April 30, 2020

From Gerald R. Lucas

Washed and Ready to Trade covid-19: day 49 | US: GA | info | exit

I think the time has arrived: I’m planning on trading the Scrambler for a BMW R 1200 GS this Saturday. Here are some (final?) photos after I washed it this morning.

In every way excluding the additional cost, this is better for me. The bike will come with three cases, so I can both travel and commute more easily. One of the things that always bugged me about the Scrambler is that I really couldn’t even go to the grocery store with it—there was nowhere to carry anything. Yes, I could use my NutSac or Trakke to carry my MacBook Pro and some books to campus, but these were hardly practical for carrying much else.

Speaking of traveling, the BMW will also make that much easier, since it has a windscreen and fairing. Naked bikes are cool, but they are fatiguing. In another blow to rider fatigue, the GS comes with cruise control, too. Also without wind protection, I always got pretty cold on the Scrambler—including my hands. Well, the GS has heated grips. Upgrades.

I’ve been emailing with the salesman, and found out they’ve had this bike for a while. He thinks the reason is that it’s not a pristine specimen: it’s been taken off-road, so it’s not as clean as many potential GS riders prefer. He sent some photos to show me:

The last photos show the evidence of off-roading, I guess. Because aluminum is porous, he said, it becomes more difficult to clean. You can see it underneath and on the wheels in the last photos. Autumn thinks we could use a Magic Eraser to work on these areas. I agree. I’m certain they could be cleaner than that.

Also, these bikes usually come wired for BMW’s GPS system—something the Missenden Flyer always raves about. And while it’s pricey, I was considering just getting it. However, it seems the original owner took the GPS mount off. The bar is still there, and the salesman said I could put my phone there for GPS, I could not mount a BMW-branded one. Bummer. That said, it saves me some money, and I think my iPhone will be fine—if I even need a GPS.

I’m also excited about a center stand. Not having one is inconvenient. Also, ditching the chain for a shaft drive will also be nice.

Finally, I think the GS is more my style. The Scrambler is cool and retro, but I prefer more contemporary and quirky. I think, too, having experience now with both Triumph and BMW, the latter is just made better. No, I never had an issue with the Scrambler, but its engineering was just wrong for me. For example, putting on the strap mounts for my Kreiga dry pack was nearly impossible, as the frame did not really give access above the pillion. Even taking the seat off is more difficult, and the pillion was held on by a single screw that is difficult to get to. Most things on the Scrambler just feel cheap in comparison. Even the single disc brake on the front never quite felt adequate.

All of these are just subjective, of course. Yet, I’m the one riding the motorcycle, so they are ultimately what matter to me. Honestly, I think if I had had the opportunity to test-ride the Scrambler, I probably would not have purchased it. In fact, I will not purchase a bike again without riding it first.

So baring any unforeseen circumstances, Giles and I will be heading up to Marietta on Saturday morning. It’s a weird time to be buying a bike, but it should be fine. We could mitigate potential exposure if I just made the decision to purchase it, but I want to inspect it and test ride it before making a decision.

Still, it is exciting. If I can get through one more day of grading...