Hyperbike riding in : (sunny southwest Europe) recently moved to less sunny northern Europe

Posts tagged “BMW

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New bike shortlist!

In a money no object kind of way this would be my current shortlist of possible replacements for the ZZR.

As it stands most of this are just hypothetical considerations, but within this bunch should be my next touring bike, the bets are on, give it a guess!

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Hat-Trick

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Sun, ZZR and Southwest Europe, the 3 defining themes of this blog all together again for one great Saturday ride.

23ºC, beautiful sunny day and a ride to one of the most westerly points of mainland Europe: Cabo Carvoeiro

I’ll be going back to the Netherlands soon so it felt really great to grab the ZZR again and enjoy the first day of proper sun for a while. Meet with a mate, ride trough N8 to Bombarral (one of the best biker roads in this part of the country) and head for Baleal beach .

Top it all with a breathtaking sunset and you get a fantastic day here in Portugal!


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Our Tour of the Alps 2013 – The Trailer

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Finally had some time to edit a bit of the filming from our Tour of the Alps last September. Here is the trailer!

Still trying to figure out how to work with iMovie. The full video should be ready in a couple of months, in the meanwhile, enjoy!


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New Year Wishes Part 3

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We get 12 wishes in the New Year right? Given the asking price of one, I guess this can qualify as wish number 3, 4 and 5. The perfect grand tourer, the BMW K1600GT. One of the most amazing engines fitted to a bike , a 1649cc inline six that is silky smooth and as powerful as you could ever ask for.

I’m not a big fan of heavy touring bikes but this one made me fall in love the moment I first tried it.

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Test- Ride – 2013 BMW R1200GS

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The test ride season is open!

After attending the launch of the 2013 BMW R1200GS a couple of weeks ago, this weekend I went for a test-ride around River Douro in Porto, courtesy of the guys at Antero Motos.

This was the route I took.

This was the route I took.

 

One of the bikes available at the launch event a few weeks ago

One of the bikes available at the launch event a few weeks ago

Trail bikes are not my favourite kind of ride, their great and all but seem to be all to common nowadays a unlike some people I don’t feel like they do everything well. The ones I’ve ridden (previous generation GS, KTM 950 Adventure, Ducati Multistrada, Honda Transalp, GS 650,etc) are very almost all very good tourers and some of them  are even good for a spirited ride, but the tall front wheel feels to vague and the engine power is at times good but never very impressive.

Having said that, since I’ve bought the Super Duke and started using it as my “fun bike” I’ve found myself more inclined towards the possibility of trading the ZZR for a trail, the Super Duke does the job on the fun roads and track so the ZZR as been more relegated to the task of practical tourer (which it can be…but it’s not really what it was made).

That’s where this Test-Ride come into scene, the latest iteration of BMWs World Crosser. I’ve ridden one of the previous generation GS1200 Adventure and didn’t really enjoy the Boxer engine so I was very curious to see how I would feel with the new “partly water cooled” version, and the truth is… I liked it!

Yes, it’s not very powerfull, it doesn’t feel like it has 5 more horsepower than my Super Duke (125hp), probably because it’s so much heavier, but it does pull nicely and I found myself loving the 2nd gear on my test bike that was fitted with the optional Akrapovic Slip-On. Pulling out of corners in 2nd gear the exhaust note is fantastic and the bike pulls really well, after that 3rd gear is also nice, but i found 4th, 5th and 6th progressively less exciting (also because the exhaust is not that loud and the wind noise starts to take over).

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Being in Porto, I had the opportunity to ride a bit on the Motorway, city traffic and a twisty road that follows River Douro, great test-ride scenario if not for the somewhat heavy traffic.

A friend on a GS1200 Adventure accompanied me wich gave me the opportunity to ride one way with my GF as pillion and solo on the return trip for a bit of fun!

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What can I say about the bike, what I liked?

PROS.

- Comfortable and firm, not as soft (even in soft suspension setting) as other trails but almost as confortable (riding solo) and more stable.

- Agile enough, although that high front end and the Telever suspension makes it impossible to know what the front tire is doing. (it does grip so you probably don’t need to know what it’s doing unless you REALLY push it, 99% of the time just trust it and it will work)

- The Electronic Suspension Adjustment, great as in all BMWs

- Smooth and torquey Boxer engine. I remembered the boxer engine as being vibey and underpowered, having not ridden one in a long time and probably being more tolerant top engine vibration since I bought a V-Twin, I found this engine to be very enjoyable with a smooth and punchy power delivery. The GS doens’t set benchmarks for power or speed but it never feels underpowered either!

- Nice brakes (if slightly vague at first touch)

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CONS.

- Useless power modes! With exception of the Ducati Multistrada (wich changes suspension setting and engine managment at the same time) I’ve yet to find a bike with engine modes selector that I find of any use… After trying all of them (with some difficulty to do it with the right hand, as the switch is in an awkward position) I ended up keeping it in Dynamic, all the other modes do is dull the power delivery. If I want the bike to acelerate smoother all you need is rotate the throttle slower, not have a computer lag the throttle so that you can go at it with a hammer and have it accelerating slowly ! I seriously don’t get the point!

- The traction control…what is it for? The bike only has 125 hp, modern tyres are great, it’s not meant to go fast on track and I don’t see why you would need traction control on the road on this bike. Maybe it’s useful off road, but on Tarmac you have to be very very comited to have it spin the rear tyre..

- The LED runing light, the bike I rode had the standard LED runing light (Small square one under the low beam), not the optional C shaped one (like the red bike on the first photo). I don’t get what it’s for either, cars got LED running lights because riding with the lights on wasn’t mandatory, recently the LED running lights were introduced as a safety feature and now even bikes have them. But bikes already had to have low beams on at all times, so all you got was an extra light and a stupid switch that lets you choose between the low beam and the LED runing light to do the same job during the day…why?

- The indicator switch, not only have they reverted to the conventional switch, losing a BMW quirk that even I, not being a BMW rider, like, but also they haven’t made it right, the tactile feeling of the switch is wrong and I found myself having to look at the dash to make sure the indicator was on.

- The digital dash is quite good, but I found the analogue tach and speedometer very hard to read at speed, especially with the GPS mount that partly covered it…

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- Pillion confort, the test bike had the optional lower rider seat fitted which was fine for me but made the step between my seat and the pillions a lot bigger than the standard one. My pillion found this to be very uncomfortable because she couldn’t find a comfortable position. She kept swinging backwards under acceleration and falling to the front under braking. She didn’t have the same problem on my friends GS1200 Adventure so I guess the main problem is the seat.

This also raised another question that I couldn’t awnser on this Test-Ride: the bike felt fine and stable on transitions from right-left-right on tight sections when riding solo, but when riding two up (with the ESA setup for rider+pillion, hard) the bike felt slightly wobbly and unsettled. Nothing too serious but I don’t know if that’s the suspensions fault or the fact the pillion wasn’t properly seated.

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In conclusion, and despite all the little things that I found wrong or useless I wasn’t expecting to like the bike but I did! The price tag however is a different matter, everything on the damn bike is an extra and if you’re going to buy one you better spend some money on extras or otherwise you’ll end up with a hard bike resell on the used market.

The bike I tested had the optional ESA, ASC, tyre pressure monitor, Cruise Control, Spoked wheels, Akrapovic exahust and I don’t even know what else, making it around 20.000€ to buy. That’s an awful lot more than the 16.000€ that costs the new KTM Avdenture R, or the Triumph Tiger Explorer XC, so I’m pretty curious to see how this “cheaper” bikes compare. I’ll be Test-Riding those soon enough.

 


I reeeeeally want an Adventure Bike!

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Especially if it’s something like this!

And “this” is a BMW S1000RR that got through the hands of the guys at Wunderlich!

Transforming a the fastest most powerful superbike on sale into a dirt bike is utterly stupid! And that’s why I love it so much! If I happen to find a suitcase full of money strapped to a drug dealer’s dead body, this is where all spend it! Immediately!!

The S1000RR was stripped of most of it’s bodywork, received tricked out Ohlins suspensions, Magura handlebars, Moto-Master discs,an exhaust by Remus, and a couple other bits and pieces. It will probably be awful to drive in anything other than a zombie apocalypse but damn if “The Walking Dead” becomes true I’ll be having one this with a Gerber machete attached to each side of the frame.

 

 

Sources: Wunderlich and TheKneeSlider


Classic Car Rally

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Hi there! So the weather for this Saturday was fantastic so we hopped on the little LML Star and spent the day cruising in and around Lisbon.

It’s a fantastic little bike for this purpose, even two up it’s just about powerful enough to reach 95km/h, it’s practical, fun to ride and über cool!

Somewhere in the middle of our ride we came a across an exhibit of Classic Cars at the finish line of a Rally at Estoril. I know this subject has nothing to do with bikes, but what Petrolhead doesn’t love classic sports cars?!

Lots of Porsches, Alfa Romeos, BMWs, a Mercedes 300SL Gull-wing, an Alfa Romeo Beta, etc

My favourites? A beautiful blue Renault Alpine, the Audi Quattro and a Martini coloured Porsche!

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