Monday, October 12, 2020

Weekend Wander

 Ok, so I'm behind on my write-ups, so I'll start with yesterday's one and then go back in time for a couple more when I get a chance.

Yesterday was a pretty decent sort of a day and Colin just happened to have a demo 1250GS sitting in his shed that really needed some exercise.  Why he had the bike is a story for another day but it did definitely need a ride - or perhaps Colin needed one slightly more...

Pic stolen from Colin's rave on FB

After his cruise up to my place and the usual pre-departure coffee and chin-wag, we mounted up and headed for the track.  I chose to take the Connie as I hadn't ridden it since the weekend before and casually slipped into a similar pace as on the NI800.  Shortly we found ourselves in Pahiatua for fuel and the dismantling of my tank-bag so I could get fuel - perhaps those two events were around the other way for me.

Our next little leg was a cracker.  Through to Pongaroa over the Pahiatua-Pongaroa Road.  It was magic - I particularly enjoyed the ride through the Makuri Gorge and up over the hill.  The other bits were pretty damn good too.  At Pongaroa I stopped basically just to tell Colin that I was having a good day - I'm pretty sure that he wasn't having a bad day either 😎.  Zero pictures were taken.

From Pongaroa we dealt to Route 52 up to Pongaroa.  It was pretty much more of the same but man there's been some changes through there.  There has been a heap of logging going on so the hills looked a lot different and yes, the road has taken even more of a pounding.  It certainly pays to be on your game and is heaps of fun on an Adv bike or perhaps a 13 year old Concours with 161km on it...

An exasperated Colin showing his displeasure at how the day was shaping up

Two pretty girls?

The pub has changed hands recently (or at least I think so) but we couldn't argue with the cost and quality of the tucker.  We'll probably be back at some stage.

For the afternoon's entertainment I was keen to return via some more back roads but not 100% sure of the right turn-off but after one unnecessary but fun loop and an overshoot of a turn we got back on track and got stuck into the road from Ormondville to Te Uri.  It was more great riding but we did have to stop to have a quick yak about and grab some more photos at a pretty nice spot.

That's a little waterfall down there

Crappy digital zoom on phone but waterfall more visible

For the next wee leg to Weber Road I was forced (😉) to sample the Bavarian beast while Colin got to sample Kawasaki's finest.

So what was it like?  Well, my previous experience on saggy-boobed BMW's was on Dad's 1150GS and 1100S: 

Unfairly, when I rode the GS I had just hopped off the Connie and then had to tackle Vinegar Hill with mum on the back while Dad disappeared on the Connie.  I remember it handling ok but I struggled to get my head around the motor thinking that it needed to rev a fair bit more than I thought (from an 1150 twin) it should.  I probably should have rode it solo and hammered some dodgy back road...

With the 1100 it was a bit different.  I hopped off the V-Strom so the bikes were about even on hp (although the Suzy was more torquey and less civilised).  Once again the bike handled nicely and overall I preferred it to the GS.

Pretty too

Leap forward a fair bit in technology and the 1250 was a whole new ballgame.  There was this big flash LCD dash and all sorts of switches and gee-gaws to play with.  I ignored these and concentrated on learning how to ride the bike.  Thoughtfully, Colin had left it in Dynamic mode...

Firing it up there was a little shake from side to side (to let you know it's a boxer) until the engine ran up to idle and then it was as smooth as silk.  Safe to say it is the smoothest twin I've ever ridden.

The other day I hopped from the Connie to the Tenere after about an hour and a half break and it took me a little while to get my head right for riding the Ten.  When I got on the Beemer I got in the groove a bit quicker.

Did I mention that the motor is smooth?  Well it is, and it is very quiet and spins up readily and quickly.  I barely heard a peep from it (I did have ear plugs in) and actually had to keep half an eye on the tacho to check how much petrol I was pouring into it.  And there was plenty of torque hiding inside waiting to hustle me towards the next corner too.  I think I'd actually want to make it a bit louder so I could have some indication of when I needed to hunt for another gear - maybe you'd get used to it.

Anyway, the motor was very nice and let me stuff things up (like not down-changing) every now and again and I can definitely see it eating a lot of miles very easily.  Colin told me to compare it to the Ten and not the Connie but honestly it was nearly as smooth and very comfortable.

The suspension was setup quite firm but it handled those dodgy back roads really well and had that nice planted feeling that you want.  Tip-in (like on the Ten and most Adv bikes) was a piece of cake and hitting the awesome brakes didn't upset the bike at all.

What about the comparison to the Ten?  Well, I guess it might have been easier to write this if I'd had the Ten along too, but they have some similarities and some differences.  Handling wise, they are very similar and if I put similar (80/20) tyres on the Tenere then they'd be very close although the BMW probably has better suspenders (and I think it had ESA).  They are both great bikes for riding NZ roads.

Engine wise they are quite different.  The Tenere is definitely lazier and kicks out oodles of torque from idle whereas the GS spits it out far more smoothly and wants to rev more (higher redline too).  This probably where it is more like the Connie too - that smooth torque delivery is deceptive, you don't necessarily get the kick in the pants but you accelerate pretty damn quickly and oh so smoothly.

I only did about 16km on the GS but yeah, it's a very nice bit of kit.  If I were a rich bloke maybe I'd even have one...or a new Ten with ESA and some other mod-cons and 10k or so in my pocket.

Anyway, back to the ride...

From the Weber Road we carried on South on SH2, got waved at by a bloke in a red car - not sure what he wanted, we didn't stop to ask - and then turned off at Orinigi to take a few more back roads to Pahiatua where a certain BMW got thirsty.

Thirsty Beemer, patient Connie...

One last squirt over the track got us into Aokautere where Colin turned for his trip back down to Waikanae and I rode home for a cold drink - the liners will be out of the gear for our next run...

Outstanding day out and I really enjoyed sampling something different.


Smiling even with all those bugs in her eyes...


  1. Andrew, I have really mixed feelings about BMW's (having owned a K100 RS for several years). Some nice designs but I know a few owners who have had problems that cost quite a lot to fix, not to mention time. Given their premium price, I wonder whether something like your Tenere or similar isn't a better bet.

    1. Yeah I'm in the same boat Geoff, almost as bad as buying a KTM ;)

      I haven't blogged it yet but there's a horrendously expensive reason why Colin got loaned the 1250. Jap bikes just don't go wrong and are so much cheaper to get into. My "lotto win large Adv bike" is currently the latest S10 (which you can get with ESA and it has things like cruise standard). But, riding the Beemer has brought it into the picture too - I'll just have to wait for that lotto win either way and then decide...

  2. You must have had a lot of rain as your country is so lush and green right now. Beautiful.
    That GS looks like a porker.

    1. You probably need a person in the pick to really judge the size. It's definitely more svelte than both Colin's GSA and my Tenere. Not sure of the weight but it must be close to the Ten (perhaps a little lighter) and the seat height was not an issue for my short legs.

      Try one, or a Tenere :)