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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Finally got myself a 2018 Urban GS. Loving it so far. Intend to fill out this review over the next few days, but having just received the bike, wanted to share my enthusiasm.

I have a 2017 Racer, which I have heavily customized, and has been an awesome ride for over 8000 miles. Still keeping that one, no doubt, but it sold me on BMW's concept - simple, easy-maintenance ride that is fundamentally innovative and iconoclastic in its design.

I often say, when you find something that works well for you, get a spare. I wanted a more general purpose bike with a bit more offroad potential, hence I gravitated to the UGS. I fully realize the limits and possibilities of the bike, and believe it will suite my needs just fine.

So far ive got about 150 miles on the UGS. I transplanted a few parts off my Racer to be expedient. I flew half way across the country, and it must be a sign that the last one I would consider (right options and minimal miles) just happened to be right near my folks' place.

Anyhow, I'm loving it. The bike seriously just feels more easy going and "fun," putting a smile on my face with its character. They're right about the exhaust sound - excellent. The bike feels wonderfully punchy. The fueling is excellent. The fairing does do an admirable job. The upright position is more relaxed. The clutchless shifting is a breeze. The foot brake is a little harder to actuate (feels like I have to flex my ankle further), but that may be intentional for dirt road use? The steering feels quicker and way more responsive, making the bike feel more lively at low speeds. Maybe that's just the longer handle bars, or maybe the 19" front wheel? I sit higher than the Racer (my UGS has standard seat height); my feet don't rest on the ground as easily. Fuel range and economy so far is great. Handling and suspension are completely fine for not super serious intentions.

I had to adjust the headlight aim way down. It would be blinding oncoming traffic even with a 5lb rider. I removed the foot peg rubber inserts, to drop my feet/legs that extra 0.4 inches(I'm 6ft with 32in inseam). I notice that putting my feet down at stops, my legs tend to hit the pegs, whereas on my Racer, they're more rearward and there's no such issue. I actually read through my manual while waiting to ride, and discovered several little handy factoids, like how to turn on parking lights with the ignition off.

I plan to make the bike extremely utilitarian, with fixes to make it handle some "offroad" excursions and spills, and any eventualities. Center stand, bash plate, crash bars, and eventually maybe a lifted suspension if really warranted. I miss the second "clock" that my Racer has (gear indicator, tach, MPGs, timer, etc), and I'll probably add it eventually, although I'm happily trying to adhere to the bike's minimalist "less is more" philosophy and make do without. Functionally what I miss most is the gear indicator.

Overall really happy to own the bike and keep making it my own, and keep making memories. I expect to use it anytime I want a bike for general purposes, two up fun, and for as much commuting as possible. The Racer will still be my sportier bike intended for fun fast roads and riding, i.e. weekend joy rides(although I'll likely commute some on that too).

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
So I can no longer edit the first post... Ok, just as well.

Went on a late night ride, toured and explored the local town, enjoyed the bike at leisure, took photos, etc. Learned a few things.

I did hit a bunch of dirt roads. Suspension is really rough over harsh surfaces, specifically wash board dirt roads and a wooden plank road surface (bridge entryway).

When I said "quick steering" above, what it really is, is a distinctly tighter turning radius. Again, probably the bigger front wheel I guess, or maybe there's more lock?

I'm getting used to the loss of a gear indicator. First gear is easy enough to find. I can generally count up or down semi-conciously. Also, I just start to get a feel for what gear I'm in at a given speed.

The headlamp system impressed me during foggy conditions. Low beam does a great job illuminating the road while not blinding the rider.

I discovered that putting around town at 15-25mph and low rpm, can overheat the engine. Even at 74F, very little load, my engine temp rose to 272F at one point, because I was constantly short shifting. Thus, little oil flow through the cooler. Vehicle speed is also a factor but I think engine rpm was also important.
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What a good write up and interesting to hear your first experiences with the bike. I've done 4000 miles in 9 months on mine in the UK.

I recommend changing the rear shock and getting the forks re-valved, sprung and thicker oil added. Made the world of difference to comfort and feel on my bike.

Like you, I am tempted to add some off-road protection, Karoo 3 tyres and do some green lane exploring.

I spent an hour on a demo 1250GS today and it doesn't give the feel-good factor the UGS does. Technically superior no doubt, but I felt less involved with the riding experience, which, when I'm riding for enjoyment, isn't good.

Enjoy your bike and I look forward to more posts!
 

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Great bike well played. I have to drop my headlight too......it must be blinding drivers......I’ve adjusted the rear shock for my weight and the headlight still needs dropping......ride safe and enjoy it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Did some high speed (80+mph) motorway cruising today, and had the time to play with aerodynamics.

With the tank bag off, I can easily drop down my helmet within the wind protection of the fairing, wind noise becomes trivial, and I can still see the road ahead. With the bag on, I'm limited, but putting my hand on the top of the fairing so my fingers mostly stick up, the noise in the helmet falls dramatically. So, a low profile extension screen (like an extra 3 inches) could really aid for tucked riding.

Definitely my outsanding gripe right now is the suspension. 1 up and no luggage, rear damping set quite soft, and bumps on the freeway are quite upsetting. No doubt this is a real and known weakness of this bike.

Second fuel up, I netted 42mpg and 165mi when the reserve light came on. Mostly fast freeway riding and some town cruising.

Overall super happy with the bike. Just want to ride it all the time. Upsetting the misses even...
 

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Not sure if the rear end frees up with a bit of use or it’s just me getting used to it but I thought it was overly harsh at first too......not so much with a thousand miles on it....
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Hope you're right...

Today I got the missus on the back for my first two up experience on a 9T. I didnt adjust the rear preload, but did stiffen the damping. Definitely felt like I was taxing the suspension. Overall not too bad though, given I'm comfortably over 200lbs, and she's hardly petite.

Did get on some dirt roads, and conditions werent ideal, with a light rain to contend with. Still, we had fun (she's not a motorcyclist, but has had plenty of time on a scooter). Did about 35 miles total to visit a local folk festival.

Looks like I'll get about 215 miles on this tank, and thats with E10 no less(more like 8% ethanol). 450 miles on the odometer now. Have used about 1/3 quart of oil so far. Not bad.

I just ordered some more accessories, some touring stuff(tools, windscreen extender, throttle lock, DIN USB socket), and a crash bar. Really tempted to get the Wunderlich touring screen... but I have a $30 ebay option in the mail to try first.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Just installed and tested the throttle lock and [removable] windscreen. For $50 combined, I'm pretty happy with the results. The flyscreen needs a little buttressing due to the mass(vibrations), but otherwise the change greatly improves helmet wind noise. At 6ft tall, I can do a light tuck and get things very quiet. Eventually for any real touring, I'm liking the Wunderlich screen.
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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Tested the hugger in some wet weather this evening (the main reason I got one). All I could find were muddy puddles and gutter puddles. I can report that my ankle cuffs stayed dry as I hit puddles at various slow speeds. The mud splatter patterns suggest a rooster tail hitting under the seat then dripping to the hugger. My boots stayed pretty clean though. The shock assembly is well protected. Bottom line, the front wheel spray generated more trouble. Interested to see how things go in real wet conditions.
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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Had a nice ride along the Mississippi. Dropped my bike at slow speed, tight turn on dirt over pavement, and I might have touched the front brake in a moment of thoughtlessness. The crash bars did their job. No damage to the bike, but the bars took some gravel scraping, luckily landing on soft dirt.

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That's your GS christened then! :)

Glad the engine bars did their job and now wear the off-road badge of honour.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I just finished a 2000 miles tour from Iowa to Idaho via Yellowstone. Very impressed with the bike. Have a lot of thoughts and comments, but two things stand out.

I got 56mpg on my first tank running around Yellowstone, not doing anything special, but not keeping it under 45mph much either. My reserve light went on at like 224 miles, to my astonishment. I was on track to get to 270 miles on a tank!

The other thing, and I guess I'm just lucky, my oil consumption has been great. Less than half a liter used in over 2000 miles, on a new engine. The bike has just over 3000 miles now.

I did a fair amount of exploring on dirt roads. I bottomed the suspension on a couple good dirt bumps and dips. No further drops.

Cruising at 85mph with the throttle lock, in an alpine skiing tuck, and barely touching the bars, I felt like I was flying. It also takes mountain road turns and switchback just about like a sport bike, and changes directions quite easily.

The Tourance Next rear tire is already showing flatting which disappoints.

Anyhow, the bike has been excellent overall, and I was very happy to get home safely after a lengthy trip.

10000ft+, atop Beartooth pass, north east end of Yellowstone park:
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How do you like your clip-on wind deflector/screen so far? Is it effective? Do they vibrate or rattle excessively?

Just installed and tested the throttle lock and [removable] windscreen. For $50 combined, I'm pretty happy with the results. The flyscreen needs a little buttressing due to the mass(vibrations), but otherwise the change greatly improves helmet wind noise. At 6ft tall, I can do a light tuck and get things very quiet. Eventually for any real touring, I'm liking the Wunderlich screen. View attachment 126092 View attachment 126093
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
How do you like your clip-on wind deflector/screen so far? Is it effective? Do they vibrate or rattle excessively?
I mostly like it a lot. It is effective at dramatically reducing wind blast and noise, but doesn't eliminate it, and you need to tuck down some to get the most out of it. It doesnt provide a completely quiet pocket of air the way a full shield would.

I'm 6ft tall. Sitting upright, the visor doesn't do much, and the turbulent spillage basically hits the helmet. A shorter person might see a nicer result.

I can tilt it on the move, so I can adjust how clean the airflow is hitting my body/helmet.

Attaching it required some spacer material, because the factory screen has an angled lip. Also yes, I needed to buttress it, or I was afraid vibrations would overstress the factory screen mounting. Aero loading not such a big problem, just the extra mass. I fabbed/bent a piece of metal, screwed to the clip on screen, and clamped it to the handlebars. Works great.

I notice a bigger advantage for riding with no helmet. There's a nice relatively quiet zone behind the screen when tucked. There is still spillage to the sides, and my rf1200 is still a bit noisy from that, but it's a noisy helmet with anything but clean airflow in an upright position. For example, going through some cold mountain air at night, my shoulders and neck still were getting some chilly blast.

It is really good at keeping bugs off the helmet visor.

Overall I do like the screen a lot and won't bother adding more unless I planned to do more extensive touring. The mechanical design is pretty good.
 

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Cool, thanks for the review, maybe I will give it a try. As you have mentioned, I like Wunderlich screen as well, but just can't stomach paying $300+ for a piece of plastic.

I mostly like it a lot. It is effective at dramatically reducing wind blast and noise, but doesn't eliminate it, and you need to tuck down some to get the most out of it. It doesnt provide a completely quiet pocket of air the way a full shield would.

I'm 6ft tall. Sitting upright, the visor doesn't do much, and the turbulent spillage basically hits the helmet. A shorter person might see a nicer result.

I can tilt it on the move, so I can adjust how clean the airflow is hitting my body/helmet.

Attaching it required some spacer material, because the factory screen has an angled lip. Also yes, I needed to buttress it, or I was afraid vibrations would overstress the factory screen mounting. Aero loading not such a big problem, just the extra mass. I fabbed/bent a piece of metal, screwed to the clip on screen, and clamped it to the handlebars. Works great.

I notice a bigger advantage for riding with no helmet. There's a nice relatively quiet zone behind the screen when tucked. There is still spillage to the sides, and my rf1200 is still a bit noisy from that, but it's a noisy helmet with anything but clean airflow in an upright position. For example, going through some cold mountain air at night, my shoulders and neck still were getting some chilly blast.

It is really good at keeping bugs off the helmet visor.

Overall I do like the screen a lot and won't bother adding more unless I planned to do more extensive touring. The mechanical design is pretty good.
 
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