I’ve got to give my thumbs up to the AA, purely because it comes as part of my £5 monthly for having a platinum account (travel insurance, mobile insurance, AA membership etc).
To summarise a long story, some unscrupulous mechanic had swapped over my decent Yuasa battery for some piece of shit"yacht"! I didn’t know this until yesterday which explains why my generator coils and regulator/rectifier went pop in quick succession 6 months ago, not long after it visited a garage for a intermediate service.
I was left stranded in Camden yesterday evening when the ignition cut out. I had a feeling that the battery was duff because I needed to bump start in the morning having spent the previous day riding all around london with the lights on (and cooling fan). Being a bank holiday weekend, garages were shut, and that’s IF they sold the right battery size for my bike. It’s a bit dodgy when your bike conks out when filtering between buses… you have to rev it to get it off the lights, then no ignition! I’d only put it in for it’s 32000 mile service last week!
I ended up calling the AA who came in 45 mins. He initially wanted to jump the bike and get me on my way, but then I asked him to do a charging system check whilst we were waiting. Tailcone off (which is heavily bodged, so it involved taking off a lot of cable ties and gaffa tape), multimeter on the genny phase wires and came out fine. He then told me that I had a really cheap arse regulator rectifier which was a generic item mated to the replacement rewound generator (done by westcountrywindings). A quick check using his battery diagnostics tool confirmed that my battery was dead. Needless to say, this check could have been done by my mechanic at the cost of 30 mins labour, but the AA guy did it whilst I waited and told me what to look out for - all voltages peaking when you rev it - all 3 phases were in sync therefore nothing wrong with the generator.
The best thing he did was to sell me a Yuasa battery THERE and THEN for £45! Honda were looking for £65 (because they get a lot of their OEM kit heavily subsidised), but the AA bloke knocked £20 off as a mitigation, to prevent being called out again after 72 hours and to stop him from driving me all the way to cheltenham!
So long and short, if anybody knows of London Based AA patrol man who used to be a mechanic/technician for BSB Virgin Yamaha R6 Cup (mentored Tommy Hill) and was involved with the Factory Yamaha MotoGP team in 03-05, then buy him a pint for me because he’s a ledge and did his best to sort me out and teach me something useful!
SOS recovery (which most insurers use) would rather take you home, whereas AA try to get you on the road. Seeing the glass half full, I got 30 mins labour free, and £20 knocked off the price of a genunine yuasa battery!
To the mechanic who swapped over my OEM yuasa without telling me, you’re a twat!
If you have a Honda, be sure to have AA membership. ALL my breakdowns on my Fireblade have been electrical - charging system faults/dodgy earths/sensor failures!