Beemer Beemer chicken deener!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JMo (& piglet), Apr 16, 2018.

  1. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Desert' - thank you for your kind words! I realise I'm in a pretty unique/lucky position to take some time out this summer to really explore the capabilities and durability of this new bike - not just the Rally-Raid parts (which I'm confident are more than up to the task of course), but since this is essentially a brand new bike on the market this year, and only just really starting to find it's feet in the US particularly, then like you say - some longer-term/higher mileage testing is really going to help potential purchasers and existing owners as to what they can expect.

    Currently my plan (as I outlined towards the beginning of this thread) now, having it ridden it all the way coast to coast, is to start heading back east - via some more serious dirt/dual-sport destinations, and see how it stands up to some tougher dual-sport riding.

    Ultimately I've made a commitment to attending the OAR in Toronto again this summer - and currently I'm trying to work out the logistics of getting all the way back there for early July, while personally having to be back in the UK through June - then there is the BMW MOA rally in Iowa mid July too of course.

    In that regard, by the end of the summer I should have effectively completed a Z of North America - this initial southern route, then diagonally back to the North East, then across the top again (Montana and Idaho especially), including some more riding in Alberta and BC in August.

    All told, I think the bike will certainly be due it's 12,000 mile service before I get back to California this September!

    With regard to your questions - currently I have nothing but praise for the engine engineering so far - it seems you can slog it day in and day out at high speeds for hours on end, and it doesn't seem to complain. It does start to use more fuel at 70+mph (especially at altitude/gradients/headwinds) - but like you say, this really isn't much more [capacity] than a scooter engine - so it's bloody impressive to be honest!

    As for the physical size of the bike - it is much bigger [in the metal] than a lot of people were perhaps expecting. It's certainly 'full-size' with regard to seat height and bar reach etc. - similar to the Honda CB500X in that regard. However, the pillion provision on the 310GS is very modest in comparison (and that is being polite) - the rear seat pad is fine for my Coyote bag, but I wouldn't want to sit/ride on it very far as a passenger... this really is a solo 'ADV' bike in that regard.

    [​IMG]

    Hope that helps, and hopefully there will be plenty more useful tips and info to share as the trip continues to unfold!

    Jenny xx
  2. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

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    I get you, I must have missed/forgotten about your under seat plug otherwise I might have kept my mouth shut, I can understand you wanting the blue glow too.

    I’ll think about other options to carry my presentation, I need a camera/USB adapter for my camera and iPad anyway.

    Might have to join you in a cup holder. Look on the left of my top box, do you have one of those yet?:lol3
    [​IMG]
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  3. DesertSurfer

    DesertSurfer Tail sprayin

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    Great response, thank you.

    I'll for sure be following along... not only to see how the G310 fairs on your planned extended journey, but also see what interesting places you uncover and highlight along the way.

    I like and appreciate how informative and thorough you are with all the details in your reports.

    Thanks for sharing your observations and interesting lifestyle.
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  4. 1suffolkmare

    1suffolkmare Been here awhile

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    I'm enjoying following your journey thus far, Jenny. Great insights and nice, concise writing style.


    Question: I thought all the components for these bikes were assembled in India - not China. Was I wrong?
  5. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks House Ape

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    The bikes are assembled in Hosur (near Bangalore) in India, at a brand new factory built and run by TVS, under the supervision of managers who were sent to Germany to be trained by BMW. But many of the components are sourced from vendors from all over the globe, and shipped to the factory there for final assembly.
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  6. DesertSurfer

    DesertSurfer Tail sprayin

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    I think the motors are being built by the Chinese factory that built the Husky motors while BMW owned them.

    It may be at or near where the KTM motors are being built. KTM follows BMW closely and also has a spy eye on Aprilia.
  7. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks House Ape

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    That's not the case, @DesertSurfer. The motors are built in Hosur, India, at the new TVS factory there. Though they were designed in Germany.
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  8. BMWzenrider

    BMWzenrider Older & Slower Supporter

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    I believe you are thinking about the F/G650 Single engines, which were indeed assembled in China at the end of that model's life.

    The G310 Single is assembled in India at a completely new purpose-built TVS factory there.
    The factory was designed to standards set by BMW Motorrad specifically for this bike.
  9. appliance57

    appliance57 Long timer Supporter

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    You actually made that thing look great. Could have stopped the thread right there and still been a hero :-)
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  10. crashkorolyk

    crashkorolyk just happy to ride

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    Good luck on your travels and keep the tech mods and updates coming,great to see the wee Beemer is living up to the hype,although the list is getting longer for the upgrades when mine arrives!
  11. woodzrider

    woodzrider Long timer

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    Do I see a bottle opener on the side of your tail Box? If so, great idea...
  12. O Captain My Captain

    O Captain My Captain Upsetting the apple cart

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    Jenny, I'm with you on this. Was the installation of the USB socket plug and play? Can you provide a link to the parts? I also like simplicity and just want to have a couple of USB ports on the dash. I also have the pigtail hooked up below the seat from my dealer so I can plug in my Battery Tender and/or power for my tire compressor.
  13. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

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    you most certainly do:freaky
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  14. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Chapter 2 - California to Utah
    Day 1: Monday 14th May: San Jose To Ridgecrest CA

    408 miles

    After a thorough 'getting to know you' session in the garage over the weekend, I was confident I now knew a lot more about how this bike went together, and had fixed a few little niggling details that I'd not had time to sort before my initial journey west.

    In regard to the Rally-Raid parts I now felt I'd got the suspension set up the way I wanted: I'd backed off the initial preload a couple of turns, so that the hydraulic adjuster was more in the middle of it's range - allowing me to soften up the rear end for solo 'trialsy' technical riding (better traction and grip), then wind on some preload for carrying my luggage in touring/travel mode.

    I also elected to refit the OEM black screen, not that there was anything wrong with the taller Rally-Raid screen - quite the contrary in fact, I liked the way it cut the wind roar from my Icon helmet at higher highway speeds - but more that I'd decided that for this next leg I'd wear my open-face Arai, and noticed it was now more noisy with the taller screen*

    *this is why screen choice/height is so difficult to recommend, since there are so many variables - not just rider height and build (and the angle you like to lean into the bars), but also down to which helmet you choose and/or even if it has a peak fitted or not.

    I also elected to forfeit my Icon riding pants for regular jeans, plus my Alpinestars roll-up rain pants in the back pocket of my jacket (the same set-up I had for my Canada trip last summer); and since I was expecting good weather now in the Desert Southwest for the next couple of weeks, left my original [thicker/bulky] fleece jacket at home, and bought a down quilted jacket that packs down really small into it's own pocket.

    Right, time to hit the road then!

    [​IMG]
    photo. a slippery water crossing on Deer Creek Rd south east of Porterville CA

    I seem to ride drive this initial run south from San Jose a lot these days, and having shlepped home from Arizona less than a week ago, this time I elected to stay off the Interstate and took a series of alternative highways and two-lane country roads between the main Central Valley arteries of I5 and 99, before picking up a lovely scenic dirt road [which I've ridden before] to California Hot Springs in the Sequioa National Forest.

    Climbing higher into the foothills on the western side of the Sierras, I'd half hoped that Portuguese Pass might be open en route to Kernville, but the seasonal gate was still locked, so I made do with more twisty mountain forest road and the delightful creek canyon Kern River Rd all the way to the north shore of Lake Isabella - again I mention these pointers specifically if you are ever in the region yourself - some truly epic motorcycling roads almost free of traffic the whole way.

    [​IMG]
    photo. Looking back west through the mountains down hwy 178 towards Bakersfield, from the Canebrake dirt road that winds its way over a pass to dovetail with Nine Mile Canyon.

    [​IMG]
    photo. Controlled burn area on the far side of the pass.

    [​IMG]
    photo. The view east down Nine Mile Canyon - one of the epic back-country byways in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains.

    By the time I rolled into Ridgecrest at dusk, I'd clocked up over 400 miles again on a mix of scenic paved and unpaved/dirt roads, but most importantly was now set up for some serious off-road riding the following morning...

    After all, this is really what I'd built this bike for!

    More soon...

    Jenny x





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  15. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Day 2: Tuesday 15th May: Ridgecrest CA to Las Vegas NV

    210 miles

    If yesterday was about trying to catalogue a definitive minor road route though the southern Sierras, then today would be similarly dedicated to a defining dirt route to Las Vegas, using a number of trails I was already familiar with.

    I admit I'm a creature of habit when it comes to this part of the country - those of you who followed my Trans-Am 500 ride in 2015 (on the Rally-Raid CB500X) will be familiar with much of this route though the bottom end of Death Valley, but this time I intended to include a few more dirt/trail sections east of Pahrump through the Spring Mountains which I'd had to forfeit the previous journey due to time constraints.

    Motel 6 in Ridgecrest is cheap, but increasingly shabby these days; but at least it's across the road from one of my favourite breakfast diners - and their cinnamon roll French toast was a treat - although I'm not sure if anyone had shown it some egg this morning to be honest, it was more a cinnamon bun covered in frosting and subsequently dripping in syrup courtesy of my own fair hand - a diabetic overload and no mistake, served with a 'side' of scrambled eggs, bacon and two sausages - it was essentially two breakfasts in one to set me up well on this sunny morning!

    There was no need to gas up before I reached Trona (the last gas stop before you enter Panamint and Death Valley), and I took a little time to hydrate fully with a bucket of fountain soda (using the cup to fill my camelbak with ice first) and I filled both my internal and external bladders to the brim - it was going to be hot out there today...

    [​IMG]
    photo. Off highway 178 between Ridgecrest and Trona is this funky shrine to a local firefighter who was killed in a car accident in 2015. It must be quite surreal to drive past and night and see it lit up by the solar-powered spot-lights.

    Due to my more modest pace though the mountains and dirt roads yesterday afternoon/evening, I'd actually managed to eek 173 miles from a tank of fuel (with still 22 to go according to the range gauge), which equates to around 65mpg - so clearly the fuel consumption is much better at sub 60mph than what I'd been achieving at higher speeds on the highway in recent days/weeks.

    [​IMG]
    photo. The Escape Trail (Fish Canyon) between Trona airport and the bottom end of Panamint Valley - an excellent warm up for the day ahead.

    I've ridden the Escape Trail a few times now, and it always impresses me with the big reveal as you crest the initial climb and start the decent into Panamint Valley. More recently Juan, Harold and I witnessed a pair of jet-fighters (presumably out of the nearby China Lake base, or possibly Edwards AFB to the south of here) playing tag at low-level in the valley; and previously Dave Lin (from ADVaddicts) and I rode this trail together in 2015 when he joined me on his KTM 690, which promptly ran away from him when he forgot to disengage his ABS on what will be forever known as 'Dave's Hill' now ;o)

    Mindful of this loose and rocky decent (with little grip, even if you're on the brakes), I elected to switch off the ABS on the GS and pick my way down gingerly - although I have to say it wasn't easy, as the bike seems to have a propensity to cough stall when you try and drag the rear brake - a technique not helped by the low rear brake pedal that forces your foot into an unnatural angle, making it hard to modulate accurately. The stock foot pegs are also absolutely horrible to stand on too. It's conditions like this that really make me appreciate how easy and relaxed the twin cylinder Honda is (even though it's a good 50lbs heavier, it also hides that weight well and low), and how much more lazy you can be on it.

    [​IMG]
    photo. The bottom of Dave's Hill - it looks so innocent here, but it's actually far rougher at the top end, and pretty nerve-wracking the whole way down as there is so little traction and grip.

    Conversely, the BMW begins to reward you if you decide to put a little more effort in, ride it a bit harder and faster than you might a physically larger and/or heavier bike, and let the suspension do the work - certainly once I'd left the rocky baby-heads behind and the trail opened up into a fast sandy piste, the bike would rip along at a deceptively decent lick (40mph or more) over the whooped-out trail - although I did have to stop and add three clicks of preload to the rear to stop the shock bottoming out with the weight of my luggage on board once I started riding at that sort of speed on that terrain.

    [​IMG]
    photo. Once the trail levelled-out and opened up, you could really pick up some speed (and carry it) on the nimble GS.

    cont.
  16. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    cont.

    The Escape Trail spits you out a the bottom of Wingate Rd, almost directly opposite the entrance to Golar Wash, which in turn leads to Mengal Pass, Butte Valley and ultimately through the bottom end of Badwater Basin in Death Valley itself.

    It really is one of the classic trails in Southern California, a wonderful mix of scenery, some challenging (but not too challenging ) terrain, points of interest (Newman's Mine cabin and the Barker Ranch), and not least Mengal Pass itself which again is not overly technical (you can pick a line through on a bike), but enough to catch out the unwary if you're not paying attention. Certainly I was glad I'd removed my side-stand switch from the low-slung undercarriage position on this bike, as I would have probably smashed it by the time I rolled into Butte Valley:

    [​IMG]

    I also must admit to my first drop with this new bike (if you don't count it rolling forward and falling on the far side when I was trying to drop some oil on the side of the trail in North Carolina)... As I approached the first rocky section in Golar Wash (a series of jagged rock steps that have got more and more aggressive in recent years as the water has washed the smaller debris out of the nooks and crannies), I saw two Jeeps parked right in the middle of the trail.

    The occupants were mingling around taking it easy, and they asked about the general condition of the trail ahead, so I helped to set their minds at ease and also made a few suggestions of things to see along the way... I then made a start along side the two vehicles in an effort to get up the rocks ahead as nonchalantly as I could.

    Bloody rear tyre hung up on a wet rock slab and spat me sideways didn't it! Still, it's always good to get that first proper drop out of the way now - even if it was in front of an audience! - and at least I was able to appreciate that the bike does indeed feel lighter than the Honda to pick up off the deck, I positively snatched it off the ground in an effort to save face - but damn I had to clutch the bastard up and over those rocks. Time to air down the tyres I think.

    cont.
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  17. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    cont.

    I dispatched the next few miles at a fair old lick - again, it appears this bike actually rewards a little more aggressive riding, although I noticed the front end did seem to push/run wide in loose turns - certainly compared to my CB (on the same tyres) which always feels utterly planted... However, get on the throttle a bit more and you can adjust the attitude of the bike well enough, despite it's modest power output.

    In that regard, personally I think this bike is rather over-tyred with the 150 width rear (and even that 110/80 front) and I intend to fit the Continental TKC80 in 140/80 x 17 size when I replace the rear in Moab next week. I also think an even lighter and more narrow profile tyre on each end would make this bike feel even more lively off-road; although I have to concede that for it's overall weight and load carrying capability, the specified tyre sizes are appropriate - it's just I feel the 34hp can struggle to turn the heavier all-terrain tyres at times.

    [​IMG]
    photo. I emerged from Warm Spring Canyon onto West Side Road, and headed for the highway over Jubilee Pass to Shoshone for a well earned ice cream!

    Even though I'd averaged 70mpg over the last 80 miles primarily off-road, I supported the local fuel station at $4.60 a gallon (still factoring that was some cheap fun I'd just had!), and blatted along the empty highway to Pahrump with only my iPod for company, planning the next stage of attack...

    [​IMG]
    photo. Nice new sign, no bullet holes as yet...

    Wheeler Pass is one of my favourite trails (and way to cross the Spring Mountains to the north into the Las Vegas basin) in this area, however, those of you familiar with the classic LA-Barstow-Vegas dual-sport ride may well be familiar with the southern crossing though Red Rock Canyon - an even more technically challenging (in places) climb through a narrow creek/wash and down the far side on a series of tight gravel and rocky switch backs.

    There is also a lovely dirt-road/easy trail connection from the highway south of Pahrump and east into the foothills - Lovell Summit/Canyon Rd - this would be my route on the GS of course!


    [​IMG]
    photo. This is the point in Red Rock Canyon where things start to get technical... the main wash is a great playground for four-wheelers, while the bikes can usually find a line through the boulders or along the edge of the main trail.

    [​IMG]
    photo. I haven't been though here in a good few years (and the last time on a bike was actually over 8 years ago now), but parts of this trail were immediately familiar... As is the nature of wash trails, some sections had deteriorated, while others actually smoothed out and/or new lines developed.

    [​IMG]
    photo. This has to be a road, it's in the GPS right?

    [​IMG]
    photo. Once you reach the Pass, the worst is over - the descent is a series of tight switchbacks all the way into Willow Springs in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

    This time, I elected to leave the ABS engaged the whole time, and I have to say, I am impressed with how well it copes with off-road and loose terrain conditions - very similar to the excellent system on the CB500X in that regard - and although I have managed to get the GS to skip/let go a couple of times in certain conditions, it has so far never resulted in a total run-away as BMW have been notorious for in the past.

    The result on these tight downhill switchbacks was actually a revelation! Instead of the bike cough-stalling out on me if I was a bit heavy on the brakes (typically trailing the rear brake into corners to tighten up the line), I could brake right up to the point of the wheel locking which would typically result in the engine stalling, and yet the engine kept on ticking over while the brakes continued to retard the bike enough to keep control and momentum retained - it was essentially a form of ghetto traction control in reverse... This was fun!

    [​IMG]
    photo. when I first rode this trail back in 2007 on my XR650R, this sign used to say: "Travel at your own risk" (which I soon adopted as my mantra for life ;o)

    I cruised out of the park (if you join the one-way highway at this point halfway around, you avoid the fee station at the official entrance) at a sedate pace, confident that the bike had finally just spent the past two days in its element - twisty two-lane highway and backroad byways, fast gravel and sandy trails and some proper rocky technical riding too. This is what I'd ridden all the way across the country for, and it was only going to get better once I got to Arizona and Utah too of course!

    However, I'd noticed that my cush-drive was once again starting to show excessive play, despite my inner tube packing, so stopped at the roadside and employed my Google machine. Sure enough, there was a BMW Motorrad dealer in Las Vegas (of course there was, although as it transpired they had moved location recently), so I tapped the address into my GPS with the intention of simply dropping by to ask what the warranty situation might be...

    I have to say, I'm really liking the BMW ownership experience so far - well, apart from the fact I needed a warranty claim for cush rubbers in the first place of course! - and certainly this particular dealer [EuroCycle Las Vegas] made me feel very special - despite rocking up in dirty dusty jeans on their cheapest model, that I hadn't even bought in that State, never mind from that actual dealership themselves - they ordered me up the three required rubbers to be sent overnight, and booked me into their service department for the following morning. All done, gratis.

    So currently I am now sitting here in an air-conditioned home of some good friends on the outskirts of Las Vegas, drinking a beer (my excuse for any spelling mistakes), with a fully functioning BMW again - all ready to head to Overland Expo tomorrow!

    So if you're in the Flagstaff area (or are within striking distance at least) over the weekend, then do drop by (day tickets for Expo are available online) and say hello - Harold from Giant Loop and I will also be hosting an informal happy hour chat/presentation on the Friday night too, where you'd be most welcome!

    More soon!

    Jenny x
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  18. ThirtyOne

    ThirtyOne I got my wings back. Supporter

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    Great update! Safe travels Jenny.
  19. BLucare

    BLucare What could possibly go wrong?

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    Good stuff, Jenny :thumb I'm keeping a close eye on your tire developments, as I am considering trying out the TKC80 this year. Cheers!
  20. Jeepster360

    Jeepster360 Been here awhile

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    Jenny, would you consider running an 805 rear tire when you install a new one? I would love to hear your thoughts/comparison to the tkc80

    John