A month ago, I sold this:
and I bought this:
The visual cues between these bikes..it’s remarkably uncanny. Without a doubt, these two motorcycles are brothers, born 9 years apart. The muffler & swing arm on both bikes switches sides, the BMW logo moved lower and to the rear and the beak received a much needed aggressive re-styling. The front of the bikes is the most monumental difference and the 2017 GS Adventure looks mean compared to it’s older brother…which is appropriate for a bike that gained nearly 20 horsepower in the last 9 years:
The motorcycles are both fairly ugly. I love the design so much that I didn’t test-ride anything else. I knew I’d love the new GSA just as much as the last one. It’s a fantastic upgrade and overall, better in every way between 2009 and 2017.
In the last few weeks, I’ve put 1000 miles on the motorcycle and despite my statements in the last blog post, the miles per gallon did not increase. I’m still seeing 38 MPG which is a figure Heather’s Golf regularly beats and it isn’t even a diesel. Pound for pound, the GSA is shit compared to today’s modern cars where you can get 45 MPG out of a car weighing 3000 pounds that can haul 5+ people and luggage. Today’s motorcycles getting 40-50 MPG with 1 person and a single tent + sleeping bag is down right disappointing but until the EPA forces motorcycles manufacturers to increase fuel economy, this is what we’re going to deal with.
I picked up the bike on 8/25, a day before my birthday. I took a check for $21,000 USD to Max BMW and they gave me keys to a bike with a torn seat and missing the soft bag that BMW was supposed to give me in exchange for taking the racks off the bike due to a DOT recall for the racks not containing reflectors. It’s been one month and the replacement seat and bag still haven’t arrived. BMW owes me these things still and the damaged seat was never disclosed to me before pickup.
After picking up the bike, I drove it home and the next morning, took it out on the stock tires to do almost 200 miles of dirt road with a small group of real dual-sport riders. Nothing like breaking in a new bike on dirt roads and learning the balance and overall feel. It handled brilliantly!
After our ride, I rode to Portsmouth to see my Mom who was in town that week. We celebrated my birthday and I woke up early on 8/27 to snap some photos of the dirty bike at sunrise:
At this point, I came to start having a bit of buyers remorse. The bike itself handled brilliantly off-road. Enduro Mode even on the 90/10 tires was great. I was able to slide through corners, do 50+ MPH on slick marbles like gravel and ultimately it was just a blast. On road however, the small windscreen, hard seat and lack of luggage had me regretting this as a great touring bike. A great off-road bike despite its weight but it needed a lot of modifications to be the amazing touring bike my ’09 was.
I installed a tank bag which helped me get buy:
Back to that whole DOT non-sense. The GSA comes with aluminum racks that hold luggage. BMW loves selling you $3,000 luggage but I learned my lesson with the last bike and ordered Bumot Defender luggage for $600 for sides + $299 for top case. They work perfectly with the stock luggage without any issues.
Then BMW took away my luggage racks because the DOT recall about reflectors missing from luggage suddenly extended to the racks as well. A Fix will come some time next year in which case the racks will be modified to not even fit the luggage I ordered. So, I took matters into my own hands and found a guy online who replaced his stock luggage racks with an aftermarket setup so I spent $300 buying OEM GSA Luggage that came on my bike from a stranger. If BMW returns my luggage racks back to me unmodified, I’ll just sell them to the next person and make that $300 back.
While all of this was happening, I spent nearly 2 weeks riding my motorcycle with just a tiny tank bag. I forgot how much I used the luggage. I couldn’t go buy beer, go camping, hit the grocery store. If i needed to buy a tool for a project, I’d have to take my car. No way to get it home. Rough times indeed. There’s nothing worse than having a brand new bike you want to ride everywhere and no way to haul stuff you need to.
Finally, luggage was installed:
The Bummot luggage wasn’t without faults. The left side was pretty rattly and took some self-repair to make perfect. I still think the bike looks much better with luggage attached. Finally ready for touring…well, when I get a new seat ($600) and new windscreen ($150).
I made the license plate more reflective after registering the bike ($360 to register this $25000 USD bike with state of NH)
I continued to take it off road and get more comfortable with it:
Then I found a used tank bag that was larger than mine. the SW Motech City which worked with the existing tank bag lock so now I have a bag for to and from work (mostly holding my coffee thermos) and one for longer trips:
Now, I’m finally ready to go on some trips!
I took the bike up to Rutland VT for my 2nd BMW Rally ever hosted by the BMW Motorcycle Owners of Vermont:
I met up with the Quebec Motorcycle club who took me on a 150+ mile trip on dirt roads that were frankly really hard on my stock tires but I didn’t drop the bike once:
We had a great time!
…and the bike was filthy!
Heather and I tried to figure out how to get Porter in the motorcycle. He barely fits. We need a side-car:
Then I installed LED Turn signals, the final step to an overall safer experience…well final until I can afford ClearWater Lights and a dynamic ultra-bright brake light:
That’s all for now really. I’ve been working on saving up money after a few initial modifications to do some more things to the bike. I need proper hand guards, off-road mirrors, more front lights, guards for the headlight, aux lights and radiators, a taller windscreen, more comfortable seat, handles for my luggage along with lid organizers and XPEL Ultimate (already ordered) to go over the plastic fairings that are bound to get awfully scratched. Oh and knobby tires so I can finally use this bike to its fullest potential off road.
Soon, the bike will go in storage until the snow melts. It’s been a great month so far! I’m getting used to dealing with more wind from the shorter wind-screen. I think this bike will treat me really well for many years to come!