My local dealer, Beaudry Motorsports in Post Falls, ID, recently got a new BMW R1200GS/HP2 which they promptly sold to a guy in California. Fortunately, I got to sit on it before they crated it up and shipped it south. They're pretty trick, with their full frame and telescopic forks. But 20 Large for a 450lb dirtbike that doesn't look like it would crash well? [Actually, I have it from someone who's personally ridden an HP2 in anger off-road that it in fact does crash pretty well]
Something tells me most of these will never see real off-road use...
Notice the tiny green bubble level, tie-wrapped to the blue frame member just above the right side fuel injector body? The level is for setting the rear suspension. You add air pressure (about 100-130 depending on rider weight) to get the bike level with the rider sitting on it, and that's the correct preload. There's no shock oil at all; it's all done by the air including a two-position compression damping adjustment. [Thanks to Shepard Bielec and Anton Largiader for that obscure bit of info]
One of the neatest features I noticed. A fold-away extension on the brake lever. Push it forward (compressing the spring) and fold it down, and it raises the brake lever pedal about 20mm. Perfect for switching back and forth between street and off-road use.
Very simple instrumentation, and no windscreen. The little decal on the handlebars says "Vmax 100mph". Maybe it's just for the break-in period -- I can't imagine owning a bike with over 100hp and not being able to run it faster than that, off-road or on the street. [Note: Mike Paull says he believes that the sticker refers to the max speed rating for the DOT-approved knobby tires]
It's very tall, at least as tall as a Buell Ulysses. I'm 5'8" and could barely sit on it with one toe touching the carpet. It would be somewhat better with motorcycle boots on, but still damn tall. This particular bike was set up to be as low as possible (without raising the forks in the triple-clamps, obviously).
The single front disk suggests two things to me. First, that BMW was serious about trying to keep the weight down, and second, that they really think people are going to ride these in the dirt (where dual disks are way too much brake).
I have to admit, that if I were wealthy enough to afford one of these as a 5th (or 10th or Nth) bike, I'd definitely try it off-road. However, I could buy 3 serious KTM dirtbikes for the same price as one of these, and they weigh 1/2 what this does, and crash well -- by which I mean the typical dirtbike fall doesn't do them any damage.
Did I mention it had a really tall seat? I had to do the one-toe hop dance just to dismount.
I do wish I had a spare $20k laying around, as one of these would make a great play bike for the street and for relatively short day rides. They're drop-dead gorgeous, and serious looking as hell!
Copyright © 2005, by H. Marc Lewis. All rights reserved.