The minimalist approach
Back to basics

[ Tuesday - June 6, 2012 ]

It's a little over three years with the 8GS.  I have to say it's always fun to hop on and toss the sucker around like it weighs 10 pounds (figuratively speaking of course).

When the mercury touches 80F+, it's time to shed some winter items to allow that needed cooling air flow.  So I started with the hand guard extensions.  As I grab the tools out of the trunk, I can't help but notice the tools are a bit heavy.  A set of hex wrenches, a set of torx wrenches, a socket wrench, a crescent wrench, a set of metric sockets (the list keeps going on and on) is all adding up to some substantial weight.  Then I thought to myself, "Do I really need all these tools?  Face it, if you have a front flat, you don't have a scissor jack handy to prop the front up to remove the wheel for tube repair."  Rear flat?  Forget any attempts at field (parking lot) repair.  This in turn triggers the next set of questions, "Then why am I riding around with all these tools if I can't really use them?"  "What about the rain suit?  We're over the rainy season and it's not going to rain any time soon."  Bottom line, this is all extra weight that I'm lugging around for no real reason on the commute.  Another question, "Do I really need the 10-15 lbs luggage rack for the panniers just to ride 30 miles round trip each day to and from work?  Sure it looks cool, but do I care about looking cool?  No!  I care about being pragmatic."  The case is starting to stack against all of the long distance configuration items.

Not only that, I have roadside assistance and I'm sure I'll be using that in the city if I have some kind of problem.  Again... "Why am I lugging all this weight around when I don't need to?"  The answer is simple.  It's time the 8GS goes on a diet.  I start with the hand guard extenders, then proceed to the windshield.  Next goes the trunk and all the extra items in it.  The Touratech luggage rack is gone!  In the end I took off almost all of the accessories except for the large skid plate, the engine guard, and the Clearwater LED lights.  I did such a good job in trimming down the fat that I estimated a weight savings of 50-60 lbs.  Crud!  That's a lot nick knacks.

In terms of a burned out primary lamp, why should I even care?  I have LED lights.  They're running lights.  Why should I be concerned about losing one out of three lights.  A cop won't stop me if I have some kind of lights in the front.

So the minimalist I am.

Riding the 8GS without a windshield is a blast.  I get up to 70-75 MPH on the freeway and I'm feeling perfectly fine.  There is occasional turbulence when I get behind or next to large vehicles, but this issue can be remedied by a simple twist of the throttle.

For some odd reason I see myself being more aggressive on the 8GS without a windshield.  The frontal lobe says it's purely psychological, but lizard brain goes, "WWWWEEEEEEE!!!!  YES!"  I'm having so much fun that I even disregard the minimum gain of 3 MPG from the weight loss (BTW, I'm 5'9" and 155 lbs).

With a longer test ride up and down San Gabriel Canyon Road, where I filmed A backyard ride sequence, I'm finding myself falling in love with the 8GS all over again.  It's light.  It's zippy.  Places on the road where I use to down shift to 5th gear, now I stay in 6th.  Other sections of road where I use to be in 4th, now I'm in 5th gear.  The weight savings has liven up the bike and given the 61 ft lbs of torque that much more kick.  I'm also noticing the 8GS now rolls over everything with ease.  Railroad crossing are a little less noticeable.  Potholes... what potholes?  Suffice to say, going minimalist makes the 8GS feel like a totally different bike.  It's almost like I just purchased a new ride.  It's kickin'!

Now it feels like I'm tossing 5 lbs of weight around.  Again, figuratively speaking.

Written on: June 6, 2012
Last modified: June 6, 2012