Before all else, it needs to be said that Kristen and I love our Ural. Not only is it a fantastic machine that will take you where very few other vehicles can but the people surrounding the brand are hospitable and generous. We will never sell our Elga and she will always be well cared for and maintained and ready for riding. Our Ural really ushered us into motorcycle touring and our trip to the Arctic Circle is the cornerstone on which our love of motorcycles stands:
For the past 4 months, however, I have been doing research on other options that may suit our needs better in the future. The wealth of information available on site like Horizons Unlimited, ADVRider, and Soviet Steeds is amazing. I was able to connect with so many experienced riders that really knew what they were talking about. After many conversations and deliberation, we wrote a check for a brand new 2011 BMW R1200 GS Adventure!
Our main considerations for going with a BMW are based on the following:
- I am 6'5". The Ural was definitely designed for someone that was a bit shorter than me. I was able to make it work with bar risers and a flat bench seat but it still gives me a pain in the back after a couple of days of riding. The GSA, on the other hand, is an absolute monster. It fits my body type pretty perfectly and is already proving to be a bit more comfortable.
- The power of the GSA is incredible. We don't ride very fast, in fact part of the reason I love the Ural is because she runs best at around 55 mph. But with the GSA, we will have the option to go faster if need be.
- Reliability: This is kind of a double-edged sword but from what I can tell, the BMW will hopefully have fewer problems that need to be constantly addressed. I'm not under the impression that it will always run flawlessly, but I am hoping that it holds up for quite a few miles. The downside is that if something does go wrong, there is no way that I will be able to fix it myself due to its' complexity. The Ural is a simple machine that can be fixed on the side of the road, at least by those who have the knowledge to do so.
So now we come to our plans for the bike and possibly the biggest deciding factor of the whole purchase. We are currently having a custom sidecar made by C Stanley Motorsports in Pennsylvania! After talking with him many times over the phone, I realized that we could design something that could potentially perfectly fit our particular needs.
For the past month or so, Claude and Kristen and I have been designing our dream sidecar. We have never been a part of this kind of process and it has been a blast, mainly because he so accommodating. It is still in the early steps but as soon as it starts coming together we'll be posting some pictures of the build.
So what's in store for the future?
Kristen and I will be riding the bike up to PA to drop it off at Claude's shop next weekend. We're going to try and take our time and make it a fun ride so we'll be sure to post to BOMF as we head North. We have some pretty extensive plans past that but that will have to wait until another post... More soon!