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  • in reply to: The New R nineT and the Real World #64036

    WILL GUYAN
    Participant

    Next morning we were driven to the BMW Group DesignWorksUSA, in an industrial section of greater LA, somewhere near Newbury Park.  The machines were aligned in front and eleven lucky US journalists were given first a presentation of the new, game-changing BMW motorrad, then a tour of the usually hidden recesses of the DesignWorks inner sanctum.  First we were greeted by Roy Oliemuller, corporate Communications Mgr BMW USA, then we met the new VP, Kris, and learned he’s half German, and half American, and his name means some sort of prune concoction popular in Europe.  Then head of Design Ola Stenegard, Engineer Sergio Carvajal, Custom bike builder and media favorite Roland Sands, and finally corporate fast guy Nate Kern.  Nate is usually only at superbike events, but since this is a very important launch for BMW, and Nate has already purchased his own nineT, he was happily included.  It’s Nate’s demographic BMW is seeking – Nate’s and Ola’s and Kris’ youthful audience.  “Look to BMW for a true product assault in the USA in the next five years.” we were told.  This is good news for we westerners (west of Germany…)

    BMW has a pretty good momentum going, despite the across the market major hit of 2009 when all mfgs suffered a down market, thanks to the depressing recession (where nobody is responsible nor have they been jailed for selling junk loans to investors; the bandits got off scott free.)  Harley dropped 45%.  BMW – 29%.  Now, BMW is up 53% and growing.  In a recession, people first give up art and toys, we’re told.  20% of US BMW dealers went under, but the count is up thanks to new principals stepping up.  Things are glowing now at BMW.  Top sellers are R GS, R GSA, R RT, and the new machine R nineT.  There aren’t enough bikes to fill the dealers’ demands, and won’t be until next year sometime.  The components on the nineT are hand finished and time consuming, especially the marvelous aluminum tank, made separately in Berlin. 

    Ola: “The nineT is beyond transport – it connects you with life.  BMW is changing, is more down to earth” said the tattooed biker/designer with his wallet chained to his belt, who now has his ‘dream job.’  “The nineT began as a ‘basement project’ 2 years in development.  The Concept Ninety (built in conjunction with Roland Sands Design) was the prototype (see OTL July/Aug ’13.)  Roland has built the most successful concept/show bikes of all time.  His nineT is a real rider (and was gifted to Jay Leno.)  It’s key to get custom builders involved with this BMW.  The bike is designed to be easily customized without torching and welding the frame, etc.  There is one homologated (DOT) bike, as delivered, and the custom machines are derived from that.  Germany has a law that says you cannot modify a stock motorcycle, and to get BMW to finally acquiesce to this concept, which was foreign to them, was finally achieved and Munich went along.  The result of this project had to be stunning.  If you make it look good, then make it a real rider, it’ll be a success.”

      It has a real old-time ID badge on the steering head, and the parts that are usually plastic are instead forged aluminum with a clear coat after brushing.  The aluminum tank is formed, welded, painted, hand finished and clear coated.  It’s gorgeous. Lots of classic style appointments abound, like the round metal headlamp shell and the Roundel beneath the glass face, the aluminum air intake, seat mounts, fender stays, fork clamps, stainless spoked wheels, custom seat, minimal controls, and shotgun-style stacked dual mufflers that you may ‘tune’ for your desired sound.

    More later:

     

     

    in reply to: The New R nineT and the Real World #64038

    WILL GUYAN
    Participant

    Sergio Carvajal, BMW Engineer: “Nobody’s kids look exactly like they do, but they share their DNA.  The nineT is brand new but retains the 90 year history of BMW motorcycles.”  BMW is working hard to reinvent the Motorrad division, and this bike is the vanguard.  The DOHC air/oil cooled Boxer mill makes more torque below 5,000 rpm than other machines due to its shorter final drive ratio – the same one used in police bikes – for better acceleration (and so cops can do wheelies when we’re not looking?!)  Soon we’ll be seeing Roland Sands components for sale at BMW dealers, but they’ll not be branded with a Roundel.  Indeed, a new direction and one that’ll be very good for the USA.

    Then Nate Kern took the floor, his own custom, over the top, nineT on the podium with him.  The stand out things that jump out are the aluminum cafe racer rear seat cover, rg BST carbon fiber wheels by Brock’s Performance, and the one of a kind Titanium exhaust system by Akrapovic, the rear turn signal that’s a wrapped series of LED lights that, thanks to the innovative BMW wiring harness, was easy to install.  See the images in the July/Aug ’14 OTL.  Bar end mirrors, custom ‘comfort’ seat, and more are featured on Nate’s bike, but the creme de la creme is his blackout Ohlins fork, suitable for racing (hey, it’s Nate’s bike!) and the TTX superbike shock and Ohlins steering damper.  The bike even had Jay Leno drooling!

    Then the bombshell: “Through 2015, the R nineT production will be restrained.”  Huh?  All this great press and this news?  Most dealers are already sold out for the remainder of this year.  I’m thinking about putting down a deposit…because this machine is a real rider, on any road.  I like the shorter gear ratio for road riding.  Places more torque in your wrist. 

    Then, we were given the DesignWorksUSA tour.  Wow; who knew!?  Train cars, airplane interiors, furniture, computer cabinets, gaming controls for the computers, luxury yachts, and more than I can recall are designed by the resident geniuses in this building.

    Finally, we’re assigned our groups and take off on the new BMW.  Immediately, wheelies are universal as the shorter ratio makes it too easy; too much fun.  A bit of freeway and we’re heading west to Santa Barbara via twisty mountain roads.  The bike is loads of fun, it’s just a stylish bike made for riding.  No bags, or all the rest of the stuff that most bikes are festooned with these days.  It’s a way back machine with space age metallurgy and a non stop fun factor.  It handles the technical mountain roads, which in CA are not well maintained, with aplomb and proves the stock suspension (4.6″ travel) is well suited at least to this 175#, 5’11” rider.  Shifting, steering, suspension, ergonomics, dashboard, controls, are all spot on.  Love the black tapered bars, and the 100% clear mirrors!  The 30.9″ seat height is new to me as well, because my mount is the R1200GS, but I felt right at home with it and actually it made riding in traffic more comfortable, even with my 32″ inseam.

    The ride was definitely not tame and placid; BMW want us to really get the feel for this new bike, and so we were treated to the gnarliest route available, thanks to our Premier Event ride leader and retired CHP officer Jim Faria, an expert in his own rite and as fast as I’ve seen on the road.  We stopped at a historic mountain stage coach stop for a deluxe lunch of BBQ beef and a chance to chat with our peers, before continuing along to a resort in Santa Barbara that, I’m sure, has never seen anything like the school of predatory BMWs that took over the valet parking that Thursday afternoon.  Interestingly, BMW usually gives journos a gift; a shirt or jacket or fanny pack – they are a generous company!  But this time they caught me off guard, with a BMW Motorrad leather biker wallet and hefty chain like the kind seen by the thousands at Sturgis, etc. 

    This ain’t your father’s BMW anymore!  Stay tuned…

     

     

    in reply to: The New R nineT and the Real World #64042

    WILL GUYAN
    Participant

    Gesundheit, Miss Karen…

    in reply to: The New R nineT and the Real World #64040

    WILL GUYAN
    Participant

    For some reason, I’m compelled to continue, due in part to the overwhelming RA resonse.

    The blast back north from the Burbank Airport where Jay keeps his vast collection in a non descript, albeit huge, series of warehouses, was epic.  Lane splitting is not illegal in CA, and four of us took advantage of that to wend our way through the stalled freeway congestion.  What an unimaginable waste of expensive fuel to those who must freeway to and from work daily.  And time.  Not so we of the single track!  We passed everything in front of us, missing mirrors by the width of newsprint.  Mouth breathing stuff, this lane splitting, especially in a terminally congested urban area as huge as greater LA.  ‘Remind me to kiss the first redwood I see when I get home again’, said the voice in my helmet.

    Mile after mile we skirted the mass of gas powered metal.  Then, a guy on a Harley, WWII German helmet, fingerless gloves, and his 50″ girth drove past with feeler gauge thickness to spare, in a hurry to…who knows!  Didn’t see any police, all day.  Maybe they don’t waste their time being stuck in traffic.  Wonder how they deal with injury accidents when there’s no way for an ambulence to get thru that vast metallic herd?

    Finally, back again to the hotel.  Park the nineT and say ‘adios’ and await our ride to the airport.  It was 5:30 pm.  My flight was 1 hour north.  I arrived back home far from the day’s stressful asphalt ride, at 2:30 am.  My last 2 hours were along a very twisty road that leads to my rural area.  I skirted deer out for a night foray, skunk, feral pigs, and enjoyed every minute of the seclusion.  I understand that life in an urban area is apealing due to the availability of anything one may want.  I understand that BMW et al are seeking the future in urban mobility.  Does that mean being stuck in freeway molasses?  Not me.  I’d rather remain bereft of McDonalds, Starbucks, Home Depot and the rest.  The country has some great roads,  free from congestion, and may I suggest that if you haven’t ridden where the road ahead is wide open and compelling, that you treat yourself to a taste of the good old days and do so asap. 

    I’m sold on the coolest BMW that’s appeared since the 2008 R1200GS (a vast improvement over the prior three years’ models) and I could live with this bike.  It’s beautiful, has unheard of quality forged metal components where plastic is usually found, has balls and panache aplenty, brakes enough for a track day, ditto steering, and I loved the RR fork up front.  Everything was as it should be, except my 2X12 plank rear end felt unloved by that contrasting stiched and shaped seat, but BMW even offer an alternative seat (and that cafe racer seat cover in brushed aluminum is also de rigueur.)  Love the R nineT, and recommend you give one a test when they become available at your dealer.  Let us know what you think right here when you have sampled the BMW that will lead the charge into the future.  Tattoos anybody? 

     

    in reply to: Interested in historic BMW Rennsport bikes? #64014

    WILL GUYAN
    Participant

    Notice the nice RS54 article in OTL Jan/Feb issue?  Very nice and big images of the bevel drive BMW set up.  Including lots of historic racing photos back in the day.  Loved the image of the cylinder head bare-naked, with all the cams and followers flayed open for our edification.  Cool also to see that Ozzie’s BMW out of Chico, CA still races one!  Not desmodromic, because ther are valve springs to close the valves, but pretty darned innovative.

    in reply to: Nav V vs. Nav IV #64016

    WILL GUYAN
    Participant

    I’ve gotta say, GPS is an amazing add-on, but I still prefer old school maps.  OK, I don’t freeway nor do I need traffic updates, so I’m not the target demographic.  I in fact have a Nav V on my GS Boxer, and had to teach myself to watch for deer rather than see where I’m going on the Nav map.  These amazing options are quite capable and yet one should always stop the bike to fool around with it.  One famous ride leader hit a badger hole while GPSing and was airlifted out of the far outback.  Ouch.  Maps are far less distracting, cheaper, but the market wants all these farkling bangles and add-ons, so go for it if it’s your desire.  The older I get, the more I feel like going retro, rather than balls-out into the future with a cramped electronic cockpit and a robotic dame telling me where to turn.

    Your opinion may vary, and for the market’s sake I hope it does.  OTL recently did a nice comparo article on just this very thing: IV vs V. 

    in reply to: New bike dilemma #63981

    WILL GUYAN
    Participant

    As humans, we’re all shaped differently.  Bikes are made one way, and must be adjusted to fit the individual.  If you have enough inseam to seat a GS then your arms are long enough too.  Your grip on the bars should be comfortable enough so you’re not stressing your neck.  You should be able to ride with your knees gripping the tank and your arms relatively light on the grips.  Adjust accordingly and all should be well.  There’s a reason why they call the boxer GS the Swiss Army knife of bikedom. 

    I rode the new RT recently, and after getting used to its handling, which in the twisties is not as handy as the GS, I liked it very much.  I rode a ’96 RT once and couldn’t wait to get back on my GS.  Adjust it and you’ll be a happy rider.  Oh, the shocks aren’t clapped out, are they?  I had to change the shocks in both my GS boxers. 

     

    in reply to: OTL Rally Photo’s #63706

    WILL GUYAN
    Participant

    The RA will make sure to get this done next time! With a skeleton crew, being capable of covering the entire event is a real challenge. You can always send OTL high resolution photos. OTL would probably print the photos, even after the fact. Good call, Beemer….

    in reply to: F800 GT DEMOand the May/June 2013 issue of OTL #63695

    WILL GUYAN
    Participant

    Best road bike I ever owned was an R1200GS. Before that, it was an 1100GS, before that it was an R100GS, before that it was a Honda Superhawk, before that it was a Honda VFR – the one with mysteriously complex gear driven cams.

    Best bike by far is the newer GS boxer line. The new BMW vertical twin line gets more and more appealing, but it “doesn’t have a soul like a Vincent ’52…”

    Listen, you need a new bike. Sure, you can ride your old RS till your Telelever apparatus cracks in half, but the new boxer’s the real deal. ’08 and up, whatever you can afford, you’ll love it.

    But if your heart’s set on the vertical twin F series, follow your heart; you’ve only got so much time left to ride. Go for it. You asked.

    in reply to: Looking for riding buddies: NYC to Biltmore #63483

    WILL GUYAN
    Participant

    BMW Bill, This just came in via the RA HQ supercomputer located at an undisclosed remote site in Ohio:

    “I live in Queens and I have a mostly intact MZ twin with one holed piston that I’m hoping will make it to NC and back.

    Do you have a pillion seat and a tow rope? Should I get the threadbare original tires replaced? Bear in mind I love the cracks in the sidewalls.

    I also obsess on cracks in the sidewalks, but that’s a topic for discussion at some truck stop in Virginia.

    I may be just ever so slightly confused about my place in the cosmos, but we don’t have to talk about it. Unless you want to. I want to…

    Will we be pals once we get to NC? I have ADHD pretty bad, so I carry a half dozen spare gas caps. And my meds…

    Luigi Pastrana”

    in reply to: Ride the Adventure RAid! #63484

    WILL GUYAN
    Participant

    See you in the South, Visian!

    in reply to: December Issue #63385

    WILL GUYAN
    Participant

    Yes. I’m blaming hurricane Sandy. I can’t wait to see it. I hear it’s got some very cool, very seldom seen motorcycles within. I like the large photos.

    in reply to: OTL – don´t get much feedback #63532

    WILL GUYAN
    Participant

    Back a few years ago, OTL was Editorless, so the bosses tapped the dumb Racing Editor for the job when nobody else was willing; maybe that should read “when everybody else was too smart.” In his position, what was a clueless, bereft of direction (there were no blueprints left for OTL, nor did any of the former “staff” stick around), barely literate rider to do but to make a magazine where there was only a black & white, tarnished, and neglected newsletter? He knew naught of the former Editor’s glories, nor the club’s history and politics. So, forth he cluelessly forged, creating his own idea of a BMW moto mag that was entertaining, thought provoking, informative and colorfully illustrated. As the faux wordsmith forged ahead, printing larger images so he could enjoy the various bike details despite his myopia. Perhaps even the rare glimpse of a customized BMW, way more hip in Europe than here in the USA.
    There was no power struggle at all; every mother’s son and daughter had flown the coop, got out of Dodge and ran for the safety of blessed anonymity. Not even a blueprint was left behind, although Mr. Boltz did his best to direct the new guy before he, too, disappeared.
    And now this mystery Sammy appears out of nowhere with the Holy Grail of clarity after the fact! What a great and wondrous bunch of hooligans and hangmen lurk in the souls of men! As far as I can see, the Editor is doing a pretty damned decent job where before there was, for example, a large photo of a dorm room bunk bed representing the new rally site, and a feature article on a cable lock. Sammy, I don’t know what universe you spin your wheels across, but it’s certain you either have your head in the sand or you’re just another anonymous critic. Your bike was in the Jan/Feb issue! You must live among the cacti… Where do these latter day Merlins come from, 3 years and 8 months worth of OTLs later, with their pontificating and ramblings on about things of which they are clueless?!
    Thanks, Sammy Joe, for yet another interesting read from one of the old school OTL intelligentsia. I know the editor too, and he thrives on the hate mail he gets regularly, but mostly from RA members not afraid to give their names. I certainly can see all he’s done for this club via its magazine. OTL is nothing at all like the thing left in the wake of Hellman’s rocket ship to the other side of the Milky Way. And I, for one, approve.

    in reply to: OTL – don´t get much feedback #63559

    WILL GUYAN
    Participant

    If you want feedback in the mag about the RA, then address the Board of Directors or the Trustees, all of whom have nil to do with the creation of the magazine. I took issue with the concept of a power struggle, Sammy. There was nothing but a black hole where OTL had been. I treated the rag like I do a house remodel – improve it. It would have been nice if there’d been a group or committee behind OTL that could have explained things to the new guy, who happened to be the Racing Editor for what that was worth. The magazine itself was a closely kept cabal of a few old school folks. The new dumb-arse stepped right in, and stepped in a steaming pile. All the editor can do is that which he does, and he likes OTL, now larger and in full color, but yes it can be improved. But not without help.

    Write your pleas for explanations and clarification to the “elected” RA people, and we’ll see if they can/will explain the reality of the situation to your satisfaction. For what it’s worth, you write pretty darned well, and get your point across clearly. Now, extrapolate your situation to the “OLT” editor and you’ll see his plight: hundreds of hours per issue, still imperfect, but not genuflecting to BMW and the bottom line is the editor is a pure lifelong motorcyclist, not a politician.

    Thanks for your letter.

    in reply to: OTL – don´t get much feedback #63531

    WILL GUYAN
    Participant

    Back a few years ago, OTL was Editorless, so the bosses tapped the dumb Racing Editor for the job when nobody else was willing; maybe that should read “when everybody else was too smart.” In his position, what was a clueless, bereft of direction (there were no blueprints left for OTL, nor did any of the former “staff” stick around), barely literate rider to do but to make a magazine where there was only a black & white, tarnished, and neglected newsletter? He knew naught of the former Editor’s glories, nor the club’s history and politics. So, forth he cluelessly forged, creating his own idea of a BMW moto mag that was entertaining, thought provoking, informative and colorfully illustrated. As the faux wordsmith forged ahead, printing larger images so he could enjoy the various bike details despite his myopia. Perhaps even the rare glimpse of a customized BMW, way more hip in Europe than here in the USA.
    There was no power struggle at all; every mother’s son and daughter had flown the coop, got out of Dodge and ran for the safety of blessed anonymity. Not even a blueprint was left behind, although Mr. Boltz did his best to direct the new guy before he, too, disappeared.
    And now this mystery Sammy appears out of nowhere with the Holy Grail of clarity after the fact! What a great and wondrous bunch of hooligans and hangmen lurk in the souls of men! As far as I can see, the Editor is doing a pretty damned decent job where before there was, for example, a large photo of a dorm room bunk bed representing the new rally site, and a feature article on a cable lock. Sammy, I don’t know what universe you spin your wheels across, but it’s certain you either have your head in the sand or you’re just another anonymous critic. Your bike was in the Jan/Feb issue! You must live among the cacti… Where do these latter day Merlins come from, 3 years and 8 months worth of OTLs later, with their pontificating and ramblings on about things of which they are clueless?!
    Thanks, Sammy Joe, for yet another interesting read from one of the old school OTL intelligentsia. I know the editor too, and he thrives on the hate mail he gets regularly, but mostly from RA members not afraid to give their names. I certainly can see all he’s done for this club via its magazine. OTL is nothing at all like the thing left in the wake of Hellman’s rocket ship to the other side of the Milky Way. And I, for one, approve.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 49 total)