Monday, December 21, 2009

Brian Jones Rawhyde Outing December 2009

Is it possible to take nine brand new R1200GS riders that have never been off-road and turn them into expert off-road riders in one weekend? The answer with the BMW Off-Road Academy is a resounding “YES”.

I had the opportunity to take nine of our clients to the BMW Off-Road Academy on Dec 4-7. On Saturday morning these nine riders had never been off-road on their R1200GS's. By Sunday evening they were ready to ride in extreme conditions such as these.

The training involves two days of intensive training beginning with the fundamentals of balance, muscle memory, and clutch and throttle control. By Sunday evening the trainees are accomplishing off-camber turns in both directions, high speed whoops, long hill ascents and descents, sand washes, and trails with logs, rocks and other obstacles. It is truly “wow” inspiring what these bikes can ride through with trained riders. Your GS has the ability to continually amaze you.

On Monday morning (you remember the Monday- the wet one, the one with the most rain we've had in one day in the last several years...yea, that Monday)...

...a group of us headed out from Castaic to Trona for a 400 mile GS dual-sport ride. After riding two hours in the rain on I-5, Hwy 138 and The Aqueduct Rd we made it to the Mojave Desert near Burro Schmidt's Tunnel for the best part of the day. Riding in the snow. We were slightly concerned about flash floods and riding in the snow, but we all made it safe and sound. And yes, coming down the snow is the only time we had our outriggers (feet) down. The rest of the time we were out of the saddle on the pegs as we learned in the class.

Everyone in the class had a great time and learned valuable riding skills they will have for the rest of their lives. The training and curriculum is coupled with world class trainers and coaches. These guys, under the leadership Jim Hyde, pour their heart and soul into developing novice riders into well prepared and trained GS Adventure riders.

And the food...let me tell you about the food- we ate like kings and queens. The menu included honey glazed salmon, garlic Parmesan chicken, caramel apple cheesecake bars with streusel topping, plus much more.

I've had the opportunity to attend the BMW Off-Road Academy at RawHyde Adventures twice- once in July when it was 115 degrees and this time when it ranged from 27-47 degrees. I'm determined to get up there one of these times when the temperature is realistic. But as we all agreed the temperature and conditions are part of the “Adventure”.

One more thing...just because you know how to sell BMW GS's, it doesn't necessarily mean you know how to ride them.

Uh...I was trying to climb the hill, not come down it.

Thanks to all the San Diego BMW Motorcycle customers that trusted me to take them on a great adventure. I can't wait to do it again.

Gary, Trevor, Brian, Darren, Peter outside Burro Schmidt's Tunnel

San Diego group (Pepe, Chantel, Siggi, Franz) plus others

Craig was there too...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Meet The Newest Member of out Team

Hey Everyone and welcome to another exciting update to the San Diego BMW Motorcycles blog. Today we welcome the newest addition to the team here at SDBMWMC. Just in time for the winter weather and the holiday rush. Obviously, the shop has been undergoing some changes as of recent (not to mention yours truly pulling a Bret Favre at the end of November) and one of the most notable of those changes is this newest member of our family. Obviously, there is a "probationary" period involved in which we evaluate performance and efficiency of the new additions but I'm fairly confident things will work out. I mean, the position only requires performing one real task any given day! So, ladies and gentlemen, without further adieu, I give you: The San Diego BMW Motorcycles Christmas Tree! Sorry about the poor photo, the freaking new guy got in the way.

Thanks for reading.
-Sean DeAngelis

It's Back! Thursday Trade In of the Week

Hey Everyone and welcome to another Thursday Trade In of the Week segment here on the San Diego BMW Motorcycles blog. I apologize, we haven't run this feature in a few weeks but frankly we haven't had any epic trade in's. UNTIL NOW! You're looking, staring, lusting after, a 100% original VERY FAIR CONDITION 1982 Suzuki GS1100. You're wondering: "Where did you guys find this beauty?" The answer: The guitarist from The Fabulous Thunderbirds, The tall guy from Miami Vice and the talking car from Knight Rider traded it to us for a SDBMWMC coffee mug straight across! Their loss = your gain!

But it does not end there. This gem comes loaded with chrome mufflers and shock springs, current registration, newer tires (burnout approved by Gary Orr in the parking lot last night) and swoopy (yes that's a word) handlebars. We're even throwing in the rattle can the previous trio of owners used to custom paint the old girl.

The first $1240.00 takes this "vintage" "rare" "collectible" and of course "RAD" motorcycle home! Call 858-560-2453 ext 1 and ask for MARK POHLSON if you have any questions on this bike or just want to take a test ride.

Thanks for reading.
-Sean DeAngelis

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hi-Viz Is In!

Whether you can handle the aesthetics of it or not "Hi-Viz" or "fluorescent" gear is the new black. BMW Motorrad introduced it's new Airshell hi-viz jacket earlier this year with phenomenal results. Safety, comfort and all season usefulness all contributed to overwhelming success of this US-market-only garment. The United States leads the world in left turn collisions involving motorcyclists. That is, MANY motorcycle-on-vehicle collisions involve a vehicle turning left in front of a motorcyclist or a motorcyclist making a left turn and being hit by another vehicle. An overwhelming majority of these accidents were attributed to motorists not seeing the motorcyclist. The reasoning behind the new hi-viz trend obviously...increased visibility. You'll recall headlight modulators, moto-lights, reflective sticker kits for your luggage, HID headlight conversions and Run-n-Light turn signal conversions ALL shared this same purpose and all were highly successful here in the United States...increased visibility of the motorcycle. Well now that same principal is being applied to the rider and wile I don't have hard numbers as to the effectiveness of the new flashy gear I think we can all agree on the "every little bit counts" philosophy when it comes to accident avoidance.

So weather it's BMW's Airshell four season jacket, Scorpions Commander 3/4 length dual sport style jacket, an EXO900 modular hi-viz helmet, ICON Mil-Spec backpack or vest be sure to come on by the shop and check out your options.

Thanks for reading.
-Sean DeAngelis

Friday, December 11, 2009


Sorry about the blurry picture. The "click" of the camera startled Alan from his dream-like state. Today's update is the Top Ten Things Sales Guys Do When It's Raining Outside:

#10 Walk in, say your "good mornings" and try to reach the end of the internet.
#9 Try for the 224th time to convince Sean that Martha Stewart could beat up Hillary Clinton.
#8 Build a post-it house on your desk and simulate rain using a Camel Bak(tm).
#8 Harass the parts department employees who actually have something to do when it's raining.
#7 Two words: Spider Solitaire.
#6 Find 'The one that got away' on Facebook and send a creepy message.
#5 Yes Alan I got my wisdom teeth pulled last month. No Alan, I don't have any more vicodin.
#4 Tell Sean about the Texas Holdem app you downloaded for your iphone and what a great poker face you have when people cannot actually see you.
#3 Pick up random part and ask Sean what it is and what bike it fits. Get offended when Sean tells you it's a "put it the hell down."
#2 Revisit the 1980's in the form of "Your Mama jokes"
And the number one thing Sales guys do when it's raining outside....
#1 Shop poll: Who's hotter, Derek Jeter or Tony Romo?

Thanks for reading.
-Sean DeAngelis

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rob and Dan's Land Speed Bike, Part Two

Hey Everyone and welcome to another very exciting update to the San Diego BMW Motorcycles Blog. Today's post comes in the form of an update on the go-fast bike that Rob Danner and Dan Soltero are in the process of dialing in for a Bonneville speed run. Since we last checked in on our dynamic duo a few mods have been made primarily to the frame:

-The overall length of the bike has been increased 18 inches. Most of this achieved by cutting off the headtube and welding in intermediate tubes from the lower and upper main frame members. These new extensions also allow for a longer rake of the front forks. This increased rake should result in increased stability at speed....Ironic because Harley Davidson motorcycles tend to have big rake numbers but at speed are about as stable as Whitney Houston after a Las Vegas coke bender.

-The fuel tank has been removed and replaced with a flat fuel cell mounted between the parallel upper frame tubes. The cell had to be manufactured completely from hand which by my tally puts the man hours invested at 44 JUST for this piece. Also regarding the fuel cell Dan and Rob realized that the fueling problems experienced on the base run were NOT due to the filter getting clogged by Rob's ebay tank but rather, the petcocks were far too small for the amount of fuel required to keep the mildly built 1000cc opposed twin running at peak RPM. That said, the taps have been replaced with 6mm bore units. 6mm taps are similar to paying 2 gremlins to stand on each cylinder while pouring half gallon jugs of fuel directly into the carbs. When it comes to the land speed bike San Diego BMW Motorcycles is NOT going green this year.

-The OEM /7 seat (a term I'm using VERY loosely here) has been replaced with a slighty less comfortable 4" X 5" piece of rolled aluminum. Not to worry, they've de-burred the edges that way the "pucker factor" doesn't result in any ill placed lacerations. TMI anyone?

-Lastly, though I'm sure I'm probably missing a few mods, Rob and Dan have completely removed the SOSPACS (Sense Of Self Preservation And Common Sense) system from the motorcycle. This modification in and of itself should be worth 6-7mph through the traps.

As always thanks for reading
-Sean DeAngelis

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Los Angeles to Barstow to Vegas, 2009.

Hey Everyone and welcome to another exciting update to The San Diego BMW Motorcycles blog. Today's update is my personal account of an AMA sanctioned dual sport ride we took part in over the weekend: The "LA to B to V" or Los Angeles to Barstow to Vegas.

I joined local HP2 hero Gary Kepple and his family for Thanksgiving dinner Thursday afternoon. After stuffing ourselves thoroughly make fun of also present Rich Amiton to not participating in the ride we loaded our bikes and headed north...destination Lancaster for the official Friday morning start. On the way up the turnsignal shorted out on my G650X Challenge and took the fuse for the instrument cluster with it. I typically use my GPS as a speedo on the 650 so I didn't realize the lack of display until about 100 miles into the journey the bike sputtered and quit running. As I was frantically trying to pull to the shoulder I noticed that the gas light was not illuminated. Once stopped a quick glance at the gauge cluster informed me that I had lost the fuse, therefore had no idiot light for low fuel, therefore I had run out of gas. Luckily Kepple is good about checking his mirrors and realizing that I had dropped off pulled off the highway, got around the guardrail and back to me. This next part we're getting really good at: We were only the length of the offramp and about 1 mile down the road from a gas station. Without a word Kepple maneuvered his bike behind and to the left of mine, put his right foot against my bike's muffler, a little gas and a little clutch work, smooth shift into second gear and we were off. Down the ramp, a right turn and the aforementioned mile down the road to the gas station. Gassed up, put on the rest of our cold weather gear for the trip up Cajon pass and we were on our way again. The rest of the trip to the starting line was uneventful. Our friend Tudor met up with us at the Holiday Inn later that evening after dropping his truck off in Victorville.

Friday morning 0600 hours. We tech out bikes, load our roll charts, load our GPS's with the provided tracks and hit the trail. Day one was 250 miles for the hard route and took us out of Lancaster via some jeep trails. We rode this two track for roughly 30 miles before getting dropped into a bit of a sand wash and a graded road the took us all the way to first fuel at 80 miles. The sand wash portion was probably more work for the 5 guys on HP2's than it was for Tudor Thomas and myself on our G650's. Loamy, dry, sediment sand rather than the traditional white stuff. The wash gave way to a graded road that ran along the old water culvert. High speed for the most part with the occasional panic brake due to random wash-outs, chicanes and a set of poorly marked railroad tracks.

After fueling we were back on the trail east bound. Whoops. Lots and lots of sand whoops. Again, Tudor and I were thankful to be on the skinny bikes while Gary Kepple, Gary Orr, Mike O'keefe, Del Christianson and Roger Eggers had to gut it out on the big HP2 Enduro's. Funny thing is all five of those guys got in front of and gapped us through most of this section. Upon arriving in Ridgecrest for lunch Kepple spotted an Albertsons with a sandwich deli. Kepple, Tudor and myself quickly parked our bikes, stripped off our gear and ran for the ordering counter. Despite a bit of heartbreak over Kepple NOT being able to order a Subway "Veggie Delight" from the grocer's deli we were all very satisfied with the grub. Sitting out front of the store swapping stories about the previous 4 hours with our mouth's half full of tri tip sandwich's. "Another crummy day on motorcycles with friends." as Kepple always puts it. Then Gary Orr and Mike O'keefe pulled up. Gary's bike looking pretty thrashed. Apparently he had gotten off at pretty good speed about an hour earlier. The headlight on his HP2 was bent down, some rash on the cylinder protectors and the game ender: no front brake reservoir left to speak of. Gary's LA-B-to-V was over.

And then there were six. Another unknown rider confirmed that Del and Roger were still on the trail so Mike, Kepple, Tudor and I mounted back up for the final half of Day one's ride. The only real news from the rest of day one was a cool rocky climb with a dry creek bad and more sediment sand involved. Also noteworthy Roger had a fancy aftermarket for cartridge on his HP2 snap and lost all fluid dampening in his front end. This ended his day and he headed back to the truck where his CRF450X was waiting to take him through day two. Tudor, Kepple, O'keefe and I arrived in Barstow just before dark. Mission accomplished as none of us wanted to be on the trail after the sun was gone.

Day two 0600 hours. Gary Orr called to inform us the Mike O'keefe was in no shape to ride the second day. Roger had not planned to ride day two after a wad up on his Husaberg a couple weeks earlier. So then there were four. Tudor and I were late to the starting point as always and Kepple and Del had already taken off. No worries we checked out and hit the trail at about 0630 cold and a bit sore from the previous day's riding. Day two was 290 miles on the hard routes and we knew we'd have to keep moving to reach Red Rock Canyon in the daylight. Neither Tudor or I had ever ridden through the famed canyon that completes day two's mileage but we'd been told enough times that we did NOT want to be navigating it after dark.

This second day was more of the same. Sand / sediment mix, lots of whoops and a bit of graded road. Just before Sandy Valley we ran into some light hail and rain but nothing to get worked up about. Tudor and I came to an intersection with pavement and decided to take the asphalt to Sandy Valley Elemantary rather than continue along the graded (we were feeling tires and a bit Nancy-esque). Quick fuel splash and lunch at the elementary school and we were back on the trail toward Red Rock Canyon. From Sandy Valley to Red Rock was LOTS of actual sand...the white slightly moist kind....THE BEST KIND. I absolutely LOVE riding in smooth whooped out sand where the emphasis is on smooth-is-fast and quick-is-slow. Tudor was having a blast as well despite having a bit of a yard sale at about halfway through the wash. Finally after about an hour we hit the asphalt again. About 15 miles of road riding (yes this is a TRUE dual sport ride) to the mouth of Red Rock. We were one section of navigating away from the finish line.

I took the lead and quickly checked out on Tudor who was taking time to setup his helmet camera and let the dust settle. Along the way I passed a few guys on DRZ's that had stopped to take pictures of the scenic red rocks and the setting son. Red Rock Canyon is mostly a mildly technical jeep trail with a few creek wash outs thrown in for good measure. A few miles later I happened on a guy who's KTM was all but upside down venting fuel at a rather alarming rate. I side-stand the G650 and helped him right his horse before continuing on. Once I had crested the highest point, the trail wound back down the mountain in a series of off camber 180 degree turns. Saw a few hikers and mountain bikers who's evenings were seemed to be ruining with our traffic and dust but I didn't care. Lastly, just as my GPS clipped off mile 281 of that second day, I exited the trail into the parking area at the bottom and waited for Tudor. He was only a few minutes behind and seemed to have enjoyed himself.

In closing...the LA-B to V is still the premier dual sport ride in the west. Though not as technical as years last the added distance certainly made up for any exhaustion we were missing. Hope to see more of you out there next year and as always: Thanks for reading.

-Sean DeAngelis