The next generation – the new „Wasserboxer“

I left my BMW at the dealer for a 80000 km service and needed a substitute for a day. Much to my surprise, they provided me with the new  R1200 GS LC, the totally revamped new “ water boxer“ model of BMW’s most sold model. I was anyway interested in arranging a test ride and now I had 24 h to check out this bike – „the best GS ever“ as many commenters say.

20130827_115010[1] 20130827_115022[1] 20130827_115032[1]I was expecting quite something, but I was overwhelmed by the sheer riding pleasure. This is not a bike for the elderly rider who wants to have a comfy motorcycle for cruising (that used to be the image of a typical BMW rider before the 4V motor was built). This is a funbike that cries for full throttle riding!!! Assisted by several electronic riding modes (my favorite: Dynamic 🙂 ) and the automatic Electronic Suspension Adjustment. And the ride-by-wire throttle that transfers the commands of the right hand directly into propulsion. The riding is….impressive. To say the least. The motor is sensational, but you have directly 100 % confidence in this bike. Narrow bends are ridden in a spectacular lean angle. Finally, you can feel what your front wheel is doing. The BMW engineers have done an impressive job. Pure adrenalin. The bad roads in Belgium pose no problem – just bang over all potholes and grooves. They only drawback – a BMW gearbox is a BMW gearbox. Shifting gears is not a subtle process – it’s difficult to engage the first gear without the neighbourhood noticing it.

The problem is – the Adventure model will be released only next year and I have to get many many piggy banks to fill…


Four Corners Ride – all over Germany in 24 h

I had planned to visit the points of Grim’s Motorcycle Legends Trail in Britain and Ireland, but this year, I have taken the opposite decision than last year. The weather forecast was not very promising and so I decided to try finally the Four Corner ride this weekend.

Cumulated precipitation for the next three days. It is obvious that the ride through Germany will be less humid than a visit to the British islands.

Cumulated precipitation for the next three days. It is obvious that the ride through Germany will be less humid than a visit to the British islands.

The aim is to visit all four corners in Germany within 24 hours. North, East, South, West – that’s the plan. I will start in the North and go clockwise. To make the task even more challenging, I want also to visit two of Grim’s Motorcycle Museums in Germany that are part of his charity ride 2013.

Planned route for the Four Corners Ride

Planned route for the Four Corners Ride

The whole trip is considered an extreme ride by the IBA Germany and should be close to 2200 km (in less than 24 h), not including getting to the starting point (700 km) and returning from the finish (100 km). Weather should be sunny, except for the start and the finish.

There is also a SPOT track to follow me live 😉


Mission accomplished.

On Friday, I rode to Tonder just across the Danish border. The reason was that there I could find accommodation and a petrol station that would be open the next morning. I stayed in a small motel and started the ride at 7:15 in the morning. I couldn’t start earlier as I needed the witness signature at the start and the cashier was so kind to agree to sign the paper. After 20 mins and small roads along the border, I reached the northern point at the sea where I had to take a picture of the border stone.

German - Dutch border. First corner point.

German – Danish border. First corner point.

The weather was as expected, light drizle, but not really a problem. The secondary roads to the motorway were straight and allowed a quick pace. I reached the A7 and headed southwards to Hamburg. The shortcut to the motorway to Berlin was closed without proper indication and in the end I was lost on some roads losing about half an hour!! I was angry about the bad road signing and almost produced a highsider when I opened the throttle a bit too early in a wet corner and drifted around the bend. Woah! A clear message to calm down. I found my way to another highway and a couple of minutes and a U-turn later, I was back on track. The weather improved and close to Berlin, I had to stop and take off some warm clothes. I headed direction Cottbus and the Polish border. Now it was time for some 50 km of secondary roads along the Neiße. To my surprise, this was quite fun and I enjoyed the ride through the forests. I knew that the eastern corner was in a remote place and I had to ride on small farm tracks. Instead walking to the point in the heat, I decided to ride on a little path through the field. Tricky, a Sportboxer is not a GS. I parked in the shadow and took the picture of the second corner point.

14:17 h. Easternmost point in Germany at the border to Poland.

14:17 h. Easternmost point in Germany at the border to Poland.

I knew I was drinking too little as I left my drinking bladder at home. So my lunch consisted in a bottle of water and a candy bar that was far beyond its melting point. Back to the main road and soon I was on the motorway, heading westwards. I had to stop for my second fuel stop and munched a …yes, a sandwich. Close to Chemnitz I overlooked the right exit, but finally I found my way to the first location of Grim’s Museums Trail. Very nice roads led me to the picturesque Augustusburg, famous for its motorcycle museum and its winter motorbike meeting. Apparently, there was a meeting of pre-war motorcycles, but I had no time to walk around and to have a look at them.

Schloss Augustusburg, home of another motorcycle museum. But no time to visit

Schloss Augustusburg, home of another motorcycle museum. But no time to visit

When I was riding downhill, some of them tried to get to the hill. Some didn’t. It took a while until I was back on the Autobahn. I felt to stop and to get over a typical low point in the late afternoon: A Red Bull, an Aspirin and lots of water. It worked. I pulled the cable until it was time for another fuel stop. Again on the A7, but now down in Bavaria. I was approaching the Alps and hoped to be able to Southern Point with the last rays of daylight. And I managed! It is located south of Oberstdorf when the public roads ends for motorised traffic, surrounded by high mountains.

Southernmost point in Germany: end of the (public) road.

Southernmost point in Germany: end of the (public) road.

I had a problem to locate the right sign, but I realised that it was changed a bit and looked different from the picture. I headed back before it was pitch black. I knew that I was a couple of hours ahead of schedule so I could take it bit more easy. Northwards again. Earlier than expected I had to put petrol before Stuttgart and I calculated that I  would need another fuel stop in the night. I also questioned myself if I really needed to stop the ride right after the last point or if I continued directly to my home. In Heilbronn I exited the Autobahn and visited the NSU museum in Neckarsulm, another Grim Trail location.

NSU museum in Neckarsulm

NSU museum in Neckarsulm

I stopped at a rest station at 1 a.m. to get finally something warm in my stomach. I took it easy, no need to hurry. I realised that I also could have tried a Bun Burner Gold in addition (2500 km in 24 h), but I didn’t have a second witness signature that you need in that case. When I went to western Germany, I was expecting the forecasted rain, but luckily it stayed dry. At 4 a.m. I reached the Western point at the Dutch border.

Westernmost corner, Dutch border, 4 a.m. last point

Westernmost corner, Dutch border, 4 a.m. last point.

I had some problems with my camera, as it decided to record a video and I was not able to switch it off 🙂 . Finally I returned to Belgium and after one hour I wanted to get the final fuel receipt. The same thing as during my SS3000 happened: no ticket!!! I had to ride to the next station and put another two litres. Finally, after 21h 50 mins and 2315 km I ended this funny ride. I never had seen so much different places in Germany in one day 🙂 . It was easier than I thought, but good planning is essential.