I had a fun little excursion the other day. Our test BMW G 650 GS (Rider, November 2011) was due to be returned to the media facilities and driver Dan was booked solid. Would I take a ride down to Torrance and return the bike in exchange for a K 1600 GTL? Hmmm, tough choice: burn down the highway on some great motorcycles, or burn my retinas staring at a computer screen? It took all of two seconds before I headed off into L.A. traffic to make the swap.
So off I rode on 43 horsepower, maneuvering the easy-handling GS between cars when I reached pockets of cars at a standstill—which was pretty much most of the 25 miles or so that I had to travel on the 405 freeway. There aren’t many times when the 405 is “moving,” except between maybe 2 and 3 a.m. A few days earlier I’d been playing around on the GS in the canyons near my home and having a blast leaning into corners all the way down to the coast. Now, it was just as comfy flying down the highway and squeezing between cars.
Hey, what’s this? No fuel gauge? That’s the only thing I can complain about on the GS. When I was about 10 miles from BMW’s facilities, the low-fuel warning light came on; at least that warning light comes on when there’s a gallon left. And that gallon can last 50-plus miles.
I turned in the GS and hopped aboard the GTL. I almost wheelied out of the parking lot when I twisted that throttle, forgetting momentarily that I was now on a bike with more than triple the horsepower. Gee, this bike’s engine was loud compared to the GS’s single, or maybe it just seemed loud when cocooned behind the GTL’s big, adjustable windscreen. There wasn’t much traffic as I headed back so I didn’t have to think about squeezing the GTL’s saddlebags between cars in the narrow lanes. Power is instantaneous and the bike was so smooth; I only looked down at the speedo when I realized that I was blowing past traffic. Oops, 90 mph. I should probably slow down.
Anyway, safely back at my desk now, staring at a computer screen again and wondering if Suzuki wants the Burgman Executive (October 2011 issue) back in exchange for that new 650 V-Strom.