Monday, July 22, 2013

BMW Demo Rides

Last Saturday while at the MOA rally in Salem, OR, I did test ride a couple of bikes. BMW brings quite a selection of bikes to the rally ranging from the C600 Sport to the S1000RR and the K1600GTL and just about everything in between. You just show up early and sign up for the bike you want at a time you can make it for that day. If you sign up for something that is above your experience level, they have you ride something else first so they can evaluate you. I was more than a bit nervous as this was my first ride on two wheels since last October so it was kind of like my first ride of the season. I tried sitting on the F800GS and the R1200GS and both were too tall or too heavy for me. The new R1200GS was apparently the hot ride. Everyone in line seemed to want to ride it. I had brought my gear with me just to be able to do a couple of demo rides.

I test rode the G650GS and the F700GS. Both bikes have about the same or more horsepower than my current airhead, are watercooled, have ABS, fuel injection, etc. The F700GS was incredibly smooth and so quiet that I could barely hear the engine going down the road. We headed through Salem before getting on the open road then turning off for some nice twisty roads. I have no idea where we went as it as "follow the leader". The bike in front of me was a S1000RR and it rarely slowed down for any corner. I took it a little bit slower but after a while, I was feeling pretty comfortable in the turns. Both bikes were plenty quick and the brakes were phenomenal compared to what I have. But the air pressure on your chest from the wind (at the post legal speeds we seemed to be going), is something I would have to get used to. The demo rides were about 45 minutes long and designed to get you on all sorts of roads and you were in groups of four to five bikes. Pretty nice demo rides and I must admit that I really liked the F700GS.

Dom, aka Charlie6, had asked for more pictures of this rig. This is the scooter on the back of the Boxer Metal utility sidecar. Note the BMW logo that they put on the tank and the clutch housing. The overall fit and finish of the stuff they manufactuer is top notch.

Here is the coffee machine in the aluminum box behind the sidecar. Earlier in the day, they were using it to make lattes but I don't have any pictures of that. With the scooter removed the door of the compartment drops for a nice flat work area.

I did get a chance to talk to Jay from DMC sidecars as he had expressed some reluctance over the phone regarding my Cozy/R100RT combination. He thought that if I wanted a larger sidecar, I really should look for a more appropriate tug instead of spending more with my existing setup. He believes that the airhead frames were too lightweight even with the subframe as BMW was focused on reducing weight. He did offer some tug recommendations. I'm not looking for a larger sidecar but wanted to know what my options were.

19 comments:

  1. I keep hearing good things about that 700; I know it was in much demand at our demo rides this summer.

    Quite a difference in most every way from the old Airhead, huh?? :)

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    1. Quite a difference from the airhead may be an understatement. I am still wary of all of those things that I can't work on due to electronics. That is still the attraction of the old bikes. I don't like my only option to not starting to be calling a tow truck. But then again I hear that it doesn't happen that often...

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  2. Well...when a tow truck can be so far away from you...I can see your reluctance. Seems in the lower 48 one might not feel quite as remote. :)

    I'm scared of demo rides too. At first it was definitely because I lacked experience. Then, when I finally did feel confident, I failed my first demo ride and bought the darn bike! So you are already ahead of the game if that 700 didn't follow you home.

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    1. What was nice about these demo rides is that no sales types are around. Their stated goal is to have you ride around in hopes of getting you interested enough to visit a dealer.

      I know a few that have this bike and they seem to be very reliable and capable on the less than smooth roads in Alaska. Plus enough power for long distance touring carrying a load. And 60+ mpg. The ABS would be nice to have but the electronic suspension modes and traction control is more than I would want.

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  3. Thanks for the additional pics Richard!

    F700GS, what happened to the F800GS? The new motorcycles are seductive aren't they? Still, the inability to work on them on the side of the road is a detractor in my eyes. All things wrought by Man, will break....it'll be interesting to see what kind of reliability record these bikes establish for themselves.

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    1. There are more pictures on the Motor Boxer web site. I guess the lower aluminum box houses a compressor. Not a bad thing to have. The F700GS is a detuned F800GS. Same engine but less horsepower. Smaller front wheel and cast wheels instead of spokes. Last year it was the F650GS but that was being confused with the G650GS thumper.

      I'm not sure how valid the "side of the road" argument is. I'm told that the new stuff is much more reliable. But that was usually by someone who rides the new stuff.

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  4. I signed up for a demo ride once but it got rained out ... I bought the bike anyway.

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    1. I wasn't really shopping for a new bike but enjoyed trying out the new offerings and wanted to compare the twin and the thumper back to back. The twin, not surprisingly, was much smoother and quieter than the single. Plus I could play with the electronic suspension.

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  5. I gotta say, that coffee maker is a pretty sweet rig. I mean, just because you're roughing it doesn't mean you have to live like an animal. ;)

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    1. I suspect that the coffee maker started out as a gimmick but it probably gets quite a bit of use though I wonder how it is powered...

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  6. The dangers of demo rides... I almost bought a Bonneville but my CFO intervened. You have to watch out, otherwise it could easily be that something follows you home...

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    1. PS: Like the new header!

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    2. I really liked the look of the ocean with ice still floating.

      The only demo rides I've taken have been at the MOA rallies. At the PA rally, the K1600 just came out and was the only bikes they had for demo rides. I didn't opt to try them as they were very heavy. In Gold Wing territory.

      The local BMW dealer offers demo rides but it would be on the specific bike you are looking to buy. Not just for casual joy rides...

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  7. We are fancying a BMW next - we currently have, amongst others a Honda CB1300 and liked the BMW version. Hubby knows the exact model - I just noticed it was blue! lol!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting! There were a few test riding the K1600GTL and the R1200RT two up and from what I have heard they wasn't lacking anything except maybe light weight ;-)

      A lot has changed since my airhead RT was made 30 years ago.

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  8. I've never done a demo ride. Bought two new bikes, but didn't demo either. They kind of freak me out. Performance anxiety with an audience or something.

    Good for you in getting out there and trying them. You'll have to tell us about them tonight.

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    1. I think that this demo setup travels around the country offering demo rides. One of the staff members said that they increased the number of bikes for this event by collecting demo bikes from other dealers.

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    2. I have always,had a warm spot for the R90S and R100RS of my youth I have always thought of myself as a BMW rider without a Beemer. nowadays I like the 800GT and the GT scooter (by Kymco) but I wonder what circumstance would put me in the market. what a great time we live in for someone contemplating a motorcycle purchase. which excludes you and me!

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    3. The F800GT was a popular test bike as well and it was booked up pretty early. I still like the airhead bikes and there were some pretty nice looking R90S and R100RS bikes there and most were ridden not trailered. I don't think that I'm in the market for a new bike anytime soon but it was nice to know that I haven't been completely spoiled by three wheels. I still remembered to put my foot down when coming to a stop and countersteering.

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