PASSPORT? CHECK. GS? CHECK. LET’S GO
With a trip to the Pure & Crafted bike festival in Berlin ahead I decided the F800GS would take me on my first solo ride to mainland Europe. After all, these bikes are made to conquer the world, right? So it should have been a doddle...
Le Shuttle delays, big hold-ups and endless traffic through Belgium meant a couple of hideously long days in the saddle – with relentless driving rain accompanying my journey through three countries. It might sound like a trainwreck of a trip, but it wasn’t. And that’s largely down to the GS.
The BMW has a frugal nature and is simple to get along with. Its efficient design allowed me to concentrate my efforts on riding on the wrong (but correct) side of the road, in places I couldn’t pronounce, with road signs I couldn’t read.
The simplicity of the bike doesn’t make it dull though. Wind it on and there’s still oodles of fun to be had, but it is nice to have a machine that is completely adaptable to how I want to ride rather than trying to constantly tame a beast and navigate a new environment.
Over the two-and-a-half days I spent riding there and back, I was on the bike for a total of 35 hours, which was only possible thanks to the relaxed and neutral riding position. Better still, I was completely free of aches and pains at the end of it all.
For my return journey I experienced nicer weather thankfully, which allowed some fun on the unrestricted autobahns. My fuel economy took a hit, sinking to a new low of 38.37mpg as I wrung its neck to give me a better chance of making it to my crossing on time. Over the whole trip the fuel economy averaged out at 43.35mpg, which wasn’t too bad given that I did 700 or so miles on super-fast German motorways. I’m going to take some time to ride with a little less haste over the next few weeks to see if I can bring my overall mpg back up to something more sensible.
Overall, the bike’s outstanding versatility and capability means it continues to be a brilliant all-rounder that overcomes anything put in front of it with ease. The BMW has once again proved itself, now I need to follow suit and start planning my next big trip; with the GS there are definitely no excuses.
James hits Europe, what could go wrong?
13,468 MILES Time to start planning the next big trip