|09-14-2009, 06:14 PM||#1|
How'd that happen?
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Colorado - Highlands Ranch
Brought the new bike home to CO
I finally got my 09 F 650 GS home! I flew out to Kansas City, MO and rode back to Highlands Ranch, CO. Somebody bought this bike, farkled it up and traded it in after about 4K miles and then I picked it up. It has a BMW tall windscreen, Vario top and side bags, engine guards, mud slinger, ABS and heated grips.
Iíve never owned a BMW before, Iíve always had authoritative Japanese made bikes, plus one Triumph. This bike is definitely different. On the road it out performed my expectations. I didnít think Iíd be getting a rocket and, well, I didnít. Thatís fine, but I was surprised at how well it ran at 75 to 80 mph for long periods of time. After reading all of the seat complaints I was looking for problems and didnít find the same as everyone else; Basically, hard and unsupportive. Where I had issues is with the material the seat is made of. First of all it looks cheap with the plastic pieces sticking out of the seams. I thought mine might be the only one, but while at the dealer I noticed the others were the same and let it go. Engle Motors Triumph and BMW are a pretty good bunch to buy from. The owner picked me up at the airport which I thought was a very nice touch. Then Peter, the salesperson, helped me install the Kaoko throttle control I brought. Well, he ran back and forth to the shop for tools. J The throttle control proved to be indispensable across Kansas. I have carpal tunnel syndrome and Iím sure without it I would not have been able to feel my fingers for a few weeks.
I left the dealer and after several hours in the saddle I felt that the seat material was acting as industrial strength sandpaper on my undercarriage. And I did have to perform the ďpackage adjustĒ all too often. A new seat is in the offing or maybe a rebuild. Something.
I also had a chance to use heated hand grips for the first time. Early the second day through Kansas I ran into dense fog which cooled things down quite a bit. I turned on the grips and, well, now Iím hooked on heated grips. Good stuff.
I got home about 11:30AM the next morning, took a shower, kissed the wife and took off to give it the off-road test. I have a favorite lake up a 4X4 trail that I like to fish thatís only about 60 miles from the house. I left the side bags at home just in case I put the bike on its side. I mean, hey, it has been 20 years since Iíve ridden a dirt bike, or ridden a bike in the dirt. I checked my voice mail before I left and the dealer had called to tell me about the radiator hose recall and that it hadnít been done on my bike. Bummer. I went anyway. The first part of the trail is pretty much un-improved dirt road with some seriously rocky areas. The GS just doesnít handle the rocks very well. The front end clanged and rattled like it would fall apart. The suspension made me feel that I wasnít doing much better than taking my 02 Honda Interceptor off-roading except that it was 200 lbs lighter. That and first gear is so tall that I couldnít go slow enough pick and chose my route through the rocks. I didnít make it to the lake. I did stop to take some pictures along the way and check the radiator hose, which seemed to grow every time I checked it. Probably, mostly paranoia. I didnít want to chance heading up onto the steep part of the trail and turned around. Going down was even worse! I disabled the ABS and managed to stay upright while hurling down the mountain path. Iíve decided that if Iím going to make it up to the lake on this bike, Iíll need performance front springs and to lower the gearing by quite a bit. At this point Iím not sure what Iíll do about that.
A little disappointed about not making it to the lake I decided to take the long way home via Squaw Pass, through Evergreen and the canyon to Morrison by way of Red Rocks Amphitheater. Finally Iím back into some winding mountain roads. I found very quickly that on the GS, unlike a sport bike, that downshifting into the curve was not the best way to slow down into the curve and then punch out of it. I headed into the first curve and down shifted to slow down a bit and be ready to throttle out of it only find myself having to take the curve way wide as it the downshift didnít have the desired slowing affect. Gearing, again, is just too tall. Plan B, using brakes, is now in effect. After that minor adjustment I found the bike handle very well on the mountain roads.
Closer to the top
At Red Rocks Amphitheater
After 800 miles in two easy days, the jury is still out whether this is a long term keeper. Iíll give it a while to get used to the funky blinker controls. (every time I start the bike I hit the right blinker ) Iím trying to think of a way to move and upgrade the brake fluid bottle. (On the trail it started to leak.) Looks like a cheap afterthought. Engineer 1: ďoh, shoot, where will the front brake fluid go?Ē, Engineer 2: ďjust stick a bracket and container rightÖ.about,Ö..there.Ē Engineer 1: ďwonít that look ridiculous and seem kind-of cheap?Ē. Engineer 2: ďnaaaw, too late now anywayÖ., we ship them next weekĒ
All in all Iím pretty happy with the bike. Itís about like some have stated: ď90% street / 10% trailĒ. While it hit several points below my initial off-road expectations, Iím looking forward to get to know it over the next year or so. It could very well be that my off-road riding skills could use some tuning up as well.
After a few attempt to post this rr with pictures I finally did the research and opened a SmugMug.com account. Duh. Preview worked.
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