Sunday, I took my 2009 BMW F650GS out on the road to give her one last chance to behave before I go on my road trip next week. I want to take her on the trip, but so far, she has seemed a bit unwilling. However, some planning and work went into this determining ride.
Last weekend’s trip didn’t happen for this bike because of suspension issues, and last Friday I took the bike to AMP Motoworks in Mesa, Arizona. Colin B., an independent BMW mechanic, and friend, always does an excellent job on my bikes. Colin and his assistant, Mike, worked with me and the bike for a couple of hours, adjusting, measuring, and then writing down the settings. I should have written a whole post about it because the outcome of setting up the suspension properly on this bike was that significant. It did much to improve everything about riding it. Like night and day! (this is one of my favorite quotes) I should know about the importance of setting up the suspension properly by now because of my experience with mountain bikes, and with other motorcycles.
It also helped that I was able to get a BMW “low seat” to put on this bike. It is what I am most comfortable riding on, doing the big mileage, and I have low seats for all my BMWs. It was pure luck that I ended up with the one that I now have on the ’09, and I am grateful because that seat is better than a custom one for me.
But will this all be enough? I wondered as I mounted up on Sunday morning, the sidecases carrying my usual baggage for a day ride. It didn’t take long to know that it was all working! I was flooded with a feeling of relief and happiness. Now if I could only get through a day of riding without some problem happening, either large or small.
I had promised the ’09 GS, whose name is Katarina Maria, garage name “Kat,” that I would buy her some BMW logo motorcycle tire valve stem caps if she would be good from now on. (silly, I know, but that’s me) I felt it as I rolled out of the neighborhood, that it was going to be a good day, and that things would be fine. She was going to earn them.
The weather is still incredibly hot where I live in the Phoenix, Arizona, USA area. We’ve had weeks of 110° F-plus temperatures. Hal and I met up, then rode to Payson to get into temperatures that went down into the 80s. There are really only three routes out of this town, and we usually choose Hwy. 87 north because it is the most pleasant road. It is also the quickest way to the cool air. We rode through all the twisties on the way up, and the bike felt great.
In Payson, we ate a hearty breakfast at Tiny’s. By chance, we also met a nice couple, who turned out to be friends with someone else we know in Payson. The conversation started because of the boots I was wearing, and went from there!
After eating and talking, Hal and I decided to attempt another photo session at Willow Springs Lake. I said, “why don’t we go all the way to Heber and then turn around and come back to Willow Springs Lake? I want some miles with this bike today!” Hal agreed, and we rode up to the Mogollon Rim.
I had no problems this time, large or small, and by the time we got to Willow Springs Lake, the afternoon clouds had started to gather. I found the last (and best!) available parking space for Hal and I to share, and we hiked a short way to the edge of the lake. Thunder rumbled in the distance, and soon it began to rain. I put away the cameras; I’d had only enough time to shoot a few images. It was enough of a shower to get everything wet, and then it was time to start heading home.
In Fountain Hills: a cold drink at the end of a very hot day:
On the ride home, I started to feel the harmony of motorcycle and rider, something I hadn’t yet felt with this bike, but caught a glimpse of on that very first ride. It was all coming together at last, after all the doubt and worry. I had a good 250-mile day even with having to return in the extreme heat.
So, Monday morning, I went out to the garage and looked for any signs of a problem, leakage, or otherwise. There were none! I put the pretty little valve stem caps on Kat’s tires. Yeah, it’s the accessorizing that makes all the difference! 😉
I am hoping for problem-free riding with this bike from now on.