Trouble On Two Wheels

Yep. That’s me… again.

After putting it off for a long time, mostly for good reasons, I’ve finally acquired the motorcycle that I’ve always wanted. Granted, it’s the most current version of it – not the version that launched in the 80s when I were a wee child dreaming of cruising around on the latest two-wheeled dream.

When I was in my early teens, I subscribed to Cycle World – or maybe I just bought them at the 7-11 every month, I can’t remember. In one of those issues back in 1982, there was an article about the new BMW K100 – a radical new design for BMW which comprised of a horizontally mounted inline-4. Previously, BMW had built a motorcycle cult following with their twin boxer engine, and most riders saw BMW as a stodgy bike maker whose time had passed. The era of the Japanese high-performance motorcycles was dawning. I also had dreams of the new Interceptor (but I think that might have been later in 1984) or Hurricane, or Katana, but this BMW caught my eye. I was fascinated with how they had engineered it to ride in all seasons, and designed the fairings to channel water away from the rider when riding in rain. But, since I was not even a legal driver, I knew it was not going to be mine – at least for a long time.

My friend Darren and I used to dream out loud of riding motorcycles on a tour around the country after we graduated high school. This dream never happened and I forgot about it for a while with college and life happening at a furious pace. Eventually, I ended up with Laura – exactly where I was supposed to be.

She, fortunately, had a little bit of a “biker” in her past, so when she suggested we ride away from the wedding on a motorcycle, I was more than eager to comply. My father had recently bought his own motorcycle, a Honda Shadow 1200 with a beautiful orange flame tank. I would go over to their house and practice riding the bike a few times a week. I took longer and longer rides until it was time to practice with a passenger. Laura was happy to help.

We were able to ride away from our wedding on the motorcycle and got some great pictures – but by that time, I was already hooked. We even took the course and got licensed together.

My father took a job working overseas, and I graciously offered to care for the bike while he was away. Bikes must be ridden regularly, after all. Someone has to, right? I put quite a few miles on that bike for him.

Eventually, I took a new job in Virginia and we were relocated. At the time, we were trimming expenses to cut our costs and had sold off all but one car. When we arrived in Virginia, we needed another vehicle. I of course suggested a motorcycle – out of the purest of motives I assure you. This was in 2005.

BMW had just released a new version of the K-bike: a K1200S – beautiful blue and white or black and yellow paint combinations and the latest technological advances were applied to that machine which grew from the K100.

When it came to purchase one, since we were still paying off my substantial debt, I couldn’t quite swing the price of the BMW. I even drove to Maryland to test drive one, although I knew I couldn’t afford it. It was wondrous. However, reality set in and I only had so much money. So, I ended up with the second in line: the Honda Interceptor. This was a great bike and it took me over 30,000 miles in just a couple of years as my primary vehicle. But, it wasn’t the “dream bike” that I had intended to buy. We called it the “interim bike”.

After using it as a daily driver, riding lost the thrill and I found myself dreading those hot, sweaty rides to work in stop and go traffic. My project had changed and my commute switched directions from out of town to into the beast of the DC area. It was no longer a pleasure to ride to work. We eventually got a second car and the Interceptor sat in the garage for a while. I still rode, but not as much. I eventually sold the bike with the expectation that eventually, I’d get “the one” that I’d been waiting for.

Then, life got in the way again. Crazy work schedules, business travel every week, a new job, relocation, dealing with selling the house in Virginia, and when it didn’t sell, renting it out, and finally selling it again all got in the way of seriously planning to get the new bike. I had for the last 3 years or so been subscribed to the CycleTrader mailing list searching the nation for just the K1300 bike I wanted. At first, I thought I wanted the K1300GT. They stopped making them in 2011, so they are hard to find with low mileage. But, I also kept coming back to that “S” model. The original one that first made me want to go out and buy it right away. So, there was a local one. I went and test rode it. Sure enough, it was the one I wanted. I even toyed with the R1200RS – a bike with the boxer engine, but I could not shake the K from my mind.

Then, after we freed ourselves from the house and were in a position to do so, after much discussion, I was able to locate a 2015 K1300S Motorsport edition (it matches my car since I have the M Roadster). It was in Boise. Only 4100 miles on the bike – practically new.

So I bought it. I flew down and took it home. It felt great to ride. Smooth, powerful, solid, and stable – everything I wanted and had hoped for. The safety features and technology advances since I owned the 2002 Interceptor were substantial. I have ABS, traction control, tire pressure monitors, electronically adjustable suspension. The works. The bike was so solid on the road, that when the winds were whipping around me in eastern Washington on my ride back, the bike didn’t budge. I was almost blown away, but the bike was a rock.

They’ve discontinued this model now, but that just means it’s all the more rare and I’m pleased that I get to own one of the last ones made.

We’ve taken it out a few times together, and I’ve even found a few riding buddies at work and in my neighborhood. I only ride when I want to so I don’t burn out. I also don’t have to ride in the rain and snow like I did in Virginia. This make Laura happier.

This bike was definitely worth the wait.