Friday 8 May 2020

A Personal Motorcycle History....Or A Misspent Youth? Part 7

 If you've read the previous posts (and if you haven't why not?!!) I ended Part 6 with no motorcycle in my life. I did still have a car, although it was written off (and replaced) within a month of the motorcycle accident. I was out peak bagging at every opportunity....and then life caught up with me.

 I met my wife Alison, bought a house...grown up things! Life was good. I've tried hard to remember exactly which year I started to hanker after another bike...I do remember what triggered it tho'. We were Munro bagging, it was an appalling day so weren't on the hill. I bought a Bike magazine to read and pass the time. It had an article in it about the "Best Used Bikes". One of the bikes featured was a....

(This image is taken from the internet apologies for any copyright infringement)
Ours was the same as the one in the image except for the the black patches on the fuel tank...they look like an owner addition!

 We purchased it from Allen Jefferies, Shipley in I think 1993. It was almost 10 years old but had good service history and approx 21000 miles on the clock. The engine and running gear identical to the K100 I'd bought back in 1994, with the addition of the very effective fairing and of course hard luggage (very grown up!). I do remember the test ride, it had been 7 years since I'd ridden a motorbike and it was with some trepidation that I headed up to Baildon and beyond, wearing a borrowed helmet! Of course by the time I was back at Allen Jefferies I was hooked only took 6 miles!

 Alison had never been on  motorcycle in her life but took to it straight away. Over the next 4years we piled the miles on the RS. Many shorter trips across Northern England, North Wales and Scotland. We had a number of continental tours (not all without incident. Visiting France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland (by accident!) and Norway. The K100RS was very reliable and other than a replacement fuel pump (a common problem) it only required routine servicing, a new battery and tyres while we owned it. Great times...

 However life isn't always quite how you'd like it to be and in 1997 Alison and I separated. The BMW was sold. I bought a place of my own and a motorbike was a luxury I couldn't afford. So started a second sabbatical from powered 2 wheels....

BMW F650 Funduro
(This image is taken from the internet apologies for any copyright infringement)
Mine was the same model as pictured, with a few modifications. No hugger on the rear wheel plus a shortened rear mudguard, an Arrow performance exhaust and a mildly tuned engine (I was told)

 2001 and Cumbria was gripped by Foot and Mouth disease. The hills where I was spending all my free time were out of bounds,. It was time to get back into motorbikes I decided. BT shares were sold to aid the purchase of the F650 from Sapphire Motorcycles in the June (I think) of 2001.
 The BMW F650 was jointly developed by BMW and Aprilia and available in 2 variants. Mine the Funduro had a little bit of off road ability, although I barely used under those conditions. The 650cc single cylinder 4 stroke engine was designed by Rotax, had a 5 valve head and produced in standard trim 48bhp, mine was a good bit healthier than that. It was also the fist BMW with a chain final drive.

 It wasn't long after my purchase that the restrictions were lifted, but once again I was hooked. I can neither remember how many miles it was showing when I purchased it or indeed when I sold it. It did have a reliability problem which reared its head periodically and took a bit of tracking down. It turned out to be the intakes between the twin carbs and the cylinder head had over time become porous. 

 Christmas 2005 and I had received a gift of the Long Way Round DVD....that would prove to be an expensive (for me!) gift...   

BMW R1150gs
My photo this one! taken at home.

I traded the BMW F650 in for the 1150gs at Southport Superbikes in 2006. The 1150gs was a one owner bike with 17000miles on the clock, it had been very well maintained and cared for. powered by an 1130cc horizontally opposed air/oil cooled twin cylinder 4 stroke engine, it had the traditional BMW shaft drive. It was in totally standard trim when purchased, but modified by me with removal of the tyre hugger using the BMW delete kit, and the addition of a Remus exhaust inc. Y sounded wonderful. The image above shows the BMW tank bag fitted, this was almost always installed for my tenure.

 The 1150gs was a superb bike (they still are!) very quick on bumpy, twisty roads, able to cruise at whatever the speed limit may be and amazingly in confident hands very capable off road...just don't "drop"it...unless you're a weight lifter! It's not for good reason that it's successors have become the best selling larger capacity bike for year after year here in the UK and elsewhere.

 I covered 39000 miles on the 1150gs and kept it the longest of any bikes that I've owned. Many many long days out, tours of Scotland, Wales and Ireland were enjoyed. It was kept in good order serviced on time and only required tyres and a new battery, except for a clutch release bearing. A classic example of a cheap part costing a fortune...the 1150gs doesn't have a frame as such the engine is a stressed member with everything else fastened to save weight and for rigidity. The downside to that is that to get at the clutch requires that the bike be split in half and all the labour that will involve....Very Expensive!!

 It was time for a change, everyone seemed to have a GS, some thing different to ride....
This image is mine,travelling light as always! Taken near Braemar just a couple of months after I'd walked past here on the TGOC

Bought from Penrith Motorcycles, I part exchanged the GS in the March 2014. I later heard the 1150gs had been bought by a collector! The BMW F800S was certainly different to the GS, it was a one owner machine in very good order full main dealer history and had 7000 mile on the clock. Powered by a silky smooth 800cc twin cylinder 4 stroke engine producing 86bhp, and extremely economical...indeed for the performance almost unbelievable. No shaft drive on this BMW though, it had a toothed belt final drive....silent and again smooth. Perhaps its most impressive feature were its front brakes though..a lightweight bike, twin 300mm discs with 4 piston Brembo calipers and ABS made for tarmac rippling stopping power.

 The F800 family of bikes are greatly underated in my opinion. I probably bought the wrong model...I should have bought the ST version, with a more upright riding position. It would have suited my style of riding/exploring more, and would almost certainly still have owned it. I kept the F800S for 3 years and did 14000 miles. Almost all made up of long days out and several tours of Scotland.

 Getting on a bit, the riding position not the best for these old bones in 2017 it was time for a change....

 That post will be along soon and will bring us up to date, thank goodness I can hear you all say.
Once more thank you for reading, if you've made it this far.
Tek Care and Stay Safe.

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