Friday, January 23, 2015

Long Term Test: 2007 BMW K1200S post #4

Fourth update
Mileage: 25,789

Since returning to the West Coast, the big Beemer has not seen as much use as I would like, although that will hopefully change soon. In large part this has come as the result of not having a place to store the bike and thus I hardly even see it during the week. However, I still
attempt to sneak in a long ride every once in a while over a weekend. A few trips have been managed including such places as the Angeles Crest Highway, which I will revisit when conditions allow for more spirited riding with less fear of hypothermia. Whatever the case, the bike does continue to see some use, at least enough that I have officially crossed over the 25k mark.

If there has been anything of note with the bike's operation in the last few months, it is that the wide open running on CA roads has seen an uptick in the fuel economy, which is nice given that CA does not carry anything more than 91 octane fuel at the vast majority of gas stations. On top of that, CA is still the only state where lane splitting is allowed -- a fact that I find myself taking advantage of at any opportunity that requires it. The big Beemer, despite feeling quite wide, is actually surprisingly capable of squeezing into tight spaces, even when it is wearing the hard saddle bags. Fully loaded, the bags do not extend beyond the width of the mirrors, offering a good frame of reference when ducking between cars. Of course, it is still a hefty bike and low speed maneuvering in tight spaces can feel a bit claustrophobic. With a bit of care, I am able to make significant progress even when traffic is fully gridlocked, increasingly important for my sanity with the heavy LA area traffic.

One other slightly odd experience has less to do with using the bike, but rather with the placement of certain information on the bike. Registering it and the CA DMV would have been much another if the information needed during the inspection were more readily visible. Things like the frame number and the engine number are so well hidden and virtually unreadable that even the DMV rep, using the approved California Highway Patrol handbook, took nearly half an hour just trying to locate the stampings in question. Eventually, we were forced to call the local BMW motorcycle dealer service department to get some help, and even then it was a struggle to read. Not necessarily a knock on the bike itself, but that turned a 30 minute DMV visit into a two hour ordeal. A minor inconvenience for the joy of owning what may be one of the most versatile motorcycles money can buy.