It’s a strange world we live in when a bike comes standard with anti-lock brakes, anti-wheelspin technology and heated grips, but you have to pay an extra $1375 to be able to do wheelies and stoppies.
No. I’m not kidding.
Such is the evolution of motorcycling, I guess, in which comfort and safety outvote the ability to ride like a crazy loon in the pursuit of a maniacal smile on your dial.
This safety-beats-the-loon outcome strikes me as something of a return to the early days of BMW when the German juggernaut built nothing but ‘sensible’ cars and motorcycles — expensive vehicles with adequate performance but exemplary comfort, reliability and world-class engineering.
In more recent times, of course, the BMW badge has adorned some sensational high-performance bikes and cars. I can’t help but wonder whether a slightly crazy Porsche-driving German rev head snuck onto the board of directors in the late 1970s and spiked everyone’s drinks, then let the engineers loose and told them “let’s have some fun”.
They’ve been having fun ever since, thanks Heavens. Maybe our Porsche-driving director popped out to the loo during one meeting, and the rest of the board agreed to toss a safety blanket over a 999cc 118kW (160hp) four-cylinder adventure-sports bike …
Interesting, don’t you think? Give the punters 160 German horses to play with, then tone them down with anti-wheelie, anti-skid, and anti-spin wizardry. It turns upside-down the more traditional approach of providing fewer horses at the base, but offering more power at extra cost with go-fast kit.
I suspect most buyers pay the extra dosh to remove the safety blanket, so the outcome is the same …
All that philosophising aside, what we have here is a magnificent piece of motorcycling technology which comes together in a package that puts new meaning to the term ‘all-rounder’.
Sports-bike performance in a straight line (0-100 in 3.1 seconds), but with ground clearance and riding position more akin to a dirt bike. Toss on the optional panniers and sat-nav and it’s a tourer too. And with a seat height of 840mm (lower again is optional) and a weight of 228kg, you could happily use this sports/dirt/tourer as a city runabout or commuter. Brilliant.
The headline act for this bike really is its technology, especially when optioned up with all the extras.
I’ve already mentioned the anti-wheelie, anti-stoppie, anti wheelspin, anti-skid stuff.
But wait, there’s more.
The ABS system is a tad smarter than most, enabling the ABS system to kick in even when the bike is banked over in a corner.
You can change gears motocross-style — keep that throttle open and just bang the lever; no clutch thanks, just like on my postie bike. Well, maybe not that much like my postie bike …
The suspension set-up includes automatic damping adjustment, so the bike decides for itself at any given moment in time what damping settings should be used (bloody good idea I reckon — I’ve never had a clue). You get to choose your own spring preload (by pushing a button on the dash; no spanners here, pal) so you don’t feel completely left out.
You can expect to pay low to mid $20k for the base model and a bunch more if you hit the options list hard. And just for fun, here it is:
Touring Package: Dynamic ESA, Preparation for GPS Device, Luggage Grid and Case Holder left and right $1,760
Dynamic Package: Dynamic Traction Control, Gear Shift Assist Pro, Riding Modes Pro, ABS Pro, Cruise Control and White LED indicators $1,375
Daytime Riding Light $400
Suspension Lowering Kit (only with Touring Package) $250
Anti Theft Alarm System $505
Seat Low (not with Suspension Lowering Kit) No Cost Option
High Performance parts
HP Front Footrest Set $1,306
HP Pillion Footpeg Set $305
HP Milled Cutch & Brake Lever $625
HP Carbon cockpit fairing, left & right $1,593
HP Carbon cover for fuel filler cap $741
HP Carbon wheel cover, front $756
HP Carbon wheel cover, rear $701
HP Carbon pinion cover $641
HP Carbon cover for number-plate carrier $709
HP Sport seat, high, 855 mm $841
HP Sport seat, 840 mm $841
HP forged wheel, front & rear $8,904
HP Pro shift assistant $1,420
HP chain tensioner $252
Touring Panniers Granite-grey metallic matt incl all mounts and locks $1,517
Liner for panniers left and right $464
Topcase, small, 30 l incl all mounts and locks $1,509
Liner for topcase $151
Softbag, small, 33-35 l $250
Softbag, large, 50-55 l $300
Dufflebag, 50 l $230
Other bits and pieces
LED Indicators set of four $308
Windscreen, tinted $499
Low Seat, low, 820 mm $676
BMW Motorrad Navigator V $1,152
Nav Prep $417
In-car kit for Navigator V $188
Crash bar, left & right $688
Wheel-axle end stopper $314
Engine guard, left & right $481
Anti-theft alarm without remote control $289
Sport auxiliary stand, front $522
Sport auxiliary stand, rear $522
Swinging-arm adapter, silver, red & titanium $42
Motorcycle cover $173