Tag Archives: BMW

And back to present day, still powered by BMW Motorrad!

What better excuse to leave work at 15h45 on a warm sunny Tuesday than a date with a lady?

Who cares if she is fat, ugly and high maintenance when she rides like that!

Ok, racy puns apart. We did book couple of BMW’s GS Speedates: me on the R1200GS an my mate on the F800GS both in the taller&fatter Adventure version.

I rode the original R1200GS Adventure a few years ago in the mountain roads around Sintra. Didn’t really like the bike, it felt too big, too heavy and not agile enough. A few years later I had the opportunity to ride one of the standard R1200GS with the new air/water cooled engine, I remember being absolutely surprised with how much better the engine felt compared to the old bike. Still not a mind-blowing performance but still proper fun to ride around N108, Porto, Portugal.

As soon as I spotted the GS Speedate events on BMWs website I jumped at the opportunity to try this new air/water cooled engine on the big Adventure version!
After a 45min ride around a mix of urban and countryside roads, including a sequence of narrow twisty dike roads I have to say the big GS did not disappoint, very much the opposite. I got confirmation on how much more I like this later version of the Boxer twin and was mindblown by how different from my memory of the old GSA this one is. Maybe I just got older and more used to tall fat bikes but I have to say the massive GS handles better than many standard bikes around. The way it flicks from side to side defies gravity and how easy and natural it all feels to the rider is nothing short of engineering Vudu!

Is it a bike for me? It could be, although it’s universal success (read omnipresence) and massive price tag do make it a very unlikely reality.

For now, I’ll leave you with some photos and a big thank you to BMW Motorrad and Motoport Wormerver for the test-ride.

Time Travel, Powered by BMW Motorrad

A BMW R1200GS Adventure Test-ride recently (which I will talk about in a future post) reminded me of the fact that about one year ago I went with some mates to a SpeedDate with BMW event to try out a couple of their new bikes.

I went for the S1000XR and they went for the R1200RS, R-nineT and F800GS. The only thing I can say about the S1000XR is that it is a brilliant bike! Compared to my Ducati Multistrada 1200S it lacks the low down punch of the V-Twin that makes it want to wheelie coming out of every traffic light but it makes up with a much more refined feel and more equipment (like Cruise Control). The engine feels basically the same as the one on the S100RR and I think I would only really tell the difference when riding the the two back to back, the brakes are as with all the S1000 range, very near perfect and the whole bike feels really well sorted. Except…it isn’t! One tiny, niggly fault that would probably stop me from buying it: The infamous vibrations at motorway speed that simply numb all of your limbs!
I’ve been told it is solved on the newer 2017 bikes and that on the older ones a set of heavier bar-end weights helps a lot but what I can’t stop wandering is what kind of test-riders BMW hired that did not spot the obvious issue trough all of the testing??

Anyway, here are the photos:

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Does this mean I’m getting old?

I just booked a test ride on this:

Captura de ecrã 2016-04-1, às 22.25.59

I have always kind of dissed on the Harleys but the truth is I’ve never tried one. I think it’s time I get some time on one to be able to speak from experience, and if I’m going to do it, it’s going to te on the mothership: the Touring Ultra Limited!

However, because I’m affraid I’ll like it and start feeling like an old fart, I also booked a test ride on one of these:

Captura de ecrã 2016-04-1, às 22.30.43

But the one I REALLY REALLY want to get my hands on is this:

Captura de ecrã 2016-04-1, às 22.33.39

Haven’t been able to get a KTM test-ride yet, but I’m hoping for it.

And you, what were the last bikes you got to try or are looking to try? Shoot me a message in the comments.

[Video] GS Trophy – Thailand

Yes it’s another video in French, but having recently returned from Thailand where I had the opportunity to ride some awesome roads (coming soon on The Rider’s Digest #192), this hit a soft spot.

Kudos to BMW for setting up such a massive event, looks like serious fun. I wish they made a full TV coverage of the event, I would watch that!

For more info check BMW GS TROPHY 2016

Youtube selection for a boring Sunday

Stuck at home with shit weather and a cold? No? Then you’re luckier than some of us!

If you are ate home, and half as bored as I am. Here’s a selection of videos from the Youtubes: from me, to you. Enjoy!

First, let’s keep with the Multistrada theme and have a look at the comparison the guys at Motorcyclist magazine made against the BMW S1000XR.

Or, the French alternative…

And away from Ducati onto KTM, superb riding and great videography by ARieman

Have a great week!

Offroadpeople 2015: The Dyatlov Pass

To balance the latest string of road/racing oriented posts, here is today’s video entertainment suggestion:

Offroadpeople 2015: The Dyatlov Pass

An interesting mix of bikes that seem to range from BMW G450X with Bajafairings, to KTMs 640 & 690s with 990 fairings, Honda XRs, etc. Hard to tell really with all that mud!

A bunch of Russian dudes – at times wearing only underwear – with dubious cooking skills and a very obvious interest for beautiful women. The first few minutes are a bit boring, but as the riding get’s rougher the video becomes more entertaining. Definitely worth 19min of my time!

BMW S1000XR Vs Ducati Multistrada

I’m not a big fan of the looks of the new BMW S1000X. Having said that, when it was first launched, I wasn’t a big fan of the looks of my Multistrada either.

I also haven’t had the opportunity to test ride the S1000XR yet, but having tried the S1000RR I am pretty sure it is going to be a great bike. It has a fantastic engine and brakes so I’m guessing the rest should be pretty decent too.

I did however, by chance, park my MTS next to a S1000XR recently and thought it was the perfect opportunity to do a bit of a visual comparison between both.

#ThrowbackThursday – 2007 Trip to Picos da Europa

Being in Portugal with some awesome winter weather (15 to 18ºC, sunshine) and no bike is messing with my biking neurons, so here is the first #ThrowbackThursday of this blog!

The 2007 trip to Picos da Europa. My first ever long motorcycle trip on my second bike: a 1997 Honda CBR1100XX that I had just bought with 55.000km. Chatting with a friend about an inaugural ride for the bike he suggested Picos da Europa and I said yes!
We only had 3 days available so we rode for 900 km on the first day, 300 on the second and another 900 km on the final day to return home.

An absolutely fantastic trip, the Picos da Europa mountain range is still one of my absolute favourite destinations (I have actually been back a couple of years ago on the ZZR). It was also a test of endurance, on the final day of the trip we left the hotel at 9AM and only arrived home at 7AM the next day! 22h from door to door, because we made some diversions and stopped several times to enjoy the scenery.

The luggage setup was second hand Givi Maxia Top case I got for 50€ (including all the brackets) and a cheap set of panniers from MotoDetail (Louis.de).

Here are some photos of that trip and a video that I made at the time with a very rudimentary setup. No HD video here, just a MiniDv JVC camera on a home made wodden bracket, a crappy (even by 2007 standards) 1,3Mp video camera on a bracket near the rear wheel and a Fujifilm S5600 for the still photos.
The video editing was done at the time using Windows Movie Maker and had some bits cut out before uploading to Youtube this week.

Hope you enjoy, maybe I’ll do some more #ThrowbackThursdays.

Cheap winter/commuter bike – What would you buy?

Being bikeless for a couple of weeks due to geographic/mechanical constraints and with a bit of free time has resulted in a couple of hours wasted online wondering what bike would I buy if I come to need a winter/commuter bike, leaving the (sensitive…and thirsty) Ducati free for joy rides and touring.

The bike in case would have to be:
– Under 2000€ and post 1990.
– Practical and mechanically simple so that I can do most of the servicing (using two hammers and my immense skills)
– Reliable, frugal and preferably with good crashability (is this a word?)
– and finally, if possible, cool!

The result of hours of naked ladies free internet searching? This selection of bikes currently for sale in the Netherlands:

KAWASAKI KLE500
KAWASAKI KLE500

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1992 model with less than 20.000km on the clock for under 1800€. With 50hp when new it won’t be going anywhere fast but the KLE is know for being bulletproof and this one looks to be in great condition. I would just need to change the green bits, really hate that color!

HONDA CBR 600F
Honda CBR600 F

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A jelly mould CBR600F from 1993 with a little over 40.000km on the clocks and one of the better looking 90s paint schemes. With a reputation for being absolutely indestructible and a nice mix of sportiness and practicality, this is one of the “sportier” choices of the bunch. At under 1500€ it’s a bargain.

HONDA NX650 DOMINATORHonda NX650 Dominator

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Another Honda, this time a 1996 Dominator with 38.000km for 1850€, not my favorite trail from the big H but with the Africa Twin rising in popularity (and prices) this (and the Transalp) are the only ones within the budget.

KAWASAKI KLE500
Kawsaki KLE500 2
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Yes another KLE, this one from 1996 with more or less 20.000km also and cheaper at a smidge under 1500€ and arguably in a better color scheme. Possibly a better buy than the previous.

DUCATI MONSTER 600Ducati Monster 600

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With over 70.000km, this 1998 Monster is probably not the smartest choice. Even at 1499€, naked and air cooled I am not convinced it would be the most reliable or cheapest to run. It looks cool though!

HONDA XL600V TRANSALPHonda XL600V Transalp

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No list of practical cheap bikes could be complete without a Transalp, so here is the one I would choose. A olive green 1993 with 47.000km and the mandatory crash bars for less then 1800€.

BMW F650BMW F650

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The choice of many overlanders looking for a simpler and lighter alternative to the ubiquitous R1200GS, the F650 may be a bit underpowered but the single cylinder engine means it’s simpler and cheaper to run. This one has done 76.000km costs just under 1.800€ and comes with top-case and crash bars.

APRILIA PEGASO 650Aprilia Pegaso 650

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At under 1.800€ and already fitted with top and side cases this 38.000km bike would make quite a practical commuter. I’m just not a fan of the styling, it’s a it too curvy and fluffy looking.The previous version of the Pegaso actually looks a bit manlier but from the ones for sale right now, this is a better buy thanks to the full luggage.

HONDA CBR1100XX SUPERBLACKBIRDHonda CBR1100XX

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A 1998 hyperbike with 66.000km for 2.000€ is an absolute steal. If there isn’t anything very wrong with this bike, it’s a great price.
What is a 4 cilinder 1100cc fully faired hyperbike doing in this practical and sensible list? You may ask.
Simple, I used to own one and love it! This one fits the “cheap” requisite, it’s also reliable and fairly practical…it does fail to meet all the other needs: simple mechanics, fuel economy, mechanical accessibility, crash resilience, etc. Still love it though!

SUZUKI DR650 RSESuzuki DR650 RSE

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The dual sports alternative, with the XT600 being too popular to find any in decent condition in this price bracket, the big brother to the Mondo Enduro bike looks great in this livery and should make a simple, fun and reliable every day ride.
This one is a 1998 with about 31.000km for 1990€. It may not be the best bike for motorway riding or have much in the way of luggage but it should be fantastic round the bumpy cobbled streets of Amsterdam.

And finally my favourite bike in the entire list! The fact that from all of this possibilities the one I most want to own has a “winter hack”/commuter probably says a lot about my skills for choosing cheap, simple bikes…

YAMAHA TRX850Yamaha TRX850

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It’s not the most practical bike or at 1990€ for a 1996 with 56.000km the cheapest, but just look at it – it’s beautiful!
A clear example of a design that wasn’t very popular when it was first launched but has aged really well. The trellis frame and semi fairing with that sportsbike inspired tank and rear fairing. I think it looks brilliant for a 90s bike.
Fit it with a open flowing exhaust and it will sound like a great, furious tractor is coming down the road.
I am not entirely sure about the reliability or ease of maintenance compared to some of the other bikes here, but the TDM derived parallel twin should be robust, the bike looks to be in great condition even comes fitted with good tyres.

What do you think of my list? Any obvious absences that you think could be had within this price bracket? What is your favourite of the bunch?

2015 – The best year for new bikes in a decade!

    I don’t remember the last time we had such fantastic new bikes being launched in one single year – 2015 is going to be great!

    Which bikes are you looking forward to see on the street the most?

    This are the ones that I really want to have the opportunity to try.

    The new Multistrada, 1299 Panigale and Scrambler, of course:

    The new R1, impressive: especially in the R1M form with the same Ohlins electronic suspension as the new 1299 Panigale S

    The Kawasaki H2, although the specs for this version (unlike the track only H2R that delivers close to 300hp) were a disappointment! All that hype, all that tech, the supercharger and the specs indicate 200Hp (210Hp with Ram-air) basically the same as the naturally aspirated 1299 Panigale (205Hp) and when you put it on a dyno, the rear wheel number will probably be litle above a BMW S1000RR. (Mind due if you can easily increase the boost on the H2 it can still become interesting)

    The BMW S1000XR: Not convinced on the looks but it’s more than certainly going to be fantastic fun ride:

    The new 1200cc Aprilia RSV4 shhould also be interesting with the blinged up electronic pack with GPS assisted traction control allowing for different set-ups in different corners of the track should also be interesting. As should the new MotoGP replica Honda RC213V-S but it’s just a prototype at the moment and the same goes for the True Adventure Concept. (What do you call a Africa Twin with just one cylinder? Africa win?)

    The KTM 1050 Adventure and the new touring/trail Yamaha MT09 are probably nice bikes to but not the kind of thing that rock my boat!

    Here is a gallery of some of this new bikes for 2015