Coming Back To Life

Completion in November of 2012

Shipping The Bike Back To Canada

Before leaving the shipping agency in El Salvador, we were told that the motorcycle would ship within a week and that, after it had, it would take around thirty days to reach port in Canada. Almost two weeks after arriving back in Canada, I had heard nothing from the shipping agency. I emailed several times and got little response other than they were working on things. Becoming increasingly frustrated and concerned about the return of my motorcycle, Paula and I decided to contact the Salvadorian Embassy in Toronto. We visited the embassy in Toronto and placed a call to the owner of the shipping company. Unbeknownst to him, someone from the embassy was in the room and listening to the entire conversation over speaker. The owner of the shipping company seemed quite surprised when the embassy employee introduced himself. This conversation seemed to help clear things up and get the process moving. The shipment of the motorcycle took far longer than we were told it would, and we were charged by the shipping company for things that we shouldn’t have been charged for. Nevertheless, I was glad to see the return of my motorcycle when it did finally arrive back in Canada.

The details of the shipment are as follows:

Motorcycle left at shipping company: January 13, 2011
Shipping time, according to agency: 1 week to ship, 30 days in transit (37 days)
Quoted price: approx. US$975, based on weight, dimensions, and other standard fees

Date motorcycle arrived in Canada: April 27, 2011
Actual shipping time: 3 months and 14 days (104 days)
Actual cost: US$1,288.10
Method of transportation: El Salvador to New York via cargo ship, New York to Toronto via transport truck

The following needed to be paid prior to pick up of the motorcycle in Toronto:
Terminal fee: $65.00
Dock Fee: $40.00

Ordering Parts

It took close to four months for the motorcycle to arrive back in Canada. After finally receiving the bike, I was able to start ordering replacement parts. The main item required for the rebuild was the frame. The original had been completely torn apart at the steering column from the impact during the accident. A possible option would have been to have the frame welded together, but I decided that I would prefer a brand new frame due to the level of damage to the original one.

The front wheel was also badly damaged, and, though not visibly obvious, I was told that there would be damage to the front forks. I ordered a new wheel, front body kit, steering column rod and bearings, and was able to get some used fork from a guy in Austria (thanks Lukas!) who does front-end conversions.

I was offered some shop space by Les, the owner of my local dual sport motorcycle shop, Dual Sport Plus, so that I could work on the motorcycle and have access to their mechanics if I had any questions. After picking the motorcycle up at a shipping warehouse in Toronto, we dropped it off at the shop and I began to disassemble the motorcycle the following week.

Having had a really difficult time seeing the motorcycle returned, I was now dealing with difficulty ordering the new frame. I placed an order with an online dealer who had the frame on sale for US$750. I immediately thought that the price was too good to be true, but the order was proceeding. I was contacted by this vendor and was told that I would need to cut the VIN from my existing frame and send it in before a new frame could be ordered. This was a requirement from KTM, who would ship a new frame out with the existing VIN only when the old VIN had been received. I agreed and was given shipping details for where to send the piece of the frame with the VIN, and was told that they would proceed with the ordering of the new frame. A day later I was contacted again by the dealer. This time the call was to tell me that the part number for the frame I had ordered had been superseded by a different part number, and that he was only able to get that part for US$1,500 – double the price of the one I had originally ordered! I was asked if I wanted to go ahead with the order or cancel. I opted to cancel and look for a better price.

After a bit of searching online, I found the frame, with the original part number, from another online dealer for roughly US$975. I placed the order for the frame and the order began to be processed. Having previously been told that KTM required the VIN, cut from the original frame, before they could proceed with shipment of a new one, I specifically asked about this when purchasing from this dealer in order to confirm this detail. I was told that this was absolutely NOT a requirement. The following email transcript illustrates the headaches that were experienced in ensuring the shipment of the new frame:

On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 11:39 AM, Rocky Vachon wrote:
I was able to successfully complete the ordering process.

Can you please provide an update for this order: Google Order #224055459555985

Thank you.

On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 3:08 PM, Customer Service wrote:
Yes, it looks like your order has been processed yesterday, and should ship out next week. We will send you a tracking number as soon as your order ships.


On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 12:11 PM, Rocky Vachon wrote:
Before shipment, can I confirm that this is a new OEM frame? I assumed that it was since the description didn’t specify.

On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 3:19 PM, Customer Service wrote:
This is 100% brand new directly from KTM.



On Mon, Jun 4, 2012 at 10:08 AM, Rocky Vachon wrote:
Can your provide a mailing address just in case the VIN from my original frame needs to be shipped before a new frame can be issued? I would like to have this ready since almost every other vendor has told me that it is a KTM requirement to receive the VIN cut from the original frame before a new frame can be issued.

Here is my original VIN in just in case it is required to keep the process moving: (VIN)

On Mon, Jun 4, 2012 at 2:03 PM, Customer Service wrote:
Our mailing address is: (mailing address)

Also shown here: (website help page link)

I am really not sure who has been telling you to cut out a VIN number – that just cannot be true. Please don’t listen to them. You cannot be expected to cut out a VIN from the old frame as that would not even be legal. We deal directly with KTM, and there is no such requirement. Usually with frames the manufacturer may want the paperwork (pink slip, registration, etc) and they wouldn’t let us even order without that. In this case they did not want anything except make and model. Again, I have never heard of any manufacturer asking to cut up your old frame.


On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 7:51 AM, Rocky Vachon wrote:
Thanks for all your help Adam.

A few more requests/questions:
• Can you provide me with the new VIN of the new frame that will be shipping once that becomes available?
• Can you add a shipping note to “Hold for pick-up.”
• Is there any new information as to when this will ship?

Thanks again for all your help.

On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 10:08 PM, Customer Service:
Rocky, we are still waiting to receive this frame from KTM. We will have any information from the frame once its in our warehouse. I can contact you once the frame is here and get you all the info. I will get an update on when it should arrive tomorrow (it should be in the next few days – unfortunately KTM is one of the slower manufacturers we deal with)


On Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 3:47 PM, Customer Service wrote:
Rocky, per KTM your frame should be getting to our warehouse early next week – most likely Tuesday.


On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 12:04 PM, Rocky Vachon wrote:
Any word on the frame yet, Adam?

On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 2:51 PM, Customer Service wrote:
Rocky, we were trying to find out what the hold up with KTM is, and it turns out you were absolutely correct. They now want the get the vin number physically cut out from the frame. I have asked KTM several times when the frame was ordered and was assured this is NOT the case, but when it came time to deliver, they changed the story. Honestly I have never heard of any manufacturer asking a customer to chop up their frame. Most manufacturers simply want the old VIN number and sometimes copy of the registration and driver license / ID.

So once again, I do apologize, but we would need the VIN number physically cut out from the old frame in order to ship this frame. If you cannot do that, let me know and I can cancel this order.


On Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 9:46 AM, Rocky Vachon wrote:
I cut the VIN from the frame last week. I still do not have a shipping address in order to ship it directly to KTM. Please provide me with the shipping address so that I can ship the VIN directly to KTM USA.

I know that it can be difficult dealing with KTM. If you provide me with contact information (name and telephone number) for your KTM sales rep., I can see if I can get this process moving. I have already lost 4 weeks of build time. I disassembled my motorcycle in shop space that is only being rented until the end of this month. I am now left to deal with transferring a completely disassembled motorcycle to a new location to finish the rebuild.

On Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 1:36 PM, Customer Service wrote:
Rocky, I was sure someone has gotten back to you on this, I apologize.

You cannot send this VIN KTM directly. It has to be sent to us and we have to forward it to KTM Austria. We have tried to get KTM to accept the VIN directly from you (the customer) but they will not do that. We need to get it to us first and then it will go to KTM. We are the sales rep and are affiliated with a local KTM dealership, so the same day we receive your VIN, will be the same day it will go out to KTM Austria.

Our address is: (address)

Please write your order number “44192” on the package.

I know these are some crazy rules KTM has, but there is no way around it. We sell frames for Honda, Polaris, Kawasaki and other brands of bikes and ATVs and never have we ran into a situation like this. Lets hope we can resolve this quickly and get the frame out to you ASAP.


On Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 9:37 AM, Rocky Vachon wrote:

I sent you the VIN last week. It should be arriving any day now if it hasn’t already. I wrote the order number on the package and made the it out to your attention.

Please let me know when you receive the package. I will send the tracking number later today if you need it.

On Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 1:14 PM, Rocky Vachon wrote:
Tracking number is: CX 468 493 962 CA

According to Canada post, my VIN has been successfully delivered as of July 02.

Please confirm that you have received the VIN and have sent it to KTM.


On Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 4:16 PM, Customer Service wrote:
Yes, it shows as delivered. This week we have a holiday, so we should be able to take care of it today.


On Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 11:54 AM, Rocky Vachon wrote:
Are there any updates or tracking information for the frame yet?

On Mon, Jul 19, 2012 at 4:25 PM, Customer Service wrote:
Rocky, the VIN / neck has been sent to KTM, and as of yesterday, we were told by KTM, that worst case ETA would be 2 weeks most likely sooner (it sounds like the frame is coming from Austria).

I really feel bad that this is taking so long, but unfortunately this is KTM and this is how it works with them. KTM is probably the manufacturer that gives us the most headache with many of our orders with them.


On Thu, Aug 1, 2012 at 11:59 AM, Rocky Vachon wrote:
It’s been almost two weeks. Do you have any more updates on where the frame is? Is there any sort of tracking or concrete way of knowing its location?

On Mon, Aug 1, 2012 at 4:01 PM, Customer Service wrote:
Hi, the frame should be here (our warehouse) today. We will need to arrange for freight shipping to you so it will probably be going out via Fedex Freight or UPS Freight tomorrow. I will send you a tracking number as soon as it ships.


On Mon, Aug 2, 2012 at 11:33 PM, Customer Service wrote:
Hello Justin Vachon,

Great news! (Dealer) has shipped part of your order. It should arrive soon.

Track FedEx package #726810215013242

Order date: May 30, 2012 1:30 PM EDT
Google order number: 224055459555985

KTM OEM Part – FRAME “FD07” 990 ADVENTURE 07 (6010300110033): $976.79
FedEx: #726810215013242
Additional Shipping of oversized item: $78.05
Shipping & Handling (Ground Shipping): $20.90
Tax (NY): $0.00
Total: $1,075.74

The frame was finally delivered on August 9th, two months and 10 days (71 days) after placing the order. Paula and I knew that there was no time to complete the rebuild and prepare to head out again on the trip that summer. We set a goal to work through the winter and prepare to leave the following spring.

The Rebuild

Three years earlier when I first bought my motorcycle, I was extremely intimidated by it, having never done any real mechanical work before. I remember taking the front fairings off for some reason and being really nervous and uncertain about whether or not the bike would start up again after reinstalling them. Over the next few years, I did more work and continued to familiarize myself with my motorcycle. I was given a lesson on how to perform an oil change, which involves the removal of the left side fuel tank. Using step-by-step tutorials form the internet, I performed a valve clearance check and rebuilt my water pump. During the trip, I met my motorcycle guru, John, who showed me how to change a tire. I performed another valve clearance check in Arizona, and changed a few tires along the way. While in Mexico, I changed out my sprockets and chain for new ones.

This rebuild was going to be a lot more involved than anything I had done before. It required the complete disassembly of the motorcycle in order to move all of its parts from the old, damaged frame to the new one. I approached the rebuild with the idea that, if someone else could do it, there is no reason why I couldn’t. I try to approach most things with this mindset. Understanding that it wouldn’t be easy, I knew that what would be required was the right level of effort, thoroughness and focus.

I began by slowly disassembling the motorcycle, piece by piece, while taking photos of everything and carefully placing every nut and bolt in a labelled baggie. I drew diagrams showing the general routing of cables, wires and hoses and their locations relative to other parts on the motorcycle. Being very thorough, it took several days to disassemble the motorcycle to the point where the only thing left on the old frame was the engine and swing-arm.

Les was only temporarily renting the space he had offered, and, since the new frame was taking longer than expected to arrive, I decided to take the pieces of the motorcycle and store them in my mother’s garage until I was able to start the rebuild.

After many headaches and a lot of waiting, the new frame finally arrived in August. It had been almost seven months since returning to Canada. It was far too late to complete the rebuild and prepare to head out on the trip by the end of summer, so Paula and I decided that we’d have to get our own apartment and wait until the following year to begin our trip again.

We moved into our apartment at the end of June, and it wasn’t until the end of October that I got up the motivation to tackle the rebuild. I transferred all of the parts of the motorcycle from my mother’s garage to the garage where we were living. My landlord, Peter, helped me remove the engine from the old frame and place it in the new one. I began assembling the rest of the motorcycle using an ordered list that I had made during disassembly as a guide, starting at the bottom and working toward the top. Slowly, piece by piece, the bike began to take shape. I removed the SAS (secondary air system) equipment and placed engine block-off plates over the openings in the cylinders left bare from the removal. When I finally had all of the pieces mounted and all of the nuts and bolts accounted for, I placed a charger on the battery, filled the bike with its necessary fluids, and prepared to start it up. The removal of the SAS equipment causes an error that prevents that starting of the motorcycle, so I purchased a communication cable and connected my laptop to the bike’s ECU (computer) and disabled the SAS equipment check, effectively disabling the error that prevented starting. It was ready to be started up. I was a bit nervous. After several laboured attempts to start, the bike fired up. She sounded beautiful.

The rebuild, other than a few snags, went smoothly and took place over the course of three or four weekends. Going through the process of rebuilding the motorcycle allowed me to become intimately familiar with the bike, and it made the work I had previously done on the bike seem much easier. It also gave me the knowledge and confidence to be able to tackle almost any repair necessary in the future. When the day comes that I do a compete engine rebuild, I’ll almost be able to call myself a real mechanic.

The Accident

   The Accident

Nuts & Bolts

   All of the nuts and bolts from the bike were meticulously labeled and placed into sealable baggies. Many photos were taken in various states of disassembly, and diagrams noting relative locations of parts and the routing of hoses, wires and cables.

The Engine

   With some help from my landlord, Peter, the engine was lifted from the original frame.

The Frames

   The old frame and the new one


   The engine, swing-arm and rear mono-shock were the first parts placed onto the new frame.

Half Together

   Other than the pesky foot-peg springs, the wire and cable routing was the most challenging part of the rebuild, as was expected.

Looking like a motorcycle

   Piece by piece, the skeleton of a bike started to look like a real, live motorcycle.

Back to life!

   Back from the pits of despair, Almeida came back to life. Here she stands (leans) in all her glory.

About Rocky