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Old 09-02-2013, 02:56 PM   #1
AKMotorbiker OP
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First Ride BMW R1200GSW: Off Road Edition!

When I purchased my BMW R1200 GSW I had no intention of keeping her clean and commuting, saving gas, maneuvering through rush hour traffic. It had one purpose, everything else was a benefit or second order effect. I bought it to facilitate adventure! So after thirty days I took it up a notch... or thirty.

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"Fear is the moment before you decided to do it anyway, courage is every moment after that"-AKMotorbiker
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:04 AM   #2
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31 Aug 2013

I went in for my break in service on the 31st of August. At 1700 miles I was well within the 300-700 mile recommended range. The closest BMW service was 50 minutes away. There was two to choose from, one North and one South. I choose North and headed out Saturday morning. I handed over my bike and had two hours to burn. I walked around checking out other bikes and looking at gear and chatting with guys. As I'm getting everything paid for it comes up that there is a ride coming up tomorrow. I'm directed towards David who is organizing it. He asks what I'm riding and the tires. I feel obliged to let him know my motorbike off road riding experience (5-8 miles on a dirt road). Some people are quick to say that any off road experience that isn't on a motorbike doesn't count or can't be compared. While I believe that, as far as riding goes, there is something to be said about reading the terrain. I have off road experience on other types of vehicles and it helped a lot to be able to read what the trail was doing. Still, a lot of learning happened and it was more enjoyable starting out with at least half a clue.
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"Fear is the moment before you decided to do it anyway, courage is every moment after that"-AKMotorbiker
First Ride BMW R1200GSW
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:57 PM   #3
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1 Sept 2013

The ride was going on 1 Sept 2013, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. We were heading up to Bear Lake, CA. The meet time was 9am in the parking lot of Von's. for me this was a 2.5 hour drive to get to the start. I woke up at 5:30, left at 6:40 and the day began.

I was cutting it close to being on time and holiday traffic wasn't helping. I was worried that at 9:00:00 everyone would roll out and I would be in Bear Lake by myself. Luckily I can only remember one time that a trip started precisely on time and we had been sitting for an hour with the main goal being to leave AT that time. I got there at 9:05 and we didn't get moving until around 10.


An overview of the area
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Two of the guys had lots of experience. One led and the other brought up the rear making sure everyone was ok and on track. They helped me set up my bike. We put in the enduro plug (which i thought would take six months before I was ready to put it in). Dropped my air pressure to 22/25 psi on anakee IIIs. There were different thouhts on air pressure. Some do, some don't. I figure they wanted my bike to be a little more forgiving with me so, out came the air. There ended up being seven of us all together then we headed out.


Airing down the tires
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By the way, my backpack didn't last long like that. I ended up wearing it a few miles down the trail.
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"Fear is the moment before you decided to do it anyway, courage is every moment after that"-AKMotorbiker
First Ride BMW R1200GSW
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Searching for Sanity: Newest Chapter- Sequoia National Park
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:41 AM   #4
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The first section

From the get go I could feel the difference in the handling. It felt like the tires were flat and the handling was sloppy compared to 36/40 psi road mode and the air pressure warning light flashing was annoying at the start.

I'm not real solid on the route but, I'll try to get it close. I'm 95% sure on the first half and 60% sure on the second half. It's all great riding so in the end, trying to find it is adventurous anyway.

The first section
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The first portion was the 3NO9 heading North. It was rated easy and mostly a rough dirt road. This was great for starting out and getting a feel for the bike and how it handled. Then we headed East on the 3N16 which was the same level. We had dirt, some gravel, a little mud, and a few puddles (it had rained the day before). The group would stop every so often to let everyone know the next section and do a debrief with tips of the last and next portions.



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A short stop
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"Fear is the moment before you decided to do it anyway, courage is every moment after that"-AKMotorbiker
First Ride BMW R1200GSW
First Ride BMW R1200GSW:Off Road Edition
Searching for Sanity: Newest Chapter- Sequoia National Park

AKMotorbiker screwed with this post 09-09-2013 at 06:38 AM
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:57 PM   #5
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The next road was rated moderate (jeep ratings). 3N61 was pretty interesting. I think I learned one or two things on this section. This type of riding is exhausting! On top of the normal wear and tear was the adrenaline from being the first time out for me but, also the extra physical exertion I was putting out from being so tense and not relaxed (as an experienced rider would be). I was sweating buckets but, having the time of my life! It was incredible!!


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More pictures to come.
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"Fear is the moment before you decided to do it anyway, courage is every moment after that"-AKMotorbiker
First Ride BMW R1200GSW
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Searching for Sanity: Newest Chapter- Sequoia National Park
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:15 PM   #6
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The 3N61 started out with a nice downhill. Note the change in the composition of the trail at this point.

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I was literally getting my teeth rattled on these rocks and getting to know my back brake very well on the downhill.
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"Fear is the moment before you decided to do it anyway, courage is every moment after that"-AKMotorbiker
First Ride BMW R1200GSW
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Searching for Sanity: Newest Chapter- Sequoia National Park
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Old 09-06-2013, 07:38 AM   #7
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The trail begins to go rapidly high/low sides and widen/narrow in succession.

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Twists and turns. At my experience level it feels like the trail is morphing in front of me trying to throw me off. On my toes the whole way.

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A little bit of mud and water for flavor with a 90 degree turn in the shade.

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"Fear is the moment before you decided to do it anyway, courage is every moment after that"-AKMotorbiker
First Ride BMW R1200GSW
First Ride BMW R1200GSW:Off Road Edition
Searching for Sanity: Newest Chapter- Sequoia National Park
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:31 AM   #8
VanXR
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Big Bear

Awesome! Glad to see you're using the bike like it was meant to be used. I only took mine off road once in the 8 years I owned it. (I have a street legal Yamaha WR450 that is much more capable in the dirt)
Keep the ride reports and photos coming.

p.s. Irv Seaver is having an Adventure clinic tonight and tomorrow. Go to their website and check it out. (No affiliation with them.)
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:01 PM   #9
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I'm going to be there tonight and tomorrow.
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"Fear is the moment before you decided to do it anyway, courage is every moment after that"-AKMotorbiker
First Ride BMW R1200GSW
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:08 PM   #10
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Some nice bordering to this section.
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And here's where I took a rest.
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"Fear is the moment before you decided to do it anyway, courage is every moment after that"-AKMotorbiker
First Ride BMW R1200GSW
First Ride BMW R1200GSW:Off Road Edition
Searching for Sanity: Newest Chapter- Sequoia National Park
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:38 AM   #11
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Just a few additional photos

Things start getting interesting.
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A few scattered rocks, no big deal.
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Areas with shadows were fun. You couldn't really see ahead. It's the same as walking into a dark room from the sunny outdoors. It takes a minute to adjust. By then it's almost too late to see what's coming.
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This is one of the two most challenging sections. With a good line it's no problem. I wonder how it would have turned out if I was in the lead?
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"Fear is the moment before you decided to do it anyway, courage is every moment after that"-AKMotorbiker
First Ride BMW R1200GSW
First Ride BMW R1200GSW:Off Road Edition
Searching for Sanity: Newest Chapter- Sequoia National Park
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:06 PM   #12
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Now that we've made it this far... here's a video for perspective.

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First Ride BMW R1200GSW
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:52 PM   #13
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First time off road? You're a natural - born to ride. But try and stick with the low-speed get-offs, tip overs. No sense trying to make up for lost time or experience. Looks like whatever experience (sports?) you've had is crossing over.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:42 PM   #14
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I'm definitely not trying for anything faster than that get off. I had a lot of experienced guys and a gal with me. Anyone reading this, don't go off and do this by yourself!!!
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"Fear is the moment before you decided to do it anyway, courage is every moment after that"-AKMotorbiker
First Ride BMW R1200GSW
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Searching for Sanity: Newest Chapter- Sequoia National Park
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Old 09-08-2013, 03:02 PM   #15
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I've already talked about being worn out and sweaty. A little more in depth would be the sound of the engine working through its range. The crunch of the rocks pressing against each other, fighting for compressed space. The few shooting out the sides to escape my traction. The quiet of the dirt, it's intermittent respite from the rocky terrain when I can relax my muscles for a minute. The wind blowing. Cruising through the shade after manipulating your way through the sunbaked rocky sections. Unsteady downhills, working the back brake as you slip and slide down loose rock. Uphill was the easiest to navigate as long as you don't stop. Several times I stalled out on an uphill and had a great time trying to get traction again. For some reason every time I needed to start a rock would sneak in front of my tire.
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"Fear is the moment before you decided to do it anyway, courage is every moment after that"-AKMotorbiker
First Ride BMW R1200GSW
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Searching for Sanity: Newest Chapter- Sequoia National Park
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