Firstly, what a great first ride, even better that the recce that Andy, Doug and I went on two weeks ago. A good attendance and everyone seemed to be having a great time even in the sometimes challenging conditions. I think we all got a lot out of this ride, enjoyment , confidence and a sense of achievement.
I had the luck to try out the new water cooled BMW R1200GS over the weekend of the Ride Out. Alan Jefferies were kind enough to lend me the demonstrator from Saturday afternoon through to Monday morning. I was really looking forward to trying the bike on the narrow roads of our Ride Out which I hoped would put it to the test. As things turned out the ride proved to be a better test than I could have imagined. I was comfortable with the bike right from the start, except trying to remember which buttons did what on the extensive menu of electronic options available on this version of the bike. The bike was quite tall but it always felt stable at slow speeds and was easy to ride feet up in most situations so in the end I just stopped worrying about it and by the end of the ride was used to it. The extra horse power over the previous model was immediately noticeable and there seemed to be lots of go whatever gear or speed. The bike was very comfortable and the new windscreen gave better protection than I remember when I have ridden the older model. As those who went on the ride will know it was a cold day with damp greasy roads so the heated grips were welcome as well as the adjustable windscreen.
The ride always felt secure and riding the bike soon gives the rider a lot of confidence as it feels incredibly planted in even the trickiest road conditions. I even rode it through the snow at the middle of the road on the snowy bits and it felt just as good. I have to confess to being sceptical about the riding modes etc but soon found that on the soft suspension setting with RAIN ride mode the whole character of the bike changed to give smooth progressive acceleration and plush ride which suited the snowy conditions perfectly. As you have probably gathered by now I was mightily impressed by this bike and I think it is an excellent development of the old bike. I found it enjoyable to ride in all conditions and great fun to ride as, when condition permit, it could really get a move on and exhibited such secure handling I had no difficulty negotiation the great bends in the Dales.
The Alan Jefferies Staff were most helpful and even seemed to forgive me for not getting the bike back to them by 10am as promised (sorry guys) due to the 4” of snow that greeted me at 6am at home that day. (perhaps I should have tried it in that depth of snow as well but the £1000 excess was a mighty dissuading factor. Anyway, many thanks to Louise for letting me have and extended ride and Steve for patiently explaining the controls to me, although even he did not know how to alter the bikes clock! I know that those on the ride liked the look of the bike and I would certainly recommend a test ride to fully appreciated what a great bike this is. Would I buy one – YES. Will I buy one, still awaiting deliberations of the boss!!!!!