As a young guy I had a few motorcycles but was always too hopeless to be able to afford a decent ride. As a young boy the son of the produce store rode a smick Earles forked BMW. He used to park it in the lane beside the shop and I used to just stare at it, it was lovely.
As a young adult I really fancied a Triumph 650 and then when the R80G/S came out, that was the bike I always wanted. I always likeed the idea of a bike that I could work on myself and one that I could keep on the road indefinetly. To me that spelt BMW.
I was determined to buy a BMW in the late 80s when I came back for my second stint as a bike owner. I only had $1000 and needed to do a 60Km/36mile commute through Sydney traffic. He talked me into a Suzuki GS650G Katana which was an excellent bike for the task. and rode it for several years with nothing other than very rigourous oil changes, new tyres, a battery and several sets of brake pads. I finished riding it in 1989 and didn't get back onto the saddle of a bike until Nov 2006 and as I wasn't sure of my riding ability due to old age, arthritus, bad back, etc, etc, etc so I bought a cheap 1983 R80ST. I didn't find it a particularly comfortable bike, but I liked it. After swapping through a few Jap bikes I wanted a good road bike with excellent luggage capacity for me and the newly acquired wife. I ended up with the R80G/S which I had always wanted and went to see a second hand 2004 Bonneyville with Hepco and Becker panniers and top bag that was advertised. I ended up coming home with a R1150GS. The plans of mice and men.
All of a sudden the R80G/S that I had always wanted was suddenly excess to requirements. I sold everything else off and ended up with one Swiss Army Knife of a bike which pretty much did everything I wanted. An awesome bike! Fast, (wellllll it doesn't have the exhillirating rush that the Jap 1200s I owned, but enough to get into serious trouble with), smooth, and able to whisk the two of us across the state with heaps of luggage and a minimum of fuss.
I have also bought a R100RT because I miss the airhead and it seems a lot more comfortable than the ST.
I will get my tinkering jollies and as the bike is 30 years old it will only cost me around $25 for club plates so that I can attend rides, etc. When it is a camping ride, I will use the GS pulling my wee trailer and when it is a hotel ride, I will used the old RT.
The quality, especially of the older BMs is awesome, but them again, the Jap bikes are pretty impressive as well. The concept of keeping older BMs on the road is strong and the ranger of spares is good and reasonably priced. BM spares compare favourably with spares from other countries.
The current approach by BMW Dealers is to just replace systems rather that repair individual parts is an approach shared by other manafacturers. Their approach makes sense (as far as they are concerned) when you consider, if you went there with a problem with your ABS and they isolate it to a small part and repaired it only to have another small part malfunction a short time later and then have the owner complain that they should have fixed it properly in the first place. Replace it all and you will probably not have any problems for another long period.
All of the major brands are pretty good nowadays, but BMWs have the luggage, the ergonomics and gobble up highway miles so well. I'm happy!
As my Chinese wife says "Bo-Mar (what they call Beemers) Number 1!"