Blog: June 6. BMW buddies.

800ShakedownRide_003It’s Saturday morning as I write this and I’m waiting for the bad weather to hit. It’s raining, but nothing serious so far. I expect the internet will fail once the really bad weather arrives, so I’m jumping in early before I sit down with a supply of coffee and watch the river rise.

I had a top day’s riding on Thursday with Uncle Al on his BMW 650 Sertao and Chris Laan on his F800GSA.

The idea was to head out for a shakedown ride on work’s 2016 BMW F800GS. It has TKC80s, an SW Motech GPS mount, ‘bar risers and a pair of Giant Loop ‘Bushwackers’ fitted now.

800ShakedownRide_006Bushwackers are big plastic handguards. We used to use something very similar when I was younger. Ballard’s used to sell them and everyone joked they were ice-cream-bucket lids with stickers. Maybe they were, but they worked. They kept an amazing amount of crud off our hands and controls, which is what they were designed to do. The new Giant Loop ones are a little more refined – not much – and fix with some rubbery straps that work a lot better than the velcro we used to use. I wanted them to protect my hands from cold wind, and they worked well, although they’re a bit pricey. I think they were $80.

Anyhoo, Uncle Al is a demon for a good camp, and his original plan was to ride Wednesday and Thursday, camping somewhere Wednesday night.

800ShakedownRide_004Pressure of work got in the way, and I had to beg to make it a single day – the cold had nothing to do with it. Seriously. It didn’t. Not much, anyway – and although Graham Whipp was hoping to make it, work barrelled him as well. Fortunately, the Lowly Boilermaker, Chris Laan, was able to come out for the day, and that made for a really good trio.

Chris and I left Coffs on Thursday morning with the temperature hovering around 11 degrees, and toughed it out all the way to Ebor before stopping for a coffee. From Ebor we clenched our teeth and manned up for a true-grit demonstration of commitment and made it all the way to Wollomombi – about 40km along the road – before pulling up for more coffee, this time with scones, jam and, for me, cream. Uncle Al joined us at Wollomombi and we headed off for a really pleasant day of cruising down the old Armidale-Kempsey Road.

800ShakedownRide_008Lunch was at Bellbrook, then we scooted across to Bowraville and back to Coffs.

What a great day.

Chris gave me a run on his F800GSA fitted with the Rekluse clutch.

800ShakedownRide_007Now that’s a very interesting innovation. I’d never ridden a Rekluse before and it’s a revelation. I can forsee every bike being similarly equipped in the not-too-distant future. It’s just too sensible and easy to use.

I had a run on Uncle Al’s Sertao as well. They’re a ripping bike. It’s a huge disappointment to see BMW will no longer produce the 650s.

Okay. The wind’s picking up and the rain’s coming down. I’d best get to checking on things.


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