Sunday, September 24, 2006

The bikes that brought us together

Here is a picture of Judes Honda Blackbird (CBR1100xx) taken in St Ives, Cambs. This was the bike she had when we met. She bought the bike because she thought that it looked nicer than her Suzuki GSXF750, nothing to do with the 160+ bhp or the top speed in excess of 180 mph.

I had a very nice BMW R1150RT, seen here in my garage in the UK. It has the centre stand on a very simple turntable which allows the bike to be turned within the garage. This bike had to go for two reasons, 1. with an inside leg of around 29", it was too tall for me and I risked dropping it, and 2. with a very upright sitting position, I found that over distance I would slouch and end up with a sore back.
I changed the 1150 for a much more comfortable K1200GT, bought new for around £12000. With a lower and narrower seat, I had no problems reaching the ground when stationary, and with lower bars than the 1150 it was better over distance. This bike turned out to be a good match for Judes Blackbird on European roads despite only having 130bhp, it had more torque, a heated seat and handgrips and more important, ABS. It also used 10% less fuel than the Blackbird.


When we had commited to living in France, where there is a 100bhp limit for bikes, we changed both of them and bought a pair of R1100S's. This picture was taken at the BMW dealer in Northampton on the day of collection. Mine is the silver and Judes is the Dyson colour.
At first Jude said that she prefered the Honda to the BMW, but now, after a couple of years, she loves the S. It suits our change in riding style. We no longer need to cover 800 miles in a day but spend our time off autoroutes scratching around the twisty roads here. Both bikes ate standard apart from luggage rails and catalytic converter removal. Judes bike can be seen with the paniers fitted, but they spend most of the time on my bike if we are touring.

What of the future? I love the new BMW K1200S and Jude fancies the K1200R. The problem is the 100 bhp limit here in France. There seems to be no point in buying bikes that in the UK are 170 and 162 bhp and having them restricted to 100. It has been said that the K1200S ends up losing the smooth engine performance once it is restricted. It looks like we will end up keeping what we have now. There again, I have just seen a picture of the soon to be released K1200SR, which looks much more like the bikes that we have now, but there is still the bhp limit which we have here!

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