Friday, May 22, 2009

Hardware Upgrade


I'm thinking of upgrading my ride to a bike that is better suited for touring. This weekend I'm going to take a look at a BMW R 1200 R a guy is selling on Craigslist.

The BMW has several advantages over my Honda many of which will be particulalry handy on a long trip. For one it has anti-lock brakes. Also the brakes are linked so when I slam on the front brakes it also engages the rear brakes. This keeps the bike from nose diving as much and reduces the risk of going over the bars. Another cool feature is the "Telelever" on the front fork. Basically this little piece of engineering de-couples steering and suspension. The forks of most bikes handle both of these tasks doing neither optimally. There's similar hardware in the rear called the "Paralever". It keeps the rear wheel where it should be at all times.

The bike has a lot of creature comforts as well: heated grips, on board computer, tachometer, water proof hard cases. As a matter of fact it comes with a trunk bag in addition to the cases (not pictured). I can't wait to test drive it this evening. Theoretically the upright seating position will be more comfortable on long trips because the riders legs are directly beneath him/her. The rider can use his legs to absorb big bumps. On a cruiser like my Honda the legs are out in front of the rider. This puts your spine directly in line with the suspension such that it absorbs all the bumps and potholes.

What I like most about the BMW R 1200 R is it's versatility. Take off the bags and it makes a great city bike or all-purpose cruising bike. Put the bags on and you have a commuter / touring bike.

Check out www.chitownrider.com if you want to see some great pictures from a guy that takes his R12 all over the country and beyond.

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