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The BMW’s in its elements

Published: 25 March 2001

Updated: 19 November 2014

Some friends of mine are Americans born and bred. They can’t believe the way us Brits are obsessed by the weather. But it’s easy for them, riding their sports bikes in the sunshine on dry roads.

Meanwhile, I’ve been battling the elements in what’s supposed to be the first few days of Spring.

Snow, hail, rain, sleet, ice – along with the occasional day of sunshine. You name it, the BMW and I have been out there doing it. But I’m not complaining. If I was like that, I’d use the car and keep the GS locked away.

I would never have dreamed of riding to work on my old ZX-6R in these conditions, but I’ve barely given it a second thought with the GS.

Why? Because if you take a fully-faired bike out of its winter home, the fairing is plastered in spray and you’re regretting the decision by the time you reach the end of your road.

Of course, the GS still gets dirty, but grime seems to add to the bike’s style and make it stand out from anything else.

My winter jaunts mean I arrive at work cold and a little damp, but feel alive. It’s as if I’ve beaten the odds, rather than just beaten Sara Cox by tuning the car radio into another channel.

And on my return journeys I’ve been using skills I thought I’d forgotten. Headlights, for instance. When was the last time you rode properly at night with only your lamp to see by?

But it’s not that bad – even if it did take me a few days to adjust my riding to suit the beam of the headlight.

It’s a pretty good beam, and the BMW’s front fork doesn’t dive to within inches of your face when you get on the brakes.

There have been some problems, though. Where the footrests were scraped in the summer, they’re starting to rust – the price you pay for leaning too far I suppose.

The tyres will need replacing soon, so I’ll have a look around at what’s available for this bike. I’d be perfectly happy to get another pair of Metzeler Tourances, because the ones I’ve got fitted have impressed me in all weathers – and even taken in a track day without too many scary moments.

The bike is due for a service in a few hundred miles so I’ll get new tyres then – and have the brake fluid changed. I’ve had some fluid-boiling moments steaming into a corner I thought was dry, only to find it was wet – and the brakes were fading on the way in. It’s not been alarming, but it needs sorting out.

In all, I’m chuffed at such a short problem list for a bike that’s being put through an horrendous winter like this.

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