Coming this week: Pennsylvania on a BMW S1000XR

CMG’s Jeff Wilson set off the other day for a ride to Pennsylvania with a couple of friends. We asked him for some thoughts before leaving, published here. Later this week, he’ll tell us how it went, but we’re not so sure it bodes well… – Ed.

Imagine, for a moment, you’re on one of those journeys at the Grand Canyon where some poor mule is burdened with packs and bags – and your butt – on its back while it slogs down into Nature’s Wonder.

Now imagine someone swapped out your mule for a thoroughbred racehorse, still saddled with the same responsibility.  It sure would make for a more exciting adventure, but you can bet that horse would be mighty pissed off with the situation.

That image keeps running through my head as I sit roasting in traffic, wishing I’d selected my vented textile jacket instead of my leather one.  The agitated steed beneath me is BMW’s new S1000XR – the multi-tool application of the Bavarian company’s hair-raising 4-cylinder super bike, S1000RR.

Looks comfy enough. What could go wrong?

Occasionally I get brief glimpses of the bike’s potential, its 160 horsepower straining at the bit, and then the immense stopping power of the floating, radial 4-piston calipers on the front disc as traffic grinds to a halt once more.

The good news is that this week holds the promise of unleashing the potential of the S1000XR with a trip through rural Pennsylvania and Ohio before returning home to Southern Ontario about a thousand kilometres later.  It’s bound to be a proper adventure for a bike that BMW groups with its revered collection of GS Adventure bikes.

With a 17-inch front wheel, sport-touring tires and a hyperactive engine, the XR is clearly the wild child of the BMW Adventure family, but since I’ll be chasing some riders on smaller and sportier rides, the Beemer may still have its work cut out for it on the paved backroads.

Jeff’s view for the next few days.

One thing’s for sure: with an extendable windshield, heated grips and cruise control (not to mention an anatomically-pleasing riding position), my BMW is bound to be the most comfortable bike on this adventure.  Let’s see if this long-legged thoroughbred can handle the saddlebags and long distances without getting too pissed-off.


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