I knew I shouldn’t have done it. Taken a naked bike out in public. But the temptation was too great when I looked at the beautiful 2009 BMW F650GS twin sitting in the garage, my newest bike.
By “naked,” I mean that she had no protective gear on yet. It was kind of a risky move on my part, especially when I looked at the oil filter hanging down there, close to the road, right behind the front wheel. I forgot until then how during the first ride in October, 2008 on my then-new F800ST I’d gotten a dent in the filter.
First ride on the 2008 F800ST:
I shuddered. It was all too easy to get a rock through the filter and dump all the oil under my rear wheel. It would be all over for me in an instant. But on Sunday, longing overcame sense, and heart prevailed over head.
My riding partner, Hal, and I got a late start (because of Mother’s Day) and planned to ride a favorite route, Kearny, AZ to Winkleman, to Globe, to Superior, to home. It is about 200 miles, a quick outing for a Sunday afternoon, and my debut ride on the ’09.
I am always a bit apprehensive when riding a new bike, especially since the seat isn’t really the right one for me yet. I was wondering how the bike would feel, if it would be well-balanced, or if I would feel confident to ride it. It only took a few miles before I knew it was mine.
Our first stop was the gas station so I could put some good premium Chevron gas in the tank. I didn’t realize it at first, but the bike had been sitting for some time at the home of its previous owner. The bike has been to my mechanic and he has gone through it, but now I am hoping that all the seals and plastic parts haven’t dried out to cause problems in the future. Only time will tell.
Oh, those glorious first couple of miles on the freeway when I twisted the throttle and we started to fly. The more I rode, the more I realized that the bike was exactly as I’d hoped – a combination of my other two BMWs, a 2006 F650GS single, and a 2008 F800ST. The new bike has the same 800cc twin engine as the F800ST. Confusingly, it is 800cc as well, but “de-tuned” to be called a 650. I know. I don’t get why BMW did that either.
Despite the somewhat hard seat, and virtually no wind protection from the almost non-existent windscreen, I was having a wonderful time riding the bike. It got better. After we left Superior, we rode the heavenly road to Kearny. This road twists and turns, changes elevation, and has spectacular scenery. The bike felt great, and it didn’t take me very long to be really comfortable with it, as if I’d been riding it for years. In effect, though, I have. It is my F800ST with the more upright riding position of the ‘06 GS. I narrowed the “chicken strips” on the tires, flying through turns and loving every moment. It was pretty easy to go fast, so I watched my speed and (tried to) hold it down. Blue is the fastest color, you know.
The newest incarnation of the road pair:
We stopped in Winkleman for a water break, and then we continued toward Globe through the twisting canyons that are a favorite riding playground for us. We chatted on the comm. system through the whole ride, me talking about the how lovely the bike felt, and also about different places that we wanted to go during the summer riding season. There is Overland Expo next weekend in Flagstaff, and I talked about running to Taos just for fun, then Hal said “how about Durango?” I quickly agreed that Durango would be a great destination, too.
Why were we talking like kids with a new toy? Because for the last three years we haven’t had the long riding vacations like we used to have. We’ve been spending a lot of time in the White Mountains, taking a week here and there, riding daily on different remote dirt roads. I loved it. But a few months ago, it was like a switch had been flipped in my head, and I kept envisioning myself on an F650 twin, a blue one like the one I’d test-ridden way back in 2007 or 2008, the same color as the one I am now riding.
Back in the day: 2007-ish test ride:
I should have gotten one back in ’08, I suppose, but, as Hal pointed out, I’d be buying another one now anyway. Instead, I had all those years with the F800ST, and enjoyed that bike thoroughly.
By the time we made it to Globe, I was glowing with happiness. We stopped at our usual gas station to fill up again.
“Is this mine?”:
We did our usual “on the road” thing of splitting a coffee and a candy bar. I had just realized that I hadn’t eaten lunch. It was great to sit there in the parking lot and dream of the riding season coming up. Soon we got back on the bikes and headed home. The ride was over too soon. I brought her home, safe and sound, and unscathed.
What does the future hold? I hope more trips for me on my new bike. But first, I’ve got a couple of BMWs for sale … 😉