My motivation for starting this blog was to share what I’m learning so that other riders (especially women riders) might avoid the same mistakes I’ve made. Well, today’s lesson is a BIG one. Let me also say, that I have no regrets. I don’t believe in regret, there are just lessons learned along the path of life.
Just over two years ago when I was motorcycle shopping, I had a small budget and little knowledge about bikes. I took the advice of my then riding partner and some other guys about what I should buy. Bella, my Vstrom, fit my budget and has been mechanically sound, I can’t fault her there. But on the PNW tour in June, several of the ladies I was riding with own the BMW F700GS and I sat on a couple of them. OH MY! What is this, my feet are flat on the ground? Why does this bike move around so easily?! What is this magic? I had learned to accept that part of riding, for me, meant a front end heavy bike and struggling to back into parking spots or just to move the bike anywhere. It was frustrating, it was maddening and at least one drop occurred because of it.
Since returning home, I have been searching for a used F700GS. Let me tell you, there were none to be found within 150 miles of my home. ZERO. I decided that was ok, I wanted to save more money and would just look again in the spring. Then, the trip came together for next summer and I am renting an F700GS for that trip. The rental shop suggested I find a lowered and regular GS and try them on for size to be sure I reserve the one that will suit me best. I went to the website for my local BMW dealer and what is this? Not one, but TWO F700GS bikes? WHAT?!
This morning I rode Bella down to the BMW dealer and took the low GS out for a ride. Nice bike, it handles beautifully but it felt like my knees were up to my eyes. A little too low for me and the folks at the dealership noticed too. The regular GS was in the shop being worked on, so was not available for riding yet, but they promised it would be later today. This afternoon I returned to sit on the regular GS and oh my word! I fell in love right there on the spot. I texted a couple friends that I feel like this is the bike I should have been riding from the start. This bike feels weight balanced to me and I insisted on backing both into a parking spot just to see how it feels. Let me tell you, I didn’t know that backing up a bike could be so effortless!
There is likely a new (to me) bike in my very near future! I left a deposit on the regular GS and am now waiting to speak with my credit union when they reopen on Monday. Yes, the dealer offered to finance through them, but I trust my own research on interest rates.
So, to the new riders out there – please learn from me! Try a bunch of bikes, adjust your budget, and save more if you need to, but find the bike that fits YOU! You will know it when you do. I feel like the last 2 years of riding could have been a lot more fun had I only taken the time to try out more bikes. It is a challenge when you are a new rider and nervous to ride bikes you don’t own. But at a minimum, take the time to sit on them, put the kickstand up and move the bike around with your feet. Notice how it feels to you and compare it to several others. Find the bike that fits you and don’t let anyone talk you into anything less. Trust me, it is worth the effort!