The only chance I get to ride bikes other than my own is when I have a service and SBW Motorrad lend me one of their fleet of newer, nicer, shinier Beemers. Yesterday I was given an G 650 GS Sertao for most of the day. Probably because I don’t get out enough on bikes, this little beauty was disorientating to ride off from the showroom and I hope no one watched as I paddled off high revving and unsure what to do next. Its small and shorter than my 1200GS, of course (though the seat height is similar). It also has ‘normal’ indicators which seemed surprisingly natural – its what I learned on after all. Even with ‘ordinary’ rather than my usual huge enduro boots there is very little space between footrest and gear changer. Eventually I used the side of my boot to shift. But this added to the fact that first gear is very low (great for hill climbing I suppose) meant that starting off – from lights, roundabouts etc. is awkward. Once, however, you manage to get up into second things start to change and this little one cylinder motor puts on speed surprisingly quickly and with a satisfying thumping kind of tune. Talking of thumping, the bike also exhibits a number of different vibrations. There’s one through the handlebars and another via the seat which, if you happen to need a pee, adds a touch of urgency. Once you get up to speed (60 is comfortable – 80 is entirely possible and quite fun), you notice how good the wind and weather protection on the 1200gs Adventure with its huge screen is. Within a few minutes I was freezing on this bright November morning riding north on the A10 toward Cambridge. Then the fuel warning light comes on – there appears to be no fuel gauge – I stopped in a layby looking for one. What’s a welcome change from the bike’s beefy big brother (or sister) is that, once you are off it, it is so easy to push around – at the petrol station for example or nearly into my front garden but the gap in the wall is just not quite big enough.
On the way back to Hertford I took the twisty route through Fowlmere, crossing the A505 then headed for Braughing. Unfortunately it was already getting dark, but the Sertao was fun, great through corners and nice and bouncy even on tarmac.
What I liked: easy to handle, accelerates surprisingly well after you get used to the gearshift and looks absolutely beautiful.
What I didn’t like: useless wind protection, vibey, awkwardly placed gearshift (maybe this can be adjusted), very low first gear (probably fine for offf-roading which I didn’t do).
I couldn’t resist taking some pictures: