‘I did 206mph on the HP4 Race. It was easy – the bike is very special’

Josef Maech­ler, BMW’S head of four and six-cylin­der pro­jects… and hard-rid­ing test rider

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

Q1 What are you rid­ing? Yes­ter­day I rode a BMW K1600GTL and I own a Beta 200 tri­als bike. Tri­als is the best dis­ci­pline when it comes to bal­ance and co-or­di­na­tion. Q2 Which liv­ing mo­tor­cy­clist do you most ad­mire? It’s still Rossi for me after all th­ese years. I met him 20 years ago when I was at Dainese – I met him as a lit­tle guy. He was charm­ing then, but to do what he is do­ing at his age is special to us all. Q3 What’s your worst rid­ing habit? I’m some­times too fast on nor­mal roads. I can’t help my­self. Q4 If you could have one su­per­power, what would it be? It would be to make ev­ery cor­ner a piece of art. To be smooth. Q5 gone What’son a bike?the fastest you’ve ever It was dur­ing the de­vel­op­ment of the HP4 Race, which has a proper 215bhp with an al­most full su­per­bike-spec engine. I did 206mph on it at Aschheim with taller WSB ra­tios and longer gearing. It was easy – the bike is very special. Q6 When was the last time you were scared? Last Sun­day when I was slid­ing with both wheels a K1600GTL on a ter­ri­ble road with no grip. Q7 How many miles have you done in the last year? I ride a lot of bikes in a lot of places – it’s part of my job. I do 28,000 miles. Q8 What’s the high­est mileage you’ve done in a day? I’ve done 600 miles – it was from Mu­nich to Switzer­land to the Croa­t­ian coast. It was on a K1600, which eats up the mileage and makes that sort of thing easy. I av­er­aged 50mph, which is pretty fast when you have to stop for the toi­let, fill the bike up and eat… Q9 What ir­ri­tates you most when you’re out rid­ing? It’s other rid­ers cut­ting the cor­ners when they can’t see around them. Bik­ers should look after them­selves. Q10 You’ve got two weeks off what would you do? I’d want to ride from Mu­nich to Iran. Travelling through to the Mid­dle East would be so in­ter­est­ing. You’d see real change and you’d take your time. Of course, I’d take a BMW R1200GS! Q11 What wis­dom would you pass on? Try to be vis­i­ble to oth­ers when it comes to cloth­ing and road po­si­tion.

Q12 Ever fallen off in a car park, or some­where equally em­bar­rass­ing? Not in a car park, but I did have an em­bar­rass­ing and scary crash in France. It was on the Route Napoleon, when I hit a VW Golf and went fly­ing through the air and landed be­tween a big stone and a huge tree. I wasn’t able to ride away – I de­stroyed my lovely 1992 Honda Fire­blade!

Q13 Do you have one in­dis­pens­able item, of kit? It’s a back pro­tec­tor. Back pro­tec­tors have saved me many times. I’ve got a Force­field, no, I mean a BMW back pro­tec­tor!

Q14 Which four peo­ple would you in­vite on a Sun­day blast? Two of my friends, plus Ewan Mcgre­gor and Valentino Rossi. The venue would be Rossi’s ranch. I can’t think of any­thing bet­ter than hang­ing out with some good guys and rid­ing short track. Q15 Do you have a tool that you couldn’t re­ally live with­out? It’s my Vic­tori­nox Swiss army knife. I take it with me ev­ery­where and I’ve used ev­ery im­ple­ment. Q16 Do you ad­just your sus­pen­sion? Yes, it’s part of my job is as a test rider. So once the bike has reached a de­cent stage, I’ll be the one that will sit on the bike, ride the bike and tweak things un­til it works for nor­mal rid­ers. Q17 If you could have one of your bikes back, what would it be? It would be my Honda XL125 that I had when I was 12, which I learnt so much on, or my Honda VT1100C. It was a USonly bike – they’re re­ally slow with 75bhp from a big engine, but you can ride them quick. It was fun with­out big speeds. I loved it! Q18 What kind of bike would you never buy? A Honda CX500 turbo. They’re ugly and rid­ing one is crazy. The frame is so weak and they wob­ble and weave ev­ery­where be­cause of the sus­pen­sion. Q19 Which road (or track) would you build on your desert is­land? I’d build both. The Nür­bur­gring Nord­scheife is the best track in the world, but as for the road, it’s the E65, the Croa­t­ian coast road. It’s amaz­ing. Q20 If you ruled the world, what new law would you pass? Al­low fil­ter­ing in Ger­many!

‘I’m some­times too fast on nor­mal roads – I can’t help my­self’

Slow and heavy, but Maech­ler loved hus­tling the VT1100C Maech­ler does big miles, on BMWS mostly Maech­ler helped make this lit­tle beauty

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