New shoes on the GSA

Mounted the second set of Pirelli Scorpion Trail II on the R1200 GSA. Great touring tire. Had a plug in the old rear, and was also starting to wear down quite a bit.

Pirelli took it a step further with the II designation, redesigning the tires to better suit road-focused adventure touring bikes. As a touring / sport-touring tire, the Trail II offers ample confidence-inspiring grip and predictability. This is not surprising since the Trail IIs are derived from the Angel GT. Compared to the old Scorpion Trail the new tire features a rounder profile that creates a contact patch 6 percent shorter and 10 percent wider. The new tread pattern does away with the intersecting grooves and the big block tread pattern of the old Trails in favor of a more street-bred, continuous block pattern that delivers improved lateral stability with less road noise and vibration. Pirelli claims the new profile and tread reduces heat and increases longevity by 50 percent without the need for a harder compound.

Deep, steeply angled grooves promise to discharge water more effectively, and new compounds will improve both wet and dry weather performance. The front tire has a single, 100 percent silica compound while the dual-compound rear tire features a 100 percent silica shoulder and 70 percent silica center that balances corner grip with longevity. Pirelli’s super-secret compound cocktail is concocted using a unique process of continuously mixing polymers and resins with silica that chemically bonds to carbon black for more consistent wear and performance

 

Current bikes

Figured I could write a few lines about the bikes I use for touring and just good ol’ mountain road carving.

My main touring bike is a 2015 BMW R1200 GSA. I’ve had this bike since new. I have done all the maintenance and service myself on all the bikes I have owned, and that goes the two bikes I currently have. You get to know your bike a lot better, and so you can do a much better job having the knowledge if something happens on the road. While talking about maintenance, I should mention that I also use and carry on trips, a GS911, giving me the ability I to diagnose potential issues, as well as reset maintenance reminders.

The draft horse - 2015 BMW R1200 GSA

2015 BMW R1200 GSA

The GSA is my main touring bike, for obvious reasons. Longer range, with a close to 9 gallon tank, better wind protection, ability to go off-road, very comfortable at highway speeds, long suspension travel, full electronic package, (dynamic traction control, dynamic suspension, automatic traction control, ABS, ride modes with automatic traction, suspension and ABS selection. You can also pack a lot of camping gear on it.

The GSA is a very tall bike, with a 35-36 inch seat height. and gets even taller if you use some of the aftermarket seats. I currently use a Russel Day-Long, which I find do be a very good all day riding kind of seat. The windscreen I use is a PIG tall touring screen, supported by extra shield supports on both sides.

The bike has a set of Clearwater Erica lights, which are mounted on the crash bar on each side of the bike. The light can be easily adjusted using the “wonder wheel” on the left handlebar, when yo can adjust different light intensities for low- and high beam, along with separate light intensities during day /night. The brake light is a Clearwater Billie light, also fully customizable from the canbus.

Other extras are radiator protectors on both sides, bigger side stand foot, BMW Navigator 5 GPS and a Uniden R3 radar detector, among a few other improvements.

I absolutely love this work horse. Never had an issue with it, except had the water pump changed under warranty,  as it started trickling coolant from the weep hole. Current tires: Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2. 40/36 PSI.

I currently have around 40.000 miles on the bike.

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The thoroughbred, 2018 BMW S1000XR. I got this bike new in 2018. The main reason for getting the bike was to use it on short day trips, and weekend trips to the mountains. It can’t really compare at all to the R1200 GSA. Completely different animals. And this bike is exactly that, and animal, a beast. It is the fastest and most nimble bike I have ever ridden.

The Thoroughbred - 2018 BMW S1000XR

2018 BMW S1000XR

The S1000 XR has the same engine as the S1000RR, but tuned a little different (more torque mid-range). It is still basically a very angry-acting S1000 superbike engine, and its inline four runs at about 5K at ~70 mph.. It is my bike of choice on twisty mountain roads, as it is VERY planted, nimble, with a smooth power delivery that will do whatever you tell it to, whether it be sick acceleration out of corners, or power wheelies in first to fourth gear. It is not what I would characterize as a touring bike. It will do a daily commute, a cross country trip (again, I don’t consider it a touring bike, but it can certainly do it), it will (in capable hands) out-gun and out-handle many super-bikes. For some riders, this will be the ultimate motorcycle that can do almost anything to perfection. For me, it does everything to perfection, except being a perfect touring bike.

The XR also has dynamic traction control / electronic suspension control / ABS Pro (leaning ABS) / Ride modes. These are much more refined on the XR than on the GSA. The XR also has shift assist Pro (butter smooth clutch-less up and down, regardless of engine load). My GSA has shift assist, but is far from the shift assist Pro on the XR.

So, the R1200GSA for long distance touring, and the S1000XR for serious fun in the mountains, with some weekend camping blended in. I currently have around 13.000 miles on this bike.

Off to riding Western NC Mountains

Had to get away for a few days. What better than riding and camping in the North Carolina mountains. Basecamp at Blueridge Motorcycle Campground. Camped there quite a few times, and the place still looks good. Had the campground for myself until Thursday afternoon, when a few more rolled in. Among them was about 10 riders from the Nashville BMW club. Great bunch of guys.

Headed out Friday up 276 to the parkway, and followed it until I turned off at the Asheville 25 exit. Wanted to pay Eurosport of Asheville a visit. Had heard a lot of good things about this dealership. Very nice place, great people.

 

Continued out of Asheville up Hwy 63, and NC209 to Hot Springs, both excellent motorcycle roads. Stopped in Hot Springs for lunch, before riding back down 209, through Waynesville, then into Cruso on 276.

Sat down with the Nashville gang after supper to exchange tall tales.

Went out again Saturday and planned to head up to Mt. Mitchell, but it just was not to be. At Craggy Gardens, The rain, wind and fog got so bad I could hardly see 10 feet in front of me, and I had enough, went back down to 276, and back to camp.

 

Packed up Sunday morning to head home. 4 days go by in a hurry when you’re having fun.

Good times. Nice riding. The XR is such a beast up in the mountains. Love it.

My all-time favorite bike

There is no comparison. My 2018 BMW S1000XR is by far the best bike I have owned so far, and I have owned a few. If you want a feeling that the bike is part of you when riding, this is it, for me anyway. 

Superb handling, scary fast, outstanding technology, and a superbike engine, that just sounds wonderful. Can’t go wrong with this bike.

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