I have gone through my fair share of bikes, a 1972 Honda Z50, 1984 Honda Elite 125, a 1995 Honda CBR600F3, a 2000 Honda CBR600F4, 2007 CBR125R, 2009 BMW G650 X-Country, 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 400R, 2006 Suzuki Vstrom 1000, a 2001 Honda XR250R, and my current steed a 2014 Moto Guzzi V7. That's ten bikes, not including the new 2016 Honda Ruckus scooter. I have no idea why I cannot be happy, or live with the bike I have. I get bored.
Lately I have been on the scooter kick and the idea of having a large Vespa, such as the 300GTS Super Sport would be awesome. It's fast enough, I can tour, commute and it's practical around the city. But will I get bored of it? Will I go through another ADV bike phase? I already have a scooter in the garage, will I still ride the Ruckus if I have a Vespa? Too many questions and not enough answers.
I think a lot of the problem is my bike purchases have all been compromises, don't want to spend too much money on a two-wheeled toy. I guess that's the dilemma of most people that aren't independently wealthy. Mind you if I added up all the money spent on bikes in the last 10 years I could have just got the one that I wanted and be done with it.
So what is the one? For all you ADV riders out there, this is gonna sound lame, but the one, is a BMW R1200GS. I fucking love that thing. Oh and it gets better, after reading The Long Way Round, and fantasizing about doing my own adventure is when it all began. That was 2005. Then I watch the video series, and went whoa. The 1150GS was awesome. I mean it was way too big a bike for that kind of trip. If I were to ride around the world it would be on a Yamaha XT250 in Austin Vince style. But those big beepers were awesome. Then the 1200GS comes out! Even better.
In 2009 I briefly rode a used '06 that Atlantic Motoplex had, and the love affair blossomed. But the wallet never, so it remained an unobtainable dream. Bikes came and went.
The first Fundy Adventure Rally gave me an incredible opportunity to spend an entire day flogging a F800GS. It was a bike on my radar that would be a reasonably priced substitute for it's big brother. The 800GS was awesome, but not really awesome. I never enjoyed it on the highway. It was buzzy, and not nearly as highway capable as my then current bike, the VStrom. If I'm shelling out $15K, the damn thing better be comfortable on the highway.
Oh, and just a little rant, what the fuck is up with BMW seats? Are they some kind of Gestapo torture device. Shit they are uncomfortable. My G650 was the same way. My first long trip on the bike, left me in a crippled state, and a numb arse.
The Strom was a very capable bike, great highway machine, could eat miles while cruising anywhere from 120-150kph. Any hard off road would be difficult. The Strom was quite top heavy and had cast wheels. But it was basically a gas and go, change the oil every once and while machine. I do regret selling that machine. It was set up perfect. Not sure what I was really thinking.
So I continued to dream of the big GS. Everyone I'd see one the road would turn my head and stare with envy.
I figured I'd put the whole GS thing behind me and go with a retro bike. I like the retro bikes, and would fill the garage with them if I could. The Guzzi is an awesome bike. It has tonnes of character, and the best exhaust note. It's really comfortable, and with the small Dart Flyscreen is a very capable tourer. There is no logical reason to sell it.
Along comes The Fundy Adventure Rally part Deux. I have to admit I was pretty intimidated by the 1200GS, not riding it on the slab, but to push it through its paces in an off road rally. I was really hoping Rob was going give me the CMG CRF250L. One it's small and light, and two, I was interested in buying one.
I was scheduled to ride in Clinton Smout's BMW rider course, and had thought I'd be on the 250L. I hadn't ridden off road, or even on a gravel road in a year, and wasn't too confident in my abilities. I scared the fuck out myself a couple of times the previous year on the 800GS, and wasn't keen on repeating that.
Rob had other plans and I ended up the CMG longterm test 1200GS. Yup, it was as big as I remember it was, but now it was liquid cooled with even more power and throttle-by-wire. I was given the bike at the start of the class. No time to get to know the big girl again.
We bonded immediately, and the love affair lasted a whole two days. I really didn't want to give it back. You can read my review of the GS here http://biglandadvfilms.blogspot.ca/2015/09/my-thoughts-on-big-beemer-r1200gs.html
To sum it up the big Beemer took everything I and the rally could throw at it in stride. Fast gravel roads, steep, rock strewn ATV trails, and multi-lane highway.
Oh, and then there is the price.........BMW Motorrad Canada pricing is as follows
Base price $19800
Triple Black Model (black engine and spoked wheels) $715
Touring Package (Dynamic ESA, GPS prep, Onboard computer pro, cruise control, luggage case holder) $1750
Freight and PDI $750
Grand total of ...........$23015.00 or about the price of nicely equipped VW Golf.
The negatives, besides the price. The pure size and weight of the bike. It's big. Closest dealer is in Moncton an hour away, and service is mucho dinero. But you have to pay to play.
The night after the rally I joined former head honcho of Honda Canada, Warren Milner by the campfire and we chatted about the new Africa Twin that was due out. Specifically about the DCT (dual clutch transmission) and mass centralization. I was very intrigued about the new bike, and filed it away in the back of my mind.
Could the Africa Twin be a better "Perfect Bike"? A test ride on the Honda is in order. So far it has received glowing reviews, and the DCT has impressed more than a few diehard motorcyclists.
Whatever "perfect bike" awaits me down the road, it will be awhile. Two and half years until the 50. A fitting time to get the one.