BMW's all-conquering flat twin reviewed and rated on a French thrash
This review is part of the Monster Trailies Lap France mega-test review. Click the link for the rivals.
First of all I had better introduce myself. Although I don't often appear in Visordown, my work does - I'm the man behind the camera charged with making this magazine look good. So while the rest of the guys just have to remember to bring a change of clothes, I have to pack enough kit to photograph the whole sorry episode. Which means my luggage carrying needs are a little different. Simply put, I don't travel light. To shoot a road test for Visordown I need a camera body, a spare body, three lenses, lights, battery, filters and a computer. And the rest. All this gear needs to be safe, dry and, most importantly, secure. On an average shoot I have around £25,000 of kit, weighing around 40kg. Imagine looking in your mirrors and seeing that tumbling down the road!
So riding a bike isn't usually that practical. Ordinarily I would follow along in a comfortable car, but not this time. Actually at first the trip sounded like a laugh, but at that point I didn't realise I would end up in a French lay-by throwing up wine and part-cooked sausages into a river...
This was to be my first long-distance run by bike for over three years. I get a quick blat up the road from time to time on various test bikes but that's about it, so I need to take it easy and get into my groove. Which doesn't happen. After two days of what feels like a Japanese-style endurance test by motorcycle, I wake in the hotel in Brive cursing my damn camera bags.
I've blagged the bike with what I reckoned was the best luggage capacity, but even the R1200 GS, with its clever expanding panniers, can't take all my kit. Despite looking huge it seems as though each pannier's inner space is not as great as its exterior suggests. Never mind, the luggage rack on the back should supply a secure base for bungee action. Which it does, but with the bag now located behind me I have to sit forward of my normal riding position, which makes it uncomfortable and difficult to steer in slow corners. Not ideal for a long ride since I'll get backache and have to stretch my legs every 50 miles.
So, knowing it will get in the way within a few minutes, I strap the bag to the back of the BMW and fiddle around trying to locate the pannier mounting points. It's an easy system, but the angular pillion rails can get in the way.
Click here to read the BMW R1200GS review final page.
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