(What a) Day in the Saddle
BMW R18 Classic to the Darling Downs.
When I saw online that Rowey and my riding buddies from the Gold Coast were headed to the Maryvale Pub for Sunday lunch I thanked my lucky stars that we’re not currently locked down up here in Queensland and resolved to tag along … well, actually, to meet them there.
I figured it would be a perfect test run for the new BMW R18 Classic that currently graces my garage.
The Lad’s plan was to head west from their meet up at Coomera, but rather than ride 45 minutes south from my place in Brizzy to join them, I decided to rendezvous instead.
I pointed the R18 Classic directly onto the M2 and subsequently joined the Cunningham Highway at Ipswich.
From there it was on to Willowbank, Aratula and the Great Dividing Range via Cunninghams Gap to the Southern Downs.
I got to the old-school pub in the hamlet in a bit under 2 hours - and only a few minutes before about a dozen of the GC crew arrived. We had a good chin wag and catch up over a nice feed and refreshments under the wide verandahs.
Temps were around 25c and partly cloudy on the plateau as we went our separate ways in the early afternoon.
I waved the lads goodbye as they headed back east on the Cunningham and turned the BMW to head further west from Maryvale.
The plan was to continue in that direction before wheeling north just prior to reaching Warwick. Then go back down the hill to Gatton and return to the city via the Warrego Highway.
But 3km westward the fuel warning light came on, so I abandoned that scheme and u-bolted back to the Mobil at Fisher Park, filled up and descended via Cunninghams Gap again instead.
But rather than follow the highway, at the bottom of the Hill I turned east onto the Lake Moggerah Road and travelled around the lake and then on to Mt Alford, Boonah and Peaks Crossing to Yamanto. From there it was the M5 and M2 and back to base as the shadows were just starting to lengthen.
I rang Mick not long after I got home. He’s been keen to follow progress of the Quick Spin article on the bike that features in the upcoming Issue #178 of HEAVY DUTY.
He was originally going to pen the piece himself, but unfortunately the circumstances in Sydney meant the bike was trucked up here for evaluation.
My opening gambit was, “I’ve just done 350km on the R18 Classic.”
After he stopped swearing, we had a deep and meaningful about the machine.
The short story is that it was brilliant. On the Freeways and major arteries it’s smooth, comfortable and the big Boxer is an absolute delight. The comfort level (for me) was enhanced by removing the standard windscreen (no buffeting).
Then, amongst it on the back roads around the Mt Alford it handled really nicely and was very solid and planted over the rougher going – even over a few km of dirt around the southern reaches of the lake. The upright riding position, big wide beach bars and good suspenders all contribute.
Spooling it up is quite joyous. It hasn’t got great cornering clearance, but the footboards on the classic do allow for a sportier ergonomic than the R18 Standard we tested in issue #176 and the 16” front wheel is a marked improvement when hard charging. And charge I did.
The only issue I had at all today was the fuel range, but better management from the experience would fix most of that.
“I’m quite effusive.” I told the Publisher. “This is a great bike.”
I really enjoyed the machine, caught up with good mates, saw some sights and had a beaut day. That’s what it’s all about, hey?
“*******.” Said Mick.