26 March 2011 – More BMW Motorcycles
Work this past week hasn’t been fun. Yeah, I know it’s called work instead of play time for a reason, but this was worse than usual. Rain and other problems meant ten to twelve hour days and I was just beat at the end of it all. I needed something to decompress.
Well, if I can’t go for a nice long motorcycle ride at least I can go drool over ’em Yeah, I headed back down to BMW of Las Vegas
I had a good long chat with Kurt, Peter, and another employee at the dealership named Jim. Peter and Kurt were just as great as ever and Jim is cut from the same cloth. He took a very long time to answer all the questions I had. Jim’s a really great resource – he has a G 650 GS himself! Of course, Peter and Kurt were just as helpful as always
On with the bikes
I’ll be honest and say I don’t know enough to render an intelligent opinion on street bikes. That said, if I were to get one this would be the one I’d want
BMW’s K 1000 RR decodes this way – K = inline engine; 1000 = displacement in cc’s; RR = Road Race. That’s a 999cc engine that produces 193 BHP in a bike that weighs only 450 pounds ready to roll with digital traction control, ABS – this bike is pretty much race ready So if ya wanna go fast, here’s your bike
One of the big reasons I came back down to the BMW motorcycle shop was that I wanted to see some of the features on the G 650 GS. I’ve looked all over and found that there aren’t too many pictures of the controls and dash. I figured they’d be everywhere, but at least I have access to the bike and permission to photograph from BMW of Las Vegas I actually found ONE site that had some of what I’m looking for (click here) but I also prefer to use my own pictures if possible
I couldn’t see a tachometer with the bike switched off, so without even asking Jim went and got the keys so we could see. Jim’s version is a couple of years older and has a different configuration. Sure enough, there’s a tach on the multifunction display (MFD) I hear the G 650 GS runs about 5,000 RPM at freeway speeds. I was somewhat worried that this might be a bit high, but when I looked at the tach I saw that the redline starts at 7,000 RPM. Besides, everyone tells me that the 652cc single cylinder engine is just fine running at 5,000 RPM all day long if needed
Looking over the rest of the gauges and indicators on the MFD you can see the main odometer, trip odometer (there are actually two trip odometers), and clock. What you can’t see is that the trip computer will change to show you the distance traveled after you reach the reserve level (about a gallon) in your fuel tank.
The warning and indicator lights on the right side of the speedometer from top to bottom are:
There are only a couple of other things to note here – just above and below the MFD. The little dot above the MFD is actually a light that tells you you’re hitting RPM redline and the button below the MFD lets you reset the trip odometers and sets the clock
I like this setup – It’s simple, easy to understand, and just what you need
Before we leave the front of the bike, there are a couple other things I wanted to cover. You really couldn’t see the ignition switch before and you can’t see one of the positions here, but I can explain ’em There are four positions for the ignition switch:
There are also two switches to the left of the instrument panel. The front switch is for the hazard warning flashers and the rear switch is for the heated grips. Yes, I want those heated grips There’s a setting for off (center), low (press the forward part), and high (press the rear part) heat.
Moving on to the left side handlebar we have most of the actual switch controls for the bike. Top left is your high beam for the headlight, below that is the horn, and at the bottom is the turn signal switch. One switch you can’t see here is the momentary high beam button – it’s on the front of the switch group to be activated by the left index finger.
I won’t get into the way most other BMW motorcycles’ turn signal switches work (that will be a later post), but I like this system. All you do is push the switch in the direction you want to indicate, let the button return to center (the indicator will continue flashing), and then press directly in to cancel the signal.
Finally there’s that red button on the top right of the cluster – the ABS switch. This is used to switch the ABS system on and off for road and off road use. You have to be stopped to make the change either way. Once you’re stopped and the ignition is on, just press and hold the switch until the light either goes on or goes out. It’s that simple
All of this makes perfect sense – put the complicated stuff on the side that’s not busy twisting a grip for throttle
Now we’re on the right side – the one with the hand that’s always busy keeping the throttle in just the right place There are only two switches here – starter button (black button on the bottom) and kill switch (red switch on top). The starter is self explanatory, but the kill switch is just slightly different. The kill switch is a push on, push off arrangement. The switch being out allows the engine to run. If you need to shut off the engine (for example if the bike falls over while running), just press the switch in.
I just wanted to show off the engine the bits on the right side of the bike This is where you’ll find one of the foot pegs, the rear brake, and shock adjustments.
The double sided swing arm on the G 650 GS is made of a box steel tube which should be plenty strong. I can’t imagine ever having a problem with it as you’ve still got the suspension working for you. That little screw on the end is for adjusting the chain tension
I’d never heard of an “endless O-ring chain” before, so I asked and Jim explained. If you look at where the outer links meet the inner links you’ll see a black rubber O-ring. It keeps dirt and debris out of the junction and prolongs the service life of the chain
I just thought I should show off the entire bike here I’m thinking I’ll get the white one if it’s offered when I’m ready to buy. It’s more visible, less susceptible to sun damage (at least doesn’t show it as much), and it stays cooler to the touch in the desert summer sun
I tried to cover as much as possible in this post, but I’ve already made a list of the things I want to check out next week. Yes, I will be heading back next week to check out a G 650 GS with factory lowered suspension that Kurt and Peter invited me to see
If you’re going to ride around the world on a motorcycle, this is one that you can take with confidence as it’s been the choice for many expeditions in the past. The R in the name denotes a boxer (horizontally opposed) twin cylinder engine and the 1200 tells you it’s (almost) 1200cc displacement (actually 1170cc) which provides 110 BHP and 88 ft/lbs of torque. The GS means it’s good for on and off pavement excursions while the “Adventure” title tells you this motorcycle is set up from the factory for much more than running down to the grocery store
This is the type of bike Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman have used in their Long Way Round and Long Way Down journeys. Helge Pedersen of Globe Riders has been known to ride one from time to time as well. Those are just a couple of the famous adventurers who’ve done some serious miles in the middle of nowhere on the Adventure. I can see why so many choose this bike – the powerful engine, strong telelever front and paralever rear suspension, robust design, and huge gas tank (8.7 gallons) are all good things to have. Of course, those crash bars don’t hurt either
I’d love to have an Adventure, but there’s just a couple of things that don’t work for me. The seat is too high for me (that might be less important with experience), it’s a really heavy bike (564 pounds ready to roll without luggage), and it’s not exactly inexpensive. The base price is $17,250 while the premium package (heated grips, ABS, electronically adjustable suspension, saddle bag mounts, on board computer, and fog lights) will set you back $20,495. Is one of these great machines in my future? Maybe, but only time will tell
I have to say it again before I go – A huge THANK YOU goes out to Jim, Peter, Kurt and everyone at BMW of Las Vegas for their incredible hospitality
That’s it for now – gotta go to work tomorrow so I can continue to save up for the bike! Have a great day everyone
6 comments to 26 March 2011 – More BMW Motorcycles
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