Ringleader: Lon Rozelle
Miles:Average Fuel Mileage: 48 mpg
Accessories & Modifications: BMW luggage rack/panniers, Remus exhaust, Continental RoadAttack tires
Finally, a couple days off from my copy-editing duties, just the Beemer and me, up the coast, with no particular place to go. A fine plan, but a few days' worth of clothes weren't going to fit in my trusty tail bag.
Art Director Joe "Stuntah" Neric does his best Lon Rozelle impersonation.
So I ordered up BMW's luggage rack/pannier combo. I couldn't have made a better choice: Fit, finish and function are excellent. Once I'd installed the luggage rack and mounting brackets-a straightforward operation that took 45 minutes-I found the bags to be easy on/off and simple to operate. A single key (separate from the ignition key) locks the bags to the bike and opens/locks the lids. The bags are expandable, easily swallowing a full-face helmet in the widest setting. Waterproof liners snap inside the bags, so if the lids inadvertently pop open, your goods should remain inside. A brief ride in fairly heavy rain confirmed that they are indeed watertight. The look of the bags complements the bike perfectly: They're not too big and not too small-just right for the mid-sized F800S.
Be aware when ordering that there are several components that must be ordered separately. The list includes a luggage rack ($195), mounting kit ($139), panniers ($371 apiece), locks ($38.46 apiece) and pannier hardware ($13.77 apiece), for a grand total of $1180.46.
Remus's new titanium and carbon-fiber Hexacone exhaust system-easy to install, sheds weigh
Sports Pannier/luggage rack combo transforms the F800S into a long-distance tourer.
The extra weight of the luggage and its contents meant some added oomph was in order. Remus to the rescue: The Austrian firm's new Hexacone full exhaust system ($1185 from www.remus-usa.com), finished in beautiful titanium/carbon fiber, was just the ticket. Again, installation was simple and took roughly 30 minutes.
Weight savings are substantial. While the stock exhaust, including header and muffler, weighed 22 pounds, the full Remus system checks in at just 11.5 lbs.
But its biggest advantage is power: Where the stock F800S put out 80.5 rear-wheel horsepower, the Remus system, combined with a K&N high-flow filter ($41.95 from www.knfilters.com), upped that by nearly 4 ponies to 84.4 bhp. Torque climbed an average of 1.5 lb.-ft., and the nasty dip and rough running at 4500 rpm was evened out as well. Best of all, the Remus muffler emits a mellifluous bark-a vast improvement over the sewing-machine-like stocker.
We're looking forward to putting the new Continental RoadAttack radials to the test.
One other pleasant discovery during my trip was the F800S's superb fuel economy. While 48 mpg around town is impressive, it averaged nearly 60 mpg on the freeway, making it one of the thriftiest bikes we've tested. With gas prices well over $3 per gallon in this neck of the woods, that's something to consider at buying time.
By the time I got back, it was time to take the bike to our local BMW dealer, Honda of Hollywood, for its 6000-mile service. While it was there, a technician noticed the stock Bridgestone Battlax BT014 tires were down to the wear bars. I replaced them with a set of Continental's new Z-rated RoadAttack sport-touring radials. The German tires feature high-impact zero-degree steel belts and claim to offer the performance of a sport tire combined with the high mileage of a touring tire. I can't confirm or deny that claim at this point, however, as our publisher Marty Estes has bogarted the Beemer since the tires went on. I'll get back to you next time.