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Thread: The ONLY way to See the Alps...

  1. #61
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    What NElliott said. Rob maintains a stable of his own bikes, all generally current or one model year old, he swaps them out at 30-40K kM. He also supplements his bikes with bikes straight from BMW's factory fleet, to ensure everyone gets the bike they want. No old or worn out bikes for his tours.

    As for rentals, for years they played middle man with a few rental outlets, if someone wanted to do their own thing. They stopped offering that service last year, as the internet has made it easier for people to make their own arrangements, and the time it took for a few % commission the time is better spent on tour customers . Rob never rented from his fleet.

    As far as bike choice, yes he will give you advice on the right tool for the job, 43 years of experience IS worth something. If you want a K bike, he will get it for you, but is frank on the limitations of those models in the really tight stuff in the mountains. Most of his tours you will not be on the highway, and much more likely to be on the goat path, that leads to a phenomenal destination or road with incredible views or riding.

    Again, Rob doesn't dictate, he facilitates, but he wants his clients to have the best time of their lives, and will make suggestions help to educate and spend time with anyone wanting to learn. That is something others actually charge extra for. IMHO, Rob is always spot on in his assessment, I am a MUCH better rider because of his tutelage.

    Without going back, I believe you mentioned the need to keep the R bike up in rpm's to pull the corners, thought you mentioned 4K. Well, that is too low, I shoot for 5-8K when in the tight stuff, 2nd and 3rd most of the time. The main reason is you have MUCH more control, and use the brakes far less. Anyone who rides tight roads will agree, K, R, Japanese, English it does not matter, low gears and high revs is how it is done. Why? Well one big reason is 90% of your speed control is the right wrist, low gears increase engine braking so no need to use the brakes. This may not be what you are accustom to but it DOES work better, an open mind is how we all learn, and like the old commercial said "TRY IT YOU"LL LIKE IT". But if not he is good with that too.

    Damn, all this Euro talk, along with winter temps and snow, are making me jones for another Alps trip!

    I ride an F bike now, and same thing in the tight (fun) stuff, 2nd and 3rd and keep the motor singing.
    2010 F800GS Full Ohlins package, '04 R1100S Replika
    '01 F650GS Wife's bike
    Maritime Alps and Vosges 2012
    Tuscany and Central Italy 2010

  2. #62
    Cowboyatheart
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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog;1072028\

    Damn, all this Euro talk, along with winter temps and snow, are making me jones for another Alps trip!
    I just booked a Beach's Classic Alps tour for 2018, June 17 to July 1. Dreaming has now begun!
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  3. #63
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelliott View Post
    I just booked a Beach's Classic Alps tour for 2018, June 17 to July 1. Dreaming has now begun!
    To get some sense of riding in the Alps, on YouTube search for Alexander Thiessen (40+ passes! Alexander's riding is on the conservative side), RichyVida (lots of videos, look for the Gross Glockner and two Stelvio/Stilfser Joch videos; Stelvio #2 is scary between the WX, battery failure, brake failure, and two drops in a gas station - all rides on a VFR), jens1600GT (something of a wildman on a K1600GT - the Mt. Ventoux video in particular; Jens won't tell me what speeds he hit), and K16Troll (despite the name, almost all videos are with a 1200GS).

    The weather on the trip this past July was "tourist weather", with no rain and surprisingly mild temperatures in the mountains (even at 9K ft). The lower elevations in the Sud Tirol (south Tirol - northmost Italy) were 75-85F. OTOH I know of tours with non-stop rain. Non-stop being the operative term - the trip wasn't postponed (no surprise, of course). Dress accordingly.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  4. #64
    Cowboyatheart
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post
    To get some sense of riding in the Alps, on YouTube search for Alexander Thiessen (40+ passes! Alexander's riding is on the conservative side), RichyVida (lots of videos, look for the Gross Glockner and two Stelvio/Stilfser Joch videos; Stelvio #2 is scary between the WX, battery failure, brake failure, and two drops in a gas station - all rides on a VFR), jens1600GT (something of a wildman on a K1600GT - the Mt. Ventoux video in particular; Jens won't tell me what speeds he hit), and K16Troll (despite the name, almost all videos are with a 1200GS).

    The weather on the trip this past July was "tourist weather", with no rain and surprisingly mild temperatures in the mountains (even at 9K ft). The lower elevations in the Sud Tirol (south Tirol - northmost Italy) were 75-85F. OTOH I know of tours with non-stop rain. Non-stop being the operative term - the trip wasn't postponed (no surprise, of course). Dress accordingly.
    I have done 16 days riding in the Alps, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia. No surprises for me. Rain or shine all good. I live near Vancouver, BC. We see rain once in awhile.
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  5. #65
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelliott View Post
    1 don't understand your comment. Rob has a selection of bikes and will work to get you any current bmw if he doesn't own it. They provide the bike, end of story.
    The following is currently on their web site under rentals in Munich:
    Quote Originally Posted by BMCA
    Beach's is currently not offering rental motorcycles.

    We have decided it is best to focus on our core business of providing exceptional motorcycle tours. However, you still have some options. Below you will find information pertaining to our recommended rental provider in Munich.

    We have a long standing relationship with Karl Maier BMW. Motorcycles offered are generally current year low mileage bikes. The fleet of motorcycles available in munich is small and normally there is only one of each model available.

    If you have any questions concerning European touring please call us at 716-773-4960.
    Karl Maier BMW

    Erdinger Str. 10
    Neufinsing
    85464
    info@motorrad-kmaier.de
    +49 (0) 8121 81515
    http://www.motorrad-kmaier.de/
    If that's not accurate, something's amiss here. Until I hear otherwise from BMCA, I can only assume rental is my responsibility.

    2 read however you want. Rob is saying that a lot of North American riders think they know how to ride, but when they get to Europe they are over their head. If you've ridden in the Alps, I don't know why this statement bothers you. It is a fact. That is all. Sounds to me like you disagree with the statement or their in your face approach.
    "In your face" isn't a good first contact strategy in marketing. It's part of why they didn't get my business the first time around.

    Yes, the riding is different(!) and the learning curve can be ...um... interesting. That said, riders who ride poorly in the States are in for a few scary moments. Riders who have it together in the States will find it relatively easy to add new skills to their skills toolbox. At least that's what I observed with the "scary" riders, and in some measure in my riding (not bragging, I had a couple of ...um... moments early on).

    3 want a good experience? Beach's will give you the best opportunity to have one. The rest is your up to your attitude and approach.
    I'm not the person who put together a tour with 19 bikes and two guides. I'm not the person who said "no bigger bike" and then added two bagger H-D's after "enrollment" was closed. Let's not go into attitude.

    4 no one on this site cares who you go with, we are just telling you Beachs is a good operator for many, many reasons outlined above. If you want to find reasons not to go with them. Then have at er. IMO "your loss."

    Is this too straight forward for you?
    I paid $5K, believing Edelweiss' advertising, and info from four or five folks who had BTDT anywhere from ten years ago to two years ago. The riding worked, the tour was a major disappointment. I'm now looking at $10K for a two week trip. Why would I not ask a lot of questions before committing to more money than I paid for my current bike?

    Okay I was cranky when I wrote the above, and it still holds true.
    However, I will add that l know a tour is a big expense, a bit of a gamble, a decision not to take lightly, because of the cost. I think you would be be well served to go with Beachs. Your decision, good luck, choose well and may it work out for you, whatever your choice.
    At the moment BMCA is very much in the running. OTOH, I speak the language, know the traffic rules (mostly - just got "blitzed" for 90+ on an 80 on-ramp), and have a sense of how, over here, things work socially. Which argues for DIY. The down side is not knowing the "really good" routes, beyond what I can drag out of my GPS maps. And maybe getting lucky and finding someone who's fun to ride with.

    Schöne Grusse aus Bad Schwalbach Deutschland. :)
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  6. #66
    There is no conflict here. Beach does tours with bikes provided but no longer rents bikes for folks not taking a tour. They used to. They don't any more, but if you want to just rent a bike they can point you in the right direction.
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  7. #67
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    What NElliott said. Rob maintains a stable of his own bikes, all generally current or one model year old, he swaps them out at 30-40K kM. He also supplements his bikes with bikes straight from BMW's factory fleet, to ensure everyone gets the bike they want. No old or worn out bikes for his tours.

    As for rentals, for years they played middle man with a few rental outlets, if someone wanted to do their own thing. They stopped offering that service last year, as the internet has made it easier for people to make their own arrangements, and the time it took for a few % commission the time is better spent on tour customers . Rob never rented from his fleet.
    See above for the quote that has me wondering about bikes.
    As far as bike choice, yes he will give you advice on the right tool for the job, 43 years of experience IS worth something. If you want a K bike, he will get it for you, but is frank on the limitations of those models in the really tight stuff in the mountains. Most of his tours you will not be on the highway, and much more likely to be on the goat path, that leads to a phenomenal destination or road with incredible views or riding.
    To be clear about this, BMCA would be amiss not to describe what newbies can expect, and how to pick a bike accordingly. My reaction is to the tone - see above re: "in your face"
    Again, Rob doesn't dictate, he facilitates, but he wants his clients to have the best time of their lives, and will make suggestions help to educate and spend time with anyone wanting to learn. That is something others actually charge extra for. IMHO, Rob is always spot on in his assessment, I am a MUCH better rider because of his tutelage.
    That's a strong argument for BMCA. If I haven't mentioned it, I had the same experience with a "check ride" guide who briefly followed the group led by a new guide. Climbing Timmelsjoch, he spotted I was having a hard time with left turns and gave a spot-on demo to clean up the problem. I still work hard to get as close to his example as possible. Videoing my rides, I can see a major change in my riding style and approach to riding.
    Without going back, I believe you mentioned the need to keep the R bike up in rpm's to pull the corners, thought you mentioned 4K. Well, that is too low, I shoot for 5-8K when in the tight stuff, 2nd and 3rd most of the time. The main reason is you have MUCH more control, and use the brakes far less. Anyone who rides tight roads will agree, K, R, Japanese, English it does not matter, low gears and high revs is how it is done. Why? Well one big reason is 90% of your speed control is the right wrist, low gears increase engine braking so no need to use the brakes. This may not be what you are accustom to but it DOES work better, an open mind is how we all learn, and like the old commercial said "TRY IT YOU"LL LIKE IT". But if not he is good with that too.
    With the RT I looked at 3K as the floor for RPM's. In situations where shifting wasn't a good choice (e.g., mid-turn), I had no qualms about letting the motor wind up. Steering and suspension were golden. What I didn't like is the bike was far too buzzy at almost any speed, and the transmission banged around as if it had been beaten into the ground. Much of my Stateside braking and speed control is with the throttle and tranny. Ditto in the Alps. FWIW I have '09 RT loaner that's much less buzzy than the wethead, and the tranny is smoother, even after 52K+. Go figure.
    Damn, all this Euro talk, along with winter temps and snow, are making me jones for another Alps trip!

    I ride an F bike now, and same thing in the tight (fun) stuff, 2nd and 3rd and keep the motor singing.
    Cheer up, it's somewhere between -3 and +5C (mid-20's to 40-ish F) here, and the roads are damp enough (no sun, occasion drizzle) to make riding interesting. OTOH, I just drove on a road that's darn near heartbreaking to not be able to ride. (Google Café Platte Da Nunzio Bad Schwalbach (tonight ravioli filled with Gorgonzola and walnut bits was killer as was s-i-l's lasagna I finished off) - go to the map, and look for Reitallee or L3374 - or check out B54/275). I feel your pain. :)
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  8. #68
    Cowboyatheart
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post

    The following is currently on their web site under rentals in Munich:
    If that's not accurate, something's amiss here. Until I hear otherwise from BMCA, I can only assume rental is my responsibility.

    The down side is not knowing the "really good" routes, beyond what I can drag out of my GPS maps. And maybe getting lucky and finding someone who's fun to ride with.

    1. From the Beach FAQ page...

    What motorcycles are available?
    Motorcycles are provided and are included in the rider tour price. There is no mileage charge nor mileage limitation. You are free to use the motorcycle to your heart's (and bottom's) content!

    The motorcycle will be at the hotel at the beginning of the tour, and that is where it is taken at the end of the tour. You need not spend time transporting our motorcycles to a remote rental location. In addition, you deal only with the Beachs for all motorcycle arrangements. There is no need to sign secondary contracts with outside agents.

    In the Alps and in Italy we currently use the BMW F650GS, F800GS, F800R, R1200GS, and R1200R as our base motorcycles. All other BMW models, with the exception of the LT, are available at an additional charge. Other brands may be available on special request.

    The list of BMWs available on tour, complete with specifications, and some thoughts on choosing a bike for the tour, may be found on our BMW page.

    2. Rob has amazing routes mapped out, from the years of experience, for each day for you to choose from, OR you can create your own.

    3. Want to DIY then rent from somewhere, or ship over your own bike, wing it for routes, plan it ahead of time, and Sherpa your own gear and luggage, and find your own places to stay. All doable.

    Good luck.
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  9. #69
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    The question is which is the current situation - the FAQ or the quoted material.
    I've asked BMCA about this - no reply to date.

    The "local knowledge" routes are a very strong argument for BMCA.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  10. #70
    Cowboyatheart
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post
    The question is which is the current situation - the FAQ or the quoted material.
    I've asked BMCA about this - no reply to date.

    The "local knowledge" routes are a very strong argument for BMCA.
    Well I just signed up for my third tour and KNOW the bike is included in the cost of the tour.
    And Paul has told you, and PFFOG has told you. Not sure why you are "unsure"???

    Wait to hear from Rob if that is the only thing that will appease you. It's Christmas, he may be awhile getting back to you, they take time off too.
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  11. #71
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Since you just signed up and have the bike in the package, that's pretty strong argument.

    I think I've misread what BMCA's saying: "we no longer rent to people who just want to rent a bike; see Karl Maier instead." That would square the circle between what I quoted and what the FAQ says.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  12. #72
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Reading the FAQ, there's a $2500 deductible. Is there an add-on to bring the deductible down? Not a "must"; a "would be nice."
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  13. #73
    Cowboyatheart
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post
    Reading the FAQ, there's a $2500 deductible. Is there an add-on to bring the deductible down? Not a "must"; a "would be nice."
    That you will have to ask Rob. I just took the risk.
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  14. #74
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Insurance is always a gamble. Looking at the BMCA/Smugmug photo series, those accidents and road drop didn't come cheap. Ouch.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  15. #75
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    There is no conflict here. Beach does tours with bikes provided but no longer rents bikes for folks not taking a tour. They used to. They don't any more, but if you want to just rent a bike they can point you in the right direction.
    What Paul said, no longer brokering rentals for people not taking tours.
    2010 F800GS Full Ohlins package, '04 R1100S Replika
    '01 F650GS Wife's bike
    Maritime Alps and Vosges 2012
    Tuscany and Central Italy 2010

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