Rifling through some pictures from our Patagonia motorcycle tour back in March just reminded me how our group reacted 15 minutes into our first stretch of gravel on the 9-Day trip. (See some pics here on our Facebook page, and while you're there...you Like us, right?)
The first day of this Patagonia Experience motorcycle tour is always nice: Smooth paved turns heading up through Parque Nacional Nahuel Haupi, and down into Bariloche. Nothing too extreme or challenging, just the perfect 1st day for everyone to get acclimated to their BMW motorcycles and surroundings.
Day 2 starts out similarly with well-paved, graceful turns heading through Llao Llao and south from Bariloche into the heart of Patagonia. We deal with some elevation change and the occasional high-speed pass of a slower vehicle, but again, nothing too challenging up until lunchtime in El Bolson. Everyone's enjoying the great scenery and smooth riding, but demeanors remain pretty "relaxed."
After lunch though, we take a little detour to head through Parque Nacional Los Alerces where the pavement disappears and gravel, dirt, light sand, rock walls and tree canopy enter the situation. As if each rider had forgotten we'd be riding off-pavement, as if it was exactly what they'd been hoping for and now came upon, and as if it was the major deciding factor on how impressed they are with Patagonia, everyone seems to come alive!
At our first photo stop along the lakeshore just 15 minutes into the gravel riding, the group had a different aura about it as riders took their helmets off to soak up our surroundings. Clearly energized as they hopped off their bikes, each rider was completely revitalized by what they were taking in. Leftover jetlag had disappeared along with thoughts of email, budgets, and daily career concerns thousands of miles away, and this indescribable feeling that dual sport adventure riding tends to conjure up permeated the group of 8 travelers.
TAKE A CLOSER LOOK at the incredible "Patagonia Experience" Motorcycle Tour this group was on
What I'm pointing out here is that, for a variety of reasons, stepping off the beaten path of everyday life still can ignite passion and excitement, especially if our normal living doesn't allow for it. Getting away from the plush & comfortable conveniences we indulge in every day and out into the natural world lets a certain revitalization into us that can't be drawn up any other way. For many of us, the conveniences of cement, air conditioning, smartphones and televisions might seem like the answers to staying comfortable and entertained, but as this rider has experienced and witnessed numerous times, outdoor adventure riding can strike a chord in us like none of the aforementioned "luxuries."
This is not to say that motorcycle riding on pavement isn't energizing or therapeutic in it's own way. (Surely we've all seen the bumper sticker that says "You never see a motorcycle parked outside a psychiatrist's office," right?) I'm saying is that whether you're a seasoned dual sport rider that hasn't done so in a while, or a street-only rider that's been wanting to get into this "adventure riding" type of travel, please don't let anything get in your way. Nothing says you need to ride the dirt trails at the pace of the Dakar Rally competitors, and anyone who teases you for riding at your pace is just asking for karma to slap them silly.
RIDE Adventures, LLC was built around the notion that motorcycle travel and the experiences that come with it are essential for some of us. Perhaps more specifically, this dual sport adventure riding type of travel is what's needed and what affects our souls the most. In almost 3 years of business we've been able to accumulate a great list of motorcycle rental locations and for those who prefer, guided motorcycle tours to support riders. It's the easiest work in the world, arranging these trips for you in the sense that, motorcycle travel is rarely unsatisfying!
A bit ambitious using a term like "Zen" in the title of this article, you say? Clearly you haven't been out playing in the dirt for a while...
SELF-GUIDED PATATONIA TRIPS with BMW Motorcycle Rentals allow the best flexibility
Mark and Joe's Patagonia Motorcycle Trip Report Continues below! (Day 7 was actually written back on March 2nd this year, although we are posting it now.)
If you missed the first 2 postings see Day 1-3 here, and Day 4-6 here and please note that they were on a Self-Guided version of our "Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego & Ushuaia!" motorcycle tour. As we'll start to see below, there are absolutely benefits to joining one of the guided Patagonia tours that include a bi-lingual guide, support truck, greater depth of tools and of course some spare parts. Fortunately, Mark's Spanish is pretty good and his spirit for adventure is excellent, as a self-guided motorcycle tour can test both thoroughly. Patagonia by nature is very remote, under-supplied with motorcycle parts & service and should only be ridden through by adventure riders ready for a challenge! Enjoy.
RIDE Adventures, LLC
"'Hell Day' was, fortunately, completely anti-climactic. Great weather, no wind of consequence, no fuel issues and far more pavement than we anticipated. Still, it was a very long day. I topped out at over 800 kms and Joe at 635 kms. Some key lessons learned: (1) As a couple of locals advised us, it is best to stop at the tourist information office in Perito Moreno to ask if they have gas available in Bajo Caracoles and Tres Lagos. We did and the very nice ladies there made a couple of calls and confirmed that gas was available in both places; (2) Do as the locals do and, to the maximum extent possible, use the paved sections of Ruta 40 even when are marked as "construction zones" or have marked detours off on to the ripio. We avoided over 100-150 miles of ripio that way, all with the explicit or implicit blessing of the construction crews. With that technique in mind, virtually the entire route from Perito Moreno to Bajo Caracoles is paved. Similarly, virtually the entire route from Gobernador Gregores to the intersection with the road to Tres Lagos is paved; (3) Ruta 40 and the Carreterra Austral are much different. Ruta 40 is generally much wider and has many more sections of high-speed dirt/gravel. The sight lines are better on Ruta 40 and the risk of a collision with oncoming traffic is relatively low.
TAKE A CLOSER LOOK at the incredible "Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego & Ushuaia!" Tour Route
On the other hand, Ruta 40 has lots of ongoing construction and the many detours are more problematic than the main road itself. Both the road and detours are made of packed clay, with varying -- or non-existent -- layers of gravel. The word on the street is that the clay is impassable when wet. It is a good thing it doesn't rain much on this side of the Andes. In any case, we had no problems with the roads, either paved or ripio, and made it to Tres Lagos in good time. Shortly thereafter, after we first saw Mount Fitz Roy in the distance, I decided I needed to see it from close up. While Joe made a beeline to our hosteria in El Calafate, I deviated from the course and made a (very) high-speed run to El Chalten to see Fitz Roy. It was a spectacular sight the whole way in and worth the effort. But by the time I pulled into El Calafate at the end of the day, I was beat, and beat up. I'm glad to get the big transit day behind us and gear up for Perito Moreno Glacier and Torres del Paine. And I'm thrilled that our remarkable good luck with weather conditions continues . . . .
Into every life, some rain must fall. As we prepared to head out this morning for the run to Los Glaciares National Park and Perito Moreno Glacier, we discovered that, somehow, one of the ends of the tie-down straps for the extra gas tank had come loose and gotten wrapped up around the axel between the rear brake disc and the rear differential of the shaft drive. We couldn't tell how deep the strap was embedded, but trimmed what we could and headed out to the park.
At the first stop in the park, we noticed some significant oil leakage and realized we had a potential problem. Complicating things was that it was a Sunday and would be hard to find an available mechanic in El Calafate. But, in the meantime, we decided to enjoy Perito Moreno Glacier as long as we were there. First, the road from the entrance to the park to the glacier itself was a blast to ride. One curve after another, on very good tarmac, and if you can make the run when there isn't much tourist traffic, it is one undulating delight. Second, the glacier itself is simply awesome. Massive in size and constantly calving, with rifle shots sounding every few minutes with some new section falling off of the glacial face. We also met two young woman, one from LA and one from Tasmania, who were near the tail end of solo rides from the US to Tierra del Fuego. Joe and I were stunned at the moxie such a trip would require.
Once we returned to El Calafate, the mechanical adventure really began. We stumbled upon a local decked out in BMW gear who happened to know someone who knew El Mono, the best motorcycle mechanic in town. That commenced an afternoon of waiting, joining other locals in drives around town looking for El Mono and more waiting. Ultimately, Joe and I decided that it was better to spend an extra night in El Calafate than to risk the ride to Torres del Paine, 300-400 kms to the south. We got a good deal at the Xelena Hotel on the waterfront and settled in for the night, not knowing what mechanical issues we would have to deal with the following day."
What would be the fate of Mark and his R1200GS? If you haven't already, sign up to follow the RIDE Adventures blog on the top/right of this page or subscribe to our eNewsletters here. While Mark and Joe had clearly enjoyed some fantastic riding and Patagonia scenery up to this point, much of the route still ahead might qualify as the most remarkable on the trip!
TAKE A CLOSER LOOK at the incredible "Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego & Ushuaia!" Tour Route
Dave Diamond went from being a motorcycle touring customer in Patagonia a couple of years ago (where he rented the BMW F800GS) to the guy that came home and almost immediately bought the KTM 990 Adventure Dakar Edition. You can see a previous blog post here
about how Dave's bike now turns 15% more horsepower than it did originally, and below are his thoughts about the bike and necessary add-ons overall. Really though, is this commentary about a bike, or the motorcycle industry as a whole?
-RIDE Adventures, LLC
I own a 2011 KTM 990 Adventure Dakar Edition & I love it. However, I've wondered why the Austrians never made some simple design improvements that were "discovered" by the aftermarket parts community years ago. I'm a normal adventure rider not a paid professional tester, so how is it that it only took a 3000 mile ride up from Los Angeles to the 9th annual KTM Rider Rally in Bend, Oregon to discover some of these flaws for myself ?
Let me first start with what I consider to be the most clever improvements you can make for the 950/990:
- frame mounted handle to help raise the bike onto the center stand
- bracket to relocate the side kickstand off the gearbox & onto the frame
- bolt-on larger footprint for the side kickstand
- racetrack worthy clutch slave cylinder for improved feel
- bracket to relocate the right side mirror off the fluid reservoir onto the handlebar
- KTM Foot Pegfolding mirrors
- larger foot pegs
- steering damper
- 12vlt. power supply in the "glovebox"
- adjustable hand levers
- tubeless rear tire
- rear swing arm sliders
- 12vlt. battery tender breakout cable & maintenance charger
- hand grip warmers
- metal radiator guard
- heavy duty bash plate
- rear brake reservoir guard
- folding rear brake pedal
These modifications will both improve your riding experience & make your bike better. **The only downside is all this will cost you a bloody mint !!
I'm fairly certain that if one of the major Teutonic car makers like Porsche or Mercedes found out about a design flaw they would certainly fix it in the next model year or recall the vehicle. So what gives?
KTM 990 Mirror Bracket: I believe there are several factors at work here. It could be that the factory thinks why "give" stuff away with the bike when they can make extra money selling accessories a la carte? Or maybe they believe the bike to be fully tested & at a price point which is good enough for the average rider? Is it that they see the importance in nurturing the aftermarket community because independent suppliers help spread brand awareness. Perhaps they were too concerned with the future 1190 model to address any of the problems on the old 950/990? Or maybe they feel that the Adventure is a bit of a cultish type bike anyway & that KTM customers just really like to customize?
KTM Kickstand Relocator: In my opinion, it's probably a little bit of all of the above. I wanted to talk about it with corporate at the Rider Rally, but to my chagrin there was no representation from Austria. Considering their racing pedigree I'm surprised they don't fit some of these parts standard. My 990 model cost almost as much as the BMW, but bone stock it's relatively pedantic by comparison.
Don't get me wrong folks. I'm not writing this article to be a "hater". I'm a big KTM fan & identify myself as a true orange-man through & through. I just feel like there are a lot of potential customers who would prefer to pay a little more for their new bike to be totally decked out when it leaves the showroom. Let's face it, with several choices of good Adventure motorcycles now available I think it would be wise for KTM to really go for it & make a true uber bike as a way to separate themselves from the other brands.
WANT TO RENT A MOTORCYCLE? Check Out Some Great Motorcycle Rental Options Here
The adventure riding world will be converging on Flagstaff, Arizona next week as the 2013 Overland Expo once again hosts travel enthusiasts from across the planet. Loaded with a long list of sponsors & exhibitors, instructors, adventure travel experts, authors, and videographers from around the world, this is absolutely the place to be if those words caught your attention!
Chad Berger, our Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail Guide should be in attendance and I (Eric) will be as well. With other adventure riders like Ben Slavin, Ken and Carol Duval, and Austin Vince all in attendance, those with world travel experience or the interest in doing so have plenty of fantastic folks to get aquainted with.
Enjoy the video the Overland Expo folks have published below, and we'll see you there!
Ever heard of the "Tail of the Dragon," the Blue Ridge Parkway, or the Great Smoky Mountains? Of course you have, and all for good reason as each are representative of a motorcycle rider's paradise.
Our promise was and always will be to find the best opportunities possible for you to RIDE. As such, this is an announcement that we now have motorcycle rentals available in the Southeastern U.S, so if you're looking for unique riding experiences this coming riding season, look no further!
Take for starters the Tail of the Dragon, where 318 twists and turns await you in just an 11-mile stretch. At either end, you'll typically find a party of motorcycle riders hanging out and mingling, kicking the tires and getting ready to head back and ride the route all over again. As you're flipping your bike back and forth from one side to the other on curves separated by only a few rotations of your wheels, it might seem laughable that "they intentionally built the road like this?" (Above, is that Ben Slavin, or "Been Scrapin'?)
Surrounding Deal's Gap (a.k.a. U.S. Route 129) is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and even more reason to go riding in this area. With routes cut out through the thick foliage covering 800 square miles, the biodiversity and motorcycle riding diversity are a surprise to any first time rider. Elevation changes, routes carved out beneath tree canopy, and a steady mix of weather changes all make for an energizing riding experience.
Of course the Blue Ridge Mountains (which are part of the larger Appalachian Mountain range) are known by motorcycle riders for the Blue Ridge Parkway, and one amazing set of long sweeping curves and amazing viewpoints over the forests below. With fantastic restaurants in the area, access to cities like Asheville, North Carolina and plenty of Bed & Breakfasts or Hotels and Resorts, riders could easily spend a week between Tennnessee and North Carolina and never get bored with all there is to see and do. Don't forget you can also spend some time off the motorcycles and try the world class rapids of the Ocoee River if your timing is right. The same river used in the 1996 Olympic games held nearby in Atlanta, it's just a different opportunity to RIDE!
Again, the point here is to tell you that there are motorcycle rentals in the Southeastern U.S. available for you. Shipping your own motorcycle can be an enormous hassle, and sometimes the extra 2, 4, or however many days it might take to ride to and from this area might keep you from making the best of your vacation time. SO, why not choose from one of the dual sport bikes already waiting there for you. This fleet of bikes is based just about 45 minutes from the Knoxville (TYS) airport, so you can land and be riding easily within a couple of hours. If you need help figuring out what non-paved, dual sport type routes are worth checking out, we're just waiting for you to contact us so we can help.
CHECK OUT OUR MOTORCYCLE RENTALS for riding the Tail of the Dragon & Smoky Mountains!
Those who have reserved their Patagonia motorcycle rentals for the 2013/14 season are fortunate in that, you won't be stuck begging for motorcycles at the last minute like some people will! As we share more of Mark's comments from their February/March motorcycle trip below, it's obvious why Patagonia bike reservations sell out so far in advance:
"After catching the boat back to the mainland, we continued down the Carreterra Austral. And what a day! Queulat National Park just got more and more spectacular and the views of the glacier-capped mountains and lush forest were astounding. And, then, after hundreds of kms of dirt/gravel roads, the pavement magically reappeared. And it was great pavement, with virtually no traffic of any kind. High-speed runs through forests and Yosemite-like valleys were a blast. Finally, we cruised through Cerro Castillo National Park, where we encountered our first raindrops of the trip. But it never rained hard and only made the environment more mystical. We closed off the day by hitting the shores of Lago General Carrerra just as the sun broke through the clouds. The lake was a stunning color of cerulean blue and altogether beautiful. We arrived at Green Baker Lodge, another very nice place on the banks of the Rio Baker and had a phenomenal meal."
CLICK HERE TO SEE the same self-guided tour route that these customers were experiencing
"Joe is not as accustomed to riding in dirt as I am and opted to take a rest day. I of course wanted to ride some more and headed down to Caleta Tortel by myself. Once again, world-class views and some very good riding. But, for the first time, I encountered some of the infamous driving habits of Chilenos. Even on what are essentially one-lane roads, some drivers give no heed to vehicles that might be coming in the opposite direction, even if there are blind corners. After one or two close calls, I decided to take an even more defensive approach to riding. But Caleta Tortel was a pretty, very unique place and well worth the effort to visit. Also, I discovered a good restaurant called El Mirador. When I returned to the lodge that evening, Joe and I had another fantastic meal. We have not had a bad meal yet in either Chile or Argentina." DAY 6
"What a day (again)! They simply don't get any better than this. We rode along the south shore of Lago General Carrerra and it was simply spectacular. The weather continues to cooperate and we were awe-struck with every turn in the road. We were rarely out of sight of the lake, surrounded by glacier-capped mountains, for its entire 120+ km length, and the dirt road was in great shape. After crossing the border, we hit the pampas just as large, puffy clouds developed overhead and rain started to fall in the distance. The shadows and rainbows made even the barren hills look amazing. Finally, after another high-speed run down a lengthy stretch of pavement on Ruta 40, a kind of road that we hadn't seen in a while, we checked into Estancia Los Toldos and quickly bonded with the staff. It is not critical to speak Spanish down here, but it sure helps. Now we are preparing for what we are fondly referring to as the "hell day." We'll see if the vaunted winds appear as promised . . . ."
While I hate to make generalizations, Mark addressed an important topic in the middle of Day 5: The driving habits of the people in Latin America are not exactly with "safety" in mind. There seems to be a genuine lack of concern for what lies in the road ahead, although they are not definitely not intentionally trying to hurt anyone. Still, the vast majority of motorcycle riders from all around the world accomplish their riding missions annually in Patagonia, Colombia, and other places without any problem. As in any motorcycle riding situation, "awareness" is key to survival! Upon making your reservation for Patagonia motorcycle rentals, we will certainly be addressing this topic with you again to make sure your trip is completed safely.
As far as guaranteeing you the type of weather Mark and Joe had goes, well.....let's just say we can guarantee you the Patagonia riding will be amazing either way!
CLICK HERE TO SEE the same self-guided tour route that these customers were experiencing
A bit belated, time to share below some of what our self-guided Patagonia tour customers emailed about during their trip in March. This coming from Mark Larson of Arizona, while he and his riding pal Joe made their way from Osorno to Ushuaia in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, entirely self-guided!
"WOW! Unbelievable riding and landscapes. Everything you described and more. We're now halfway through the trip, safely esconced in Estancia los Toldos for the night, and I thought I would give you a quick trip report.
We spent a good night at Hotel Sonesta -- a very nice place -- had dinner right next door at the Italian restaurant. Good food. The following morning, we opted against heading north to Pucon and instead rode due east to the border crossing at Paso del Cardenal Samore. But we also knew that we wanted to ride a lot more than 240 kms the first day (the recommended route to Bariloche). So after completing our first border crossing, we headed north to San Martin de los Andes on the famous Ruta de los Siete Lagos. It was very pretty and there were some nice, high-speed sweepers on the paved portion. The dirt portions were in great shape and we arrived in San Martin in relatively short order (after a large hawk somehow flew into and impaled itself on Joe's crash bar). After a quick lunch, we then headed down route 63 to cross Cordoba Pass, a route I had heard good things about. Amazing scenery and fun dirt roads. After reaching Confluencia, we immediately headed west to Villa Traful along the lovely shores of Lago Traful. We ultimately rejoined La Ruta de los Siete Lagos and headed down, at a good clip, to Villa La Angostura and Bariloche. The hotel was just OK but the food at Nuevo Gaucho was great. We totaled 529 kms for the day. Now we're talking . . . .
CLICK HERE TO SEE the same self-guided tour route that these customers were experiencing
We immediately headed west to complete the "Circuito Chico" to the lookout overlooking Llao Llao Resort. A fun, albeit short, run through the forest and some great views. We then headed south on Ruta 40. And what a surprise! Eric never mentioned the fantastic, high-speed sweepers along the route. Brilliant road and a blast to ride. We had lunch at Rotiseria Pao in Epuyen -- the only restaurant in the entire town -- and got to spend quality time with the owner and her very charming, very outgoing 10-year-old daughter. She wanted to demonstrate for us her command of English and proceeded to name off every color of the pallete. We then headed through Parque Los Alerces and thorougly enjoyed it. Unfortunately, we then had to take the gravel road from Trevelin to the border crossing at Futaleufu. Lots of new gravel, lots of washboards and, worst of all, lots of dust with no wind of any kind to blow if off the road. Bit of a pain, but asi es la vida. We checked into Posada Ely in Futaleufu. It is a very basic, modest B&B, but I hit it off with Ely and she made the stay worthwhile. She recommended Restaurant Martin Pescador, right down the street. Great food. We logged a solid 500+ kms.
Great ride from Futaleufu to Puyuhuapi, but for some reason, it took us much longer than we anticipated. Joe had a close call with a camper van that refused to yield any ground and I had an interesting encounter with a local family that asked for a "donation" after helping with the bike. But we found a great place to eat lunch in La Junta -- the restaurant at the Hotel Espacio y Tiempo (just south of the gas station). Afterwards, we raced down to the dock to catch the 5:30 boat to Puyuhuapi Lodge. What a place! Eric had told us we had to experience it and, yet, it was much better than we expected. We arrived after the last weekend of summer vacation and the hotel only had 10 guests on the premises. It only added to the mystery of the place. Unbelievable location, unbelievable views from our rooms and altogether amazing. We had the hot springs to ourselves and topped the night off with a great meal and a game of pool on their antique table."
Stay tuned as we'll reveal how the rest of Mark and Joe's motorcycle tour in Patagonia turned out. You can do this route yourself as a self-guided tour and choose what level of hotel accommodations you want. Click here to see more about the "Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego & Ushuaia!" tour!
CLICK HERE TO SEE the same self-guided tour route that these customers were experiencing
If you enjoy surprises as much as I do, then a “thanks” goes out to BMW Motorrad for what they’ve done with the new liquid cooled 2013 R1200GS.
When Iron Horse Motorcycles of Tucson offered me a test ride earlier this week, I admit, I didn’t really jump at the opportunity. The way I figured, BMW added liquid cooling, a wet clutch, some electronic gizmos and a few ponies more, so what would the big deal be? At first glance the bike looked pretty much the same as it has since it became the “1200” back in model year 2005, and I had no major expectations for improvement.
Once I sat on the bike though, it was clear that BMW addressed a key issue riders have had with the famous BMW boxer engine: Leg room. Whereas previous models offered up a mere inch or 2 of clearance for longer legged riders, repositioning of the throttle bodies to the top of the cylinders has added about 4 times as much space to help us avoid banging our shins on the backside of the engine.
Legroom wasn’t only improved upon moving forward, but between the knees as well. Previously known as bike of considerable girth, the water cooled version of the R1200GS now feels taller with a more narrow “dirt-bike-like” physique, inviting us to attempt some more aggressive riding techniques and terrains. - Interesting to note is how BMW has moved their flagship bike more toward being “dirt worthy,” while early reports of the upcoming KTM 1190 Adventure have that bike stepping away from being recognized as the “King of the Dirt” amongst the big adventure bikes.
Aside from the overall feeling of the liquid cooled BMW, consider these other changes BMW made, both good and bad:
- Air Intake: Finally, an adventure bike fit to handle real river crossings! Now instead of having to think twice about axle-height puddles and streams, we should be able to charge through water much deeper with air intakes that are almost headlight-high. It would make sense that the ram-air style intakes both left and right will assist in horsepower and fuel economy, as the boxer engine can breathe more freely from up there.
- Handlebar controls have changed, but not all for the better. While some might appreciate typical 1-button turn signal operation, the flashing dual hazard lights are now more difficult to initiate. As a motorcycle tour guide, I use the hazard lights quite frequently to alert riders of situations ahead, so this is a change for the worse. (Please note: Even non-guiding riders can surely benefit from quick-access hazard lights.) - Also, I had noticed the blue high beam light was flashing on and off quite a bit as I was riding. As it turned out, the squeegee on the forefinger of my glove had been activating it inadvertently, suggesting that the switch is too close to the left hand.
- An Ex-KTM rider myself, the new liquid cooled R1200GS makes me realize how much I’ve missed having a wet clutch. (I’ve been exclusively on the 2012 R1200GS Adventure the past year.) The stink of burning clutch plates is a thing of the past now, and nothing but smooth, buttery clutch engagement awaits us on the new BMW. Of course with the wet clutch comes a rather “clunky” engagement from Neutral to 1st, but provided the transmission will hold up, it’s not too bad.
- BMW is boasting 125 horsepower on the first version of the liquid cooled GS, but that felt like that was a bit of an understatement. Still pulling with that torquey, low-end power we all love and then roaring to life with incredible new zeal over 4000 rpms, the bike is now feels smoother and stronger.
- With custom fitting options for the windshield, seat, and suspension coming standard, riders can really fine-tune the new R1200GS with the list of electronic suspension, traction control, and other high-tech functions available as well. Too many to list here, let’s just these “options” end up being “safety features” for those moments of rider error.
- The liquid R1200GS holds itself 8mm higher in terms of ground clearance, but at least by the specs, the seat position is not any higher. While 8mm might not sound like a huge deal, it sure could be when ground swells or obstacles are grazing your skidplate! This is something BMW needed to change in my opinion, so at least they moved the bike in the right direction.
Something to watch with the new liquid cooled R1200GS is that the compression ratio is now up at 12.5 : 1. A change that is undoubtedly part of the horsepower increase, it’ll be interesting to see how the engine will handle mid and low octane fuels. While the liquid cooling system will help control cylinder head temperatures, the connection between compression ratios, octane, and pre-ignition is a slightly different story. BMW intends for this to be the ‘world traveler’ of adventure bikes and as such it will be depended upon by riders from Bolivia to Mongolia where the octane ratings of fuel are a bit, shall we say...”lacking.” Will such a high compression ratio be an issue?
From this first test ride though, I’d like to reiterate that I was quite impressed with the evolution of the BMW and it’s new liquid cooled engine. As the 2011 and ’12 BMW’s are phased out of the motorcycle rental fleets, the new 2013 R1200GS should take over where the others left off. In fact, if your local dealer doesn’t let you take the test drive you want to take, please keep in mind you’ll be able to rent BMW motorcycles through us and put them to a real test in places like Patagonia!
CHECK OUT OUR MOTORCYCLE RENTALS and see where you can ride the BMW R1200GS
Hey, if you're as tired of us bragging about how great our Patagonia motorcycle tours are as we are tired of being so awesome, then this one's for you.
Not all of us get to be included in events like the Industry Invitational Tour 2013 that we just completed in March, and let's face it: Not everyone is even meant to join a guided tour group anyway. We're talking to you Lone Wolves out there. Yea, you.
Keep in mind that you can still enjoy all the incredible routes, sites, scenery and terrain of Patagonia without being part of a tour group, AND that you can do it for quite a bit less money than the prices you see on tours like "The Patagonia Experience." As an aside: Those prices might seem crazy high, but please trust us, Patagonia is one expensive place!
THE "PATAGONIA EXPERIENCE" is one of the possible Self-Guided Motorcycle Tours to try
While we strive to show you personally all the great things the southern regions of Chile and Argentina that make up what is called "Patagonia," you can rely on us to make your trip as affordable and simple as possible if you still wish to ride alone, or just with your own group of friends. We are routinely setting up BMW GS motorcycles, maps, notes, and pre-reserved hotel packages for motorcycle rental customers that end up having the "adventure RIDE of their lives" deep in the heart of South America.
What's the catch? Nothing except for the fact that you need to plan ahead and reserve your motorcycle now well in advance. There are only about 110 reputable, well-maintained motorcycles available for rent in fleets across Chile and Argentina. While that sounds like plenty, keep in mind that each motorcycle touring company offering guided tours in Patagonia is using the same 110 bikes for various tours throughout the season! What that means to you is again, you need to reserve well in advance, (like by April) to have your bike waiting for the October through March riding season in Patagonia.
Have we beat this topic to death enough yet? Seems like people don't believe us still, as we get inundated with requests from November through February each you. Go ahead, wait and see if you don't believe. You'll be waiting so long to see Patagonia, there'll be McDonald's, Starbucks, and Check Cashing stores spread througout by the time you get there. At least you won't have to worry about seeing anything different.
THE RIDE TO USHUAIA at "The End of the World" is another Patagonia Motorcycle Tour Possibility
Dawn just cracked a smile upon us in the valley of the Futaleufu River on the Chilean side of beautiful Patagonia. Riders are still sleeping here at the lodge, there’s a bit of frost on the seats of the bikes, and some of the most fantastic motorcycle in the world still lies ahead.
The riders in the photos have been looking forward this trip for quite some time, as plans started taking shape for it back in July of 2012. The idea was to get a bunch of us from the motorcycle industry together for something other than the typical motorcycle rally, and Patagonia was the first suggestion brought to the idea table.
We all met up in Osorno, Chile on Monday, and since then have been riding through the national parks, Andes Mountains, ski villages and faces of northern Patagonia. Time as tight for this writer, as there’s so much to do on these tours, but enjoy a few pics for now. Internet connectivity won’t be available again until Friday night at a lodge on the shores of Lago General Carrera in Chile.
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Along the shores of Lago Nahuel Haupi above, we had a chance to visit with “Che” and a new puppy for a quick photo opp. His handlers say Che is now at 100kg/220lbs, and his head makes our motorcycle helmets all look like XS’s.
Arden Kysely is with us from Rider Magazine and will be documenting his first trip into Patagonia by motorcycle. A well-known, written, and experienced motorcycle traveler, surely you’ve seen his other work in the magazine itself or their blog online. See his first posting from the trip here on this link.
More below, the Parque Nacional Los Alerces leads us into Futaleafu, where Erik from Twisted Throttle is admiring the early signs of what’s ahead!