On seeing the bikes for the first time, I wondered if the Yamaha designers were inspired by the art deco style of architecture from the 1920s, as can still be found in Miami or Napier in New Zealand. Or maybe they sat down and watched the old Buck Rogers’ movies and decided that the (then) futuristic design of the rocket ships was worthy of homage.
There’s not much that isn’t to like about Yamaha’s inline 1300cc motor. It winds up like a sportbike when you want to get fruity, but chugs along all day on the meaty torque if you’re just in happy-to-tour mode.
Yamaha have come up with a well-integrated, auto-shifting function, but without removing one iota of rider involvement. Is this the future of sport-touring? I don’t see why not.
“Bigger is better” is the common mantra in the world of cruisers in recent years, with monster engines as big as 2,000 cc in the V-twin category and even larger in triples.
It’s an annual tradition with Honda Canada – book a track down south, ship a load of bikes and journalists in and let it rip for a few days.
The latest version of BMW’s flat twin is comprehensively modified to produce a substantial 122 hp – 24 up on the old 1100.
Swing your leg over the saddle of the new BMW K1200R, jab the start button and one thing is immediately evident: This ain’t your Grandad’s BMW!
There were only six days to go, but I knew that the next three were going to be tough – if I could make it through them, I’d make it to Dakar. The final three days were in the Sahal and run on hard packed Laterite (a very dry, red clay-like surface that’s quite smooth but very dusty), which suited my riding style better. The Dakar had to be mentally broken down into smaller chucks, as together it was too overwhelming to comprehend.
We were up by 9:00 am and took our time at breakfast, but the pressure was soon back on as I had a promise to fulfill with the bike. It had been thoroughly neglected over the last few days and today was my only chance to catch up.
I was in a bad way, I was completely exhausted and it was all I could do to eat and put up my tent the evening before. I didn’t do any bike maintenance at all, other than buy a new air filter off the KTM truck to stick in my pocket.