A week after taking the MSF Basic RiderCourse and getting my motorcycle endorsement, I bought a BMW G 650 GS dual purpose motorcycle for commuting.
Versatile. I've found it can do dirt roads comfortably as well as paved ones. It has significantly more suspension travel than pure street machines (6.7" F, 6.5" R) plus suitable tires. In any case, in off-road situations, the limiter is clearly me.
Insurance is many times cheaper than a car and parking fees are also but a fraction of the cost for a car at the University. No more driving to work. Either a powered or a pedal bike instead, depending on whether I have a workout scheduled for that day.
It happens to be the simplest and least expensive motorcycle that BMW makes. It has a single cylinder engine, a thumper, displacing 650cc. The engine is outsourced to China for cost-savings. Primitive, reliable and hopefully cheap to maintain, though it does have modern-day EFI (electronic fuel injection).
Heated grips for winter and ABS (not yet commonplace on motorcycles) are two notable features that come standard. The aluminum Jesse bags shown above were an option installed by the dealer. Mine also came with a centerstand.
More importantly, it only has 53hp and is not super-heavy at 387 lbs (dry) and 425 lbs (wet). After all, I'm a motorcycling newbie. Still, I'm not sure I can pick it up. And with a seat height of 30.7", unusually low for a dual purpose motorcycle, I can actually touch the ground with both feet (not completely flat footed though). (I don't have the optional lowered suspension and seat, which drops the height even further to 29.5".)
[A couple of weeks after I bought mine: reviews started appearing in the press, e.g. Motorcycle.com and motorcycle-usa.com.]
Iron Horse Motorcycles had two 2009 G 650 GS bikes: one in red, the other in black. I was offered a test ride. It was the first time I've actually ridden on a road. My only other experience on a motorcycle was the MSF course mentioned earlier in a parking lot, see previous blog entry.
I need urgently to practice and improve on the skills learnt in the Basic RiderCourse. On the evening I took it home, at the tail end of rush hour, I took it very gingerly and only stalled it twice. My friend Jim drove sweep using his Dodge Caravan to keep cars off my tail. The next morning I took it solo into rush hour traffic for my 30 mile round trip commute. Trial by fire if you will.
Nearly one week in I have 210 miles on the odometer. I've dropped the motorcycle twice on its side at 0mph in parking lot situations due to the engine conking out before I could completely bottom out the clutch lever (an adjustment in order perhaps?). Extremely embarassing but I've learnt when the revs get low, the thumper conks out. In both cases, the aluminum bags saved the bike from damage. I'm learning quickly I think. But it's only week one.