So, in the two wheeled arm of the fleet there have been some comings and goings. The most convoluted story is that of Wolfie… Here goes…
Herman came along because the Ducati was just too sports bike for my aging frame. Yes, I was Carl Fogarty round the twisties though the Yorkshire dales,
excepting the whinging of course, but even a short bit of town riding left me more like Barry Sheene – the post Daytona version, not wold champion.
If a road trip even smelled like there might be some slow work, I’d reach for the excuse handbook to find a reason to politely decline a ride out. Its amazing how quickly you run out of reasonable excuses and stretching believablity just a little each time, it wasn’t long before being “drafted to Vietnam” was the only unused excuse in the book, yeh right was the response, ah, rumbled, better come up with something here…. “Vietnam is….. the local Asian restaurant, actually, and….. I have been asked to replace the old door, which was a bit… er…drafty”
Enough of this nonsense, the Ducati is a thing of beauty, but a thing of torture if you’re in traffic.Nothing, but nothing, compares to the beauty of a Ducati 996 though, and I just couldn’t part with her, so it had to be ‘as well as’ not ‘instead of’, I mean just look at it…
So, I bought Herman, the R1200GS, as well as mot instead of, and riding became a joy again, regardless of where and when. All good then? well, not exactly….
Hermans sizable 12oocc engine was first designed by DaVinci (possibly) and constant evolution had managed to to extract a heady 96 BHP and as everyone knows that equals precisely not enough. It didn’t take long to get used to the riding position and the grip levels from the dual surface tyres, which inevitably leads to a need for more go. Thrashing a GS to the edge of its operating envelope is like riding a torsion bar. Full noise twists the frame to such an extent that a clutched gear change feels like ringing out a flannel. Lovely bike, needs to be quicker.
Enter the XR… The BMW S1000XR has a 16% smaller engine but produces 66% more power, a whopping 160 BHP… It still retains the GS riding position, more or less, so it seemed on paper like the bike for me. I casually arranged a test ride (the proper term is to bullshit a test ride as I had no intention of a purchase at that point) and I turned up at Allen Jefferies, the Leeds BMW dealer for a try out.
Now I’m not one for txt speak by OMFG….. A mile into the test ride I was hooked, an hour into it I was enslaved. Had to have one and have it NOW.
and so it was that I returned from the test ride, opened my wallet and parted with a considerable amount of wonga for a 9 month old S1000XR with just 2000 miles on the clock.
First run out was exploratory, but still faster than I’d ever been on the GS. Felix and KC came along too and a great time was had by all.
As we headed back I started to feel a grinding vibration through the pegs and seat. Fairly sure it was just a chain that needed adjusting I gave it no more thought. It wasn’t the chain though, I didn’t know what it was, it was that itch you cant scratch, that fly in the bedroom that buzzes when you’re trying to sleep, that indeterminate insect that’s eaten its way into your scalp and is trying to burrow its way to your brain (that last one might be made up, a bit).
Eventually I gave in and headed back to Jefferies for some investigation work – that’s the great thing about warranty, let some other twat sort it out.
But sort it out they didn’t. I rode off on the loaner, a R1200RS, something I just don’t get the point of. I mean its not fast, same engine as the GS but not as comfortable, not pretty, not especially good at anything (that I could find) why would you buy one?
Any how, the XR came back, unfixed, but at least they accepted it wasn’t right.
There is something that says when a new bike is repaired then it isn’t new anymore, someones had their spanners on it and somehow the newness escaped. Jefferies response was unexpected, best thing is to swap yours for another one they said. That got me thinking, I was already smitten with the bike so why not upgrade to a brand spanker, I mean for a couple of thousand I could have a virgin, untouched by anyone else, my one and only. Yes, that was the thing to do, after all I’d never bought a brand new motorcycle before, loads of cars but never a bike. Enter the next problem….
I had a biking holiday in the Pyrenees booked for three weeks time, but that should be OK, surely? Er no, there were no stock bikes available in my spec anywhere in the UK it would have to be a factory order and there was a delay at BMW as they were switching to the next model year specification. Bugger.
Here came the next Jefferies home run, we’ll lend you another bike for your holiday… Hang on a minute, did I enter a parallel universe? All dealers are bastards and you have to fight tooth an nail for everything you get, surely? So I asked again and the answer was “we have another used bike, your spec, similar mileage, just serviced and with new tyres. We’ll register it in your name and you can use it for your holiday, when you get back you new one will be on its way.
And that’s what they did. Here is S1000XR number 2….
So, up we packed and off we went. 2000 miles on the best roads in Europe, from the bay of Biscay over countless Col’s to the Mediterranean and back via Andorra, the wonderful N260 and yet more of the best passes the mountains had to offer.
Home again, a set of tyres later, and third time lucky, my wonderful, brilliant and epically quick S1000XR was ready to meet her first owner. She is a cracker too.
All good things to those who wait!
And that’s the Story of Wolfie, the third and final BMW S1000XR and the latest addition to the fleet.