Living down in the Dordogne is a great pleasure in many ways. Beautiful scenery, good weather (although it’s been as wet down here as most places in Europe this year), cheap wine, and sparsely populated roads out of tourist season. We’d not had visitors for a while, so when Andy asked if we were free last week and did I fancy showing him some of the local roads, it was a great opportunity to catch up and enjoy the local area, especially given the weather forecast was promising sun and up to 27C.
Andy has recently bought a new S1000XR, and after a six and a half hour ride down the mileage had doubled to the stage where the first service was now due. Realising that by the time we’d ridden for a week and he’d returned back home the bike would have more than doubled the miles on it again, we looked to try and get it in for a first service at the local dealer in Perigueux, and luckily they were able to squeeze not only his first service, but also the derestriction of my K1300GT, anyway, more on that later.
During the week we visited the martyr village of Ouradour sur Glane, and after swapping bikes for a brief 15 minutes I was reminded how much “get up and go” the S1000XR has, with almost instant acceleration sweeping the rev counter swiftly round to the 7500rpm rev limit (imposed during the running in period), and it’s relatively high feeling seating position. My GT felt really low in comparison, but the biggest difference between the two clearly being the lines that can be chosen/taken in a bend. The XR being light and flickable affords the luxury of making changes mid bend, whilst the GT requires a considered entry, after which it holds it’s line well but moving off it is harder work.
A couple of 300+ km days allowed us to explore the regions roads, passing by many chateaux and castles using the smaller side roads as links to the well surfaced and largely empty main roads and their well tarmaced surfaces which make the UK roads look shabby in comparison.
On the final riding day we awoke to find damp roads after some unexpected overnight rain. The route to the BMW dealer for the service for Andys bike was drying out, but at that state of semi-dampness where you’re never sure how huch grip there is, so we had a slightly less spirited ride to Perigueuex than normal, but one that allowed us to enjoy the scenery more. Arriving just before our 10.00am appointments, the bikes were booked in and soon they were being ridden round to the garages at the rear of the premises, leaving us to have a look around the dealer showroom which they share with a Honda dealership, an open corridor allowing passage from one side to the other. 40 minutes later the GT was back in the car park and my carte grise was copied and will be sent to BMW for them to send documentation with the new COC (certificate of conformity) showing the bike is now 160bhp not 100. After 30 years of being forced to ride castrated power motorcycles in France there is now a mad rush as people seek to get them derestricted (legally). The dealer tells us that in the two weeks since the law was changed they have already derestricted 28 bikes, which at €250 a time is a nice little earner for them. The next stage is for the owners to take their new COC document to the equivalent of the DVLA to get a new carte grise (V5 equiv.), but it seems that BMW is overwhelmed with the work this is creating, because as yet none of the 28 bike owners have received their new documentation.
Within the hour Andys bike reappears, he pays and we ride two minutes round the corner to visit Dafy Moto and the Yamaha dealer that it shares the premises with. Here are some pics from the Yamaha side, anniversary speed block yellow being a popular colour for the R1 and VMax, whilst the grey bike is from their Faster Sons Yard built range.
Once we’d wandered round the shop it was time to head off and for me to see how much difference having an extra 60bhp would make. Leaving Perigueux I opened it up climbing a hill only to hear Andy on the intercom telling me it was smoking. Ok, “stop winding me up” I said, but he assured me it had smoked a little, but as it didn’t do it again despite severe provocation during the rest of the day, we decided it was just evacuating a little surplus oil from the airbox.
I have to say that the new engine map they loaded combined with removing some excess play in the throttle has turned the bike into a competely different animal. Gone was the utilitarian two up plus luggage bus, here was a highly responsive motor which literally had me hollering inside my helmet as I revelled in the instant acceleration and throttle response, no longer boring but a real smile inducer. We found some fantastic roads that morning and even managed to plan the ride so we were back in time to watch the MotoGP race.
So the week ended having ridden 862kms in mostly glorious sunshine. Sharing riding experiences on great roads with your friends is a great combination and I had a great week, the only downside for Andy was that he then had that 6 1/2 hour ride home to do the next day in what turned out to be blustery conditions, and it turns out that despite removing the rev limiter being the second item on the service list for his bike, it hadn’t been done, which means he’ll have to drag to his home dealer and ask them to remove it.
I’m really looking forward to riding the GT a lot more now that it’s character has changed, what a shame I’ve had to wait 7 years and 86,000kms before I can appreciate it fully!