26 February 2011

New G650GS out in the US

Got a mail from SJ BMW this week that they'll have the new G650GS, the single cylinder bike, in the shop today.

As we were coming back from Chiro we stopped as the shop is not that far off our normal way home and took a look. It's a really good looking bike!

2011 BMW G650GS

In reality it looks much smaller than on this photo - the bike looks lightweight and small in person. The color combination as seen above is really awesome. Seat looked to be fine, instrument cluster clean and much more modern than on the old F650GS single or G650GS. We were told the bike was $8600 with ABS and heated grips which is quite a bit but I think kind of along the lines of what to expect from BMW.

Andrea liked it a lot and had a chance to sit on one that was just sold. Jeff, the proud new owner was telling us that he had owned quite some of the 650 singles and rode them more than the R1200GS which for him is a garage queen. Na, wouldn't happen to me. I like the big sister too much ...

Overall this looks like a reasonable, well made, and well thought out bike. The fork looks a little bit chopper like, but WTH. Definitely worth taking a look even for not so small people as the bike is lightweight (192kg road ready), tall enough for taller riders, but gives a small and confidence inspiring feeling.

BMW seems to have two color options: red and white, while the seat can have red or grey inserts. For this bike, I really like the red one better. Even as I liked the white R1200GS better than the red ...

2011 BMW G650GS - white

23 February 2011

First Step to Panniers Done

As planned, I ordered a new and very narrow exhaust for my bike. The plan is to get Micatech boxes with the Pilot mount and a full sized left box, therefore a narrow exhaust was needed.

Hattech has something really nice and it is being build and shipped this week. Will probably take quite a while to arrive here, but until then, a photo has to suffice:

As you can see, the exhaust is so narrow, the outside edge is actually inside of the signals. The Micatech boxes, when mounted, have a small gap to the signals. Looking forward to installing both.

I haven't ordered the boxes yet as I want to install the exhaust first and see whether I like it. Therefore size and shape of the boxes is yet to be decided.

One more shot:

13 February 2011

Naked ...

If I ever get a naked motorcycle, it has to look as good as this:

Seat looks like it is the low one, but the rest is just beautiful. Ah, I have my GS and I will keep it for quite some time but this would make a good stable mate ... ;-)

12 February 2011

Yes, she can ...

After the several practice runs with our day trips getting longer and more difficult, we did one of the more challenging rides here in the area: Sunnyvale to Fremont, San Ramon, Livermore, The Junction, Mt. Hamilton, San Jose, Sunnyvale.

Spring Time in California

11 February 2011

For the German Readers

Quote from SWR3 about the "Schwaben": "Mir könne alles – außer Bahnhof" ...

I was laughing like mad about that ...

Never Stop Dreaming

No further comment needed.

09 February 2011

Crazy Desert Chase on R1200GS

Some people are crazy ...

Tires? Tires! Which Tires?

If the tires on my R1200GS continue to wear as they did over the last 5200 miles I will need new tires within about 1000 to 2000 miles. Closer to 1000 when I don't want to ride slicks ...

Yes, it's kind of incredible, I rode the big R within 6 months of ownership more than I rode the F800GS in a full year. And that with all the crazy work going on, the long hours in the office and so on. True, the trips to Lake Tahoe and San Diego added quite a lot, but I probably wouldn't have done them on the F because of my problems with buffeting and headaches.

So, back to tires. I'm uncertain what kind of tires I should get. I really would love to get a set of Heidenau K60 Scout (links to German website of manufacturer), but they are really hard to get in the US. Those are probably the most interesting 50:50 tires for on and off road riding. Not that I'm doing all too much on non-paved roads, but if I do it would be nice to have some more traction than with 3/4 worn Metzeler Tourance EXP (which I don't like anyways).

So, the Heidenaus are not available until late spring, early summer. What other options do I have:
  1. Continental TKC80 - hard core knobby for big dual sport bikes. The rear wears like chocolate in the sun but the traction on non-paved roads seems great.
  2. Metzeler Karoo T (Traveller) - same as TKC80.
  3. Michelin Anakee II - that's the tire I had on the F800GS. I was unimpressed first when I got the bike but overall it's a decent tire and it was in much better shape after 4500 miles on the F than the Tourance EXP after the same distance on the R. Hard to compare on the heavier and more powerful bike, but overall, I just liked the Anakee II better. Not too bad on non-paved roads, but not even close to the TKC or the Karoo and even way less capable than the K60.
  4. Continental Trail Attack - gets raving reviews from German magazines for on-road touring. Even less off-road biased than the Anakee.
  5. Pirelli Scorpion Trail - the tire that comes on the Ducati Multistrada 1200. Seems to be a pretty good tire, good reviews, similar to the Anakee and Trail Attack.
[Please note that the links are just examples for the tread pattern, I haven't necessarily linked to the correct size.]

Also - where to buy them? First I checked with my dealership but that wasn't so successful. A set of Anakee II was offered at $400 + $170 mounting ($120 if I bring in the wheels) - all before tax. As happy as I am normally with this dealer, that's just too much. I can get a set of these tires for $280 online, $300 from local store, another $50 for mounting there. It got me thinking of mounting the tires myself. It can't be that hard. I don't have the tools to do it though and as I have the luggage and the 6000 mile service coming up I might go with an affordable local shop now and re-think self mounting and tools for it for the next set.  

At the moment I tend towards a dual sport tire again (Anakee, Trail Attack, or Scorpion Trail) + ordering a set of K60 to get them in as soon as they become available. Then I have them at least when the issue comes up again. 

Man, too many decisions around this bike and definitely too expensive ... but what the h..., it's a hobby and what do I work for?

06 February 2011


Andrea was always a bit scared of riding up to Mt. Hamilton on her own bike. It's a fun road, but very twisty and very narrow, some hairpin turns, lots of blind corners, often dirt on the road and the road itself is very bumpy and in a bad shape.

But today, she did it! YEAH!

We left Sunnyvale after a quick lunch, went over some very weird "Express Ways" where we were standing more at traffic lights than actually driving. They should import some traffic planners from Düsseldorf and have their traffic light setup done properly so that traffic can flow on the bigger roads, not on the smaller ones. But ones we were through San Jose, the fun started:

Sunnyvale to Mt. Hamilton - no highways

To show the real challenge, this is the last part of that ride:

Fun twisties going up there ...

It was a beautiful day and a beautiful ride. It's February, spring is already coming:

California Poppy

Cherries ...

Looking down to San Jose

The rearview

On the way up

It was really windy ...

At Lick Observatory

Next time we do the long route to Livermore ...

05 February 2011

One More Option

These, maybe mounted to the original (more sturdy) Adventure racks (makes it 36 inches wide, while this is 34.5"):

Side View:

I don't like the color with that wave in there, but plain black wouldn't be too bad.

Advantages: can use original exhaust, top loading, a bit cheaper (when getting narrow exhaust for the Micas).

Disadvantage: less nice company, more obtrusive mounts, less bomb-proof, a bit wider.

They are fairly big, but not very wide, so still in the "don't take too much crap"-camp.