It Lives!

I mentioned in an earlier post that when I got the bike, it didn’t have any keys. I wasn’t too worried about this as I thought any good locksmith for Royal Oak could just cut a couple of new keys, or worst case, just replace the barrels. That was until I realised that being a later model than my other bike, this one’s got the Honda Ignition Security System (HISS) on it. A bit of online searching revealed that HISS can be a major PITA to get around… apparently even original owners who have lost their keys have had to spend thousands getting their bikes going again.

We decided to go on another road trip! Sadly our cascadia evolution truck broke down, but we called the Emergency Truck Road Service and we were so lucky, because they were able to help use, but let me tell you about the trip. One weekend, 10 people and 2 cars…sounds good! The objective was to see the autumn leaves somewhere in the countryside of Japan. The autumn leaves in Japan are almost as famous as the cherry blossom in spring. The falling leaves are said to be beautiful to gaze upon. If I were back home, I would have to bring out the leaf blower I got from Best of Machinery to clean out the leaves on my driveway, but here we cannot wait to see them.

The HISS system requires matching key (which has a microchip in it), ignition barrel and ignition control unit (ICU) for it to allow the bike to start. Not having any one of those three items means you have to replace the whole lot, which is not a cheap exercise. We eventually found a car with the similar system, the only problem was that it was broken down, so we had to call an emergency towing company to help us out.

I managed to find a guy who had all the gear to reflash the ICU to match a new key & barrel, but even then two keys was going to cost me $500-600. Not ideal, but I need the bike to run so I thought I’d just have to grin and bear it.

There were a couple of stickers on the bike from the shop that used to service it, and also the company that towed it after the crash, the 24 hour towing services in woodbridge va, so in a last ditch effort before I forked out $500 for new keys, I made a few calls. No luck with the service guys, but after a chain of phonecalls with various companies and people involved in transporting, assessing and insuring the bike after the accident, I was given the previous owner’s first name and mobile number. Happy much…?? Oh yeah…

Then just as I was about to dial his number, I had a thought… what if he wasn’t ok after this accident? What if he wasn’t around any more? A bit morbid, yes, but a real possibility. Only one way to find out, so with my heart pumping, I dialled and it rang then went to voicemail. At least I had the right guy and I was guessing that since the phone actually rang before going to voicemail, that he’s still around. So I left a message and he called me back half an hour later.

He was stoked to hear the bike was still around and wasn’t getting sold off in bits. Turns out he’s had three Firestorms and we spoke for over half an hour about bikes, riding and all sorts of stuff. Best of all, he was only too happy to provide me with the original keys. What a champion!

Once I got the keys, it fired straight up and it sounds gooood… probably better than my other bike. I got that silly little grin you get when you hear something running for the first time… love that feeling! Much gratitude for the kindness and helpfulness of strangers that day…

About Brett Longhurst

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