October 17 2013
Today was a great day to ride to AltRider. Why? It was not raining, cool enough to turn on a little heat, traffic wasn’t too bad, the AltRider gang were extremely friendly and helpful and I got to test out the ESA on the “infamous” I-5 from the border to Seattle.
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I-5 at the best of times usually makes a rider wish they had a kidney belt. For some reason this road almost all the way from BC to Seattle have these annoying ripples and grooves. Why am I talking about the road conditions? This is where I could really tell that the ESA settings make a difference.
If you ever read my review about the Tigers you will notice I talk about the road comfort that the Tiger’s give the rider. I referred to the Tigers as a very sound street bike with decent off-road capabilities. Remember this is just my opinions which really could mean absolutely nothing to anyone other than me.
My bike before the crash guards and headlamp protector. Had to stop at a rest stop. Anyway…back to the ESA. The Triumph Tiger + Triumph’s gel seats we used rocked on the road. Made the Tigers feel like a super sport bike. The suspension on the Tiger ate up the imperfections in the roads up in Alaska.
Fall foliage almost over….
BMW now has ESA. All the way down from BC to AltRider I played with ESA. Biggest difference is between the Sport setting and Comfortable. Can’t really tell the difference that normal does in comparison to the comfy setting.
When on comfy the bad Washington I-5 felt great. You can feel the difference switching between Sport and Comf. This is where I smiled because it felt as good as the Tigers. The low seat I tolerated pretty well if I do say so myself. I actually was able to ride for 3 hours straight before my butt said stand or take a break. Triumph gel seats kick ass! No pun intended. That is where BMW really needs to make improvements. Adjustable seat height and a better stock seat or upgrade available at the time of purchase. It annoys me that I have to tweak the BMW seats.
The ESA suspension makes the new F8 more road friendly, less vibrations and actually feels like a sport touring bike. Change the setting to Sport and you get a stiffer firmer ride. Makes sense. Glad we got both bikes with this feature because we ride on the pavement so much.
So, to continue to compare the Tigers to the 2013 F8…I would say the BMW can ride like the Tigers on the street and even better if you get a great seat. Then, I would say they are almost equal. Where BMW is ahead of Triumph is the simple handle bar controls, simple on off ABS/Traction Control and just the dash in general. I am sure Triumph will add this feature soon. For the price the BMW seems to be a better deal if you get the ESA.
Sneak Peak into the world of AltRider
Again for Cheryl and myself, street comfort is important and that was one big reason we may have bought the Tiger this time around. The ESA has been a very pleasant surprise and since we have been able to transfer our luggage and some other farkles I am very pleased we bought this bike. There is no doubt in mind and I have said this before, the F800 will be better off-road than the Tigers. That only means something if you really take these bikes off-road. For what we do both the Tiger and F800 will do what we want.
I also confirmed my need for riser which we have and ready to be installed and the need for a taller shield.
This is Erik. When I arrived at AltRider, Megan greeted me and introduced me to Erik and I am so bad with names, a very nice woman who takes care of their media/PR stuff (NANCY). Thanks to a FB viewer I was reminded of her name! Once someone tells me her name I will post it. She was sweet too. Megan had everything ready for my guards and head light protector to be installed initially by Erik and then the owner Jeremy got involved too.
Showing me how to do things right and that AltRider uses stainless!
Erik showing how well they wrap and ship their accessories. Mentioning how the customer needs to know that they take great care when riders invest in their products.
They worked on my bike right in the parking lot.
Half the guard installed.
They have a really interesting way to connect the bar across the radiator. Two pieces put together with a steel tube.
They look like they will have pretty good coverage for when we dump these bikes.
Jeremy and Erik having a chat and then Jeremy took over while Erik went back into their shop.
It was just a nice day down there. Good conversations, sharing of stories about the ADV world, what’s hot and what’s not…love hearing opinions about accessories and all sorts of juicy stuff. JK!
Initially we got the BMW head light guard but BMW does not seem to think you need an anti-glare piece that goes across the plexiglass. WE sent it back and Jeremy installed mine. Again pretty nice he was able to do this for me as well as Erik. Well, they offered and I did not say no.
Notice in the above picture the glare guard…you need one if you use this set up especially at night unless you are willing to take it on and off. WE keep ours on 24/7. BMW does not have this as part of their guard and you CAN NOT order it from BMW, it does not exist.
I love doing this a second time around. I have done more research, trying to by the best quality out there and at the same time just trying to protect our investment.
Inspecting his own work….
So, in a nutshell…today proved to me we made the right decision, I made the right decision buying the regular height F800 too. There were plenty of uneven, bad parking decisions today where I found a way to not dump the bike. Just did what I did on the Tiger. Adjust my ass towards the side the bike was going to lean. I know I will dump this bike due to being short….but I like the height.
Jeremy decked my bike in his decals….
OH….and why we like this version of the 800 versus our 650? I just love the top end power to pass those big ass trucks in 5th and 6th gear. The pick up is so much fun…it was just a good day.
Tomorrow morning I am heading down to Vancouver to meet Janice from Slim Signature Seats to see if she can make my seat just right. That will be another post as I am crossing my fingers she can get a little more of me feet down and make a more comfy saddle.
The bike is looking great and I want to thank AltRider for being such gracious hosts!