My GS days are ... back?

A picture is worth a thousand words.

[Saturday - Feb 21, 2009]

What is this?  Haven't I had enough of the GS series of bikes and was determined not to ride a overly stout GS any more?  Well, yes.  But that was two years ago and a lot less understanding and confidence.  Switching to the R12R for the last two years gave me the needed confidence and understanding to go back to a tall GS without reservations.  It was a hard decision but I did it.  I traded my beloved R12R in for an F800GS.  It was a hard decision in the beginning, but in the end I'm really glad I did the swap over.

Because I still owed money on the 12R, in addition to the bike being on the high mileage side (20,255 miles in a little under 2 years), I didn't get much money for the trade in.  However, the real question I have is... what in the world are all the BMW Motorrad owners out there purchasing their BMWs for?  Is it not to ride around in circles instead of just staring/admiring at their motorrad through the garage door from the living room?  In my case, I ride.  Then again, that just me.  Regardless, I down an additional 5K to help ease things a bit.

Did I test ride the F8GS before I bought it?  Nope.  I didn't even bother.  From all the magazine articles, youtube videos, on-line articles, and forums, I understood the F8GS enough to buy it first and test ride it after the fact.  Yes, it's a repeating offense because I did the same exact thing with the R12R.  Do I recommend this method of test ride and purchase to anybody else?  Nope.  Test ride the bike first before you purchase.  As for me, I know what I was getting into so I didn't care.  Kris at Brown Motor Works was even partially insistent that I test ride the F8GS before purchasing it just so I was sure I'm willing to part with the R12R.  I gracefully declined Kris' recommendation.  Thanks Kris.  You're a good man, and I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

About 2 hours later with a lot of John Hancock's, I'm just about ready to leave the dealer's parking lot.  I originally claimed I can handle the standard seat, but it turns out I was actually sitting on a F8GS with a low seat during the Long Beach Int. Motorcycle Show late last year.  Kris was graceful enough to let me steal the demo bike's low seat.  It's a demo... I don't care.  A seat is a seat.

Oh yeah... it's tall (e.g. One foot down, flat foot.  Two feet down, ball of the feet).

What is my first impression of the F8GS?  It's better than any attempts at conveying the riding experience in all of the articles I've read.  As for people that claim the bike doesn't have enough torque, with my riding style I don't see that problem at all.  Then again I'm not obsessed with pushing the bike to the limit.  My meager 155 lbs frame might have something to do with the "no torque problems" also.  So the front fork dives a bit when stopping.  Who cares.  I'm familiar with this front fork behavior from riding a F650GS Dakar in the past.  There's nothing new here.  A lot of fork travel normally equates to front fork diving.  Yes you can put in stiffer springs to prevent the dive, but then you'll be faced with stiffer forks when going off road.  Stiffer forks off road means a lot more vibration on washboards.  In the end, if it bothers you, don't ride a GS with standard forks.  Go for the Telelever.

During the beginnings of the break in ride home, I purposefully ride over poor road conditions (e.g. road seams, potholes, and other undesirables to most road bikes) to see how the bike handles it all.  Sure enough, the 8GS doesn't care about such trivialities.  Instead it's asking me, "You call that a test?"  When the opportunity arises, I'm heading off road.  Mammoth Lakes later this year is a bike camping must.  For my purposes, the F8GS is the perfect adventure touring bike.  I'm so happy I switched.

Now it's just a matter of putting all the necessary protection on so I can spill the beans off road and not worry too much about making it back in one piece.  The ZEGA cases are arriving this coming Wednesday.  Yes!

Oh!  I'll be sure to post a picture of the 8GS once it's been properly SOLASed.  The tradition continues...

[ Update: Sunday - February 22, 2009 ]

I've spent the majority of the day prepping the bike for prime time use.  I started at about 9:00 AM and stopped at 8:30 PM.  It's been a long day, but it was time well spent.  Why do I need to do so much prep work?  Well, if you compare between the pictures above and this picture, you'll see that there is SOLAS tape on the bike, handguards, tail bag, and tank bag (it's there, just covered by the large R12GS handguards).  Double take!  "Wait... R12GS handguard?", say you.  "Yes, R12GS handguard." says me.  These are the same handguards I purchased and adapted to the R12R.  I kept them because I knew the F8GS doesn't come with handguards unless requested. With a little coercion, it goes right on the F8GS.  The R12GS handguard isn't as hardened as the F8GS handguard, but if I don't have to spend more money, I wont.  The tank bag is magnetic but I mounted the bag using some modified click straps.  Once again, it all works.  There is still a lot left to do (e.g. mounting PIAA & TrailTech HID lights, LED turn signal lights, etc.), but the current configuration is sufficient for commuting and normal use.  Plus, I'm, pooped.

As promised... SOLASed!!!

If you think this is wimpy, you're right.  The SOLAS is a little on the light side on the rear.  Have no fear, however, thing will change the minute the ZEGAs get here.

[Update!  Friday - March 6, 2009 ]

Two weeks and 375 miles later.  What do I think of the 8GS?  I think... IT KICKS MAJOR ASS!  Even with TouraTech 41L panniers it's light and maneuverable.  I'm starting to toss it around like it's an enduro.  Oh wait, it is an enduro.  So does it put the 12R to shame?  Yes and no.  In terms of smoothness it's not as smooth and fast as the 12R.  In terms of agility and weight, it beats the 12R hands down.  For my riding style, the 8GS can be a bit torquy, but that's just me.  As a result, I'm going to swap out the 43 rear sprocket for a 41.  It's so nice to be able to do such a thing when one feels like it.  This was never the case on the 12GS and 12R.

I don't know about you folks out there, but so far, what is left of my retirement money is doing extremely well for me.  The way the economy is going these days and with my 403B going the way of the Doe Doe, I think the 8GS is a perfect reinvestment of IRA money.  BTW, my IRA was already 74% gone when I finally decided to yank the account and ride it instead of letting it ride me.  It was a delayed wise choice if I can say so myself.  Nowadays I spend something like $7 for 150 miles.  Stupid CA gas prices.  $2.55 for one gallon of 91 RON.  The rest of the country is at about $1.80 or less.  All this because the stupid Governator and the damn State Legislatures don't how to legislate.  Making gas prices higher is one way they're trying to make money to pay for the $41 billion CA deficit.  Yes you heard it.  $41 BILLION!  Jerk offs!  Like I say to my wife, CA is one of the richest States in the Union and yet we are the poorest.  Non sequitur aside, I know my mileage will improve much much more because I'm still crank yanking the 8GS, and that doesn't help the overall mileage at all.  Just another 225 miles to go.

Written on:  Feb 21, 2009
Last modified:  March 6, 2009