Bikers Holiday

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MapA few months ago Whacko Jaco came up with a plan for us to go ride around in the Eastern Transvaal. The plan was simple.

Pack light, ride far and fast, sleep at Mac-Mac Forest Resort, ride, sleep, ride, sleep.

And this is exactly what we did.

Leaving JHB at the ungodly hour of 06H30 on Thursday morning we fought the 1000’s of tourists who had the same plan as us, to get on the N12 and head east as far away from the big city as we can.

By the time we got to to Belfast the water pissing out of one of the ‘Busa brought with it the realization that this was not going to be a quick 4 hour trip to the biker’s paradise which is ET.

Group 2

Group 2

With some Rajah extra hot curry powder, many swear words and a borrowed tool kit, we got the Busa sorted.

Busa Refil

Busa Refil

The Busa spat out it’s water again and we waited patiently near Milly’s while our crack team of motorcycle repairers permanently fixed the leaky beast.

Group

Group

Deciding to cut the scenic riding short for the day, we headed straight to what would be our home base for the next few days, Mac-Mac Forest Retreat.

Lunch

Lunch

Mac Mac Pool

Mac Mac Pool

Mac Mac Forest Retreat

Mac Mac Forest Retreat

From here we ventured out everyday to ride kilometers upon kilometers of the most beautiful mountain passes I have seen.

Day two got me on the infamous 22 for the first time in my life after a short detour through Nelspruit to visit some real mechanics to ensure that all the bikes were in tip top shape.

Tent

Tent

Day 3 we opened the riding by heading up the 22 and taking a left at Hazyview and making “good time” to Ohrigstad, even though we stopped for a quick refreshment at Riders Rest in Graskop.

Riders Rest

Riders Rest

And another refreshment at Boskombuis.

Boskombuis

Boskombuis

 

At Ohrigstad we said goodbye to some of our fellow riders and headed down the daunting Robbers pass to get a bite to eat in Pilgrimsrest.A few more twists and turns and we were back at home base.

Scenery

Scenery

 

Back at base camp, time to kick off our riding boots and take a 4×4 trip to explore the falls in the Mac-Mac area.

Falls

Falls

 

Day 4 started with a moer of a hurry to get back to JHB and to give Long Tom pass a quick once over.

Long Tom Pass

Long Tom Pass

We were in a hurry to get home, why I don’t know.

But not too much of a hurry to miss out on the epic Cheesy Chips at the Dullstroom Inn.

Cheesy Chips

Cheesy Chips

Dullstroom Inn

Dullstroom Inn

Leaving Dullstroom the exhaustion of the last few day’s riding had kicked in hard and everything became a bit of a blur.

One thing is for sure, this is not the last time we will be seen in this beautiful part of the country.

Alan’s Reviews – BMW R1200 RS

2015 BMW R1200 RS

  • Engine Size: 1 170cc
  • Power: 125hp (92kW) @ 7 750rpm
  • Torque: 125Nm @ 6 500rpm
  • Weight: 231kg
  • Seat Height: 790mm
  • Fuel: 18L
  • Price: R173 750.00
  • Standard Features: Heated Grips, TPC, Dynamic ESA, Onboard Computer Pro, Prep GPS, Cruise Control, Centre Stand, Luggage Rack, Pannier Brackets, Riding Mode Pro, LED Indicators
R1200RS

R1200RS

The RS compared to the GS is a sportier, younger looking bike, focused as a road bike for commuting or sports tourer. With it being 60-90mm lower than the GS, it should be comfortable for most riders to mount and put feet down with confidence. The screen in front is manually adjustable to cater for short rides or the open road and the bikini faring helps combat the elements without making the bike bulky.

Turning the bike on, you have an analogue speedometer and everything else is digital. There’s the rev counter, Gear Indicator, on board computer for trip information, range for fuel, etc.

R1200RS Dash

R1200RS Dash

The bike comes standard with the Riding modes (Road, Dynamic, Rain, User) for you to choose from depending on the style of riding you are about to take on. I wanted the full experience, so put it straight into Dynamic mode as this takes off most of the rider aids and allows the bike to ride the way it should. I felt quite uncomfortable with the upright riding position as used to a sports bike, but put the bike in gear and headed off. I might not like the seating style, but when you open that throttle, the 1170cc motor comes alive and leaps out the gate like a fat kid running into a sweet shop. Robot to robot was fun, but most of my commuting is highway from Roodepoort to Boksburg so that’s where I headed. I wanted to see what this bike had to offer before I hit the traffic jams from Marlboro onwards. The raw power it has from the pull off continues all the way past 120km/h + TAX, but with the cameras all over, had to rein it in and take on the traffic “responsibly”.

Now came the part I thought this 1200 would take some strain and my traffic gauntlet began. I put her into 3rd gear and coasted through at 60-90km/h without any issues. The fly-by-wire throttle allows the onboard computer to control the traction and power distribution, so when you let go of the throttle in anticipation to slow down or avoid a car, the bike already backs off so there’s no need to touch the brakes constantly, creating a strobe light behind you. I was expecting the bike to be heavy through the tight angles and weaving, but she purred along and was as easy to throw around as a 600cc.

Not sure what the weather gods are up to, but it was pouring down and freezing cold on day 2. I convinced myself that I’m a “biker”, you don’t hide from the elements, so TTFU and get onto the bike. I gritted my teeth; put the bike into Rain mode and headed off. By changing into Rain mode I had tamed the beast down completely. You know that voice in the back of your head that keeps saying “ride slower”, “watch out for idiots”, “ go easy on the throttle”, “don’t over brake”, no, not your wife, I’m talking about your conscience. You hear this voice, but then have the Dori moment from finding Nemo and forget the chain of thought and proceed to open up the throttle. This function stops you from doing this and puts Jiminy Cricket in the riding seat. If you quickly open the throttle, the bike just easily distributes the power to the back wheel and you move smoothly. It wasn’t long before the 1st car swerved out in front of me by the robot, I grabbed the brakes and the ABS and TPC kicked in perfectly without any feeling of locking the wheels or losing control. A couple near misses later, I climbed onto the highway on ramp, hit the white zebra line while leaning and the back wheel started sliding out, but flashing lights came from dash to let me know the electronics had this covered, traction was restored and bike continued forward without any slapping or panic.

R1200RS Road

R1200RS Road

This bike is made for those guys that want the riding style and power of the GS, but won’t be going anywhere near the dirt, so don’t need the higher ground clearance. I was surprised with how comfortable the bike is and how easy she can be thrown around when necessary. It still wouldn’t be my preferred choice, but I can definitely understand the appeal it has for the non-sports bike riders.

Alan.

email: alan.ayers@bmwclearwater.co.za