KIWI RIDER 10 2018 VOL.1 - Page 35

WORDS: Jock McLauchlan PHOTOS: Geoff Osborne WANDERLUST MADE METAL BMW’s GS models are the quintessential adventure machines. Jock McLauchlan tried both versions out for size. I AM A WALRUS, YOU ARE A MOLLUSC o doubt about it, the BMW's R1200GS models are big. But the Adventure version is real big. I don’t just mean engine capacity either; physically it’s close to huge with the frontal area almost that of a small car. In the true silverback category of the adventure world only KTM's Super Adventure 1290 is a realistic challenger to the BMW behemoth – these are BIG bikes with massive fuel ranges, serious power and top shelf everything. So, when Vege our esteemed publisher and long time BMW GS owner dropped off the the R1200GS Adventure and R1200GS test beasts, the discussion went like this; how does one genuinely and meaningfully test BMW’s crème de la crème and founding father of the adventure bike world? Well, to start with, posing around town was out – KR is not here to just look the part; and so clearly, relaxed Sunday touring was out too; even a state highway Auckland to Wellington blast was out. No, this is a real man's bike with genuine around the world expectations and capabilities. So, the test needed to treat it with the respect and dignity it deserved. A plan was hatched. A bunch of similarly-minded adventure types would tour the far north over three days via the most abominable, hidden away, butt f**k nowhere gravel roads imaginable. The maps came out and we linked together a rough clockwise circuit taking gravel roads up the west coast, the Rawene ferry and on to Pawarenga. Then across the Island heading north-east to Mangonui and finally home south, more or less down the middle to Maungaturoto and from there, the tarmac trek back in to Auckland. Now this all sounds great in theory and, of course, it was, but I still had some reservations about the standard fitment road-oriented tyres and the overall size of the machine in tough gravel conditions. After all, it was the end of winter and we were going to encounter some boggy forestry roads that are normally the natural domain of 100kg dirt bikes. However, I needn’t have worried, she may be a big girl, but she has a heart of gold and a miraculous ability to shrink in size and shed kilos dramatically once underway. What in fact is a 263kg machine with a 30-litre fuel tank capacity could easily pass for a low 200kg bike such is its balance, light steering feel and ease of use. KIWI RIDER 35