I am sure that most of you know that it is not easy to ride a bike you are planning on buying. Some dealers let you try a demo, and some not. Private sellers may let you ride their bike with cash in hand. When I bought my Suzuki SV650 a few years ago the seller rode the bike in a parking lot to show me that it worked, it shifted correctly and it stopped. When I bought my V-strom I bought it off the showroom floor. I did not have the chance to ride it before it was ready for delivery after it was insured and transferred.
On my recent acquisition of my "new to me" BMW R1200R, I did not ride it before I commited to buy it. The Prev owner rode it over to my home as it was more convenient for me. The paperwork was done and it was transferred into my name, all without even so much as a test ride. My confidante asked me if I tried it out to make sure that I liked the way it handled. I mean what is there to know. It has the usual controls with the clutch lever on the left and the front brake lever on the right. Is there something that I am missing ?
I didn't get to ride my "new to me" R1200 until the next day as I could not visit my insurance agent until the next day. When I got home I decided to attached the Cee Bailey windshield FIRST, then check the tire pressures which were very low (but I didn't know it at the time).
Now I knew that this particular bike was much too low for me, it has the low seat option. I also knew that with the boxer engine the centre of gravity was also very low, which makes it easy to push around.
The time of reckoning had arrived. I put on my gear, mounted the bike and started the engine. Ahh, the sweet sounds of the boxer engine. I turned a bit wide on my first left turn. Nothing dangerous but certainly, NOT in the groove. The engine is so smooth and nearly silent, it changes gears like butter into 2nd . There is sort of a torque steer as you twist the throttle.
My Suzuki V-strom is considered top-heavy but as you make a turn you only have to give a slight lean and the bike leans over by itself, then you add a bit of throttle and soon you find yourself in mid turn. Easy peezy . . .
The female type jugs on my "new to me" R1200 are low down. I found that you have to ride it like a cruiser, put lots of attitude by aggressively leaning into the direction you wish to turn, otherwise the bike likes to keep upright, so you have to work at it a bit more. I also did a few "S" slaloms down an empty road swooping back and forth to check out the lean angles, and the "R" like to remain upright. As my confidante says, you have to move your "cheeks" a bit to make it easier to facilitate the turn
This particular model also has a steering damper. I couldn't figure out why my arms are getting tired. I checked the Beemer forum and there are pros and cons about leaving it attached, or not. But for now I will leave it connected as a safety feature to minimize "tank slappers".
I have ridden this bike to work a few times and I think I am getting more accustomed to its different characteristics but the most difficult thing to master is the archaic German designed signal light system
On the left handlebar there is a switch on the underside of the handgrip which is not visible from your riding position. This turns ON the left blinker. THERE IS NO OFF button to cancel the blinking
On the right handlebar is the right turn switch, barely visible. And directly on top of that is the cancellation switch, which turns off BOTH left and right blinker lights. This is not the way it is done on any other bike I have owned and it does
take a bit of time to get used to. It is particularly hard to HIT the cancellation switch when you are also turning the throttle in mid-turn, when I like to cancel my signal lights. I am finding it just easier to not make any turns, nor change lanes, either that or just turn without signalling. What a S$%^%$$p system !
This model also has automatic signal cancelling. Signal lights are supposed to turn off after you accelerate to a "certain" speed, or in 10 seconds, and they do, except I think they remain on TOO LONG. It's not a deal breaker, but it's such an inconvenience to have to learn something new at my young age
I bought some white reflector tape to make my footprint more visible at night.