Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Happy Birthday, GT

My 2003 BMW K1200GT was born/built in Berlin on this date 12 years ago.

The photo was shot at 11:03 a.m., Feb. 22, 2003 at Revard BMW Motorcycles in Indianapolis the first time I sat on the bike and wondered if it could be a worth successor to the 1991 K100RS that carried me more than 160,000 miles.

It was.

I took delivery of the GT with 15 miles on the odometer at 10:04 a.m. on March 8, 2003. There were several inches of snow on the ground, but the roads were clear and I don’t remember being particularly cold on the ride home to Thorntown.

Since then, I’ve ridden it to nine BMW MOA rallies:

  • 2014 - Minneapolis, MN
  • 2012 - Sedalia, MO
  • 2010 - Redmond, OR
  • 2009 - Johnson City, TN
  • 2008 - Gillette, WY
  • 2006 - Essex Junction, VT
  • 2005 - Lima, OH
  • 2004 - Spokane, WA
  • 2003 - Charleston, WV

It carried me to Daytona Beach Bike Week in 2010 and 2013, down the Pacific Coast Highway a couple of times, to Las Vegas and Portland to visit my sons, a few times to visit friends in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and back to Indianapolis three times for MotoGP.

All this riding and more add up to 72,588 miles on the odometer as it sits in my garage this afternoon.

The GT, for those who care about such things, was the K1200RS with color-matched saddlebags and amenities like an electric-powered windscreen, electronic cruise control, and heated seat and handgrips. The model was introduced in 2003 and I had the first one sold by Revard’s.

I added MotoLight caliper-mounted halogen driving lights after a year or so and upgraded them with LED bulbs in 2012. I also added a removable passenger backrest at Maria’s request in 2003, but haven’t used it in years because she’s not keen to ride these days. The Marsee tank bag purchased when I bought the bike finally started falling apart a couple of years ago and I replaced it with a Nelson-Rigg bag with a solar panel in October, 2012.

I also had a Gerbings power cord connected directly to the battery in 2013 after I discovered the accessory circuit didn’t want to run my heated gear and my Garmin Zumo 550 GPS at the same time. That discovery meant I rode to Daytona and back without electric heat, other than seat and grips.

I added a Pirates Lair sidestand footpad in 2003, but it fell/sheared off a few years ago at a Return to Shiloh Rally and I never got around to putting it back on.

Maria bought me an XM Roady satellite radio setup for my birthday in 2004. I used it and later a Roady II until March, 2010 when I bought a used Garmin Zumo 550 GPS with XM radio receiver from BMW friend Charlie Parsons. It was the elegant GPS/XM solution I’d wanted for a long time and satisfied my need to more gadgetry.

So, after a dozen years and a bunch of tweaks, I have the bike set up to suit me. (Oh, I forgot to mention I bought a pair of oversized saddlebags from Revard’s sometime around 2005, which come in handy for long-haul touring.)

I look over the new models whenever I visit a BMW dealership, but other than the high tech safety electronic features like traction control, I don’t see anything that makes me want a new bike.

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