September 15th, 2014
“Deranged, maniacal, demonic and negligent” were words used by the former AMA Motorcyclist of the Year, Bob Higdon, when he gave the official benediction at the start of an annual Big Dog Ride. He also included the words “aesthetic, pictorial, grandeur, supereminence and best-of-the-best.” Higdon closed his offering of pearls with, “You have a great thing going here with the Big Dog Ride. I hope none of you die!” and then mounted his BMW R80G/S and piloted it quickly in the opposite direction.
The 2014 Annual Running of the Dogs offered an opportunity to look inside the make-up of the new and old members of the unique fraternity of Big Dogs. While not a secret society, the Big Dog Adventure Ride does have some elements of membership not found in other adventure designed motorcycle events.
Founded on the concept of riding a large-displacement dual-purpose motorcycle to the event, off-loading luggage, and then riding some of the toughest trails and tracks found in the Lower 48, the core concept still exists. Original sponsor, BMW of Denver, accepted the eventual morphing of the event to welcome non-BMW bike entries. In 2014 entrants included KTMs, Kawasakis, Hondas and Suzukis, but all had to be 640cc or larger.
For three days the entrants bounced their motorcycles and themselves off rocks and trees, plowed through deep mountain streams and brown murky mud wallows, often dodging ATVs and errant 4×4 drivers over some of the highest passes in Colorado. While the wide range of large-displacement motorcycles offered an interesting mix for a tire kicker in the parking lot, it was the genetic elements of the entrants and their professional backgrounds that drew interest in 2014. Are there some genetic similarities that drew this group together to possibly hurt themselves and their motorcycles as they pushed adventure-riding envelopes to levels far away from posing at Starbucks on a Sunday morning with their ADV motorcycle?
One Big Dog wrote of the others that they are “down to earth, solid, self-aware, self-confident, hard-working, contributors…. men of integrity who share a passion for adventure motorcycle riding.” Within that definition was one self-proclaimed ditch digger, a man who worked for a county government operating equipment to literally dig ditches, and another who was a retired financial services executive. Others included the manager for a major manufacturing company, a national evangelist, educational technology sales representative, insurance broker, general building contractor, service engineer, writer, mechanic and a statistician.
A look at the geographic bases for some of the entrants found them piloting their motorcycles to Colorado from distant points such as California, Texas, Arkansas and Virginia, others from neighboring states Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico. One entrant, from Honolulu, flew from Hawaii to connect with his motorcycle in Seattle. He then rode two days to the event, off-loaded his travel gear and banged up himself and his Africa Twin for three days. He then repacked and rode back to Seattle, stashed his rare Africa Twin and flew back to Hawaii. Another first-time entrant, sponsored by Bob’s BMW, rode his fully-loaded BMW R1200GS Adventure from Virginia to the event start point in Buena Vista, Colorado, where he off-loaded his traveling gear and bounced off rocks, slid through mud and wobbled in sand as a new Dog. He then licked his wounds and humped the interstates back across America. A Happy Trails sponsored entrant from Michigan entered a stock 2006 Kawasaki KLR650 that had only a Happy Trails skid plate and “Nerf” or protection bars for his possible get-offs.
When asked what they thought contributed to their adventure riding genetics, one answer was, “I have always liked the ability to get away from the busy roads with my motorcycle, to explore and be closer to nature.” Another said, “I like pushing myself, taking risks, testing my riding skills with my road bike, but managing the risks.” A third proclaimed, “I bought this motorcycle for its advertised dual-purpose attributes, to be able to ride it on an interstate or a jeep trail. It cost me a fortune, more than I expected after I got it equipped, so I like to make it earn its money.”
Some of the entrants were budget conscious, as represented by the number of Kawasaki KLR650’s entered. Cited as “the least expensive ride to adventure,” several of the entrants admitted to owning expensive road bikes but using their KLRs for more aggressive riding away from cruiser territory. Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA rewarded all the 2014 entrants in the Big Dog Adventure Ride, not just Kawasaki KLR entrants, by sponsoring meals that included the annual Big Dog BBQ, a way to all the Big Dogs hearts, through their hunger after a hard day of riding, and their love of a good steak.
After 24 Big Dog events and numerous copies around the world, ranging from the Big Bird Ride in Japan to a Big Puppy Ride in the USA, the original Big Dog Adventure Ride remains unique. While the men who comprise the field of entrants have been cited as deranged, maniacal, demonic and negligent, they also enjoy the fraternity of like-mindedness, being pure adventure seeking motorcyclists while agnostic and accepting when it comes to the best motorcycle make or model for adventure riding or touring, a gene unique to their core.
An adventure riding whisper in the wind at the 2014 Big Dog Adventure Ride was the 2015 Annual Running of the Dogs would be the last. One veteran entrant lamented, “It would be like putting a trusted old dog down,” while another suggested, “There could be a last last?” The 2015 event is slated for August 9 – 12.
August 6th, 2014
$100 INSTANT CREDIT NOW plus $50 GIFT CARD LATER
Now through September 30, 2014, purchase $1,000 in Original BMW Motorcycle Equipment and receive a $100 instant credit PLUS a $50 gift card for you or your riding buddy to use at a later visit to your Authorized BMW Motorrad dealer. Bonus gift card can be used for any BMW Original Part, Accessory or Service visit.
*The $50 gift card must be used by December 31, 2014 and redeemed at Bob’s BMW for motorcycles purchased in August and September.
Online sales do not qualify. Offer is not valid in combination with any other retail offer from BMW Motorrad USA.
July 31st, 2014
By Janene Holzberg, For The Baltimore Sun
“This will be the second-most-memorable trip I’ve taken,” Bailey said from the porch of the rancher she’s called home for nearly 45 years as the adventure got underway July 18. “The first was a ride on the Concorde from London to Dulles [International Airport] in 1988.”
Henig told his passenger that the excursion on scenic back roads to visit her close friends in Sykesville just might top her pricey flight on the now-retired supersonic transport that traveled at more than twice the speed of sound.
“I’m hoping by the time I bring you back, it’ll be close as to which trip was more fun,” the Columbia resident told her, quickly adding that they’d only be traveling at 45 mph or so.
Henig practically had to take a number and get in line to see who would be the first to escort Bailey. She said a TV reporter and motorcycle enthusiast she met when she served on a judicial nominating commission years ago was the first to egg her on.“It all started with Dick Gelfman,” Bailey said of the retired WJZ newsman, who is known for organizing Ride Across Maryland, a fundraiser for breast cancer research. Bailey remains in contact with him and his wife, Lenore Gelfman, a Howard County Circuit Court judge.
Henig began encouraging Bailey to take a ride in his sidecar seven or eight years ago after “we kept showing up at the same places,” she said. Bailey has been a member of the Howard County Police Advisory Council since it was formed in 1992 by then-Police Chief James Robey, who appointed her. Henig is on the board of the county police foundation, so their paths often cross.
Robey, an Elkridge Democrat who retired in 2014 as a state senator and previously served two terms as Howard County executive, said he wasn’t surprised to learn of the unusual trip but wondered with a laugh “why Millie wasn’t the driver.” “She’s so active, and she knows everybody. This is why she has stayed alive as long as she has,” he said, noting that she still drives a car. “She’s one gutsy lady.”
Bailey, who claims to know “two-thirds of the people in Columbia,” attributes her longevity to a busy schedule, a healthy diet and not worrying about things she can’t control. A former manager for the Social Security Administration and a widow with no children, she has served on numerous boards of county nonprofits and organizations over the years.
Running Brook Elementary School students call her their “Guardian Angel” for her fundraising efforts there, and she runs a group that sends homemade cookies to American troops overseas. “This is going to be a surprise for my adopted grandkids,” Bailey said before the pair set off. “They know I’m coming, but they don’t know how.” Henig assured his passenger that she was in for “a spaceship-smooth kind of ride” in his $75,000 Duetto, of which there are only 31 in the world. The manufacturer had hoped to build 100, but BMW stopped making the K1100 motorcycle that tows the rig, he said. He owns five other sidecars and 70 motorcycles, including a motorized unicycle.
As Henig flicked an electric switch to lift the sidecar’s hood and helped make Bailey comfortable, longtime neighbor Barbara Bryan happened to walk up the street with granddaughter Leah Williams. “I’m so glad I got to see this,” said the retired nurse, who’s known Bailey for 42 years. “Nothing gets by Millie. Her mind is so fast. This is amazing for her.”
When the pair arrived 50 minutes later at the home of Julie and Ken Girardini, the couple said they were caught off-guard by the sight of their friend, whom they assumed would be arriving in her Ford Focus. “It was quite a shock, definitely, but she was having a ball and was all smiles,” Julie Girardini said. “Millie is always willing to try something new.”
Bailey said afterward that the ride was “just wonderful.”
She’s tried other unusual conveyances, she said, like the time she unhappily rode a camel in Morocco. She did enjoy riding an elephant in Thailand, though. Henig said Bailey was “the perfect passenger,” riding with her face shield up and a contented expression that “put a smile on my face all day.” So is Bailey done with adventurous modes of transportation? “Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” she said. “Something exciting might come along, so I can’t rule anything out.”
Click HERE for more photographs and a video of the ride.
July 11th, 2014
My New Book FORKS and How Bob’s BMW Kept Me Going Around The World
By: Allan Karl
Those of you who know me remember, and for those of you I’ve yet to meet, I spent three years traveling around the world alone on my 2005 F650GS Dakar. While I’ve delivered a few presentations at Bob’s BMW, there are lot of stories, adventures and lessons that never made it into those presentations.I share many of these stories and lessons—plus hundreds of more photos and delicious recipes from each of the 35 countries I traveled in my new book FORKS—A Quest for Culture, Cuisine, and Connection. It’s a big book—coffee-table size and packed with info—including my packing list, maintenance and parts used over three years.
What many people don’t remember — and what I will never forget—is how instrumental Bob’s BMW was in getting me some of those parts which are difficult to find in the vast plains of Patagonia or the wild savannah of the Serengeti in Tanzania. Where other part vendors refused or were unable to ship parts to the remote ends of the earth, Bob’s always came through.
One particular challenge came when my battery would no longer hold a charge. I was in the Andes Mountains in Bolivia. After making phone calls, taking taxis and busses to nearly every battery and motorcycle parts supplier in Bolivia, I called on Bob’s BMW. Unlike a clutch cable, fork seals or steering head bearings (all parts I needed during my trip) batteries are considered hazardous materials. Bob’s didn’t hesitate and quickly processed the special paperwork and customs documentation required. That battery made it to Bolivia and I was able to get on with my journey.
When I finally returned to the United States, I retrieved my bike from the Port of Baltimore. For the first time in three years, my trusty Dakar was back on U.S. soil. Yet before I made my journey across these United States to my home in California, I again relied on Bob’s to do a complete maintenance and check—preparing me once again for the long journey—where I rode only backroads, never a freeway, highway, interstate or turnpike. As I did all over the world, I wanted to take a slower and closer look at my own country.
If you haven’t picked up a copy of FORKS, you can order a copy on my website (I’ll sign it) or you can save a few bucks and order from Amazon. No matter where you buy your copy, be sure to give me a shout out and let me know what you think.
Hope to see you on the road, or at Bob’s BMW, soon!
July 11th, 2014
Mods and Rockers began in the early-mid 1960’s among British youths. Rockers developed a “macho biker gang image, wearing clothes such as black leather jackets” and Mods “adopted a pose of scooter-driving sophistication, wearing suits and other clean-cut outfits.” These two British sub-cultures were complete polar opposites; everything from the clothes they wore, to the music they listened to, to their overall personalities and viewpoints. There was an urban split among the two groups that often resulted in brawls and even riots. It was thanks to the spotlighted media coverage surrounding the battling groups, the term “moral panic” was coined by sociologist Stanley Cohen.
Fast forwarding to today, credit is given to the Rockers for giving birth to the legendary term, “Café Racer,” one of motorcycling’s most recent and biggest crazes where youths race from pub to pub, sometimes “pulling the ton” (going 100mph) to see who has the fastest café racer.
It’s an interesting point in motorcycling history which groups of motorcyclists around the country are bringing back as a unique way to rally vintage and retro motorcycles and scooters. So again, please help Bob’s BMW support this fun and local motorcycling event on August 23!
May 23rd, 2014
May 15th, 2014
After 30 plus years of participating as a vendor at the MOA International Rally, Bob’s BMW knows it is necessary to annually change up its display to keep it new and fresh so the rally continues to be fun and exciting for all those attending. So for Bob’s 2014 MOA rally display we have two BIG announcements. First, Bob’s is excited to announce the first and ONLY GG Taurus in the U.S. will be on display at Bob’s BMW booth, Main Vendor Building, Spaces 179-184! Rally-goers will have the opportunity to be one of the first to see this 3-wheeled, BMW powered machine. But wait there is more…
Your bike could be on display alongside this limited edition, incredible machine! If you are planning to attend this year’s rally July 24-27, “Rolling By The River” in St. Paul, Minnesota, and your bike was modified, customized, refurbished, or restored (partly or completely) at Bob’s or it was ‘thanks’ to Bob’s great inventory of parts and accessories that your bike is what it is today please contact us as soon as possible to join in on the fun we are planning.
The plan is to rotate the display of bikes at Bob’s booth multiple times each day so that we are not holding any one bike hostage too long—we want you to enjoy the rally to its fullest and we know that includes having your bike available to go out and enjoy some great riding! Our goal is to share with the new rally-goers the endless possibilities there are with BMW’s and the ability to bring any model back to life.
If you would like to feel like a celebrity at the rally, simply provide firstname.lastname@example.org with 2 good pictures of your bike (right and left), details of the work Bob’s has helped you with, your contact information including full name, phone number, email, and address, along with a short blurb on why your bike should be showcased in our display at this year’s MOA rally!
May 14th, 2014
On April 14, 2014 NHTSA announced BMW North America is recalling model variants of 2005-2011 R1200 models; 2005-2012 K1200, K1300, and K1600 models; 2010-2011S1000RR models; and 2006-2010 HP2 models. Affected models could develop cracks in the flange resulting in a fuel leak and will either need the fuel pump flange reinforced, or the entire pump replaced. The service will take up to 2 hours to complete (at Bob’s BMW) and will of course be covered under warranty.
BMW North America will be notifying owners directly and/or you can call Bob’s Service Department for a VIN check. Personally, Bob’s BMW has sold over 900 affected units so you are encouraged to contact us immediately if your bike fits the above mentioned years and models for a VIN check. Please note where you purchased your bike does not matter. If you are on the road reading this and near Bob’s BMW, Bob’s Service Department is able and willing to help. To date we have serviced and corrected approximately 100 (give or take) affected bikes and we are continuing to schedule appointments.
Finally, if by chance you own one of the affected bikes and had work done to your fuel pump previous to this recall being announced, you are encouraged to contact us to review your work order as some parts may be eligible for reimbursement.
Read the official NHTSA recall notice>> http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchResults?searchType=ID&targetCategory=R&searchCriteria.nhtsa_ids=13V617000
May 9th, 2014
I had to check the date on when we last talked about BMW and TVS partnering up to build small-displacement motorcycles together, and it looks like it was almost exactly a year ago. In that timeframe, the two companies have been quietly working, but rumors have started to heat-up as to when we could see a sub-500cc BMW motorcycle.
A cynic’s response might be that BMW doesn’t want to be perceived as late to the small-displacement party, especially since its sub-500cc machines won’t be ready until Q3/Q4 of 2015.
With Honda, Kawasaki, and KTM already debuting their 250cc & 300cc models, and Yamaha & Triumph set to debut 250cc machines shortly, it seems the only manufacturer without a small-displacement offering either available or in the works is Ducati.
Focusing our attention back on BMW though, it seems the first BMW machine could be a rebadged TVS, with the Indian company recently showing its Draken concept (shown above), which features a 250cc single-cylinder engine that makes just under 40hp.
“I know we have been silent on the TVS (Motor Company) and BMW since we had the tie-up. (the first product) It is going to be ready by the second half of next calendar year. All the work is under progress,” said TVS Motor Company Chairman Venu Srinivasan.
BMW and TVS are expected to brand their co-built machines separately, and for different markets. The BMW-branded machines will come to Europe and North America, while the TVS machines will go to India, Asia, and other emerging markets.
With KTM’s partnership with Bajaj helping the Austrian company surpass BMW Motorrad as the largest European motorcycle manufacturer, the German company’s new line with TVS should reverse that trend.
Increasingly the future of the motorcycle industry is happening in India and Southeast Asia, and it seems like just about every manufacturer has some sort of strategy in place for that reality.
April 16th, 2014
Exclusively at their 2014 Open House, Bob’s BMW will introduce the incredible GG Taurus, a BMW powered, 175 HP, three wheeled, street legal creation from Switzerland that will be available for your personal inspection.
The GG Taurus is sure to create immediate lust and outright drooling by every two, three or four wheeled enthusiast that sees it in person. Tell your friends, even those who do not ride motorcycles, to join you on April 26 at Bob’s. And yes, you will be able to touch it, sit on it and even have your photo taken while in the saddle to share with your friends on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other Social Media sites.
Built by Swiss company Grueter and Gut Technik, or GG for short, the Taurus is a high performance hammerhead trike, a fascinating vehicle with a bold design and even more impressive build quality that conceals a heart thumping 1,293cc German inline powerplant. If you’ve ever seen the Ferrari Yellow Duetto sidecar rig that Bob owns, rides and shares frequently this was designed and is built by the same company.
Until now it has never before seen on US streets. The Taurus is now available for the first time through a small number of select dealers of which Bob’s is the first. The big-bore engine is capable of developing 175 bhp at 9,250 rpm and 140 Nm of torque at 8,250 rpm, while being coupled with a 6-gear transmission along with suspension, brakes and tires worthy of a formula track car.
The Taurus weighs in at a very nimble 875lbs (without fuel or rider) and has a massive 9 gallon fuel tank to provide a vast cruising range. With a top speed of almost 140 mph, this is one fast trike that all of your friends, neighbors and co-workers will be seriously envious of.
The GG Taurus is the most exclusive 3 wheeler on the planet. This is the Ferrari of bikes and will only be owned by a select few. It is customizable so each owner’s GG Taurus will be exclusive to him or her. This 3-wheeled bike is truly a revolution that will turn heads anywhere and everywhere for the next few decades.
White Glove, Red Carpet delivery is offered with every purchase.
We know you want some technical details before you see it: