My Wonderful, New BMW R1200GS

The Start of a New Era

It all started with the arrival of a letter…

BMW needed to have my 2010 R1200GS in their workshop for an hour or two to carry out the installation of two recall items. No problem with this, I was just amazed that they wanted to put right some issues on my almost six year old bike! I guess that this level of care is what one can expect from this manufacturer…

Anyway, as I had to wait for the job to be completed, I was left to enjoy a great cuppachino in the new bike showroom. It was full of new bikes. Well, what’s a guy to do?

Naturally I looked at the new models and more specifically at the GS range… In a nutshell, a simple recall letter has resulted in the purchase of a wonderful new R1200GS, liquid cooled.

 It was a great experience getting to know the sales team at Ryder Motorrad in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal. I spent a great few minutes catching up with Roger Kane-Berman, the owner of the dealership and then of course spent time with the salesman Alex de Jong getting the low down on the various GS models available. There were many emails between us until I finally settled on a white “Full Spec” R1200GS.

Delivery of the bike to me on Saturday morning was a grand affair. Much time was spent going through the bike in great detail – and there are lots of details. This bike is very well specified with all manner of electronic rider aids and other upgraded and new elements.

The only “old school” thing about the delivery of the bike was the gift of a bottle of non-alcoholic champagne to celebrate the occasion!

Sunday morning dawned grey and chilly. No sweat! Cozy riding gear, heated grips and a desire to ride were all that we needed to take the GS out on its maiden ride. The plan was to do an easy tar road route out to the Dargle area and then flip back to Nottingham Road on the R103, have breakfast at Barbz and then take a gentle cruise home on the N3.

This bike is amazing. It didn’t take long to feel like I was “home” on the bike. All of the controls fell easily to hand. I just had to be somewhat circumspect about the “fly-by-wire” throttle. Instant response to any right hand inputs!

First stop along the Dargle Road – which way?
First stop along the Dargle Road – which way?

After cruising up past Midmar Dam – which is frighteningly low as a result of the devastating drought – and on past the Mandela Monument I swung right onto the Dargle Road. This is a wonderful bit of tar that is wide, has lovely sweeping bends and is still in great condition. On reaching the turn off to Nottingham Road via Fort Nottingham I found the pull of the gravel road too much and took the P134 to Fort Nottingham. Wonderful! I think I let one car go past me and had the remaining gravel to myself. Normally there are beautiful hills and deep valleys to be seen along this road but sadly the low cloud put paid to any great views.

With the misty Midlands as a backdrop, the Aloes are starting to provide colour in an otherwise brown and grey landscape.
With the misty Midlands as a backdrop, the Aloes are starting to provide colour in an otherwise brown and grey landscape.

Who am I kidding? I wasn’t there for the views this time! I was relishing the “on the fly” suspension adjustment and enjoying the safety of the “Enduro” riding mode! I’m no “balls to the wall” motorcyclist and ride well within the bike’s limits and hopefully within my own, simply for the pure enjoyment of being outdoors and away from the urban madness, alone in my helmet with my thoughts…

Pretty soon I arrived in Fort Nottingham. This quaint Midlands hamlet will be visited again. There is a museum to visit and much stuff to learn about why the village is there and when it all started.

The wonderful and simple old dry packed stonework of the Fort Nottingham Museum is a great foil for the GS – a sophisticated modern machine.
The wonderful and simple old dry packed stonework of the Fort Nottingham Museum is a great foil for the GS – a sophisticated modern machine.

By now the call of the coffee was quite strong and I made for Nottingham Road where pretty soon I was sat in Barbz Restaurant enjoying said coffee and a lovely poached egg and haddock breakfast.

The restaurant was busy and so shortly after I was done with my breakfast I vacated my seat to free up the table. A few minutes later I was back on the GS heading towards Mount West where I crossed the N3 highway and took the gravel P165 to Curry’s Post. This road eventually becomes tar and is also a great route into Howick that’s in reasonably good condition. It’s just that it’s a popular Midlands Meander route and becomes fairly busy – take care!

After only 115km on the new GS I am completely satisfied that this bike is everything I’ll ever need and more. There is still much time to be spent fine tuning the various settings and of course there are still many accessories like crash bars, a decent

The gentleman at the Fort Nottingham Museum will take you on a tour of the premises and all he asks in return is for you to give a suitable donation. A visit to the museum is now elevated to the Unfinished Business file!
The gentleman at the Fort Nottingham Museum will take you on a tour of the premises and all he asks in return is for you to give a suitable donation. A visit to the museum is now elevated to the Unfinished Business file!

bash guard, wide foot pegs and pannier racks to be bolted on. I’ll also be installing a USB charging port and probably spot lights in due course…

And let’s not forget the many trips and adventures still waiting to be enjoyed!

Watch this space!

Bruce Houghting

6 June 2016

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