As you’ll remember for last week, I’ve shortlisted my next bike to one of 3 or 4. Last week I got to take the Triumph Tiger 800 XC for a test. Today I continued the quest looking to ride one or two of the of the rest of the list.
Because of the Tiger test, and my previous experience at Frasers, I thought to pop down to Northside Motorcycles who are dealers for both Triumph and Ducati. The idea was to take the Tiger for a(nother) test, then the Multistrada for a comparative ride.
Unfortunately Northside had sold both of their demo Multistrada’s. There wasn’t a point taking the Tiger for another ride. So I rode over to Fraser’s in Concorde, despite my misgivings. Of course there are a couple of advantages to Frasers: because of their size they always have a number of demo bikes, they run scheduled test rides, and of course I’m a valued customer from when I bought Liesl
Frasers are both a BMW and Ducati dealer, so I got to test the R1200 GS and the Multistrada.
As there were no new demo GS’s, I got to take out a “pre-loved” one. As you can see it’s in great nick, despite only having a “single” cam. Rather than the DOHC, which apparently smooths out the power at the low end. To be honest, coming off the 650, I never noticed the lumpy or lack of power at the low end.
First impressions, this bike is BIG! I mean really big. When you get your leg over, you really notice the bulk, and weight of the GS. Then there’s the confusion with controls. Unlike every other bike I’ve ridden, the GS has an indicator switch on each handlebar. If you want to turn right, push the button on the right. Push the left for left. But! The cancel switch is on the right (for both indicators).
I know it seems like I’m making a big deal out of such a small thing. But the first half of my test ride I’m coping with a much bigger and heavier bike than normal, much more power, staying behind the test leader, and worrying about highway traffic. Let alone working indicators in the wrong place and try to get a feel for the bike.
Smooth to the Top
The ride is pretty amazing though. Like the Tiger, this bike wears its power with quiet smoothness. If anything the gears aren’t as quiet as the Triumph. But you can see why they call this bike “King of the Road.”
Once you’re moving, the feeling of bulk dissipates, and the ride is light and responsive. Still I wouldn’t like to have to lift it out of the gravel. Or slide onto my ankle round a roundabout
The shaft drive is really noticeable when shifting through the gears, and adds to the smoothness of the ride. Still, despite the weight. Despite the sound, and the smoothness, the boxer engine is incredibly powerful.
Both Tacho and Speedo are analogue, and really visible. Just to the right of the dash is the electronic display of all of the various gizmos.
ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) is controllable for whatever riding style you choose, from “Sport” through to “Comfort” to “Double Mountain!!” In other words from racetrack to the “Roof of Africa” to “Parramatta Road”
With everything else that was going on, I left it on Sport.
Is this the One?
There is no doubt that this bike ticks a lot of the boxes.
Power, Comfort, and Stability. It certainly exudes permanence. The bike that will take you beyond the end of the earth, back again, and be with you for life.
Then there’s the size.
80% of my riding is commuting, and whilst I’m happy filtering with wide handlebars, it’s easy to move handlebars out of the way of car mirrors. But how do you avoid scratching cars with that wide engine, and bash bars down below?
At $28K new, optioned up, or $24k for the base model this is no cheap bike. But then you never need to worry about chains, or sprockets. Ammortised over a lifetime, cheap at twice the price.
Certainly a contender. Even if not for now, for my next bike…