Jan 23, 2011

BMW Motorcycles of Western Oregon: Service Review

We proudly have 2 locations to serve you!
It was actually during one of those rides I had the pleasure of riding a 1200R.  That bike made me think twice about my BMW choices and the Beast.  Even so, I was able to resist the urge to trade up (or over) and settled into a happy existence with the GS.   Well, as happy as it can be considering there isn't a lot of time to ride and I have no riding buddies.  Drat!   
I dropped the Beast off at BMW Motorcycles of Western Oregon, Tigard (http://www.bmwor.com/) last week for some old recall issues and it's 12k service.   I hate taking the bike in for service for a few reasons.  The main being the price and the second being that a few years ago BMW of Western Oregon had this great service called LOANERS.  I could just drop my bike off and ride one of theirs for the day while mine was getting serviced. It gave me a chance to ride a bike I normally wouldn't even think of and also to avoid the agony of trying to find a ride from my country home to the Tigard area.  

1200R, a rider's dream!
I wanted to take a moment and offer praise to BMW of Western Oregon and specifically to Ben in the service department.  Ben is one of the few reasons I will take my bike back to BMW for service when I know there are other people and places that can work on the bike for lesser amounts.  Ben was courteous, helpful, and most importantly to me, entertaining.  He was a cool cat.   I had mentioned to Ben that I was thinking about selling the Beast and he took the time to have a conversation with me about the bike that was very helpful in making my final decision.  He even mentioned I was thinking about selling to someone on the sales floor who kindly called and told me about BMW's options.  I could sell them the bike outright or I could put it on consignment.  Great options for someone who is looking to sell a bike as soon as possible!   I'm in no rush to sell but it's good to know there are options.  

Lucky for me the day I picked up the bike the sun was shining in Portland and the weather was a balmy 54 degrees.  (Okay, not balmy but a girl can dream, right?)   I got my bill from Ben and walked to the front cashier to pay and was greeted by name.  (Freaky and cool at the same time.)  I tried to get them to take my firstborn child instead of my visa card but it was a no go (doesn't hurt to ask).  When I got back to the service area my bike was waiting outside, cleaner than it had been when I brought it in.  I bid ado to Ben and climbed on board the Beast.  We rode away poor but happy.  And we rode and rode thanks to the great day!

The Beast happy and back from service
Now, I must tell you that BMW of Western Oregon is one of two places I take my BMW.  The other place is hard to beat since the service guy (who actually works on my bike) and parts guy always take a few minutes (and usually more) to chat me up and they both give me a discount almost every time.  They offer free advice and are my "go to" guys.  If I could marry them I would.   But, BMW of Western Oregon is a place I'm warming up to.  Being called by name is a great bonus and having friendly staff in the service area is awesome (they haven't always been that nice).   I find walking through the store to pay my bill has the exact effect I'm sure they are going for...I'm checking out other bikes and the new shirts, eying the newest jackets and dreaming of some new straps.   And, even though I know that's a ploy, I still enjoy it because normally I wouldn't take the time.   

The only thing I'm not keen on regarding this service trip is that after I bought a new battery (at least they tested the old one and informed me so I wasn't stranded) they didn't reset my clock.  I can do a lot of things by myself.  Reset my BMW clock isn't one of them.   Last time I had service there they did reset the clock, so maybe it was an oversight.  But, even so, for what I paid for the service I'd expect to hop on the bike and have a clock that showed the correct time (and maybe made waffles). 

Overall I offer a big KUDOS to BMW of Western Oregon-Tigard for hiring people who know their stuff, who take the time to make you feel welcome and who remember your name.   The Beast and I thank you.  

Jan 20, 2011

The Beast is for Sale! $13,000

2008 R1200 GS 
This beautiful bike has been with me since 2008.  I remember when I bought it from Salem Honda BMW (http://www.salemhonda.com/), it's sparkly rims called my name from across the showroom floor.  I remember sitting on it,  my feet dangling above the carpet, toes stretching to reach the ground.  I held onto the grips thinking, "What an amazing machine!"  And, truth be told, I thought, "What a huge machine!"  It was all tank, a sea of blue that I couldn't wait to call my own.  My previous bike was a 2001 BMW650 GSAL.  It felt so much lighter and easier to throw a leg over.  On this Beast all I could do was step onto the peg and then climb onto the bike like I was a little kid climbing onto the back of a couch.  But still, I loved it.  

I didn't test ride the Beast before I bought it but simply signed the papers and waited for the lowered seat and Adventure boxes to arrive.   When they did arrive I was driven to the dealership by my friend Jenn who helped me pack the boxes into the back of her Suburban.  I would later spend a good hour trying to figure out how to attach the Adventure boxes to the bike while admiring the look of them since I was much too cheap to pay someone else to do the chore.

After Wes, my salesman, put the lowered seat on he pushed the bike to the curb as their awesome service guy, Mark, put on my new plates.  I remember Wes looking at me and I could see he had his doubts about whether or not I'd be able to ride the thing.  Watching me "climb on board" probably didn't make him feel any better about it.  But I was on, pushed up the kick stand, and zipped into traffic.

I remember the thing that I was most impressed with, other than the fact that I was riding away with a huge bike that only had two miles on it, was the power.  That still impresses me today.  A tiny little flick of the wrist and the bike surges ahead.  My little 650 never had the gumption.  The other thing about the Beast that I've always loved was the Adventure boxes.  They may be big and utilitarian but I used those boxes every time I rode.  I remember grocery shopping, helmet in the cart, piling bag after bag of paid for groceries in the cart.  The checkers would ask how I was ever going to get that stuff to fit on my bike and I'd just smile and say, "It's a Beemer!"  I sometimes wondered if they didn't sneak outside just to watch as I loaded the bike.

The Beast just turned 12,350 miles.  The 12k service has just been paid for (650 bucks!) and what sits in my garage is a freshly tuned, low mileage, riding machine.   It has a new battery (170 bucks) and a rear tire with about 2k miles on it.  It has heated grips (love those) and ABS and a regular seat that's been used roughly 10 times.  The lowered seat has been the primary but both are in perfect condition with no blemishes.  The bag keys are same as the ignition so there aren't a handful of keys to lose...just one!  Thankfully I haven't done that, but I do still have the plastic spare that came with the bike, just in case.

This bike has never had any issues.  I've ridden it lovingly and carefully, zipping down I-5 as if on a cloud.   In rain, sleet or snow this bike performs.

If you know someone who's interested in riding a bike of superb quality and awesome power, please send them my way!

Jan 17, 2011

Moto Gear: What works? Help!

I'm one of those riders who is never without a pair of gloves.  I won't ride without them.  Of course I don't ride without a full jacket, pants and solid shoes either.  I love watching people ride past in the summertime, sleeveless t-shirt billowing in the wind with their equally well planned shorts and tennis shoes.  And I can't get enough of those people who ride with half helmets.  I hate to be a pessimist but to me it's not if you'll go down on the bike but when.   I imagine myself never being able to wear a skirt again since my legs are scarred beyond belief.  Or never wanting to look anyone in the eye again because my face has been previously pulverized by asphalt.  I envision the nurses looking at me as I'm wheeled into the emergency room, shaking their heads and saying, "If only she'd had a real helmet on."   Of course, this isn't something I concern myself with on a daily basis.  I'm just saying, when I ride, I ride protected.

That in itself has become a times, a real Debbie Downer.  I mean when it's 100 degrees outside I do feel like an idiot when those t-shirt wearing bikers ride by.  I'm usually stuck in city traffic, every vent unzipped and still  sweating enough that it feels like I'm in a hot tub.  I try to look on the bright side and imagine how many calories I've literally melted off while waiting for traffic to clear.  Sure makes it easier to handle.  Makes my helmet smell really nice, too.  (Riggghhht)

Trout likes both Aerostitch and BMW
Good gear is important.  But what exactly is good gear?  Everyone has their own opinion and theory.  I need new gear that works, is a quality product, has a shelf life of over one year, fits good and looks good.  Okay, looks good isn't that important but if when I put on a jacket suddenly I look like a movie star, hey, even better.   Do they make gear like that?

I need a new set up but first I need to know what you think works.  Is there a particular brand you like?  A brand you would never buy?  I am currently using Aerostitch Darien pants and a Firstgear Kilimanjaro jacket.  For summer riding with no rain I have an awesome pair of BMW Santiago pants that have been sitting in my closet for over a year or two.  Last summer I decided to give them a try and guess what?  AWESOME!  But, I really need a pair of pants I can wear rain or shine.  And, although I'd love to gear up with all BMW and look like a studette with too much cash, my pocketbook won't support such things.

So, please send your suggestions my way!

Jan 15, 2011

First Ride of 2011: Rain!

I was checking out Fuzzygalore (http://www.fuzzygalore.com/) the other day and looking at all the snow photos from NY...when suddenly I felt like such a wimpy girl for not riding yet this year.  I mean, at least Fuzzy has an excuse...snow piled high all around.  Me, I'm just surrounded by a little Northwest rain and the occasional cold front.  It's not like I haven't ridden in that stuff before.  In May I was riding through Montana with the temperature gauge on the Beast flashing 29 degrees with it's cute snowflake, just in case I didn't realize it was cold outside.

So today I decided to ride the moto to my ADAPT (http://www.adapttraining.com/) workout with my team.  I'm only about 20 miles from ADAPT but the rain was pouring so I donned my heated jacket and my Aerostitch Darien's and set off!  I spent the first five minutes of my ride wondering why I haven't ridden sooner.  I mean really, somehow I had forgotten that the Beast is a miracle machine.  The power with just a tiny twist of the wrist,  the surge forward, the intense joy as I lean into a corner.

I had also forgotten that my Darien's are old and not all that waterproof anymore.  That my arms are at an angle that allows the rain to slide into my gloves with ease.  And that the Gerbing jacket works best when plugged in!

2005 KLR, maybe my second bike?
Even so, the ride was magnificent!  I slashed and sloshed through puddles and smiled as the rain pounded my helmet.  Suddenly selling the Beast and downgrading to a 650GS seems like a bad idea.  I mean, sure, I can pick that one up if I drop it, but truth be told, I haven't dropped the Beast yet.  It will happen one day but hopefully I'll have other people around to help pick it up.  And, in order to truly experience all the riding bliss I'd like to, wouldn't TWO bikes serve me better?  Maybe a zippy little dual sport (KLR?) that's light and easy to maneuver and the Beast that's awesome for longer rides and adventuring?

Lucky for me there's no one to tell me "No."  I mean, Trout doesn't care how many bikes I buy as long as she keeps getting her Milkbones and an endless supply of Hedgehog toys.

I found a house! A sale and a purchase...

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