During our weekend visit with the kids in Las Vegas, my son Gregory and I once again checked out a pair of BMW motorcycles. We did the same thing last year (when we rode an R1200RT and an R1200 GS). This year we rode a K1200GT and another R1200GS.
Neither of us had ridden the 4-cylinder GT before. I loved the GS I rode last year and was happy to ride one again, although I really wanted to check out the GS Adventure (the Adventure, otherwise identical to the GS, has a higher sitting height, a larger tank, a larger windscreen, and some bolt-on accessories). Alas, the dealership didn’t have one available, but at least this time I got a pretty yellow GS!
The GT was awesome. It ran like a sewing machine . . . a really really fast one. Great suspension and riding position too. I found it a little cramped for my 6′ 4″ frame, but perhaps if I could have figured out how to raise the seat to its highest position I’d have been more comfortable. My son Gregory, only an inch shorter than me, felt right at home on it, so maybe my feeling of being cramped came from riding the taller GS first.
Having ridden a GS before, I felt right at home on this one, and in fact during our 250-mile ride I spent 90% of my time on it. It’s definitely a boxer twin . . . you’re constantly aware of those two big pistons at work, but it’s a good vibration that dampens out at higher RPM. The six-speed transmission was smooth, and although I’ve heard riders complain about the arrangement of BMW’s handgrip controls and switches, I didn’t have a bit of trouble adjusting to them. Some day, when I have the money (and Donna’s permission, of course), I’m going to get myself an R1200GS Adventure, probably a one- or two-year-old one. I’m ready for a dual-purpose motorcycle I can ride on pavement and dirt.
One thing I really like about BMW motorcycles is the riding position. On both my Electra Glide and Gold Wing, I had to buy bolt-on backrests in order to sit comfortably and take the strain off the small of my back. Not so with the Beemers. I believe I could have ridden either of our Las Vegas BMWs all day long without any back strain. The GT, other than being a little cramped (which, as I noted, I probably could have cured by raising the seat), felt comfortable and natural. The GS was taller (and the GS Adventure is taller yet), and the only problem I noticed was that I felt I was reaching for the handlebars (which look as if they can easily be adjusted to be closer to the rider).
As long as I’m being critical I’ll point out that while the GT (and last year’s RT) had cruise control, it’s not available for the GS or the Adventure. If BMW is interested in my opinion, it should be an option. A lot of riders take their dual sport bikes on long road trips, where cruise control is a godsend.
So where did we go? Valley of Fire, about 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas, back toward town along the north shore of Lake Mead, across the southern part of Las Vegas to Spring Mountain, then back home via Blue Diamond and Red Rock, a scenic 250-mile loop with plenty of curves and hills. We had to deal with strong gusty winds all day, but both motorcycles were up to it. We, on the other hand, felt like we’d been in the ring with a couple of sumo wrestlers. But it was a good tired!
Photos, you ask? Here are a few (click on any image to enlarge):
Top row, left to right:
- Lusting over an Egli Vincent at the Las Vegas Harley dealership
- Bikes & boyz, getting ready to hit the road
- My pretty yellow rental GS
Bottom row, left to right:
- Gregory on the GT at Valley of Fire
- Gregory at the Spring Mountain Saloon (a popular southern NV biking destination)
- Me at the Spring Mountain Saloon
© 2010 – 2011, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.