Whilst reading through the grand assortment of BMW press material associated with the 2008 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure I ran across the creation of a new motorcycling genre: Extreme TouringCool. I wanna try it.Lucky for me I was invited out to Scottsdale Arizona last week to do just that.
I arrived at Eagle Mountain Golf Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona with a pile of other moto journalists packed into an airport shuttle van. The spread was swanky, clean and incredibly green for being in the middle of the desert. I immediately started shooting pictures with my handy enduro camera: a three year old Canon SD300 with a broken screen. I have to shoot through the viewfinder and can’t see my pictures until I download them. It’s a fun game.
Anyway, back to the bike thing.
As far as I can tell Extreme Touring is the activity of going a long way around something. Like, say, the World.
I’m not sure where it was invented but I’m sure that Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman made it popular with their uber-entertaining documentary The Long Way Around. Yes, watching dudes ride huge bikes 20,000 miles is entertaining to some people, so what? If you’re interested, the silly fools are doing something else called The Long Way Down; a trip from the northern tip of Scotland to the southern tip of Africa.
My adventure wasn’t nearly as dramatic as those boys’. But, I did traverse some stellar mountain roads, bounce down fantastically fun desert trails and blast across two states on my way back to the Pacific Ocean. I’ve racked up over 700 miles on the big dog and more than half of that is in the dirt. So, I’ll be careful when I say this because I don’t want to sell out to all my true off-road peeps. I really like these humongous, crazy, silly “off-road” motorcycles.
Why do I like them? Well, there’s just something about riding them in technical situations that is a blast. I think, probably, it’s because they’re really hard to ride correctly. All room for error is eliminated when you’re manipulating a bike that weighs around 600 pounds when full of gas. You have to use total concentration and skill to keep the traction, stability and power in check. If you’ve never considered trying something close to this, I suggest giving it a shot; it will show how bad your motorcycle skills are in a hurry. I hope you’re humble…I quickly became so.
Since BMW was nice (or crazy) enough to let us use a BMW GS Adventure for a while, expect to see more updates on our time together up here on Dirtrider.com and in the pages of the magazine.
For now, here’s a quick rundown on the new features on the bike and a few photos from my trip through the Scottsdale area.
Coolest features of the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure:
• Reworked transmission and short first gear if required.
BMW actually offers an Enduro gearbox with a shorter first gear for really tight sections
• Optional Enduro ESA.
ESA stands for Electronic Suspension Adjustment. You can actually adjust damping settings for the shock and fork on-the-fly through a button! And the shock preload can be set at different pre-programmed levels. It’s very cool and comes in handy when you go from the street to a dirt road with differing degrees of bumps.
• 8.7 gallon tank.
Wow…yes, it’s heavy when full.
• Adjustable handlebar position
• Cylinder crash Guards
Don’t use these
• Adjustable-height seat
• Beefy off-road foot pegs
• ABS (Anti-Lock Brakes)
• Very functional on-board computer
• Heated Grips