there are many ways to skin a cat (and I agree the best cat is a flat cat).
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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby 2008retiredplb » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:02 am

landisr wrote:Would you care to share the name of the shop so others can avoid doing business with them? I could understand if you might hesitate to do so if you decide to take him/them to court.

Ron (still) in MI


All I will say at this time, is the shop is in Northern Illinois, owned and run by the owner.
Last edited by 2008retiredplb on Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby 2008retiredplb » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:44 am

WingAdmin wrote:When it comes to small claims court, you want documentation of every possible kind. You have pictures, that's great. Details from the dealership on what had to be fixed is good as well. What would be greatest would be any kind of evidence of the condition of your bike prior to going to the hack mechanic. What about the last time you had tires replaced, can you get an affidavit from THAT shop saying that the TPMS sensors/valve stems etc. were all in good condition? You basically want a preponderance of evidence to show that YOUR story is true, and the other guy is lying. Also good would be a copy of the Honda service bulletin explaining how inexperienced mechanics can easily damage TPMS sensors.

Incidentally, you should replace your valve stems whenever you replace your tires anyway.


With the TPMS the valve stems are not replaced with the tire change. The TPMS Sensor is part of the valve stem inside of the tire and they are all metal valve stems. The non-TPMS wheels have a rubber valve stem and they do need to be replaced when you change the tires. The attached photo is one damaged sensor with the inside half of the valve stem.
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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby wjnfirearms » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:24 am

Both Scott and redial gave you very good advice. Judge Judy isn't what I'd call the best example of courtroom procedure, but she does follow the letter of the law and the spirit of how things are done there is basically correct and rules of evidence are followed.

When pursuing any civil action, and this is what you are doing, you need to be able to prove to the judge all of your allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. If the damage and shoddy work was evident when you took it to the Honda dealer, get the service manager and/or tech that looked at the bike to document what they found also. It will help even more than just a service order. Have all of your documentation, photos, etc. that you are using to prove your case organized and complete. Very important to remember when you end up in front of the judge.....keep the facts straight, stay on the FACTS and refrain from elaborating unless he/she wants you to and DO NOT EMBELLISH ANY OF YOUR TESTIMONY!! Keep emotions and opinion out of the case. It's hard sometimes, but it's real important. You almost have to act as a trial lawyer does. Keeping testimony on track and being complete and professional about presenting evidence to back up your case is what all judges want, regardless of whether it's a criminal or civil proceeding, small claims or Supreme Court. I've testified in criminal and civil cases (for the prosecution, thank God) and I was taught these rules a long time ago.

Some people go to the Better Business Bureau for help. From both experience and what I've seen, don't waste your time. I doubt that his shop is a member business and they have even less teeth when it's not.

One place that is helpful and can cause a business grief when they don't perform is the state's Office of the Attorney General. I've had success going up against companies with ours. Illinois AG should have a consumer affairs division if they're anything like here and most do. Filing a complaint starts an investigation that can result in fines and potentially other grief if they can be substantiated. Just go to your state's internet portal and you should find a link to the AG's office and what services they offer. Very often, you can file the complaints right online. Personally, I'd do this along with the civil action. It is entirely possible that once he finds out that there is an active investigation in progress, he might settle with you just to make them go away.

Good luck and come back for advice any time.
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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby WA9FWT » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:35 pm

I had one similar, took person to small claims, he didn't show up. I won I feel, and several years later he went for a loan on his business, which was denied because of the judgment against him. He settled with me and I got my money!!
That made me a Happy camper! :)
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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby WingAdmin » Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:47 am

2008retiredplb wrote:With the TPMS the valve stems are not replaced with the tire change. The TPMS Sensor is part of the valve stem inside of the tire and they are all metal valve stems. The non-TPMS wheels have a rubber valve stem and they do need to be replaced when you change the tires. The attached photo is one damaged sensor with the inside half of the valve stem.


Oh right, of course, forgot about the TPMS stems. That is unbelievable, I love the duct tape repair.

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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby stitch0852 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:47 pm

You can also post on Angie's List about the shop in your area. If others in your area are searching for information on the shop, they may not go for that repair shop. If you post anything, though, remember to keep it unbiased, just state what happened and what was done. Facts only will keep you out of trouble. No name calling, etc is best for those.

I had a certified Honda shop change the tires on my 1986 Goldwing interstate at the end of May. I rode it directly home and noted a rattle it didn't previously have. I had not had that bike long, I had purchased from my brother. I asked him to ride it to ensure it wasn't me being squirrelly from having someone else work on the bike. He didn't make it to the main road (under 1/4 mile) before heading back and looking under the back fender. Sure enough the back caliper bolt was fully out and resting against the saddlebag. That was the only thing preventing it from falling out and losing it entirely! The caliper was flopping around on the rotor. I aligned it and tightened it back into place. Problem solved. I called the shop their next business day and explained what had been found on my bike. Explained I was not seeking monetary or other compensation, just wanted them to know it HAD happened and it SHOULD NOT happen when someone spends $800 for tires and brakes, especially on a bike.

They are going to rebuild my forks week after next, I will carefully walk around it this time to ensure it is right before leaving. If it is not, I have to take it one town over (with no trailer) for anything I want done.

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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby dingdong » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:47 am

Scarey! I understand you might be limited in where you take your bike for repairs however how are you going to know what was done inside the forks was done properly? A loose brake caliper could have been deadly.
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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby stitch0852 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:30 pm

They are primarily a reputable shop. I also made mention to ensure all bolts are tight when I scheduled the appointment. We are a small community and I am not easily forgotten. I will also be carefully inspecting this time. I have also cleaned and shined everything. If last repairs are any indication, they left greasy prints on everything they touched.

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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby redial » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:27 pm

Have you thought of leaving them a list of the torque values that they should be using? This would truly indicate that you are serious, so they should be as well.
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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby stitch0852 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:20 am

Would love to do so. :). I have the factory repair manual (you can find almost anything on eBay).

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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby 2008retiredplb » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:44 am

Thought I would update you on the situation of recovering damages.
The owner closed his shop in October just before I filed my case in small claims court. Since he did this, the judge dismissed the case because the owner filed a motion to dismiss. So I talked to my lawyer, and he said I would have to refile against the owner personally. I have done so and the preliminary hearing is March 25, 2014. I will have to wait until sometime after that to give the results.
I do think I have plenty of evidence to prove the owner did the damage, photos, the service bulletin, bills from the Honda dealer and the damaged parts. The parts themselves should prove without a doubt that the owner is lying.
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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby Fatwing Chris » Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:10 am

cbx4evr wrote:I had a similar problem with a wheel on my car that got mangled at Canuck Tire when they were fixing a flat. I could clearly see that the tire changer spun the wheel weight around the rim. Went back to them and complained. They rebalanced the tire and wiped a bit of polish on it and called it good. Then they pointed out the sign above the service desk that read something like - Not Responsible For Damages blah, blah blah. Same weasel clause on the service doc you sign so I was basically screwed. My action was to drive around with a sign in my car to the effect of "CT screwed up my car. Go somewhere else."

You may end up cutting your loses and learning an expensive lesson. Even if you get a judgement in court you still have to get him to pay.


I think you'll find that when it comes right down to it those signs and even the blurb on the work order don't mean sh*t.It sure doesn't give them free reign to destroy your stuff.My BIL back in the day had a gorgeous Challenger that he was running through an automatic carwash and it jumped the track(fat tires).One of the big electric motors ran down the whole length of the car.Not just scratches,it destroyed every panel on that side.Right where he drove the car onto the track there was a big sign "Use at your own risk".At the end of the day they paid for fixing his car.
If I'da known it would last this long,I'da taken better care of it.
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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby WA9FWT » Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:17 am

Fatwing Chris wrote:
cbx4evr wrote:I had a similar problem with a wheel on my car that got mangled at Canuck Tire when they were fixing a flat. I could clearly see that the tire changer spun the wheel weight around the rim. Went back to them and complained. They rebalanced the tire and wiped a bit of polish on it and called it good. Then they pointed out the sign above the service desk that read something like - Not Responsible For Damages blah, blah blah. Same weasel clause on the service doc you sign so I was basically screwed. My action was to drive around with a sign in my car to the effect of "CT screwed up my car. Go somewhere else."

You may end up cutting your loses and learning an expensive lesson. Even if you get a judgement in court you still have to get him to pay.


I think you'll find that when it comes right down to it those signs and even the blurb on the work order don't mean sh*t.It sure doesn't give them free reign to destroy your stuff.My BIL back in the day had a gorgeous Challenger that he was running through an automatic carwash and it jumped the track(fat tires).One of the big electric motors ran down the whole length of the car.Not just scratches,it destroyed every panel on that side.Right where he drove the car onto the track there was a big sign "Use at your own risk".At the end of the day they paid for fixing his car.

I had a similar case, I got the( judgment) and it took several years when the guy went to borrow money one day I got paid. It just took a long time.He thought it was all forgotten ...

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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby 2008retiredplb » Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:41 am

Finally I have an up date on the court case involving the mechanic that did the damage to my wheels and TPMS.

Yesterday I went to court, for the fourth time, and the judge agreed that he did in fact do the damage and awarded me $900.00 in damages. I tried to get him to settle prior to filling my lawsuit, for $720.00 but he refused to even talk about it. So I think it shows how much more it cost him by not agreeing to work it out beforehand.

The one thing that brought her to that decision was the T-Clock inspection I had done a few days before he worked on the bike, at a GWRRA Chapter event. Before I presented that form (they had noted the bike wheels had no dents or scratches), up until then I think the judge was believing that the mechanic might not have done the damage to the wheel.

For anyone that knows this person it was Tom Weltzer of Prairie Wing Cycle in Winnebago IL. He has since closed his business so you should not have to worry about him working on your bike if you are in that area.
He is a very unethical businessman and can not be trusted and lied when he told the judge, in 10 years of business, he had never had anyone ever complain about his service. I know for a fact that he had done things before to others bikes and told the owners he did not do the damage, it was that way before it come in. Most just shrugged it off and forgot about it.
The things I have learned going through this are:
First, never try to lie or stretch the truth, like this guy did .
Always have your bike inspected by you and the mechanic before and afterwork is done and get it signed by both stating the condition of the bike (noting any scratches or damages).
Keep every inspection, record and photo of the bike before and after work is done.
Use a trusted mechanic that has a good record of no complaints.
Ask others from the area about any troubles they have had with that mechanic, before you take it to him.
Make sure you have a contract for the work to be done signed by both parties (changes what you can be reimbursed for, like legal fees and court costs)
Taking someone to court is expensive and takes a lot of time that you most likely will not get reimbursed for.
When filling a suit, be sure to name the person that did the work, the business, and anyone that was involved or could be involved it the actions that caused the damage.

Now that this is over I just have to wait to see when he sends me payment. Believe it or not, the judge would not put in the settlement, a time period that the judgement must be paid by. But I did have to return the loaned tire and wheel to the mechanic in 7 days (I returned it within an hour of the case being settled). If he does not make payment, I will have to go back to court and get a decree that he could be held in contempt of court. That could include jail time for him.
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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:52 am

I'm glad you got through this process, and good for you for persevering. You mention something that is so, SO important when it comes to legal dealings: document, document, document. In court, when it's your word against theirs, you can expect to lose. But if it's your documentation against their word (or their inferior documentation), you can expect to win. Documentation wins the case.

As for extracting the judgement from the defendant, my experience has been that the unscrupulous person you are having to sue will also be unscrupulous when faced with a judgement. I was forced to file a judgement lien against a person's house (you can also do it against vehicles). This lien will need to be discharged (paid) before the owner is able to sell the item in the future. It might take years, but you will eventually get your money.

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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby 2008retiredplb » Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:11 pm

WingAdmin,

I am aware that he may not make the payment, I even made that aware to the judge but she could not do anything about that. It is one of those things I wish the court system and the laws would allow a date to be set which the judgement must be paid by, as they did set a date for me to return his loaned tire and wheel. The one legal thing that is in the judgement is if he does not pay the judgement, he can be found in "Contempt Of Court" and that could result in jail time for him.

I am giving him 7 days before I call the court to pursue the matter of timely payment if I have not received it. I really feel he will delay payment for as long as he can get away with it. I would think if he does not make the payment, any legal or court fees could be added to the judgement. But I am not sure if that is possible. I will just have to wait and see.

Thanks for the information.
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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby WA9FWT » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:50 am

2008retiredplb wrote:WingAdmin,

I am aware that he may not make the payment, I even made that aware to the judge but she could not do anything about that. It is one of those things I wish the court system and the laws would allow a date to be set which the judgement must be paid by, as they did set a date for me to return his loaned tire and wheel. The one legal thing that is in the judgement is if he does not pay the judgement, he can be found in "Contempt Of Court" and that could result in jail time for him.

I am giving him 7 days before I call the court to pursue the matter of timely payment if I have not received it. I really feel he will delay payment for as long as he can get away with it. I would think if he does not make the payment, any legal or court fees could be added to the judgement. But I am not sure if that is possible. I will just have to wait and see.

Thanks for the information.


I was glad too see you won the case. But now to see if he pays up. I bet that will not happen until the day he goes to borrow money or buys something on time. And they do a search and see that a judgement is against this man. As for adding more to a judgemnet, that will not happen is my guess. Lets hope it doesn't take years like it did me to recover my judgement. good luck.. :D

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Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby littlebeaver » Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:11 am

I read through this post and I feel bad for both parties, I feel bad for the guy that did the damage to your wheel because he was trying to run a business that he wasn't too good at, messing up someone's wheel would give me nightmares, ruining sensors like that would cause me not to even sleep.... He clearly didn't understand what he was doing, after seeing the scar he left on the rim like that is proof that he is rough with his tools and didn't really care alot... The price for changing out tires was a bit high, I do my own so I don't have my bike in the shop for week, I got sick of that crap.... A guy can use hand tools to remove a tire if he knows a good system to do so...It's not as hard as some may think it is.... This site has many different methods of changing out tires and such... Why pay someone to do this when you can do it for yourself...? I would be scared to death that they did something wrong like not tighten a bolt or something like that... I am happy that you won your case....Everyone should be able to take their bike in to have work done on it,, it's knowing who to take it to, that's the trick, especially someone with a show bike ....Do you use dyna beads in your wheels/tires...? Just curious.... :D

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Location: Rockford, IL
Motorcycle: 2009 GL1800 now a 2016 HTS1800 RoadSmith Trike
2001 GL1800
1998 1100 Honda Shadow ACE
1972 Honda CL450

Re: Recovering cost of damages to bike by shop.

Postby 2008retiredplb » Fri Jun 06, 2014 2:54 pm

littlebeaver wrote:I read through this post and I feel bad for both parties, I feel bad for the guy that did the damage to your wheel because he was trying to run a business that he wasn't too good at, messing up someone's wheel would give me nightmares, ruining sensors like that would cause me not to even sleep.... He clearly didn't understand what he was doing, after seeing the scar he left on the rim like that is proof that he is rough with his tools and didn't really care alot... The price for changing out tires was a bit high, I do my own so I don't have my bike in the shop for week, I got sick of that crap.... A guy can use hand tools to remove a tire if he knows a good system to do so...It's not as hard as some may think it is.... This site has many different methods of changing out tires and such... Why pay someone to do this when you can do it for yourself...? I would be scared to death that they did something wrong like not tighten a bolt or something like that... I am happy that you won your case....Everyone should be able to take their bike in to have work done on it,, it's knowing who to take it to, that's the trick, especially someone with a show bike ....Do you use dyna beads in your wheels/tires...? Just curious.... :D


Yes I agree the guy did not know what he was doing and was very careless. As I found out later that three GW chapters used to do a tire kick event at his shop but since so many had trouble with him they quit going there. I also found that their was a lot of people that he has done damage to their bikes and they just ended up eating it themselves. That is the reason I have placed this information on the message board, so others know to beware of cheap labor. They usually have a reason for being cheap. Not trained in up to date service procedures and changes in those procedures.
This guy has put scratches in bikes and messed up wiring on others, one guy ended up with about $2000 for a GL1500 fuel cap because the mechanic told him the loss of power problem was in his electrical system. He took it out for a ride after it was supposed to be fixed and it did the same thing. Someone else told him to unscrew the cap and see if it would run, and that is all it took. Then the mechanic had the gaul to charge him an exorbitant price for a new fuel cap.

I do not use beads as I have Centramatic Balancers. They actually change the dynamics of the bike and make it a better handling ride. They are well worth the money and you can switch them to a new bike if you ever get a new one. Of course they only fit the GL1800, they are not available for the GL1500 or GL1200.


"Love to ride and ride to love"


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