Even just a year prior to picking my GSA up, I never would have imagined being the 600# Adventure Touring bike kinda guy...My first bike was an SV650, followed by a Daytona675, a couple KLR's, and a G650x Challenge, all of which have seen me through 800 mile days more than a few times. I figured if I could ride all day on bikes like those, why would I ever want some big hulking monstrosity in the stable? A few herniated discs, cracked ribs, sprained elbows, and hemmorhoidectomys later, my resolve started to soften...Enter the test ride....I was heading south to Medford to visit my old man, and figured since the crew at Hansen's had a 2016 GSA demo bike on the lot.....why not schedule a little test ride just to see what one of these big boys really feels like. Ive covered a lot of 13k+ miles ridden in my first six months with the r1200, but I managed to miss the very beginning, and 13k is definitely worth a rehash, so Ill start with my first impressions, share some of my favorite photos, and finish with my review of the bike so far, and some of the gear ive tested along the way. If my overall impression of the bike were based on the first 30 seconds, this would be a short write-up. It felt big, to say the least. Having been on nothing but my X-Challenge for the past 6k miles it felt particularly mammoth waddling out of the lot. Thankfully for my tush, though not my wallet, the awkwardness ended VERY shortly after exiting the Hansen's parking lot. Even at just a few mph, the bikes weight just disappears. My other first thought was damn.....what a fun motor! Under 4k rpm the bike has a nice level of twin rumble, without being overly vibey, and above 4k rpm its downright smooth as butter. I love this combo as I feel like ive got a big twin between my legs around town, off the line, and in low speed gnitty gritty stuff, but when Im cruising on I-5 all day, its so smooth the ride fatigue is nearly non existent. My route for the test ride would be one of my all time favorites through my old Southern Oregon stomping grounds. Old highway 66, or Greensprings highway, across hyatt lake drive to dead indian memorial highway (renamed from just Dead Indian Road to make it more PC.....great job guys....) and back into Ashland. This is one of the best pieces of motorcycle pavement in the world as far as I am concerned, and offers everything from hairpin corners to 100mph+ sweepers, and loads of gravel and dirt as well: perfect for testing a full size ADV Tourer. The short stretch of I-5, being necessary to get to Greensprings, proved to be the first area in which the mighty GSA shone. And boy howdy.....With soft suspension settings and the ride mode in road, the R12 rides like the cadillac of motorcycles. Plush as can be, absorbing small items so effectively you can hardly notice the bumpers between lanes. In hard cornering the rear will wallow in soft mode, but considering the 5 seconds it takes to switch to hard, im not sure why this would ever be an issue. The electronic cruise control is a marvel, and frankly Im so spoiled at this point I dont know if I could ever get on the freeway without it again. The seat seems to garner a lot of love and hate. I love the comfort, but I dont like the forward slant or the dished middle which makes it hard to move around. I can see an ideal situation being a stock seat for touring, and a smoother narrower seat for carving corners and off road. The forward angle can be solved reasonably effectively (only problem is it lowers your seat height a bit) by setting the front section of the seat to high and the rear to low. Ergos are wonderful. While I love the forward lean of a sports bike, long distance leaning forward kills my lower back. Being able to sit upright and stretch my legs and upper body out is a huge advantage. likewise the shockingly wide bars also allow a lot of stretch in the upper torso. If you strap a duffle bag to the pillion seat as a back rest, you may as well be riding a 125hp lazy boy. Its that comfortable. I expected to get a rude awakening when I flipped the shiny new girl into dynamic ride mode and hard suspension. 600# is a hell of a lot of weight to be throwing back and forth on 30-50mph corners. Gladly, I was wrong. Each corner I leaned through felt more and more comfortable. The bike really feels like its on rails in the twisties. I actually think I can move the GSA around faster than I could my SV650...doesnt make a lot of sense, but between the perfectly flat suspension and the endless gobs of tractory torque, this thing absolutely destroys fast cornering. It had been a long, long, time since I had a smile that big on my face because of pavement. What a blast. Out of respect for the Hansen's, I wouldnt be doing an whoops on the test ride, but I did take a brief foray into some soft lakeside dirt to see how the offroad T/C worked. As brief a venture as it was, it did impress me with its ability to tame such a big, torquey bike. The rain started coming in hard as I rode across Hyatt Lake Drive to Dead Indian Road. I got to feel the rain mode TC kick in passing over an unseen cattle guard and was pleased with the seamlessness of the intervention. Rain coverage, like the wind coverage, is very good. A bit of water is carried in and kind of hovers by the bars, but even the worst waterproof jacket should be able to fend that off. The cylinder heads also provide a decent amount of protection and a bit of warmth. Coming down the backside of the mountain a little slower than usual, I still got to enjoy the beemers excellent high speed stability. Id read a few threads about the new GSA's being twitchy, but I certainly have never experienced that. This thing is about as rock solid as could be, even up to its 135mph ish top speed. Even so, while I would never be so brash as to call a 600# bike "flickable" this beast does manage to get around corners well. The monstrously wide bars make turn in easy, and the low center of gravity coupled with a fantastic chassis make the bike feel orders of magnitude smaller once your gripping the tank mid corner. Needless to say at this point, I sure as shit enjoyed that test ride! A few short weeks later, I sold my soul and a KLR, and got this lovely shot texted to me from the crew down at Hansen's.... After that, it was just a few short days until I was back on highway 66 for my one day break in ride. That report is linked below. Next up, some of my favorite photos that didnt make it to the ride reports, and a more detailed review of individual bike components, and gear used.