But that is enough pontificating for now... here is my summary of the good and bad points, updated from my initial appraisal once I reached California the first time, way back in May.
Things I liked, and still like (and don't like, or have even grown to hate!)
Generally speaking, all you need to strip the bike [bodywork] down is a 5mm allen key, which is great. However, the design of the bodywork [the way it all interlocks with a bazzilion screws) is tedious. It ought to be much easier to get to the air-filter (if only to check it) on a bike designed to be used in the dirt - and similarly, it would be nice to have had easier access to 12v auxiliary power tails, without having to remove the whole front end just to get behind the headlight mask. As I mentioned previously, I also take issue with BMW using spring clip style riv-nuts on plastic tabs, rather than proper welded captive nuts on the frame itself.
Despite smacking the crap out of it in Moab, Colorado and during a good number of other occasions throughout the summer, it would appear that my side stand is particularly resilient to damage. Yes the design itself is poor, hanging down the way it does directly under the left-hand foot-peg, and well below the otherwise high and smooth engine guard - but I've been able to lift the bike using just the side-stand and a prop on the far side - and even strike a silly pose standing on the seat (see Horizons Unlimited in Nakusp recently ;o) That said, the stand leg itself has started to wobble a bit on it's mount now (although the mounting plate itself seems fine), so I wonder whether BMW will consider it a potential failure point, or just fair wear and tear now. I'll let you know after it's been in for the headlight wiring and yet another set of cush-rubbers under warranty...
photo. Side-stand has had a hammering, but seems to have stood up well after all. note. I removed the cut-out switch as a precaution, once I got back to CA initially.
The fuel economy is good. Originally I was going by what the dash/range read-out was saying - and dismayed that I was getting as low as 40mpg in some circumstances. Now it may just be that I'm riding a little slower - both due to lowering the gearing, plus taking more backroads and unpaved routes during the second part of my trip - but the mpg seems to have improved as the miles have piled on. I regularly see a potential range of 200 miles or more when I fill up - although I still tend to fill up between 150-175 miles (as soon as possible after the light comes on), when I get around 2.5 US gallons in the tank - so that's typically anywhere between 60-70mpg US, on TKC80s, with around 30lbs of luggage onboard.
The headlight low beam I thought was very good - and it turns out (after a couple of suggestions on this thread) that the High-beam is much better once the headlight is adjusted down slightly. Overall I'd say it's perfectly adequate for the kind of riding/speeds this bike was designed to do - and appreciably better than my Honda CB500X headlight is as stock. However, the headlight bouncing is still irritating (although not particularly to oncoming traffic it would seem), and may well have influenced the faulty bulb connector/melt-down.
I do like the comprehensive dash display - even though the screen layout is a little fussy, and indeed it felt odd riding my CB500X recently without a gear indicator, which I now take for granted... Turns out the single button [to both step through displays and program] is fine in practice. The only thing I've found is it's hard to see the green turn-signal warning light in daylight - well, that is my excuse for often leaving my indicator on anyway ;o)
Access to the battery and fuses is straightforward, and under-seat storage is small, but useful. The side cheek panels under the edge of the seat are great for stowing extra tools and spares in, but they do look a bit tatty now my Coyote has rubbed them for so many thousands of miles. Some call it patina of course.
As I've mentioned previously, there are some nice 'off-road' details, such as the frame protectors for your boots, the fact the low front fender comes off quickly with the minimum of tools if required (while the brake hose and ABS sensor wire remain in place), and similarly the chain-guard and shock protector and other matt plastics all seem to be well thought out.
photo. this was odd though - at some point it appears the heel guard loop for the left hand passenger peg snapped off somewhere?!
The stock footpegs. They are still not great, but I've got used to them - particularly once I got some new boots with much more rigid soles. They would still be much better if they were both wider and longer though.
I've bent (and bent back) the rear brake pedal so many times now, that actually the tip is pretty much where I'd want it to be:
However, as with the side-stand, it still hangs way too low and reduces the otherwise excellent ground-clearance (around 10") under the RR engine guard. As with the gear shifter, being made of mild steel has proved beneficial, in that I've been able to bend them straight again using a tyre-iron at the side of the trail. Worth noting is that the potentially vulnerable 'feather' brake light switch seems to be much more resilient than John imagined - although I've not been riding in really filthy muddy conditions like you often get in the UK of course.
Rally-Raid engine guard. What can I say, it's proved it's worth time and again this trip - with only the odd scar. I honestly don't thing you need any other protection on this bike, other than some decent [aluminium backbone style] hand-guards.
Tank covers/side panels. As with the skinny foot-pegs, I've kind of got used to them now... and I don't tend to ride standing up all that often (in trail/travel mode) anyway. I would still prefer the plastic panels to be either more narrow between the knees, or at least have the space filled with an actual fuel tank. Where are you Safari or IMS?
The seat (OEM standard hight on my bike). I've found it comfortable enough [often for many hundreds of miles at a time], but increasingly I am aware of the step in it, and how you are essentially held in one position. If you have the inseam for it, I would certainly suggest you consider a taller or re-shaped seat foam for improved all-day comfort.
So there you have it... a quick wash, and I feel it's stood up to an intense summer of all-terrain adventure riding pretty well don't you think?
photo. One careful lady owner etc. - never raced or rallied... yet ;o)
Do feel free to ask any specific questions I may have missed, or elaborate on any element above...
Toot toot for now!