I Andy Week purchased a 2008 Yamaha R1 in August of 2008 from a reputable dealer in Oregon. I was on an 18-day R&R leave from Iraq at the time. I put about 400 miles on it, trying to get the motor broken in as carefully as possible before I had to go back to Iraq. I returned from Iraq in November of 2008 and moved to Ft. Campbell Kentucky around the first of January 2009. During the warmer days in Kentucky, I managed another 250 miles before my problems started. The bike lost power. I immediately pulled off the road, after which the bike died. I took the bike to a dealer in Kentucky who reported that “Yamaha never covers the clutch, since it is a wear item.”
With seven years background as a Honda mechanic, I understand “wear items, ” therefore I understood that at 650 miles, that explanation made no sense whatsoever. After arguing with Yamaha Corporation USA for a few days, they finally agreed to "good will" the clutch parts but I pay for labor. I felt that this was unsatisfactory, but agreed to this solution in order to expedite a reasonable resolution.
The Kentucky Yamaha dealer installed the clutch and called me a few days later to inform me that
it now had major engine noise and needed a motor rebuild, since, during the clutch malfunction, it had managed to distribute clutch particles throughout the engine. The clutch fibers had come apart and
the clutch plates in turn melted together, sending metal and friction material throughout the engine and transmission.
After eventually tracking down the responsible Yamaha warranty management, (no small feat, as they hide behind a convoluted automated voicemail and clerical system), they denied any responsibility for the matter. They suggested that, I am just out of a motorcycle. Their defenses changed from time to time, but the rep essentially just kept telling me it “could have been out of adjustment” which he saw as my fault. (He could offer no explanation except to point fingers at either me or the original dealership as to why new bike would be “out of adjustment, ” ) but in the end it’s my fault and I needed to prove that it was a part malfunction. He stated that Yamaha was doing me a favor by paying for the clutch parts.
I paid 12, 000 hard-earned dollars, missing my wife’s and daughter’s birthdays and family holidays while defending my country (and Yamaha USA’s ability to freely rip-off my compatriots). All I wanted was a
new motorcycle, under warranty, to get me through a year before my next deployment. I will now miss half of that riding season and have to spend more of my year of family time having to either fix the bike
or spend time trying to receive what is my due – the warranty benefits I purchased by buying a NEW bike.
I will post more, either pictures, information, expenses and the legal outcome of this incident, and I’ll be sure to share all information with anyone who rides motorcycles, or thinks that they can benefit from my unfortunate decision to purchase a Yamaha.