So, Monday (yesterday) I picked up my bike from Chris Capobianco (631) 219-6773, an independent BMW Master Mechanic in Ronkonkoma, NY, and my friend, here on Long Island, At 43,700 miles, he installed a new clutch and a new diaphragm spring as well as performing a spline lube on my '02 BMW R1200C. I was having intermittent problems, specifically downshifting from 3rd to 2nd gear. Well, true to his word, the job was done to perfection, no more problems, and everything was put back together such that it looks like nobody ever touched my bike. Great job, fair price, and now looking forward to my next 47,000 miles! I highly recommend Chris for any maintenance or mechanical work you might need.
My 10 year old daughter Samantha just finished her first full year riding with me, so it was only fitting that we went for a "break in" ride after the repair. It was a brisk 21 degrees Monday, but Gerbings heated liners and gloves made it a perfect day for a ride.
We had heard that Billy Joel opened up 20th Century Cycles in Oyster Bay, in November. The place serves as somewhat of a museum for Billy's (now) 60 bikes which include a Vincent, lots of old Guzzi's, Ducatis, Royal Enfields, BSA's, Triumphs, and a slew of other gorgeous vintage bikes, as well as maybe a dozen old BMW's. All the bikes are registered, insured and ridden. Probably, half the bikes are restored to perfection, and the rest are original but in fantastic shape.
The facility was basically conceived to have a place for bikers to gather, chat about bikes, sit on the couches, and relax. There are a couple of lifts and work benches right out on the display floor, where all the mechanical & restoration work takes place. They're only open Saturdays & Sundays, and are basically closed in January & February, but we figured we'd do some "window shopping" and it also made for a great excuse to get out and ride.
When we arrived, the place had a "closed" sign on the door, but we saw some lights on inside. After a few minutes of peeking through the window, we were greeted by Alex. He is Billy's main mechanic and an expert vintage restoration guy. He said they were indeed closed, but since we came all the way there on our bike, he welcomed us in to stay a while and warm up.
Alex apparently worked for Blue Moon Cycles in Atlanta as a BMW mechanic for about 10 years, and did all of their vintage restoration work. He recently relocated to Long Island, and was hired by Billy when the bikes were stored in Sag Harbor. Now he runs the show in Oyster Bay. He told us stories of how he used to professionally race 125's, and you could tell from talking to him, that he loves his job. What a nice, mellow guy, with a wealth of knowledge, and very generous with his time, especially allowing Samantha and I a private tour, on a day when they were supposed to be closed.
I'm looking forward to going back there when the temperatures are a little higher, to relax, schmooz, and look around a little more in detail at these works of art.
20th Century Cycles Link:
20th Century Cycles Grand Opening Photos Link: