Ya know, it's a real dilemma trying to decide which bike to ride sometimes. The hazards of having multiple bikes. Of course, the GS is the new baby on the block and is like playing with a new toy. Of course you are going to be partial to the new toy. It just begs to be played with! But the R is the tried and true bike that has stuck with me through thick and thin, I've bonded with, I have a deep seated passion for.
So I face a real conundrum when deciding which bike for what adventure.
The R has the super large capacity side cases that hold the same volume. And I have the gargantuan top box purchased from insurance after Oilburners fatal bike wounding last year. I don't love that top box, but it is darned handy on a long trip. I usually only keep the camera backpack in it. Therefore when I stop someplace I grab it and can stuff my helmet and riding jacket in it. I don't have to lock anything special. I don't have to rearrange the side bags. Easy peasy.
I also appreciate the gas mileage at a steady 47 mpg when keeping near the speed limit. But the sport style leg positioning can get a little cramped on longer rides. Mind you, I wasn't bothered too much by the leg position until I had the GS to compare it to. I had always been able to stand, stretch my legs, or scootch to the back seat for a minute to alleviate pains.
The GS, on the or hand, has a "wider" stance for all around positioning. It feels extremely natural to sit up straight, the handle bars are wider, the pegs allow for a less cramped position. But those damn Vario side cases! The expanding feature is intriguing. (In case you aren't aware, these cases have a lever that allows you to expand the side lids out about two inches to increase volume.). Which is absolutely required to give any useful storage space for the muffler side. Collapsed, that case can barely hold a jacket. Truthfully, it isn't much better expanded.
With the engine still breaking in, the fuel mileage is variable. It has been consistent between 42-44 mpg. But lately has started to creep up to 46.
So that leaves the question of a long distance ride... For slabs, the GS is more comfortable but the storage is lacking. For slabs, the R gets better fuel mileage and great storage. For twisties? They are both hard to beat. I haven't yet figured out which one is more fun.
So I ventured to make my first big purchase for the GS in the form of a top box. I had bolted my old Pelican on to the rear rack, and I really like it. But it doesn't hold a candle to being able to stuff a helmet and jacket into it.
I just happened to be flipping through Beemer Boneyard looking for an RT rack that would hold the trusty top box and could be modified to fit onto the GS rack. No luck. But I did find the matching Vario top box for a ridiculously low price.
They described the only damage being to the aluminum top being scratched and dinged. But upon arrival, we also discovered a missing back edge cover. You can't win them all. The back edge cover doesn't affect functionality and I wasn't concerned about replacing it. But at a small cost of $15, I'll do it.
Oh yeah, there is the standard crack along the bottom hook and this is the older model when they discovered there needed to be a centering pin to prevent the box from separating itself from the bike at the slightest provocation. All things that can be fixed or retrofitted thanks to those pioneers on ADVRider.
The first, and most important, thing to tackle was the lock. Someone had kindly removed the lock and all I needed to do was purchase a replacement one and key it to my keys. I had always been interested in how those things are rekeyed, but hadn't the nerve to try my hand at it.
This was my time!!
For a measly $35 I acquired a new lock cylinder with many pretty little "followers" to key to my hearts content.
This is an example of incorrect keying where the "followers" are too "proud". They should be flush with the cylinder.
This is an example of proper keying. The last follower sticking up from the cylinder is the lock. It prevents the cylinder from being slipped out. That tab will catch being a plastic tab preventing it from moving.
If you look closely at the top of the cylinder you will see the tab.
Here is the cylinder installed in the handle, with the key in the "locked" position.
The mounting rack for the bike, the lock, the retrofit locking pin, the top box, and the rear edge and I'm still at less than half of the price of a new one. Of course, it isn't quite as large a capacity as the one on the R. And as Nikos has found out, it might have difficulty holding a regular sized helmet. But it does increase storage. We shall see if it will fit the bill.
On a side note...Oilburner and our friendly parts guy continued to harass me about the ding in the top aluminum piece. They both encouraged me to replace the part. My question, why does it have to be fixed? I'm fine with the damage. It isn't extensive, it doesn't affect usage, it is only cosmetic. I'm going to damage it in some way, shape or form. A sticker will even cover the entire issue. So why do I need to spend money unnecessarily on this. What are your thoughts?