So, I rode the demo GTL at my local dealer a few months ago. The route was through a business district to the freeway, down a few exits, over a canyon road to the beach, through some beach traffic, and then along some back roads back to the dealer. All familiar roads to me, and a good mix of city/freeway/canyon/traffic.
The bike is lighter than my LT, and bigger than my GT, right about where I want it to be. And that motor . . .
Cruising down the freeway was fine, just as you'd expect from a BMW. It needs a custom seat and a windshield, again, just as you'd expect from a BMW . . .
Then I turned onto the tightest, twistiest canyon road that I could find, which runs over the Santa Monica Mountains and drops down into Malibu and the Pacific Coast Highway.
First impression: This thing handles the tight, twisty stuff as easily as my K13GT does. That's very good . . .
Second impression: I don't know why there's a shifter on this bike, as it just pulls hard in any gear . . .
With the mountain tamed, it was time to roll along the beach for a while. And grab a quick pic:
The bike remains effortless to ride, in any situation, and that motors just pulls and pulls. It really is a hybrid of my LT and my GT, with all the latest engine, suspension, and electronics technology that BMW could stuff in there.
It's pretty damn close to my perfect bike, expect maybe for price . . .
I briefly thought of getting lost, maybe knocking out a thousand miles or so to see how it really felt, but it was getting late and the demo had to go back to my waiting salesman. The salesman informed me that they needed to keep this demo until January, but maybe we could talk price and details around then . . .
Then things started picking up at work, life got crazy, all the usual. I got back on my LT, and have really been enjoying the comfort of this supreme touring machine. But the GTL still nagged at me . . .
Sometime in February, I was at the dealer picking up some parts for the LT, and I saw the silver GTL sitting there. I asked my salesman when they were gonna get a blue demo bike in, and he said, well, we have to sell this one first . . .
He said they needed to wait until the next demo bike was en-route, as they really didn't want to go even a few days without having a demo GTL available. So we agreed that March would be a good time for him, as well as for me, as I would just be finishing up a big work project.
So I rode the LT back up to my customer in Oregon to finish that job. And then got an email from my sales guy a couple of days later saying "You're GTL is ready. When do you want to pick it up?"
"Um, next month, like we agreed."
"Oh, OK, I'll just hold onto it for you then."
It was a long month . . .
But March rolled around, my work project got finished up, and I rode the LT home, taking the scenic coast route and enjoying my last real ride on the LT. Now I didn't ride directly to the dealer, as after being away for so long I had a few things at home that needed taking care of. But I was distracted, as you can imagine. After a day or two, my wife looked at me and said "Just go get it already."
So I did.
Now, in a happy coincidence, a friend had just told me about some buddies of his renting a local track for the day. Hmm . . .
So this is the new bike, less than 24 hours after signing and riding it home:
Had to get it broken in properly, and get the dirt scraped off the bottom of the foot pegs . . .
Farkels are pretty minimal so far, as this bike really does have everything included.
I knew from my demo ride that the GTL seat was way too low for me, and that I'd need to swap to the taller two-piece GT seats. Fortunately, I came across a deal on some GT seats that had already been reworked by Russell, so those went on immediately. I also got a good deal on a BMW Nav IV. And I need to go see Paige at AeroFlow to see how his GTL screen prototypes are coming along . . .
The next project is to turn it into a true LD bike, a GTLD if you will. That will include heated gear controllers, tank bag, multiple GPS units, hydration system, and of course, a fuel cell. I've got some ideas, and a few sketches already . . .
But in the mean time, I'm too busy just putting the miles on.