Huzzah! If all is right with the world, yours truly will be tooling down the trails on a new BMW F800GS sometime in mid-March.
Earlier this week, I took a 90 min. lunch and spent it test-riding an F800ST to see if I liked the motor and other bits. Mike Lynch over at San Diego BMW Motorcycles (used to be Brattin Motors) didn't bat an eye about letting me take the demo bike and was very gracious upon my return (more about that in a minute).
What a blast! I hadn't been on a proper street bike for years and everything about this one clicked: the smooth acceleration - really nice from 60-90mph; the snappy gearbox that invited shifting; sure-footed handling and brakes. I reminded myself as I stood in a suburban neighborhood admiring it mid-ride that this was the bike I was leaning toward in 2007 before I heard about the GS version. A quick call to my wife Kim let her know where my brain was at and what I was up to (no good usually!).
Back at SD BMW, Mike and I talked a bit about the GS specs, which he was able to call up from BMW Motorrad USA's marketing bulletin. No surprises there since I'd been poring over every bit of Internet info I could lay my eyes on (many thanks to the ADV Bike Forums for instance), and of course cruised up to the Long Beach show to see the bike in person.
The surprise might have been for Mike when I told him I wanted to put a deposit on the GS right then and there - Ha! Music to a salesman's ears. We worked up some numbers which were in line with my budget and in a couple of minutes I became #1 on the list for delivery in mid-March. BMW USA is quoting an expected delivery date of March 8, 2008, although vicious, nasty, jealous and totally untrue rumors of a delay abound on the 'net. ;-)
Sidebar: I chose this dealer for a couple of reasons - in it's earlier incarnation as Brattin Motors, I purchased a used BMW K75S from them. It was a good experience and subsequent service and accessory purchases - and the camaraderie always to be found at the shop - were excellent. Turns out, the former service manager Gary Orr, bought the dealership when Polly and Harry Brattin elected to retire. Gary's running a top-notch shop, and actually is expanding to the Kearny Mesa area (closer to me) this month. If you ever stop by, asked to see the picture of Gary on a K1200GT at nearly 160mph - pretty cool!
But I digress... I chose the Dark Magnesium Metallic version of the GS because I think it looks classier in a bad-ass way. It will have ABS, heated handgrips, a trip computer, centerstand, and clear turn signals as spec'ed. I didn't want to commit to panniers yet, preferring to check out the Touratech aluminum cases shortly after delivery. You can see a killer photo gallery of a Touratech-sponsored trek in Africa here, one shot of which is below.
So... soon begins a new chapter in my motorcycling life. I was sad to sell the Honda CRF250X, but always had my sights on a big-bore dual-sport and exploring roads less traveled. Hopefully I can convince a few of my good buddies (Rod, Alex, Jon, Scott) to join me on some adventures...