My new girlfriend

After months of researching, poring over the internet, books and various magazines, I’ve found my next bike. Ironically, it’s a bike that I’ve been looking at (in digital form) for some time, posted there on the Marin BMW web site. (My bike is still there as of May).

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Since I was a kid and first began, thanks in large part to both my uncle Bob and my friendship with Paul Winkler, to notice motorcycles, I knew all about BMW boxers. The opposed twin is an imminently recognizable feature unique to the German machines, and I think that’s when the Boxer Twin Affliction (BTA) began infecting me.

So after selling my Honda VLX this winter, the research began in earnest. I first looked at the GS, and it’s versatility was appealing, but the riding position was too upright for me.

I strongly considered an RT, but I just couldn’t get behind (so to speak) the large fairing and windshield. I like a lot of airflow, and dynamics such as the wind holding you up at speed. Given a choice I’d much rather ride a naked bike than a fully-faired one.

I also looked at non-BMW machines, such as the Suzuki VStrom, Yamaha’s FJR, Honda’s VFR, and other sport-tourers.

Then I found the RS. A boxer engine, minimal but functional fairing, ABS, heated grips, and other conveniences. Specimens were rare, but one turned up at Marin BMW, an R1150RS, and it languished there. It seems it’s not a very popular bike, which I attribute to the fact that there are better sport bikes, and better touring bikes out there to be had.

But for me, that was a good thing, since it took me some time to make it down there to ride it. But I did, and I loved it. I’ve found it to be an ideal mix of the sport and touring spectrums. With ninety-something horsepower and great suspension it’s plenty quick enough, and with the humane riding position and small fairing it’s extremely comfortable.

So far, I’ve been commuting on it for the most part (45-50mpg is nice), but I’ve managed some riding-for-fun as well, including a spirited ride up the coast and down the river this weekend, which was an entirely satisfying experience. I really like this bike!

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