Every month the magazine of the BMW Motorcycles of America, BMW ON (BMW Owner’s News) runs a section of member submitted photographs. The section is called “Picture This”. The magazine releases a subject on the web site, member’s submit photos, photos are then selected and published 2 – 3 months later. The December issue’s subject is “Kickstand”. I had a picture that could’ve fit the description so I sent it in. Yesterday, the magazine came and there was my picture on page 17, picture number 13. I’d say it qualified as a kickstand picture!
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Really, have you ever really heard your motorcycle? Usually there are too many other sounds like traffic or the wind rushing around your helmet to property hear your motorcycle. Here’s what a BMW K1200LT, like ours, sounds like. The YouTube video is courtesy of German rider on his K1200LT when he mounted a microphone under the seat and out of the wind while recording this video. I love the way the engine “growls” and sounds like a sports car, especially at about one minute and eleven seconds as he’s getting on the autobahn. Look at his tachometer on the right too. The engine doesn’t red line until 8,000 rpm! Enjoy it, we do!
Yesterday was Mother’s Day here in the US. Donna and her sister took their Mom to lunch and then Donna had to work later that afternoon. I called my Mom who lives in another state. But what did I do on Mother’s Day? Why I went for a motorcycle ride! Now some may think this unusual but Donna has even requested to that before on Mother’s Day and birthdays. I guess I’m one lucky guy.
My Blue Knights Chapter had to cancel a ride the day before because of a forecast of a high probability of thunderstorms. Those thunderstorms never materialized. But there’s an old aviation saying about cancelling a flight that can be compared to motorcycling, “It’s better to be down here wishing you were up there than to be up there wishing you were down here.” So on Sunday a friend, Sean, and I went for a ride. We were going to pre-ride a route for an upcoming Blue Knights ride. We met in Jasper, GA under a nearly cloudless blue sky with temperatures already warming into the mid 60′s. We took off and headed for Talking Rock before heading up over Burnt Mountain on GA HWY 136. I don’t know what it is about Burnt Mountain but it’s always significantly cooler up there. Along the top, the temperature dropped down to 51 and when Donna and I were up there about 2 months ago there was snow on the side of the road when the mountain tops in the area hadn’t seen snow for over a week! We headed on through Dahlonega passing Rider’s Hill and making the turn at the Rock Mound for Turner’s Corner and US HWY 129. Turner’s Corner wouldn’t be our lunch stop today as we were going to have BBQ in Blairsville. But now it’s time to vent. Some people shouldn’t ride motorcycles. Or if they do, they should pull over and let the line of cars and motorcycles pass them. On US 19/GA 9, between GA 60 and US 129 we got stuck behind a couple on a Kawasaki Vulcan cruiser, a “Harley-A-Like” bagger. He had highway pegs mounted high up on his crash bars. He had the pegs angled so his feet pointed to the sides of the road. This guy literally looked like he could’ve been at the gynecologist’s office for an exam! That was just to paint a picture. He would go along at 45 mph or higher; until he reached a curve. When he reached a curve his brake light would come on and he would slow dramatically. Come out of the curve and he’s speed up until the next curve and repeat it again. The entire stretch of road is probably a no passing zone and there was car between us, so I didn’t pass them. Then I noticed (because I had nothing better to do while creeping along) that when he would brake in the curves that his feet were still up on those highway pegs! He was braking hard using only his front brake in curves. When we got to US 129 to go up and over Blood Mountain, this guy on his Kawasaki sadly turned left. Great, now we were going to be behind him on a really curvy road! He started his routine all over again. But luckily, it wasn’t long before we got two lanes on our side of the road with a nice sign that reads “Keep Right Except To Pass”. So I drop to 4th gear, pull out into the left lane give the gas; good. I wanted to pass this guy as quickly as we could! Then to my amazement as I’m parallel to him, he begins changing lanes into me in a curve to the left. I saw the shock and panic on his face. I’m sure that if I had hit my horn he would’ve wrecked. But we put him in our rear view mirrors. It wasn’t until we stopped for lunch that Sean told me how close that Kawasaki had gotten to me. Since Sean and I were both riding solo, we rode a bit more “spirited” than if our wives were with us. The BMW K1200LT is an 850 pound touring motorcycle can that do a pretty good impersonation of a sport bike at times. We got to a nice sweeping, angled and sharp right curve and I was really leaning into to it, “motor officer style”. That means pushing the bike over while your body is upright. Suddenly I felt my right foot peg scraping the road! I guess I was leaning a bit far! Usually when riding 2 up and we’re leaning like that, the side stand on the left or the center stand on the right will scrape first as a warning. I didn’t get that warning being solo and it surprised me a bit. I got to thinking later and realized that those foot pegs are pretty high off the ground to begin with. In the same spot Sean drug the right floorboard of his Victory Cross County Tour through the whole curve. We had a really good time going up and over the mountain. If you’ve been in the area you know what a well maintained, curvy and fun road US 129 over Blood Mountain can be. We stopped for lunch in Blairsville before getting back on the motorcycles and taking a more sedate and leisurely route home. As we were getting ready to leave the BBQ restaurant, a group of 5 Triumph motorcycles pulled in just in time to take our parking spots as the lot was full. I even made it back home in time to kiss Donna before she headed off for work. But I did cook her a dinner she wanted when she got home. Now Donna wants to go for a ride because it’s been a while. Where should we go………..
Today was the spring open house at BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta. We decided to ride on down and look around and see some friends. It’s usually a grand affair and today was no exception. There’s lunch (fresh grilled hamburgers, hot dogs & bratwurst), discounts in the store, door prizes and group test rides. The demo R1200GSW water-cooled boxer, also known as the “Wasser Boxer”, was booked solid for the test rides. There were also 2 BMW scooters available for test rides and they were pretty well booked too! Sadly someone had wrecked one of the demo motorcycles on a group test ride but the owners said he was ok, not so much for the motorcycle though.
I found a nice gray R1200RT that I wanted to take home! Donna liked the new dark burgundy color on the K1600GTL, but I think she kind of liked the R1200RT too. She looked at the scooter outside and even said “I think I could ride this!” We lunched with friends and chatted. Of course we looked at motorcycle and gear. I even won a door prize! It’s a set of foam earplugs with a metal carrying case. I’ve already got some nice earplugs but I’ll give these free (free is always good) ones a try and then use the nice carrying case for my earplug. We didn’t get much riding in, but it was a gorgeous day to ride down there!
But you know that’s how they get you. They invite you down, feed you, give you door prizes and then you want to buy something! But they really are a great dealership. Thanks Bob & Lynda!
When was the last time you saw a TV commercial here in the US for BMW Motorcycles? Think hard. Tonight on March 1, 2013 BMW Motorrad USA (motorcycles) kicks off a 4 month campaign of 4 different TV commercials. The campaign is named “Feed Your Restless” (hint: clicking that link will take you to the BMW Motorrad USA page with all 4 commercials). The commercials feature the three largest selling styles of BMW motorcycles, sport (featuring the S100RR), dual sport (GS series) and luxury sport touring (K1600GT & GTL). The fourth commercial combines all three but will be tagged to a BMW Motorcycles Dealer in each the TV market.
So go ahead, click that link and look. You know you want to.
When out on the road and even here on the blog we’ve been asked “Is that the “new” BMW?” We’d get asked this especially shortly before and after the release of BMW’s K1600 GT & GTL motorcycles. Our motorcycle is a 2002 BMW K1200LTE. That’s right, with the 2013 model year motorcycles being announced and even released that makes our motorcycle 11 model years old! The LT stands for “Luxury Touring” and the E is for the specific trim package of “Elite”. At the time BMW had different trim levels with options for the motorcycle, each adding a few more features. There was LT (Icon), LTC (Custom) and LTE (Elite).
I decided to offer a walk around of the things that were original on this motorcycle as it was delivered. Keep in mind that this is an eleven year old motorcycle. Some of the standard items are offered by other makes as an extra option, just as car makers do and some are just not available or are just now becoming available, like the power windshield. I did miss in the video that the trip computer is also controlled by a button on the on the right handlebar, the motorcycle originally had a 6 disc CD changer in the right side case (which I removed to get more room), I removed the CB radio in the “glove compartment” as it never really worked and wouldn’t anyway with our Bluetooth Scala Rider intercom and we have replaced the original GPS with a new one (how many cars came with GPS in 2002?). Oh, and not only did the intercom have the ability to use FM/FRS radio instead of CB, it also had an input for a cell phone cable and an external audio device (the manual specifically reads “such as a Sony DiscMan.”).
So here is our 2002 BMW K1200LTE, The Magic Carpet.
Well obviously we ride a BMW Motorcycle. BMW has been making motorcycles since 1924, longer than they have been making cars. They originally made airplane engines but the Treaty of Versailles ending WWI ended that for them. I was looking on BMW.TV and found a 3 part series of milestone videos for BMW Motorrad and wanted to share a bit of a history lesson as I sit here with a Winter Storm Watch in effect.
Today’s temperature hovered around 70 degrees here in north Georgia which is pretty unusual. You see, contrary to popular belief, we do have winter here and in the area we rode in today, snow is not unusual.
I missed out on a ride yesterday with my Blue Knights Chapter but Donna and I made up for it today. It was cloudy and overcast but quite a pleasant day. Temperatures were in the upper 60′s when we left very late in the morning and even peaked at 72 on the way home. We had no particular route planned, but figured we’d head up to Turner’s Corner Café for lunch and then go from there. But even our lunch destination wasn’t set in stone as it was just us riding today. We headed on up through Dawsonville and Dahlonega, passing Rider’s Hill along the way. Rider’s Hill looked to have a parking lot full of motorcycles today. After passing Rider’s Hill a large group of sport bikes came towards us and they looked pretty good, riding in a very tight, staggered formation. We did stop at Turner’s Corner Café for a nice leisurely lunch. From our table inside we could see the stop sign for Georgia HWY 9 and US Highway 129. We watched solo riders and groups of motorcycles pull up and make the left turn heading up Blood Mountain. One group was a trio of women, all on BMW motorcycles; two R1200GS models and an R1200R Roadster. I noticed the motorcycles and then that they were all women! If you continue on US 129 from there on into North Carolina, the highway eventually becomes the infamous “Tail Of The Dragon”. After lunch we headed down to Cleveland to Dahlonenga and from Dahlonega headed for home the same way we had come up. In winter you can see a lot of things along the road that aren’t visible the rest of the year, being covered by kudzu or other foliage. I made a note to myself to come along this route again soon to take some pictures of those roadside anomalies. It was really good to get out for some “throttle therapy” and exercise both us and the Magic Carpet.
I also got to use 2 of my Christmas presents on today’s ride too!
One was my pair of Sliders Kevlar Cargo Motorcycle Pants. The pants are khaki colored cargo pants, looking pretty much like any pair of pants. But, underneath in certain areas they are lined with Kevlar for abrasion resistance and have CE approved armor in the knees. Donna said they looked pretty good, not looking like my bulky Tourmaster pants or other pants I’ve looked at. I’ve got to say that were very comfortable both on and off the bike too. The armor did seem to move to the inside of my knees when riding though. These would not be pants you’d want to wear in the rain though unless you had rain gear to put over them. For rain or just outright stopping wind though, the Tourmaster’s or something similar is still the way to go though.
The other item was my ETYMOYIC earplugs. I’ve been debating on earplugs for quite some time now, especially to help out with some of the wind noise around my helmet. When we switched to the new helmets, they helped dramatically with the noise but wind around the helmet was still there, even behind a fairing and a windshield. They work great! Just as they advertised, they reduced the noise but because of there design, still allowed for normal conversation and intercom use. I did raise the volume on the Scala Rider Teamset Pro to hear Donna better (as expected). Wind noise was still there, but muffled and not as bothersome when at highway speeds. I found that I heard more of the K1200LT’s engine along with environmental sounds around me. I didn’t think that they could make that much of a difference.
Until next time, Ride Safe!
Or actually a few Beemers!
Today was the BMW Motorcycle Club of Georgia’s 10th annual toy ride and the beneficiary was the Towns County Sheriff’s Office Empty Stocking Fund as it has been the past few years. The club collects toys at the two Atlanta area BMW Motorcycle Dealers, BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta and Blue Moon Cycle and then transports them by van to the Sheriff’s Office just before Christmas. Then beginning on Christmas Eve, the Deputies begin delivering toys. While the toy box was full, the actual number of riders to deliver the toys was down a bit, probably due to the heavy rain and wind that was moving into the area. We’ve made this ride before with more than 50 motorcycles! The riders will head for Hiawassee, Georgia followed by the van full of toys. It’s always a fun and rewarding ride. And yes it did rain!
Here’s the annual BMW personalized Christmas card for our readers. Listen carefully and you can hear “Jingle Bells”!