Friday, June 6, 2014

Now about that red bike

BMW seemed to make a lot of little changes that, on the surface, don't seem too disruptive or significant, but sure adds up to one brand new machine. The service manager at our dealership said that it took him comparing my '11 with the '14 to really see all of the little changes that had been done. I, myself, didn't notice them either until the night before I picked up the bike. Honestly, we had been waiting so long for these, and I was on the fence about buying the new one anyways, and work has been so hectic, that I hadn't been giving it much thought. So it took me researching the crash bars until I realized how much I did not like the new design in some aspects.

The biggest problem with upgrades like this is that they never seem to let you use the accessories you spent gobs of money on for the last bike, because they absolutely will not fit on the new one. In this case, they swapped the swingarm and the exhaust can. That required the purchase of new panniers, yet again. ARGH! (Though they have been redesigned themselves in the interrim, and they are somewhat improved.) Yeah, I don't love the plastic panniers. There are some better adventure ones out there. But I really, really like that these ones expand when needed. A lever inside the case allows it to expand another 1.5 to 2 inches. I like that for traveling. I can keep them compact for regular riding, and expand for long distance trips. Also, my helmet will actually fit in one of them. Therefore around town rides let's me hide it there, not having to carry it around everywhere.

Like the RT, this one has only been ridden home. So I don't have a lengthy frame of reference on the handling differences. I am going to have to reserve my judgement until I can spend more time on the bike. (This weekend!!!! squeal!!)

The engine is smooth. So very smooth. Just like the RT. The clutch is superb. Even though the GS doesn't have the clutchless shifting, the smallest flick of the clutch lets me shift. This model hasn't lost any overall weight, but it does feel lighter and easier. The seat has been redesigned, that even though the seat height is the same, I can actually flat foot this beast. By comparison, I could get one foot flat on the '11, with the second being mostly flat with my heal less than an inch from pavement. I didn't love that I couldn't flat foot it. I feel that is major for control in parking lots and such. I had gotten accustomed to it, and just recognized the situations when I needed to park somewhere else, or man handle the bike from the side. (Or ask Oilburner to move it.)

So I am disappointed in myself that I didn't instantly love this bike. People believe that is because I had ridden Oilburners and already understood the difference with the new engine. That I need more time on my bike to get a feel for it.

I plan on spending lots of time on it this weekend, hitting the twisties to break that engine in. I will keep you posted on thoughts and feel.

BMW really reduced the amount of paint on these machines. The darker silver here was red on the '11 model. They also blacked out much more of the frame and supports in the cockpit area, darkening the overall looks. I like it as it will probably enhance visibility of the instrument cluster. They added a little sacrificial tank pad down towards the seat/crotch to prevent scratches. Good thinking.

Yes, they have added the "dial" on the left hand grip. On this machine it controls the GPS only. On Oilburners machine it controls EVERYTHING! Even the heated grips and seat. I was breathing a sigh of relief to learn that the heated grips is still a button the right grip. One huge disappointment is the single turn signal lever. BLECH!!! My tiny hands and short thumb make applying the turn signal something that I actually have to think about instead of just intuitive.

And don't ask me why the crash bars are different shapes between left and right. I only just noticed and will now have to go and look. Jeez I hope they can remove the valve covers without having to remove the bars.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The other contents...

In case anyone was wondering...

Let me tell you all about the new RT(W). From an RT perspective, I can appreciate the full fairings when it comes to long distance traveling, in rain or cold conditions. Those fairings are very nice at blocking lots of environmental issues and letting you sit in a little cocoon of air behind that wind sail they call a windshield and all that plastic. (It also blocks air during high temps of summer, not allowing as much cooling air flow.) It might be pointing out the obvious that while I can appreciate the bike and its features, the bike doesn't really appeal to me.

This is now the third RT that Oilburner has owned. His first was the 2009 demo bike that he was able to purchase after its "year" service with 2600 miles on it. I did not ride that bike too often. I was still new to riding and too afraid of dropping the darn thing and scratching up all that expensive plastic. I did ride it a couple times in the winter when I was underdressed and a long way from home. Comparing it to my R1200R, the handling just felt a little "off". Almost like it wasn't tracking well. Hard to imagine with only two wheels. We mentioned it a couple times to the dealer, and they did some research and measuring but never discovered anything.

After totaling that bike, he wasn't sure what he wanted as a replacement. Weeks of researching what he might want next, we were in the BMW dealership and his eyes completely lit up when he saw his second love in the form of a 2011 model. He was so distraught over the loss of the first one, he was having a difficult time thinking of any replacments. So when I saw how excited and happy he looked for the first time, I urged him into buying it then and there.

To give you a little history and tradition, when our little group first started riding, Oilburner's years of riding prompted a tradition of him riding everyone's bikes home from their maiden purchase. No one did that for Oilburner, since he was the backbone after all. And he seemed to have poor luck with his bikes. That meant the purchase of this brand new 2011 meant that we wanted to enforce tradition and have someone else ride his bike home! who would that be...

The difference in handling was night and day. I was still scared of dropping the thing, and wanted to be careful. But I was very impressed with how smooth it was compared to his '09. So while I still would never convert, it was a nicer bike in my opinion.

Fast forward to last Saturday. We bounced back and forth with tradition again and discussed riding each other's bikes home. It was a moot point since he has been so terribly ill that he wasn't capable of riding his home, and the GS wasn't ready. Be default I again rode his brand new 2014 R1200RT(W) home.

Wow. WOW!!!!!!!

The new oil and water cooled engine is fantastically smooth. That might also have something to do with a wet clutch. Oh my. So far, all our our BMW's have been dry clutches. This was a nice change. Oilburner also sprung for the "Pro Shift Assistant" that allows up and down shifting without the clutch. I didn't have the guts to try it. Then again, I was only on the bike about 7 miles.

I'm generally reluctant to do much horseplay or "feeling out" on bikes that are not mine. So it is quite surprising that I was flipping the bike through its paces, zigging and zagging across the lane to get a feel for the balance and handling a block away from the dealer. I tried to reign it in, but failed in another block when I goosed it to avoid having to stop for a very yellow light. Oops.

Another couple of blocks brought me to the larger thoroughfare. Saturday, time of day, empty roads. Just how did I get up to 70 mph?

This bike is fun. They managed to shave about 40 lbs of weight from the bike. They lowered the bars just a touch. It all added up to lighter weight, more flickable, lower center of gravity, and FUN! Don't get me wrong. I'm not a convert, but I caught myself daydreaming about a cross country ride behind those fairings. (It only lasted a second. I swear!)

Poor Oilburner, he had to watch me ride his new motorbike home. (He swears he didn't mind.) And as of the time of this post, he has only pushed the bike a few feet and ridden it exactly 12 feet in a forward direction. Unbelieveable.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What's in the box??

Ok...too many people have been asking that question on their own blogs. Like Trobairitz and Canajun.

And I really like the luck they have had with the contents of theirs. Of course, Trobairitz's contained a little more bling. But hey, farkles and presents are always a great surprise.

So I have to ask you...what is in this box?

PS. I suck at keeping secrets and surprises. Poor Oilburner usually gets his Christmas presents a week early because I am too excited to keep it under wraps. This ain't Oilburner's though...


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Giving it a Rethink

Jiminy. I just discovered that it has been three months since I last posted, or even looked at, my blog. I am being terribly remiss and neglectful. Truth is, there hasn't been much riding. And what riding there has been has been more along touring the same ol', same ol' spots. Who wants to read about, much less write about, the same places that I have outlined a time or two in the past?

Life has changed so much. Moving to a new house, Monster moving in (and not nearly as independent as previously advertised), having to deal much more closely with some extended family members that I would personally love to never see again. A change in jobs (my company was purchased by a much larger one in March), and while I LOVE the new company the responsibilities and expectations are much higher. Not a problem if you have the time to learn, unlike me who gets to do it in my spare time as I have a client to service 40+ hours a week.

It all culminates down to motivation and time. Over the last couple months we have ridden a little. We (I) have worked a paying gig as an official Motorcycle Marshal for a bicycle race south of Atlanta, in pouring rain. We had the great pleasure of running around with Mike over at Scooter for Fun. I wish we had more time with him here. I would have loved for him to see our "mountains" and enjoy some of the twisty roads in our area, sans frost heave.

I was recently in New Jersey for a training class. I just missed out on meeting up with Jack the Riepe as I came down with stomach flu. Then picked up a head cold on the way home. I missed out on a beautiful 4 day weekend over Memorial Day. Oilburner and I had planned on a beautiful time on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Unfortunately, I just wanted to ride the sofa and sleep. Crap, crap, crap.

We managed to get on the bikes on Sunday afternoon and tool up to nearby Lake Burton with a lovely marina and grill that makes great hamburgers. So a short jaunt of 200 miles, but bittersweet as we contemplated all that is occurring in life and making a change in our activities that are more in line with what life is calling for right now.

Oilburner had already removed his marshalling accessories. He opted for the wash and wax on Monday while I slept and read. It was the big red machine's turn during the week to be dismantled to remove her accessories, and she was washed and waxed yesterday. Both bikes are clean and polished, getting ready to be shipped to their new owners.

I'm not sure what life will have in store for us for the next little bit. I'm looking at it with some trepidation. Giving up something that brings me so much enjoyment, escape, and pleasure.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Those Who Can't Do...


I've been meaning to order some of these for awhile. So I went whole hog and purchased tons. And still I forgot to order one...

One Man Caravan is completely engrossing. A gentleman who rode 'round the world in 1932!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Who'd Have Thought...

...Atlanta would see these temps? Yes, that is in Fahrenheit.

This may be trifling to some, and I claim no great surprise either, but this is a big deal here. Schools were closed today due to these temperatures. No rain, no snow, no sleet, nice sun, but cold. Kids here aren't generally equipped, clothing wise, for this. The administrators were also worried that the buses wouldn't start. Valid if you think of diesel engines. As well as a concern of heaters not being able to adequately heat classrooms. Ok. I'll give it to them.

I haven't seen any motorbikes on the road today. The big concern would be from breaking sprinkler pipes laying great sheets of ice across the road. Don't laugh. It is happening. :)