This is almost embarrassing to write. I’ve owned my 2007 K1200GT since Thanksgiving, so that’s nearly five months, and I’ve managed to log a grand total of about 1200 miles on the mighty mile muncher from Munich (ouch). I’ll plead crappy weather and leave it at that. It is a pitiful, desultory performance. The good news is that I have a longish ride coming up in a couple of weeks with riding pal Ron which should add 3000 or so miles to the clocks.
Not that it really matters, but I’ve come by those miles . . .
- Toddling around town.
- Running up along the Hood canal
- Two different rides along what I call the Skagit loop (Seattle to Arlington, Up Hwy 9 to Sedro Woolley, and from there along the Skagit and Sauk and back to Arlington via Darrington). It’s DH-56 for Destination Highway fans.
- Wandering around the countryside, mostly west of Olympia, WA.
The most recent (January) Skagit run was instructive as the best part of it, the part where there is nearly no traffic and good twisties, runs between trees and a mountains and is in the shade nearly the entire day. For the record, riding a $20,000 600 lb bike on black ice is less than fun.
While it’s still too soon to have definitive impressions, here’s what I think so far. Keep in mind that my most recent relevant point of reference is my old and loved FJR.
Power: There are measurable differences in power and performance between the K, the FJR, and the Concours. None of this matters. They are all capable of hyper speeds and can out accelerate anything you need to. The power delivery is different bike to bike, but again, who cares? You get used to what you have under your throttle and ride accordingly. And yes, the K delivers in buckets.
Handling: Moto-scribes famously winge about the so-called lack of feeling in the BMW front end. I guess I don’t have the first clue what the problem is. If the issue is that they’re used to front fork dive, then yes, it’s not there (and I agree front fork dive can be put to good use by riders who know how to work with changing rake and trail on the fly). I would describe myself as a better than average street rider, and I don’t find myself leaned over wondering if the front end has decided to step out for coffee or chat with a close friend. Quite the contrary, I find the bike hugely stable and composed at all angles. And importantly for the average rider, it won’t stand up if you decide to grab for some brakes in mid turn. In that same way, trailing the brakes to the apex is a breeze.
Controls: Another favorite peeve of the scribbling-set. Whatever. You get used to anything and I quite like the two-handed turn-toggles. And I wouldn’t necessarily miss them if they weren’t there.
Saddle: I’m still undecided on this one. It’s a different shape than the FJR, and much different than the custom job I had. Ask me again in 3000 miles.
The Little Things: None of these things matter in the great arc or “real men kick start their bikes” sort of thing, but the K-bike majors in details. I still reach for the throttle lock that isn’t there (was on my FJR), but the cruise control that is, is aces. Having a fully sorted place to put the GPS is nice indeed. Heated grips are well integrated and well done. Heated seat is silly, but whatever. Love the Xenon light. The fit and finish all around is stunning.
ESA: A great idea, but hopeless in execution. I can’t discern a useful difference in any of the damping settings. Comfort is too harsh. The balance between front and rear rebound damping was worked out by an iquana. I had Hyperpro on my FJR and it was leagues better. I will get Ohlins at some point.
So yes, a great ride. I’m telling myself I won’t buy another bike for a hundred years. Or course that’s not true, but right now, it seems a really flash ride.
Tags: DestinationHighways, BMW K1200GT, ESA, Hyperpro