Our new BMW

Against all odds I (read that as: we) DID buy a brand-new, liquid-cooled, super-duper, all-options-included BMW R1200GS. Yessir….. It turned out to be too complex to ‘import’ my two old BMW’s into Italy, and with help of a friend and the movers company (who carried them back with them for free !!), I sold them both.
That certainly wasn’t enough to get me a new one, not even a young used one. But then we also sold our house….. and that made the difference. So in the end, and with some adventurous traveling, we got us a new one.

Now, being the critical guy that I am, I have a few things I don’t like about it……. hence the eye-catching title…… but to give your troubled mind peace right from the start, the truth is that I LOVE the new steed. So there.

As usual when planning on getting something cheap second-hand…. we got the most expensive luxury new version….. *cough*
But Nina is at fault for that (again) and that’s my story.

Here’s me with the sales guy explaining me all the things I was to forget in a jiffy…. must have been the excitement! Took me a few days to get the Navigator off after that …. *grin*



So here are some observations….. .in case you are contemplating a similar purchase… in no particular order

– The much lauded automatic shift is a nice feature, but….. I shift smoother myself using the clutch and don’t use it much. I have to THINK to use it, whereas manual shifting is just ingrained.

– I hate the high-beam finger trigger and can never grasp it in time. When I picked the bike up (from Siena) everything took longer (this is Italy) and in the end I had to ride half the distance in the dark !

– I also hate the new layout of the turn signal switch. After twelve years of using the left thumb for turning left and the right thumb for turning right and canceling both, this just has ingrained in my old brain. Not only do I keep forgetting to use the left thumb when wanting to signal right, I also cannot FIND the nutty small switch to do it with. This is distracting and dangerous. In addition, the horn switch sits underneath it somewhere. Fortunately I never use the horn, except when to signal to Nina that I am home !

– The rotary computer/navigator controller is nice, but only when stopped…..

– I never had a custom saddle, and the new GS is no exception. Stock saddle. Nina likes hers better, she slides a little less forward. I liked the old 1200GS saddle better,
I think this one has a worse angle for the rider. But I’ll get used to it I guess.

– This one is weird ! It feels less steady somehow. At walking speed it feels as if it wants to fall over and needs constant steering corrections. I had Michelin Pilotroads on my other 2 bikes too, I don’t think that is the problem. Time will tell. It could be just a little shift in balance somehow.

– I went for the stock BMW cases, which are large enough now that we are not doing week-long travel anymore, but I don’t like them opening to the side and everything falling out. The fact that they can be made smaller is nice when you ride in cities, but we don’t. In hindsight I’d have preferred my old Xplorer cases, but they weren’t readily available. And I wanted to order the bike, being bikeless !!

– I have some non-BMW cylinder protectors mounted, because the ones I wanted were not available. Works for me… I even managed to mount a GoPro mount on them (separate story). These are from the German SW-Motech.

– I DO miss my tankbag… the old one doesn’t fit :-( and now where do I put my SLR !!??

– I have ESA now…. which is nice. No more fiddling with the pre-tension knob. We mostly ride two-up, but not always.

– Oh and I have cruise control…… scary !! I used it on the highways, but nowhere else. I use it in my cars almost ALL of the time, but for some reason prefer to be in total control myself when riding. Go figure.

– The remote ‘keyless’ ignition key….. I hear they break easy, and you STILL need the physical key to open your cases and to take off the navigator. Other than that it is easy starting the bike keyless for sure. Unlocking the Navigator for some reason never goes smooth and I guess that’s where people break the key ? (And you really DON’T want to do that, because the thing is crazily expensive!)

– Yes, I got the Navigator 6 to go with the bike. Hey, if you are spending, might as well spend all. I am a Garmin fan, have 4 different types of them now. And as with most, each new one takes getting used to. I haven’t used it enough yet to tell you whether I like it or prefer my old 350LM better. The Nav6 DOES have a nice large screen, that’s for sure, and it integrates with the rotatory controller on the left handlebar.

– The bike is bloody expensive ! But heck, I sold the two others AND my house, so damn the torpedoes. Everybody here (we visited several dealers) told us to only buy the bike with ALL THREE addition packs, otherwise it would be difficult to sell again or trade it in in a few years. So we did.

Some more things…. GOOD things…..

– The stock headlight (and daylight LEDS) are much better than the old candle. With this dipped beam you can still actually SEE something. Hurray !

– The engine is smooth (of course it vibrates, it’s a boxer!) and so is the gearbox !

– The Italian dealer said ‘Oh noooo, we cannot put Michelin on it off-factory !!’….. and then they did anyway. So I have my Michelin Pilotroads on it, as I wanted. Hahah!

– It feels a tad lighter than the previous GS, which is good.

– Even if I don’t use them all, I have all the options and it’s a luxurious feeling. Hey, I think I earned it…. *grin*

– There’s a big round knob to turn the windscreen up and down, that’s a definite improvement over the two small screws on either side on the old model. Not sure I stick with the stock windscreen, since I am 6’ tall, but for now it will do.

– Oh did I mention the computer? I am a computer guy. So I love the new trip computer, and also the motor and trip information carried over to the Navigator6 ! The only problem is that learning too many new things at a time (I am learning Italian) can be too big a burden on old brains. Some thing just don’t go in as quick as they used to anymore and there’s a LOT of switches and functions to remember with both the new bike and the new cars !!!

At the Siena dealer. Our neighbour Massimo came along to drive Nina’s car back. (Nina is still a little afraid to drive here in Italy).



It was only the next morning that I got to see it in more detail and at my own pace. Picking it up and driving through the night was a rather hectic affair


Some road kill of the previous night….. Italian mosquitoes…. or African, who knows….


The blue thing underneath is to help me move the bike around in the garage. I bought it when I still had the two bikes in the rather cramped garage. Frankly, I don’t use it much now, it is quicker just to turn the bike and park it along the while the regular way. Oh well….


The few ‘farkles’ added thus far, the SW-Motech cylinder protectors. Maybe not the nicest, but they serve a purppose :-)


Ah, the ‘Garage Project’….. which will go on for the foreseeable future….. here the empty rear wall….


….. and now with my gear rack mounted….. saves me from lugging everything in and out of the house all of the time.


The arrow marks the spot…… of the ruddy high-beam ‘trigger’. One of my main peeves!



And another arrow at yet another peeve….. the Navigator lock


Peeve number three….. the overly complicated left handle….. I am sure it will take me many miles to ‘ingrain’ it again


We didn’t have any ‘soft’ protection on our previous GS top case, so this is an improvement. But Nina thinks it pushes too much in her back. She is only 5′ tall (small), so maybe that is part of the problem


Oh yes, and our version came with the spoke wheels. Apparently an advantage (maybe only offroad?), I dont know. At least it is less cleaning to do compared to the closed rims.


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