Friday, December 31, 2010

A Used BMW Motorcycle -- Happy New Year

Time slips by quickly and I have to pile on best wishes for the New Year on top of this story about a used BMW motorcycle.

Happy New Year! My resolutions (yes, I make resolutions) are under construction.

So, the used motorcycle, where to begin…

On Thursday afternoon I strapped a pair of Heidenau K66 LT Snowtex tires to the back of the Vespa and headed off to Kissell Motorsports to have them mounted. For non-winter riders these are snow tires with aggressive, slush clearing pattern, silica in the rubber for added traction, and special rubber designed to stay soft and sticky in the cold.

The plan was to drop the scooter off and have my wife pick me up for a ride home. What happened was I rode one of the used (pre-owned for the politically correct) motorcycles home.

The view out the breezeway door was pretty nice. Let me say I love the BMW R1200 GS. Love it. Smiled when I got on it. Was completely comfortable from the moment I pressed the starter. Loved the heated grips on the ride home. Nice bike. Really nice bike. A bike to lust after. And this was a used one with 19000 miles on it.


A lot of dreams start with the selection of used motorcycles at a dealership. Not everyone is ready to plunk down the cash for a bike. I took the BMW as an example of the kind of used bikes one might find at Kissell's.

Standing in the kitchen the next day with a bowl of soup in my hands Kim calls out, “Craig Kissell is on the phone.” After I finished the soup I was going to go for a ride. Turns out that was true because Craig told me he just sold the bike and wondered if I could bring it back.

Sometimes life kicks you in the shins.

Pushing it out of the garage I gave it one last loving look. Kim walks over and says, “You really like that motorcycle don’t you?” I nod as I admire the machine standing in my driveway.

“Do you want to buy it?”

A felt a tear forming.

I met the new owner and expressed my feelings about what a fine machine he had purchased. I tried to console myself with the thought that there will be other motorcycles.

The BMW R1200 GS was just so nice though.

And life has a way of reminding you of the serendipity of things.

I’m going to ride a 50cc Honda Ruckus home. I made the choice. An act of flagellation to atone for coveting the BMW? I will say I have a new respect for those riders who make their way in the world on a 50cc machine. Anyone can ride a BMW. It takes a special rider to deal with the Ruckus.

Throttle wide open, I manage 35 mph on the flat. Twenty mph going up a hill. And compared to my Vespa GTS 250 the 50cc Ruckus is tiny. I smile when I think about what I must look like. I take a bit of pleasure leading a large, jacked up, big wheeled, overly loud, Dodge RAM truck down a stretch of road before pulling over and waving him on. The Harley decal in the back window meant he knew how to be patient with a fellow rider.

About halfway home I came to appreciate how quiet the scooter is. The sheep owned by Penn State barely moved when I rode up.

While a 50cc scooter isn’t fast its speed is a bit deceptive. More than once I found myself going a bit too fast for a maneuver. Luckily I am experienced enough to deal with these little over estimations. But I can see why new riders run these things into curbs, walls, or off the road. There’s no profit in underestimating anything with two wheels. And protective gear is a must in my opinion lest you come to woe.

I’ve always liked the looks of the Ruckus. They seem like the jeeps of the scooter world. If only Honda would drop a slightly larger motor into one. And call it a Big Ruckus.

Oh. Right. I forgot.

So I go from a BMW R1200 GS to a 50cc Honda Ruckus. That’s the kind of riding diversity I have come to appreciate.


Joe said...

Happy New Year, Steve! May it be a happy, healthy, fun-filled, stress free year for you and yours.

I was driving home, East on 99 on Thursday, and had my GPS look for Kissell's. Sure enough, it was in there! I'll have to stop sometime when I'm running early if only to get a picture of myself there and possibly drool over their offerings.

- Joe at Scootin' da Valley

Steve Williams said...

Joe: Thank you for the kind wishes of health, fun and a lack of stress. I hope all that comes true for you as well.

Have a great new year.

Charlie6 said...

Wow Steve, going from the 1200GS to the Ruckus....there's quite the transition!

Happy New Year!


Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Redleg's Rides

RichardM said...

I also wonder why they don't put something a little bigger in the Ruckus.

Happy New Year!


BeemerGirl said...

Happy New Year!

Very interesting to go from a 1200GS to a Ruckus. Great chance to compare two completely different bikes within hours. :)

I like the new tires for the Vespa. Look forward to seeing where they will take you for the rest of the winter.


Orin said...

Steve, you saw my post from the Vancouver rally, didn't you? There are more hotrod bits for Ruckuses than Honda Civics. It would be possible to have that sucker running rings around an S1000RR in no time. ;)

I'm told recent purchasers of Ruckuses have been queried by Honda about their interest in a 125cc version. That's a segment that has been heating up considerably, and the Ruck could still be the price leader with a bigger engine. I'm also told a Vespa GTS 250 engine is an easy swap...

Scootin' Old Skool

Mike said...

Very entertaining post on New Years Eve! I laughed a few times especially when you wrote, "Sometimes life kicks you in the shins." It's nice to read that a GS might be in your future.

What a switch to go to a Ruckus. They remind me of the movie Mad Max.

Happy New Year!

SonjaM said...

Happy New Year! I had tears in my eyes as well when I read about the sudden separation from your newfound love. So the Ruckus became an excellent comic relief. I wonder if there is a Beemer in the stars for you this year...

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve:

I found this one for you this morning. I know nothing of the bike. It has more miles on it than you'd prefer I'm sure, but I am told these things run forever. Let me know if you want the guy's phone number. You know how to reach me.

The BMW community is tight-knit. You could ride down to Front Royal and back in a day.

2000 1150 GS
Silver, Mechanically and cosmetically excellentcondition, Garage kept, Adult ridden, 70,000 miles highway commuting miles! Clear Aeroflow (large) windscreen (half windscreen included), BMW sidecases & topcase, ABS, Heated Grips, spoke wheels,Odyssey gel battery, Bill Mayer Custom Seat (Original stock seat included), engine and tank guards, skid plate, Throttlemeister, Acerbis Hand Guards with color matched winglets, Handle bar risers (Ztechnik),BMW valve cover protectors, Two Brothers Exhaust mounted (Stock exhaust included), Wuedo Gas tank, Hard part-Steering Stop Brake line protector, Metzler Tourance tires have about 2000 miles on them, Touratech Large side stand foot plate, K&N Airfilter, Valve Adjustment Guages, Haynes manual, Extra Oil filter with washer. Would love to keep the "Beast" however I bought a new bike.
Photos on Request.
Price: 5850.00
Location: Front Royal, VA

Happy New Year

Jack • reep • Toad
Twisated Roads

Kyle said...

Hi Steve,

Where were you able to locate the Heidenau's?


Anonymous said...

Dear Steve Happy New Year. I was going to come visit with riepe next summer when he makes me ride around the Pennsylvania countryside for a little light torture, but the idea of watching him seduce sweet dithery old you into buying an overpriced overly complex Teutonic battering ram is just too hard to bear.
That's what brings a tear to my eyes.
An Anonymous Bonneville.

Circle Blue said...

My all time favorite 4-wheel vehicle was a blue Suzuki Samarai hardtop. There is just something rewarding about driving a underpowered yet surprisingly capable vehicle. Those little moments of discovery at underestimating my ride always have been a source of delight to me.

I deeply appreciate your wandering on this boundary between these amazingly capable machines you ride and review and a style of riding wondrously intriguing machines that are capable in a different way, that have a way of turning every ride into an adventure of discovery. I'm not at all sure I've captured what I am trying to say, but perhaps I've at least hinted at it well enough for you to get it.

Happy New Year! I look forward with anticipation to following your journeys in 2011. I will be interested to see what your stable looks like next year at this time.


eyeballbill said...

Hello Steve and a Happy New Year to you.

I've followed you blog since your LX150 days. At that time I as looking to upgrade from my 50cc scoot, and was ready to buy Vespa. Your switch to the GTS headed me on a different path and reading about your rides on your GTS helped me with my decision to buy one.

Upon beginning to read this post I was seriously worried that you would be leaving the GTS for the BMW. I know you would love the BMW, but I sure would miss the GTS posts, so if you you do head down the motorcycle road, don't forget the Vespa riders you've inspired over the years.

Bill B.
Emporia, KS

DenK said...


Life is short. Live your dreams early. If you like the 1200GS, buy one. They're cheaper now than they will be in the spring and you're not getting any younger.


Stacy said...


I'm with DenK -- get an R1200GS. "Do or do not. There is no try..."

Happy new year to you! I'm looking forward to see what you end up test riding this year!

claudia said...

This is where I thought the story was going: Kissell called and said, bring back the 1200GS - someone's purchased it... and that person was your WIFE!! Happy Holidays, Honey!!! :)

I love the looks of that Ruckus, was talking to my scooter mechanics about beefing one up...a 125 Ruckus. Done.

Craig Kissell said...

Steve, Really good one, made me laugh and it made me cry. Sorry to pull the rug out from under the GS tires.Maybe the perfect combo would be a 1200GS and a Big Rukus? Craig Kissell

Steve Williams said...

Charlie6: The difference between the BMW and the scooter was dramatic. After riding it for a few days it has become even more so. I will have to write some things down.

RichardM: Honda used to have a 250cc Ruckus known as the Big Ruckus. Ugly is a pleasing way and bombproof from what I hear. But I guess they just couldn't sell enough of them.

Steve Williams said...

BeemerGirl: I should have the Vespa back sometime this week and look forward to exploring the performance capabilities of the new tires. Hopefully I can avoid snow and ice.

Orin: As you have probably gathered by now I am an out of the box kind of owner/rider. I don't really make any modifications and tend to leave every vehicle I have ever owned in stock condition save for duct tape in later years.

I gather that is the exception rather than the rule among many scooter and motorcycle owners.

I just like to ride!

Steve Williams said...

Mike: Unless you've ridden a little scooter you really can't appreciate the difference. Even the gap between my Vespa and the Ruckus is enormous.

I'll have to share some of that in my next post about humility and ego..

SonjaM: A lot of people have asked me what the stars have in store for my two wheeled ownership. Even I have asked myself that. More thought and some post down the road.

Steve Williams said...

Mr. Riepe: That bike is the same vintage and mileage as my Ford Ranger. Is the universe speaking through you?

Talk about modifications. Reading the list has my head swimming. The person selling the motorcycle just couldn't find one he liked I guess.

Will you still comment here if I decline this bike? Or BMWs in general? There are just so many to sample before getting tied down...

Steve Williams said...

Kyle: I purchased the tires over the phone from Moto Amore in San Francisco. Got them less than a week after purchasing them.

Anonymous Bonneville: Don't worry too much about me being seduced. I tend to get set in my ways and am comfortable sitting on the couch with the Vespa.

Steve Williams said...

Circle Blue: You can appreciate how functional these little engines can be. The limitations are between are ears more than in the technology. Expectations related to riding can really get in the way of the machine.

I'm happy to say I have accepted this little scooter...

Steve Williams said...

eyeballbill: Not to worry. The Vespa remains near and dear to my heart. So I fully expect to have it for many more adventures, minor as they might be.

Thank you for the kind words of support about the blog and the inspiration it has offered. I just feel like I am returning the favor to the people who read these posts.

Steve Williams said...

DenK: Your logic is not lost on me and I have applied it many times in my head. I just have to balance the time I have available and where a motorcycle might fit into that slot.

The BMW R1200 GS is a nice, nice, sweet machine! And I only live once...

Steve Williams said...

Stacy: That Yoda stuff just doesn't work on me anymore. Wish it did. Or maybe it does and I just choose not do.

Time will tell and I will try and go with the flow. Feel the force.

claudia: Now that would be a great surprise Christmas gift from my wife. She would do it to if she knew anything about motorcycles. She surprised me with a camera once after contacting a photographer friend of my to see what I was coveting.

Steve Williams said...

Craig: I'm glad I was home and able to ride over so you didn't have to haul the motorcycle to its new owner. In fact, maybe I should develop some signal by text message, you could call the house, and I could tell Kim I need to ride over to Kissell Motorsports....*grin*

The BMW is a really nice machine. Lots of riders will want one.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve:

I have no ties to the machine I sent you. In truth, I would never advise anyone to get a BMW. German motorcycles and their riders just seem to find each other.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Steve Williams said...

Jack: So far the Vespa and I can't be separated. Got mine back today after returning the Honda Ruckus. It was delightful!

irondad said...

Sometimes the best situation is right under our noses. We just need to recognize it. Your current arrangement with the Vespa and "testing" the bikes at Kissell's is it.

It's what I imagine being married while having a harem is like.

As to how you look on the Ruckus: don't worry. On the other hand, I was out riding with a fellow instructor one day. We saw this really big ( soft ) guy on a Ruckus. The rider was wearing a brown t-shirt. There was a lot of shirt showing.

My friend, who is the example of human kindness looked at me and said,

"He looks like a tater tot on a gnat's ass!"

Eloquently put, I thought.

Mel Motorrad said...

How did you find the transition?

sandhiya said...

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BMW Motorbikes

Terrence Flendersen said...

Great, now i canservice my motorcycle by myself.. Great!

Touring Motorcycle exhausts said...

Happy for you that you ain't walking but i am sure the Ruckus would not have been one of your new year resolutions!