It has been 5 years since I have been a pillion on the back of a powerful machine. There are many qualities of living in Europe that I miss and travelling on 2 wheels across open and truly spectacular country sides is definitely one of them. It was that one trip in Boston (sorry Massachusetts, but your drivers scare me) which ended my desires. It took a driver not looking in her rearview mirror combined with sand on the road that ended my days as a pillion. Although I had total confidence in the operator, it was the surrounding world that I lost faith in.
So, when I was told that I had the chance to renew my pillion category on none other than a BMW…I took the chance. I thought, yes, a nice steady cruise (that was challenged quickly), and a short journey to break me in (500 miles total) and well what woman does not want to be associated with a shiny, new BMW?
I have had the fortune of being on the back of a Honda 1100 XXX Blackbird, a Honda VFR800 Interceptor and a Ducati 999 (ok, only for 3 miles). I have also had the fortune of owning BMW’s as my own ultimate driving machine. So, I must say in comparison, the BMW was built for 2 not only in design, safety and comfort but in maneuverability and handling. I did not have to jump off for my husband to back it up if needed and it took small, slow corners without any issues at all.
This machine had pull like no other and by the time you know it the wind became a bit fierce only to look over my husband’s shoulder to see 100mph. A strong nudge in the side brought that speedometer to a much more respectable number. I experienced the comfort of a tourer with the feel of a sport bike. I have always enjoyed the strength of the pull and that 0-60 measured in seconds on the back of a motorcycle. There is something about the G-force that makes the ride a little more exciting. Obviously, the engine size greatly contributes to this but as mentioned earlier in the article, the BMW K1300 did not konk out at 11000 revs.
Ergonomically, I was not sitting too high up or too close for comfort. There was ample room between me and my husband as quick stops and starts did not inhibit his performance with the jilt in my body weight or the notorious impact of the helmets which is not an impressive sound or feeling. I was able to push back to accommodate higher speeds and pull in when the afternoon sun was fading away. The one main issue we faced was that the BMW did not accommodate our tank bag. As ours is designed for a metal tank, it contributed to frequent stops to look at the map. As my sense of direction is less to be desired, this did impact our journey time.
As far as this sport tour impersonating a sport bike, the handling as it entered and exited bends was very impressive. I really was not prepared for such a large machine to go into corners at the rate and stability that it did. This was a feeling that I needed to get use to again. I felt myself pull back for the first couple of times but once I was use to what this machine was able (and willing) to handle my fears subsided. The BMW loved the curves and the feeling was reciprocated. I was not able to detect the change in the ESA but my husband was able. Perhaps the scenery was taking my thoughts away from the mechanics of the ride. There are some beautiful twisties and scenery in West Virginia and Virginia.
Lastly, I will address comfort. As I stated previously, it has been several years since I have been on the back of a machine, and this is no small machine. Aside from feeling my legs the day after, I was able to sit comfortably on the back for 200 miles. It was at that point, that my knees and butt started feeling the miles. In the past, on both Hondas, my rest point came much earlier and more frequently. As a pillion, I have all positive reviews about the comfort of this machine. And, as far as the beauty, need I say any more. I did enjoy looking at our reflections in store windows or next to shiny cars.
Thanks to BMW and Lee at Pittsburgh European Motorcycles (www.bmwpgh.com) for this experience. I have already asked my husband if this can be permanently in our garage.