And now for something completely different...

It is now June 2005.  Only another three months until the anniversary of  my first and ever hair raising purchased F650GS.  I have been entertaining the idea of upgrading to the big brother of the F650GS for some time.  I originally thought about getting the R1150GS until I found out from the dealer that BMW is no longer producing the 1150.  Instead, the R1200GS is the replacement.  My first thought of the R1200GS was ...

... "it looks more street wise" ... "the wheels clearly indicated street use" ... "where are the spoked wheels?"  So I blew off upgrading.  Around the same time, Jaime (the friend with the big Valkyrie) told me he had glanced an article in a motorcycle magazine about BMW coming out with a super lightweight 1200CC motorcycle.  He didn't remember the name of the bike and told me to it.  I did.  What I discovered was.... the HP2.

I immediately fell in love with this bike.  Everything on it screamed AWESOME!!!  Not only that, its dry weight is 386 lbs (195 kg).  That's the same as my F650GS.  That's totally amazing for a 1200cc motorcycle.  I want it! I wanted it BAD!!  But BMW wasn't going to release it until August.  Not only that, they were only going to produce 150 copies of the bike for the US market.  Guess what ... there is a total of 150 BMW dealers in the US.  That stinks to high heaven!!  What kind of lame ass production is that BMW?!!  Are we still in WWII and Germany is running out of ball bearings from the Ally's carpet bombing?  I don't think so!!...  Hello?....

The other things that got me was the fact that nowhere does it indicate the price of the HP2.  So I knew it's not going to be cheap.  Ultimately, I found a dealer on the net that mentioned an estimated price for the HP2 ... $20K+.  It was like.... WOW!!!  It's an awesome bike but my wallet isn't that awesome.  So for now and for the foreseeable future, the HP2 is just a dream.  In the meantime I went back to my F650GS and kept to it.

I'm not one to admit to succumbing to peer pressure but I'm starting to notice that all my friends are slowly upgrading their motorcycles. 

Kevin with his Honda CBR600 F4I upgraded to a Honda Interceptor.

Russell, also with a Honda CBR600 F4I, upgraded to a Yamaha YZF R1 (definitely one fast mutha).

Nate with a Honda 919 upgraded to a Suzuki Hayabusa (does that bike come with a JATO?  It does come with a JATO!).

Jaime now has a second bike, a Honda 954, that he has converted over for Track Day riding only.

As for me, I was willing to stick to my F650GS since speed has never been my goal.  However, the vibration I encounter when riding the 650 at 80 mph is starting to get to me.  I was willing to put up with it and thought it is just part of having to ride an enduro at such high speeds.  Until one day when I consulted Jaime about methods to reduce or eliminate the vibration.  His reply was ... "DUDE! You're riding a THUMPER!"  DOH!! Of course I was riding a thumper.  That's what the F650GS is.  Not only that, thumpers have never been known for smoothness.  The one thing that Jaime did mentioned was the boxers are much smoother.  Something to the effect .... "As silk"

So I'm still struggling ... "Should I stay or should I go?... If I go it will be trouble... If I stay it will be double ...".  In the meanwhile I have been doing things like watching Long Way Round with Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman, and doing things like changing out the rear sprocket on the F650GS from 47 teeth to 45 teeth.  From what I can tell the rear sprocket change really helped to smooth out the F650GS on the freeways.  I never got around to switching out the front sprocket but I bought a 17 teeth one in anticipation of changing it out.  I ended up selling the F650GS before the front sprocket change happened.

I can't believe KTM screwed up so badly by not sponsoring Ewan and Charlie.
Good news for BMW though.

The one thing that pushed me over the edge was the one day when a bunch of friends and I went to a restaurant at the top of the Angeles Crest highway (the 2 highway in Southern California).  Nukem's Ranch or something like that.  At the restaurant I was watching a guy with a red BMW R1150R start up his bike.  The sounds from that bike was music to my ears.  I was standing there in awe with my jaw flopping around on the tarmac.  Looking like a total idiot no doubt (it happens every once in a while).  I knew then it is time to upgrade.  From that point on I was determined to save all the money I can get for a down payment.  In the meantime I went back to the Internet and researched as much as I can about the R1200GS.

All the magazines and Internet articles hailed the R1200GS as one of the best bike of 2005.  The best of its class that is.  Practically every article I read gave the R1200GS a 2 thumbs up, a 10, or whatever the top mark is.  For me it is now simply a matter of being patient enough for the down payment to materialize.  But there was this small matter I had to contend with.  The F650GS was not payed for and I still owed $7600 on it.  I had to sell it or trade it in at the dealer.  Fortunately for me, a friend (Eugene) was in the market for learning how to ride a motorcycle.  As he put it ... "I want to follow in your foot steps."  Fine by me.  I need to off load the F650GS so I can get the R1200GS.  The deal I gave to Eugene probably would have even made my mom jealous and she's not interested in motorcycles.   Basically he took over the payments and I didn't gain anything.  Yes, he was taking candy from a baby.  A slightly used 2005 F650GS with 7K miles and a boat load of options on it for $7600.  What a steal!!

So it's the end of August 2005.  I have sufficient funds for a 5K down payment.  I went back to the same BMW dealer and said, "I want a R1200GS".  I got the same sales guy so it went pretty smooth.  He asked me if I wanted to go for a test ride.  Of course I want to go for a test ride.  What kind of question is that?  He hauled the demo bike out to the parking lot and gave me very brief instructions on how to use the bike.  I got on the 1200 and my first thought was ... "Dam!! Babe rides high."  As I was ready to pull out of the parking lot to follow the sales guy, I almost dropped the demo bike.  The dam thing is so tall for me that I was on tippy toes.  I was so use to being flat footed on the F650GS.  The other thing was the front breaks were way too effective.  Good deal though.  Suffice to say the test ride was anything but fun.  The sales guy kept on speeding off ahead of me so I kept on having to catch up to him.  WAZUPWITDAT?!!!  At one point he even split lanes and left me in the dust. Again... WAZUPWITDAT?!!!  The reason why  the test ride was so uncomfortable is due to the fact the signal cancel was located on the throttle hand.

Push up where the arrow points.

This caused me to convulse on the bike every time I had to cancel the turn signals.  I felt like "walk like and Egyptian".  The good news is I knew it was all me and how I'm not use to the controls.  I did think it was dumb to put the signal cancel on the throttle side.  Why couldn't BMW put the cancel button next to the horn, located on the left handle bar switches, or something.  You know, like all the other bikes out there.  Anyway, the R1200GS rides very differently than the F650GS (of course).  The sitting position, the gear box (6th gear is AWESOME!!), the breaking, the weight of the bike, the steering, etc.  The primary thing I noticed is ... that little something that Jaime mentioned ... "As silk"  The boxer twin is so much smoother than the Rotax thumper (Don't get me wrong though, the Rotax thumper is still an awesome engine).  Not only that, there is plenty of power.  So when I got back to the dealer, we worked out a deal.  Once again... bla bla bla bla... out the door with a Shoei helmet thrown in for the wife.

I then pass the F650GS to Eugene.

Notice there are no crash bars.  Oh when are they going to come in?

I noticed the R1200GS came with all the mounting hardware for the BMW panniers and top case.  I had to purchase that separately for the F650GS.  Having gone through the experience I went trough with the BMW saddle bags on the F650GS I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice.  This time around it's Touratech.

The Touratech Panniers are the greatest.  I love 'em.  They make great frame sliders too.  Especially when going off-road.  Here is the list of after market parts I purchased to protect my oh so expensive babe.

- Touratech Panniers 35L (left), 41L (right)
- Touratech cylinder head guards
- Touratech oil cooler grill guard
- Touratech Lexan headlight guard
- Touratech crash bar (whenever it gets here)
- Touratech front fender extension
- Scott's Performance stainless steel oil filter
- BMW low seat (I'm short ... 5'9" with a 30" inseam ... all back no legs)
- BMW repair manual for the R1200GS

I also fashioned an instrument panel cover out of a sheet of anodized aluminum I purchased from a local hardware store.  The piece cost $7 and it took me 1 hour to put the thing together.  I could have done it quicker if I had all the power tools I use to have.  I'm also planning on fabricating a simple skid plate out of aluminum that attaches to the center stand.  I just don't see the need to spend $60 for a $12 piece of aluminum and an hours worth of work.

I've been riding the bike for approximately 1 1/2 months now.  The 600 mile break in has come and gone.  For me it was like a 760 mile break in.  This is when I decided to put in the Scott's Performance stainless steel oil filter.  As usual, BMW always over torque the oil filter.  As a result, I had to resort to the "screwdriver in the oil filter" method to remove the BMW oil filter because I didn't purchase the BMW oil filter remover.  The good deal is, the Scott's Performance filter has a bolt built into the oil filter housing so no BMW oil filter wrench is needed to remove the filter.  Just a ratchet and the appropriate size socket.  Future oil filter changes will be a piece of cake.

I'm finally getting  the hang of canceling the turn signals but I still think it's dumb to put it where it is.  I no longer "walk like an Egyptian" because I got use to the control and can clutch, throttle, and signal cancel better.  However, on occasion when I fumble with the controls for some reason, I still end up convulsing myself because of the throttle and signal cancel.  Oh well, it's just the facts of life.

As mentioned in so many on-line and magazine articles out there, I'm starting to find it hard to get off the R1200GS.  The bike is really addicting to ride.  The high riding position is also a wonderful thing to have when cruising around town.  You can easily see over cars and spot potential traffic issues.

The next plan is to ride to Death Valley in November 2005.  Finally, a long bike trip on the R1200GS.

Written on: October 1, 2005
Last modified: September 3, 2007