05 November, 2011
BMW F650GS Twin
Today was the realisation of a 20 year old dream. I got my BMW F650GS bike.
When I was young, and still at school I rode a 50cc and later a 440cc motorbike. I loved it, but as I got to the dating scene, decided a car would be better, and left the motorbike scene. At the time I decided some time later in my life I'll get a bike again when I could afford a "proper" bike.
Fast forward quite a few years to 2005.
My brother Rudi is a bit of an adventure freak. One of the trips he had undertaken was ride his bike from London to Cape Town all on his own. He did it in just under 2 months, and he did it on a F650GS. The 15 000 km went without indecent. With hind sight I would have loved to have been at our parents house when he arrived, but we had people over that day, and I felt bad leaving them. This was another lesson learned. Be there for other peoples mile stones and achievements. Any case. When speaking to my brother before he left for Cape Town about his trip, I realised what a good bike he had, and at that point decided when I get my "big" bike it will be a F650GS.
At the end of 2010 I got a Bajaj 180 very cheap and used it to work and back, but it gave up the ghost a few months ago, and a was bound to the car, and lots of traffic. I missed the little bike, but wanted more power. I was also looking forward to joining the Toyrun at the end of November. Now it looked like I would be missing that as well.
I applied at my bank (ABSA) for a personal loan, and after 6 weeks still had not heard if the loan was either approved or declined. Very bad service from ABSA if you ask me. I lodged a complaint and then for the 1st time in 6 weeks there was some action, and eventually the loan was approved at a rate I thought was quite high.
I started looking for a bike. The plan was to get a bike with panniers. Trish and I have been talking for some time that we would like to go away for weekends once in a while. Just the two of us and my idea was to do this on a bike. A bike is cheaper, and I think much more thrilling way of enjoying a weekend away. This is also where the panniers come in. One for her. And one for me.
My heart was set on a canary yellow BMW. To me its an awesome colour. But as the cookie crumbled none were available when I started looking. I cant (or rather don't want to) afford new. I find it just to expensive. But I wanted to buy from a reputable dealer, and the only real dealers would be BMW Motorrad.
I looked and looked for a bike. None at Corlett drive. None in Boksburg either. Only place where there seemed some were available was in Pretoria. We took a drive out there last weekend. There were 2 possibilities, and neither of them were in yellow. One was a Dakar, and the other a blue GS with panniers. I liked the bike with the panniers, but from internet research thought it was a little expensive, since the panniers were home made, and the milage was also a little high. We went to another BMW motorrad dealer, and a 650 Dakar which was available was snatched up already. It seems the 650GS and Dakars go like hot cakes.
We spoke some more, and looked at various options. Ideally we would like a slightly bigger bike
which would easily accommodate us on weekend trips. But the 800 I think is a little bit to big for town commuting, as I want to save petrol to work and back. The idea of the 'F650GS Twin' or better described as the 'K72 F650GS' came up. Maybe it would be worth it to now spend a little extra, get the stronger 650, and be set for quite some time to come. Looking on the internet there were a few twins available, and a specific one at Zambezi Motorrad. I phoned them up, and a long story short found out the interest rate BMW finance would charge me was 1.5% less than what ABSA offered. The service from Zambezi was excellent and I therefore decided to buy the bike there and then without seeing it. Some friends found this strange. But honestly...if you know what the colour is (Silver / grey). Its a 2009 model (How much can be wrong with it), and only 13 800 on the clocks (Its still brand new). Why the need to see the bike before hand? I signed the OTP, emailed it through and organised to pick up the bike on Saturday morning. This all happened on Wednesday.
That night I could hardly sleep. I woke up at around one. Adrenalin pumping through my vains in the anticipation of getting the bike. Same with Thursday. I felt a little bad, as it affected my concentration a little at work, and I felt a little tired by 2PM.
Saturday morning came and again I woke up very early, and eventualy getting up making a cup of tea, and get through the last 4 days of personal emails. By 5AM I felt tired again, and tried to sleep. Couldn't. Its only 4 hours before I can get my new bike!
On the way there we stopped of for a cache in Pretoria. We doing the Play play park series by Villagegoers, and all caches are in the Johannesburg area, except one. And since the only one not in Johannesburg is in Pretoria and that is where we getting the bike from decided to grab it on the way. We found the cache, after phoning a friend for help, and then I really started to get excited. I think the last time I was this excited was on my honeymoon night.
Arriving at Zambezi Motorrad I saw the bike properly for the 1st time. The silver was a little darker then I had expected. But later on out in the sun it was more the lightness I had expected.
With hind sight I maybe should not have bought a silver bike. Although silver is the most common colour for a vehicle, it is the least visible colour. I compensated for this by purchasing a "Think bike" jacked to make me more visible. More about that later. Either way I liked what I saw.
Then it was time to sign the papers. And lots of them. But all was well prepared, and it went quite quickly. It felt that every thing was well explained to me. I also got a 2 year mechanical warranty on the engine, which I did not expect. Nice "bonus".
Oh yes .... Oliver, a good friend of mine has the F800, and he sent me the user manual on the F650GS. I had read most of it before Saturday.
The only issue I could have with the bike is that the grips were in a bad state. Quick explenation: BMW bikes, as an optional extra have heated grips. The previous guy must have ridden with them on for a long time, and they had melted a little. But then it is a second hand bike. If that is the only thing which is wrong, then I can more then live with it.
By the time I had to take delivery of the bike and I was taken through all the functions, knobs and lights it was really only a recap of what I had read. And I felt I could ask the questions the manual could not answer when I was reading it. I think the Motorrad guy was quite impressed with what I knew. It really paid of to read the manual before hand.
On delivery I also got a rucksack, T-shirt (which was exchanged for a bigger one), and a 'cramp buster'.
It was only then that I for the first time rode the bike. And boy what a lovely feeling. I did a quick figure 8, just to feel the heaviness of the bike, and then parked it and suited up for the trip home.
My helmet got passed on to Jerome who just turned 16 and got his own bike, licence and freedom. So I used an old Aero helmet (or whatever it is called).
After suiting up it was off the Auto Glass to get it approved for insurance purposes, and then it was time to go home. I promised myself that I would keep the revs under 5000 until I am used to the bike. And yes I did. We got to the highway and just before we got on my hands got really hot. For a second I got a fright and thought the bike was overheating. Then I realised the heated grips must be on and saw the setting was on 2. Whew!! Panic station over. Once on the highway I opened her up a little after 5 km or so. Nice! I like the power. But boy .... there is a lot of wind at 120 kph. I never had that on my Bajaj. Then again the Bajaj never got over 90. It took quite a bit of getting used to. Also the indicators are different from other bikes I had ridden, but by the end of the day I am almost used to it.
The noise within the helmet was also really bad. So much so that I wished the trip over because of the noise, long before my butt got sore. Also the pressure of the helmet of my forehead gave me a headache. So much so that I decided to just give in and buy a new helmet (see further below).
The bike has 6 gears. I think all the other bikes I have had have only 5. So it is something to get used to as well. To gear up to 6, instead of leaving her in 5th.
Once we got off the highway back in Edenvale, I opened her up a little from the stop street. The throttle was not even half way I think, and the acceleration was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. When we arrived at M&A I had quite a headache, and decided to get a new helmet at Full Throttle.
At Full Throttle I got Nitro helmet (with complementary cap). It is a flip up helmet, and it has a sun visor. It makes one feel like a fighter pilot. Trish saw a black Mars helmet which she liked, and I decided to buy that for her as well. Then at least she has her own helmet when we go on our Sunday morning breakfast rides.
At first I was very sceptical on the hinged helmet idea, but pulling down the hinge it felt and sounded quite solid. I wore my helmet on the way home, and took it on the highway for a short ride. Wind noise still quite loud but much better then the old red helmet. I will definitely use the earplugs, and we got Trish some as well.
With the "Go Live" of our software project at work being only 18 days away, I have been putting in some extra hours to try and get everything done which has to get done. Which means I usually get home at around 7PM, and it is quite dark. With a silver grey bike being less visible, I decided to buy a "Think Bike" vest, just to be more visible.
Once home, I added my GPSr holder to the bike, and then took Trish on a short ride too her brother to show off the new bike. The way she held me I knew she was very nervous. But she seemed excited as well. I took it very easy with her, and only opened it up a little once we were in 6th gear doing about 60 and took the bike up to about 90. Just to give her a feeling.
I also left my sun glasses at home, and opted to try my normal glasses with the flip down sun visor. I think it works quite OK.
Once home I took my daughter to my folks so they could see the bike. She had been wanting to go for a ride the whole morning, but I had promised myself that once I got a bigger bike Trish would be the 1st on to get a ride.
All in all today was a milestone day. One I had been looking forward to in a long long time. BMW made the experience very nice, and was the cherry on cake. The cream was the new helmets.
Tomorrow after church and Rein's first communion I will take Trish on a breakfast ride to a nearby coffee shop. A shop where we did a geocache some years ago, which she enjoyed at the time. Then the weekend after a little further. And hopefully in no time we can go away for a weekend.