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

Posts tagged “BMW


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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2014-03-08 15.31.14 HDREDIT

2014-03-08 15.31.14 HDREDIT

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!


Our Tour of the Alps 2013 – The Trailer


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!


New Year Wishes Part 3


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

2013-03-17 16.48.33

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?


- 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)

2013-03-17 16.44.17 (Large)


- 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…

2013-03-16 16.00.15 HDR (Large)

- 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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Photo 05-05-13 12 11 38


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P1020655 (Large)


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!


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


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!











Used Bikes Fair


Last friday was National Holiday and the october sun was shining so we hopped on the ZZR and the LML Star and went to a used bike fair (1a Feira de Usados Motociclismo) held at Porto de Recreio de Oeiras (Oeiras Boat Harbour).

It was a small event, probably less than 100 used bikes for sale, but given it’s the first ever edition that’s not so bad.

There where a couple of interesting bikes there, mainly classics, and some new too, one dealership caught my eye: Volta Electric Motorcycles

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of electric vehicles but I must admit this bikes look sweet!
They’ll be on sale in January and I’ll be going for a Test-Drive as soon as I can, really curious about what it feels to ride one!


A few modern bikes on show, the ones that caught my eye were a Ducati 1098S (@15.000€), an almost brand new 2012 BMW S1000RR (@18.500€) and a much more affordable (and therefore more interesting) 2003 Ducati 749S priced at 6.500€


As for the Classics, I’m no expert but there were a few beautiful and well kept units: a Yamaha DT400 on British Plates, a old Triumph, a MotoGuzi V7 in need of some love, two yellow Honda Amigo, a Honda Monkey, etc


A 1967 BMW with Side-Car and several others



This ugly litle thing is a Belt Driven Kawasaki GPZ 305, and the reason I’m posting this photo is because it was in one exactly like this that I learned how to ride when I was taking my license



I’ll end this post with a ZZR, one in exactly the same colour as mine, a 2006 unit with Akrapovics that was selling for 8.000€

[VIDEO] How to properly ride a BMW 1200GS

Not my kind of bike, but it’s a great video!

Ride Magazine Article : 2012 ZZR 1400 & K1300S on Nurburgring

Cover Ride September 2012

September edition of Ride Magazine (on sale from 18 July to 18 August) features a small cover article called: “The fastest 48 hours – ZZR1400 and K1300S to the Nurburgring…quickly”

The story behind the article was suppose to be taking both bikes from Ride’s headquarters in Peterborough to the Nurburgring and riding there…except when they arrived there it was raining, they didn’t ride the Nurburgring and called it a day!

In the end we’re left with what seems to be half an article that they nevertheless decide to publish. Yes, both this bikes are not really about track riding, they’re “The Ultimate Sports Tourers” (as they called them) and the actual trip may even be better then the ride, but the way the article is written is building up to the opportunity to ride the Nurburgring…and then they never did.

Bit of a disappointing article to be honest, buy the magazine anyway if the other subjects interest you, but it’s not worth it for this particular text. It’s just another superficial and subjective comparison between the K1300S and the ZZR1400.

Performance Bikes Magazine Article – 2012 ZZR 1400 Vs Hayabusa & BMW S1000RR

2012-07-14 23.06.57

I’ve got to be honest with you guys, Performance Bikes Magazine is not of my usual read. It always seemed to me like it was a bit too focused on the performance rather then on the actual bikes. I usually read Ride or Bike but last month’s cover story made me buy PB for the first time, it was an article about the 2012 ZZR 1400 Vs 2012 Hayabusa & 2012 ZZR 1400 Vs BMW S1000RR.

If you can, buy the magazine. The article is mostly focused on the engine performance but it’s worth taking a look, it has great photos and obviously the Big Z teaches Hayabusa a lesson… again!

The performance figures are:

ZZR 1400:
0-60mph: 3.02s in 37,74m
0-100mph: 5,48s in 124,81m
0-150mph: 10,68 in 423,72m
0-183,25mph: 28,08 in 1786,17
70-0 mph: 3,35s in 50,78m
Standing 1/4mile: 10,09s@149,09mph

0-60mph: 3.10s in 43,88m
0-100mph: 5,80s in 130,95m
0-150mph: 11,75s in 475,19m
0-183,43: 28,39s in 1761,30
70-0 mph: 3,61s in 52,93m
Standing 1/4mile: 10,19s@147,38mph

Obviously the performance on both bikes is pretty evenly matched and altough the Hayabusa is the only Hyperbike I’ve never ridden I guess that in “normal” road riding there mustn’t be much diference between them, but in this comparison the ZZR is slightly better in almost every field, only loosing (slightly) on top speed (limited) and in the top gear roll on time from 40mph to 120mph (11,11 the ZZR vs 10,66 for the Busa).

Wichever one you prefer, both are fantasticaly powerfull machines as the picture below states perfectly :D

The second article on this magazine was a comparison between the ZZR and a S1000RR on track. You don’t have to know much about bikes to know who won this one…the hyperbike or the Race Replica?

2012 BMW Motorrad Experience

A few weeks ago I had to opportunity to take part for the second time in the BMW Motorrad Experience at Autódromo do Estoril (last time had been in 2009).

It’s and event for BMW clients and other bikers. It’s free but with limited number of entrances available.

There are three parts of the experience:
Road, Track and Offroad Experience.

BMW Experience 2012 Oficial Video

My track experience was scheduled for early Sunday morning, and what a better way to start of a Sunday then lapping around one o Estoril on BMW S1000RR?
Granted the laps are done at a fairly sensible pace, given it’s not a trackday but still, what a ride!
It was my first ride of the S1000RR and it lasted only a few laps but just loved the bike, such smooth power and handling. The quick shifter was fun too!
Why would anyone buy a S1000RR for road riding is something I don’t understand though. It’s far to small and unconfortable for my liking on everyday use, and probably no faster than a ZZR or a something like Speed Triple on real roads. For a trackday though, must be spectacular fun!

Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of me on the S1000RR as my mates where home a sleep and only arrived later.

The Road experience for me has the most surprising. Had the opportunity to ride BMW’s new flagship model, the K1600GT.
Didn’t know quite what to expect has the biggest bike I’ve ridden before was a Yamaha FJR1300, and didn’t really enjoy it (too big, too slow, not that much more comfortable then.. say a K1200S).
At first sight the K1600 is huge! Wide, tall with very high bars and that huge 6 cylinder engine.
Sat on the back and started trying to find out what all the buttons do, radio, GPS, heated this, heated that, LCD screen…. It would take me probably a couple of hours to get familiar with all the gadgets and gizmos, so just turned on the radio, set the riding mode to Sport and set off.

The pair of K1600GTs ready to go

After 2min the radio was disturbing me, don’t really like the music coming from the fairings (strange I know, I have no problems with listening to music with headphones while I ride but for some reason didn’t like it) and also the 6 cylinders sound beautifully trough the dual akrapovics “my” bike comes fitted with.
Has for the ride, what a ride!! For a big bike it handles fantastically, just point it where you want it and it just goes! Even in tight back roads you can throw it around with relative ease and agility, and the engine just makes it so easy to drive out of corners.

Akrapovic cans

Kept it in Sport mode most of the time, the other two modes smooth the throttle, make the traction control more intrusive and reduce power (in Rain) don’t really saw any advantage in them, at least on this short ride, maybe because I’m used to having bikes without selectable power modes.
But the absolute best thing about the bike? The Engine!!! What a wonderfull peace of engineering! So smooth, powerfull and absolutely linear! Just roll the throttle at any revs and it just goes like a cream powered rocket!
Please BMW make a hyperbike with this engine!! Hell Kawasaki make a 6 cylinder ZZR! Other then the smaller size I can see no advantage of a inline 4 Vs a inline 6. The 6 (at least the one on the GT) is just amazing!

I didn’t fall in live for the bike, but the engine blew me away!

Haven’t tryed any of the competition in terms of Big Touring bikes, but I can say I hardly believe anyone has made a better one then BMW. If I was 50 and in the market for a comfortable, fast and damn expensive tourer, this would be the one I’d go for, in a heartbeat. If not for anything else, for that engine.

Have I told how much I loved the inline 6? Oh, ok. ’cause I did!

The final experience was a Offroad experience on a sort of trail/Offroad track built next to the Parabólica. A bunch of GS650 where available, all equipped with the standard mixed (albeit road oriented) OEM tyres. I whent for the Sertao version, with higher riding height and stiffer springs… Which proved to be a mistake… But I’ll get to that in a bit.
The instructor for the course was none other the professional rider and several times participant in the Dakar rally Bianchi Prata, so if we made a fool of ourselves it was our one fault, and I did make sure of that!

Taking it easy and trying not to crash…again

I’m far from and experienced Offroad rider, I regularly ride enduro bycicles and love to Offroad in this form of two wheels, as for motorcycles though my experience resumes to a day riding a Honda CRF450 in Portalegre Region with the awesome Dave from Enduro Republic.
Loved the CRF and the whole day went really well that time being able to tackle all types of terrain without crashing.
I was therefore relatively confident when I grabbed the GS, for the first 100m at least, before I went down a slope, lost the front of the bike and ended up crashing it after only 30s on the saddle!
Luckily the only thing bruised was my ego, and so after picking up the bike could continue. And… I hated it! Well, not the track but the bike! The road biased tyres where useless in the sand and the bike, to heavy and tall was very hard to controll whenever the front went loose. Had a couple other moments, on of them going down a steep slope, lost the rear, then the front and was able to keep it rubber side up but just!

I guess I’m not an adventure ride kind of guy. For serious Offroad a enduro bike is much faster, safe and fun, a WHOLE LOT more fun!! And I would love to own a real enduro bike like a CRF450 or something like a KTM300. For ridding in stretches of unpaved road I can just use my bikes, the SDuke or the ZZR wich can cope with it perfectly and are actually pretty fun to powerslide! The only problem are the potholes (especially for the ZZR with it’s soft suspension and low fairing).

Offroad Experience Video by Bianchi Prata

In conclusion, loved the event, as I did in 2009, and just wished more brands made this kind of events too. They’re great fun and help build a serious fan base. So Kawasaki, KTM, Honda, etc stop spending all your money on magazine adds and MotoGP and give something back to your clients, the people that actually buy your bikes and ride them everyday!


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