Sunday, November 21, 2010

Compare and Contrast

Yesterday was a revelation.

After a quick banana and grapefruit juice breakfast, Ushuaia and I set out for Lookout Mountain with a picnic lunch in the top case. This wasn't my first day-long ride on her, but it seemed like it.

Two weeks ago, the day after I made the big purchase, I toured southwest Georgia. It was freezing. I had a planned route but no GPS to prompt me, so I spent a ton of brain power making sure I stayed on track. I spent the whole day learning the new-for-BMW controls locations. In short, I was distracted.

Yesterday was a revelation.

For the first time, I really rode the bike. I knew the general direction I was headed. The potential routes were endless, I knew them all by heart, and I didn't care which one I took.

Two weeks ago, I thought the RT was a more relaxed bike. That was the word. But it's not the word. I think the 2011 R1200RT is graceful.

My old K1200GT, I now know, was a beast. It was heavy but powerful. It took muscle to lean over in a curve, but it stayed on track at startling lean-angles. It was not near as refined as some, even I, thought it was.

My first good curves on Ushuaia came mid-morning yesterday on a road a bit south of the Pocket. A road I had ridden on nearly every motorcycle I have ever owned. I was suprized by the ease of tip-in on the RT. It just leaned over. No fuss. Stopped leaning at the angle I wanted. If I used countersteer, I didn't notice it.

Then I jogged left to Subligna, my favorite name for a community in Georgia. Just south of town is a nice sweeper. The old re-release R100RS would twist like it had a hinge near the footpegs when I bombed through that sweeper. I barely noticed the curve on the RT, but the scenery was nice.

Up to 136 and across Ida Ridge. God what a great two-mile stretch of road. I passed a talented local on the outside going up the hill, scraping the edge of my new boot. Ushuaia loves to lean, and the effort to bring the lean-angle further and further down was nonexistant. I don't even recall, again, using countersteer.

Two weeks ago, when the ride was over, I thought I would need to rethink average speeds - miles per day - on the new bike. I thought I would generally ride slower with the RT. I guess I should have thought about the fact that I got home a half-hour earlier than I predicted, even with two wrong turns.

My new journey's lunch was at noon sitting next to the RT, trespassing on the precipice of Lookout Mountain overlooking River Cove Farm. Fifteen acres for sale; way too much per acre. A thermos of tomato soup, PBJ, some smoked almonds.

On the way home, I felt so ahead of the game that I stopped at a farm store for locally-grown x-mas presents for my friends and family.

Yesterday was a revelation.

Yes, the RT feels a bit more relaxed. But what it is ... is graceful.