Friday, 7 October 2011

A very big Adventure

A rare effort to put pen (finger) to paper (keyboard).

A lot of my summer one-up motoring recently has been on two wheels. The GS has been doing sterling service for trips from here on the Sussex coast to London and all points in the M25, as well as a recent daily back road commute from Horsham to East Grinstead.

Surprisingly, contrary to general expectation, it is not in its element sliding through inner London jams.

In fact, the capital’s traffic is so heavy – and usually comprises of wider commercial vehicles – that gaps are non-existent and even a thin bloke on a push bike couldn’t slip through. In the summer you end up sitting stationary in between lanes, sweltering in your riding gear, and waiting for the light to change along with all the smug air-conditioned cagers.

I know it’s a lardy and wide GS, but really most of the time you could be Dougie Lampkin and a giant tube of KY jelly and still have zero chance of squeezing through the jams. Even when there’s room to filter, it’s a high stress occupation. Riding down two lanes of traffic you’re always looking for signs of a lane changes, gaps in the queue just inviting someone to dive into, as well as those detached drivers that just wander along oblivious to any bikes filtering through the traffic.

Trust me, it may be quicker than a car, but relaxing it is not. And in the dark and/or in poor weather its plain exhausting.

No, the bike’s element is in moving single carriageway traffic where a car driver is condemned to sit in a line moving at the pace of the slowest vehicle. On a bike you can slip past without the need for a lot of space, and make reasonable A to B journey pace without needing to ride like your hair’s on fire.

However, if my GS has one downside, it’s the amount of buffeting and wind noise that spills off the short screen. Earlier in my ownership experience I did change my helmet to a Schuberth which was much quieter, but this didn’t really solve the problems.

So that’s how I ended up at Vines Motorrad a few weeks ago to try a GS Adventure, which has a bigger screen.

And yes, the taller screen did make a big difference, but BMW’s new for 2010 engine was more impressive still. Neither did I struggle with the seat height, in fact I’d have to say it fitted perfectly.

A bit of man maths later (a new ‘screen plus imminent service plus warranty renewal = price to change) and I was the owner of a full-fat ex-BMW management machine that was 6 months old and had done 2500 miles.

A perfect bit of kit for an slow old biker with bad knees.


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