Wednesday, May 19, 2010

BMW Demo Ride Day

The local BMW dealer was holding a demo ride day so I booked the 2010 R1200GS Adventure. I was thinking about a ride on the awesome 180 horsepower S1000RR supersport but to be riding it along in a group with 15 other bikers on city streets would be like taking a Formula 1 Ferrari race car for a spin to the supermarket... how much fun would that be? You'd really only appreciate a bike like that on a racetrack and I'd probably just end up doing something stupid and get myself in deep trouble (or worse). I also considered the F800GS, which is probably the most practical bike in the entire BMW lineup, but since they were offering free rides, I figured I might as well go for the big boy (and I can pretend I'm Ewan McGregor or Charlie Boorman).

My first choice would have been the HP2 Megamoto ... but unfortunately that model wasn't available for a demo.

The entire demo ride fleet.
A total of 15, I think. 


F800GS - this thing has one
 sweet sounding exhaust note

HP2 Megamoto
- too bad this beauty wasn't on the roster.

My impression of the R1200GS Adventure:

  • sitting at a red light with the engine running, just give the throttle a good crank and the engine gives a strong twist to the right. That's because the crankshaft is lined up front-to-rear and it's turning clockwise. So when you rev it, you can feel the crank turning as it wants to twist the whole bike to the side. Very cool feeling.
  • the brakes were awesome (ABS braking system, of course).
  • power delivery was very smooth and linear. It pulls hard if you give it lots of gas, but then again, it's a very big motor and it cranks out about 105 horsepower at the rear wheel so I expect it should have lots of get-up-and-go.
  • front suspension felt like it had way too much static sag. In fact, I noticed the forks felt like they were almost bottomed when stopped. I watched carefully as I honked on it hard and the forks extended a good 5 inches, which tells me that they were compressed at least that much when I was stopped. I also noticed that I kept sliding forward on the seat, which also indicated to me that the front end was too low. Probably just an adjustment thing.
  • above 5,000 rpm, the mirrors vibrated all to hell. Annoying.
  • it felt lighter than I expected. Just look at the size of the thing, and knowing it weighs just under 500 lbs, it felt quite manageable in traffic and in the busy parking lot. Certainly not nimble but not as bad as I expected.
  •  comfy seating position and plush ride.
Final thoughts: the BMW R1200GS Adventure is to dirt bikes as the Cadillac Escalade is to pickup trucks. If I had big bags of cash lying around, I'd love to have one. However, I think I can have much more fun (and get into much more trouble) on my DR. I could buy four brand new DR650's for the price of one R1200GS.

And the dealer asked all participants to make a $10 donation to the Ride for Dad organization.