NEIL BMW S1000R

THIS MONTH I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN… “Falling in love.”

Fast Bikes - - LONGTERMERS -

Hav­ing lav­ished the fam­ily last month with a week in Clac­ton and a cou­ple of 50p DVDs for evening en­ter­tain­ment, my grand plan worked and I was granted the pass-out I needed to pack up my S1000R and thread my way through Europe en route to the San Marino Moto GP. The roads were per­fect and scenery stun­ning, with the only let down be­ing the spo­radic crappy pock­ets of foul weather. Wear­ing full leathers is of­ten a pain in the arse when the wet stuff comes, and there was no ex­cep­tion from that rule of this mile munch­ing trip, as it meant I was stop­ping ev­ery 10 min­utes or so to slot on my wa­ter­proofs, only to get a few miles down the road and un­dress.

Still, at least it gave me a good chance to max­imise the epic stor­age on tap from my BMW lug­gage sys­tems I had in place. It took me a few days to get my kit packed ex­actly where I wanted it, and in an or­der that made life eas­ier, but the tank bag and pan­niers proved more than ac­com­mo­dat­ing. As well as get­ting to know the ins and outs of the lug­gage, I also got a much bet­ter grasp of the bike. I’d done over 5,000 miles be­fore this trip, so I reck­oned I knew the Beemer in­side out, but I didn’t.

Rid­ing over 2,700 miles over seven days with our long­est day be­ing 600 miles and 14 hours in the sad­dle, I got to know the bike on a whole new level. Thank­fully I can still count the small nig­gles on one hand; the clutch lever can feel heavy in slow mov­ing traf­fic; there’s a small vi­bra­tion/res­o­nance at 6,000rpm; there’s a slight un­sta­ble feel­ing from the front end that’s im­pos­si­ble to get rid of. But that’s it.

Other than those rel­a­tively mi­nor qualms, I had noth­ing else to moan about, whereas the praise and ad­mi­ra­tion I have for the BMW has con­tin­ued to soar with ev­ery mile munched. It’s easy to for­get to praise the bril­liant er­gonomics of the bike, which I rate higher than an ad­ven­ture bike (as the rid­ing po­si­tion is com­fort­ably upright, but with the slight lean for­ward tak­ing pres­sure off your lower back). The fu­elling is an­other big talk­ing point, as it’s silky smooth ev­ery­where. So smooth that it’s easy to take it for granted, but I ride enough dif­fer­ent bikes to know when I’ve found a win­ner in the de­liv­ery depart­ment.

And then there’s the gen­eral torque and power on tap. This thing smashed its way up the Stelvio Pass ef­fort­lessly, made all the more beau­ti­ful by its blip­per and shifter sys­tem. All I had to do was twist the throt­tle and squeeze the brake oc­ca­sion­ally; the bike’s tech is next level and makes sporty rid­ing on nadgery roads a real treat. Need­less to say my ad­mi­ra­tion for this bike has grown mas­sively, es­pe­cially so be­cause it worked so well on that epic ride around Europe.

The thing to note with this bike is its ver­sa­til­ity. Just like Ju­lia Roberts in Pretty Woman, when you want to get down and dirty, the Beemer plays ball, but it’s also got that so­phis­ti­ca­tion and deco­rum to switch roles and carry you sen­si­bly and com­fort­ably all over the world. This bike’s re­ally opened my eyes. It’s go­ing back next month so I’m on a mis­sion to get the most out of it while I’ve still got it. I’m al­ready dread­ing say­ing good­bye.

Paradise! Look, a sign!

The Beemer ticked all Neil’s boxes.

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