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Test ride report on BMW R1200GS and Triumph America

Discussion in 'Moto Club' started by fnfalman, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    I test rode the R1200GS at Brown BMW in Pomona this last weekend.

    I've pretty much test rode everything that BMW has in the current inventory except for the R1200GS and the massive touring couches. I never thought much of me being an adventure dirt rider type so I didn't have too much interest in the big GS. However, after riding the KTM 950 a few time and having my name on the list for the new 990 Adventure, I thought that I'd owe myself for a quickie ride on the GS Adventure before truly settling for the KTM.

    Naturally, the test ride is only around the street so I cannot comment on its off-roadability. But on road? WOW!!! The bike has modest power by today's standard but it definitely can get up and go. The new boxer twin has counterbalancer so the engine revs up much smoother than before. The weird, agricultural vibration of the old boxer engine doesn't surface until closer to red line (high 7000-RPM). It's there the rest of the time but muted. Some diehards called it loss of "character" but I call it loss of "hand numbness".

    The servo-assisted brakes are way too sensitive even when compared to my Rockster's own version of it. Not good.

    Shifting isn't too bad as far as BMW goes. Not much of precision there. You pretty much clonk it into gear. Shaft driving jacking action is a lot less.

    But where this baby shines is the twisties. You sport riders owe it to yourself to take this thing for a test ride. The damn thing feels like it defies gravity and physics. You will keep telling yourself that there should be no way a bike this big, this heavy and this tall can take a mean corner - while on semi-knobbies at that.

    Low speed handling is also good. Almost as good as the KTM 950, I'd dare say.

    To quote others, the KTM adventure bike is a better offroader. The BMW is a MUCH better on-roader. I still am going to get the KTM, but I can see why the GS is being touted as the Swiss Army Knife of motorcycles. Decent offroad capability and superb onroad touring and sporting capabilities in a package that's not too cheap to own but what price is excellence?
     
  2. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    I also visited SoCal Triumph/Ducati/Victory for test ride as well.

    I pretty much test rode everything in the Ducati/Triumph/Victory staple too. I wanted to try out the new Monster S4RS (they have ONE in the show room and that ain't gonna be test ridden) and the Triumph Scrambler (also only ONE in the show room). So after hemming and hawing, I decided to go riding on the Triumph America cruiser. What the hell, I liked the Bonnie, the Thruxton, Speed Triple, Sprint, so how bad can this cruiser be?

    Long story short - America = crap!!!

    No power. Not only it has no power, the engine is totally lacking in any characteristics. You can't feel the rev, you can't feel the torque, it's like the new BMW boxer but without power.

    The handling is at best I can described as flighty. It changes direction easily enough for street riding, but speeds above 60 MPH and the bike becomes darty and flighty. I can't imagine cruising at 80 or more on this bike on a freeway. It's at best a street only moto. The suspension upsets easily in a corner over the slight bit of bump. The riding position is extreme. Granted that I have short legs, but I had to reach way out to get to the pegs. And then I can't get my boot underneath the gear shift lever to upshift. I don't know how a guy with bigger feet than me can shift the gear on this bike.

    BTW, whose bright idea was it to have the pegs way the hell forward on a cruiser, any cruiser? You can't use your legs to support your weight or to help with balancing the bike while moving.

    I must admit that I am no cruiser fanatic but I enjoyed the occasional romp on a Victory Kingpin or a BMW R1200C. I can't say the same about this bike.