Nance Rides an ST for the first time

Subject: Moto test ride
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 98 14:17:35 PDT

Got to ride an 83 BMW R80ST last weekend. One of the guys in our party was injured at Burning Man and since I'd ridden pillion out there (on Hesh's identical bike) I had all my gear and had to, err, got to ride the fella's bike all the way back to SF!

The ST has buttloads of torque and tons of horsepower compared to my current bike, a 93 Seca II (a 600). It felt very stable and solid but was surprisingly flickable in the corners. I can flat-foot my Seca, and could get my toes and soles of my feet down on the ST. No problem except once when I leaned over to gab to Hesh at a stoplight and the bike leaned on my leg a leeetle bit heavier than my bike does. =:-o Bit of a pucker there.

I like the extra cruisin' leg positions on the bar in front of the jugs, and hard luggage is the bomb!! A thousand times better than my soft luggage, which is not secure and toasted after 4 hard years of use. It rides like a Cadillac on the freeway and on rough terrain. My only complaint is I couldn't see squat with the way the mirrors were positioned; lower and out further, and smaller mirror surface.

Launched into a brief but thrilling unintentional wheelie at a stop sign on a steep uphill on Page Mill Rd, upon seeing a car rounding the corner at the last second. Whee! Kinda funny since when I first got on the bike I killed it a few times until I got used to the clutch. You have to let it out more slowly, and once I got the hang of it I liked it better than my bike, which requires gas and a bit of clutch work since it has almost no torque.

The ST will idle at turtle speeds. At first the front end felt really heavy and I fought it, trying to muscle it like I can do easily with my bike. But the bike is so torquey there's no need to muscle it at all, and I could turn it around on a dime!!! Major coup; everyone who has seen me and my numerous parking lots dumps where the Seca turns right in under me can understand my joy.

Overall I was completely thrilled with the bike. My poor Seca is getting the snot beat out of it so I need something more dirt-oriented, and definitely want more power than my current bike. I was a bit nervous at first on a bigger bike but got used to it in a real hurry and soon discovered it really wasn't an issue at all. I had a shamefully underpowered 79 R65 for 10k a few summers ago and this bike is a huge improvement. I'm going to see if I can find a GS, which I believe came before the ST. It has the same engine (and frame?) but is geared a bit more towards off-road riding.

Private to me - ADDENDUM
I completely forgot to mention the transmission differences. My Seca has zero torque and a very close gear ratio, which is a total bitch in that you *have* to be in the right gear if you want any kind of throttle response at all, and it's totally unforgiving in the corners if you're in the wrong gear. Major bummer. The ST was an absolute dream. I also realized that the ST is the first bike I've test-ridden since I got my Seca that makes me not want to ever get back on my Seca again. And I've ridden a *lot* of other nice bikes in the past 4 years.

Last modified: Thu Oct 8 18:36:46 PDT 1998