BMW S 100 RR Planet Power!

December 12, 2011

The only thing keeping your blood cool is the wind rush!  

This is BMW’S sale slogan for that bike – and whoever came up with this- brought it right to the point!!!

It was another dry, beautiful and warm December day here in the Bay Area when I arrived with my scrubby looking CBR 600 at the BMW dealership to test that mean and extremely lean BMW Superbike. What was awaiting me was superb engineering, compact 193 horsepower wrapped into precious low weight metals and shaped into a definite eye candy of a light-weight superbike with a total weight of only 450 lbs (204 KG).  Titanium valves and rocker arms help lowering the total engine weight to a measly 59 KG (132 lbs).  This bike is practically screaming for a race track. It is a beast!

Here it is. Still in the showroom.

I cannot even mention all the technical gimmicks I was just about to experience but one detail is so mind-boggling that it was like sitting in a space ship. I am talking about the Race ABS – “the” device to play around between Rain, Sport and Race mode.  What does that mean??? Well- in laymen terms- it plays with throttle response and power control. Let me be the judge of that one (Yikes).

Here are some of the basics- four cylinders, inline engine, bore and stroke 80 mm x 49.7 mm , 999 cc, maximum output 193 horsepower at 13000 RPM, 6 gear HP gearshift assist  – means up shifting without interrupting the shift flow with a bothersome clutch process. All of these details remind me to well that this is a pure bred race bike rather than a street bike. The last thing really fascinating me is the integrated lap time tracker. LAP TIME TRACKER???

I sat on it. It is a low bike. I am only 5’9 inches (175 cm) and to me the bike seemed very low. This was a clear indicator that we are not talking about a cruiser. Organizing myself into riding position I already felt the pressure of my own body weight (6 lbs(3 KG) heavier than the engine weight of this bike)   on my wrists, shoulders, neck and lower back. I didn’t expect anything else. It was almost like sitting on a full blown GP bike. Small, compact and precise!  I lifted the bike off the side stand with the movement of one finger. The bike fell into position like a fluffy feather tumbling in the air. The overall engineering, geometrics and ergonomics of that bike make every rider feel like it was custom tailored to the individual rider’s height, weight and seating position. It was like this bike was made for me. Period. I sat on it and I felt like home.

The engine roared. The dashboard lid up like a Christmas tree with all kinds of little numbers, letters and flashlights but then stayed set with a digital number board. God forbid the electronics fail…..

I started with the DTS (Dynamic Traction Control) in Rain mode. The smoothest of the settings of the DTS and ABS. The seating position is race like, low, like a tiger on the prowl in the jungle. Smooth, quiet, powerful and I would like to say safe.

The freeway was my first acceleration point. Wow— I hardly touched the shift lever and I was already in sixth gear at 4000 rpm and still had a power band-with like in second gear @6000 rpm on my Honda (????) how did I get so quick into 6th gear??  The whole bike is dancing underneath me with ease and grace. The bike is like an obedient dog. It doesn’t do anything what you don’t want it to do. The control is with the rider. I played around with the shifting. I couldn’t even rev it up higher than 5000 rpm on this short stretch of Freeway but had constant power flow and speed. No unnecessary downshifting and playing around with the throttle…. It was just hovering along like a purring cat totally content and in its element.

Exit to some of the back roads. Ok- I switched the electronics from Rain to Sport. An instant change was noticeable in traction, power control, and throttle response. Wow – who came up with a concept like this?  I paid better attention to my shifting and the rpm’s. The engine is smooth, the power is balanced, and the sound is subtle. Some little turns. The bike is low; I shift my body weight and the bike falls into that left turn effortlessly and stuck to the road like a butter knife cutting through soft margarine. The low rpm pull the bike through the turn like on tracks and the feeling was rather as it was pulled by 193 horses instead of propelled by them. There is no doubt in the geometry of the frame, swing arm, suspension system, front fork. Everything plays in perfect harmony like the precise game of the almighty universe.

Once I had some open road in front of me I accelerated a bit harder and the only thing cooling my blood was the wind rush!

On my way home I switched to race mode. Hellloooo—I am a race chick and cannot go slow. This bike practically seduces me to do the inevitable. RACE MODE.  Wham- these Germans mean it when talking about RACE MODE. The traction immediately switched to the nature of a beast. The rear wheel wanted to break out, the throttle response was aggressive and lurking for any predators.

The interplay of perfect geometry and power development makes the bike practically fall into the turns by itself and I had to make sure that the 190/55 tire ( 6.00 x 17 inch rim)   made the best out of the pavement. I only can imagine how this would play out on the track. Dream on.

Back at the dealership I felt my body screaming as loud as the engine for freedom and wide open race tracks. My wrists were sore and my neck was stiff. The seating position is tough, the suspension is stiff, the aerodynamics are perfect and beautiful but whoever is riding this bike should be in physical shape.

My conclusion of the trip to the “planet of unleashed power” is that this bike is as tame as a pussy cat and as wild as a beast in one package. It is highly intelligent and offers several options in how it can be handled by the rider. It is extremely user friendly for anyone who just wants to enjoy a tame beast on a Sunday afternoon, yet a challenge for every racer chasing a world champion title in the World Superbike Championship.

The German motorcycle magazines are talking about the Japanese bike crisis and with BMW setting the bar for excellence extremely high with this bike I can see the argument. This bike is so full of itself, yet humble, that its performance cannot be challenged so easily.

What a piece of machinery!   Triple thumbs up!

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Test riding a BMW S 1000 RR

December 2, 2011

Christmas in the city of San Francisco. The  Civic Center in festive look at night. Christmas is around the corner.

Only two questions here:

What is it and who wants to give this to me????

The dream factory played havoc with my mind. Test ride scheduled with this one!  Stay tuned for the detailed report.


New You Tube book trailer

November 2, 2011

Here I am again.    As I said – sometimes there is too much stuff and not enough time. Happens to me lately more than I am willing to admit.

But anyway – as I had posted earlier, on November 4  the book “To Drink the Wild Air” will be introduced by the Lit Chick Show hosted by Sylvia Massara. Here is the link:

  Lit Chick Show

The intros newest components is a new video book trailer, public in You Tube as of today, called

To Drink The Wild Air Part II

The clip incorporates the feeling and the motion of my current mindset and determination to change my life around to something I can enjoy for the next 20 years or so.  I had a pretty good run so far but now breaking into my second half of life a lot of things are changing. Physically, spiritually and mentally. All three combined have incredible power to throw these unexpected curveballs because body mind and soul are just not familiar with the challenges and have to adapt and re-learn. It’s just like when we grow up. Life always presents changes and transitions but in some parts in the course of a lifetime they are more defined and difficult and it can be that one’s whole life philosophy has to change and adapt simultaneously. All these changes need an open mind and even more courage than in the earlier years because time has turned into a fierce competitor and our physical body also rebels with some of the activities I have considered as normal for many years. Every day is a new challenge but is also exciting when keeping the final goal in mind.

Long live life and what we make out of it!


Trillium Motorcycle Tours and Events

October 24, 2011

I am well aware of the fact that I am currently not able to keep my weekly schedule with the blog and I also admit that I am DROWNING – in work!   One person is only able to do so and so much and finally something has to give.

My own little business is picking up because we are looking into the holiday season and this is the first time I’m having to contemplate in how to move forward. It is getting too big for one person to handle. This new situation clearly  presents another roadblock and new challenges for me but hey I already made it that far and things will work out. Nevertheless I am happy and I am still trying to accommodate all my other responsibilities like for example keeping everyone up to date with the progress of the  To Drink the Wild Air project.  I am drinking the Wild Air on a daily basis all right and as unbelievable as it sounds I still was able to contribute with a little Interview to a very special blog.

You can find my short contribution in the Blog tab at Trillium Motorcycle Tours and Events  which contains the Women Rider’s Speak series.

Women Riders Speak is an interview series with female motorcyclists which appears every Monday. Through their stories, they illustrate the trans formative role motorcycling has played in their life. In this interview, Birgit Soyka of San Francisco, CA reflects on how at 51, after a riding gap of sixteen years, she reconnected with her youthful spirit.

When I read the mission statement of this blog it spoke to me immediately. I never looked at it that way because I always felt this oneness with the bikes and it took effort on my part to quit at one point in my life. However, the final statement in the About us tab in the Trillium blog is reflecting my personal journey in precise words and I am hoping that I can share my personal transition and mental transformation with others on this platform. Every transition has its own story, and there is any which way possible to change things in life when there is the willingness to do so. Read on, Trillium’s blog is full with stories well worth to be read.

Since it’s creation in 2003, Trillium’s purpose has been to create an environment which facilitates personal and professional growth through motorcycling. Hundreds of clients have enjoyed fantastic motorcycle experiences throughout the best part of Ontario, made wonderful friends and visited new places – geographically and metaphorically.

While continuing to fulfill its purpose, Trillium’s focus has changed to reflect this perspective-discovering the road to personal and professional leadership and transformation- while still retaining adventure and networking opportunities.


Transition meets the flow of time ( and You Tube)

September 26, 2011

To initiate a transition in midlife is not easy though drastic changes in live are sometimes inevitable. Sometimes changes are involuntarily and sometimes more than voluntary. In my case it was both. If my brain wouldn’t have been burnt out so radically in 2007 maybe I still could have found a tad bit of fun in what I was doing and the willingness and strength to pull myself together to hang in there for another 20 years. Many people never get to this point and therefore there is no need to think about current set ups in life especially when life is more than comfortable.

In my case it was the most drastic development I ever could have imagined and of course it opened the door for me to see myself again the way I always was and the realization that this person somehow got lost. I had to make the decision, no matter how hard or how difficult this transition will be, I had no  choice in the matter, I had to go forward to look for alternatives. I started my journey first in 2007 and then once again for good in 2009. And now ( 2011) I can feel the same awareness of life again I had when I was racing motorcycles, riding along the highways in many travels and perceived the world as a beautiful playground. Now I feel this strong sense of inner peace and happiness.

All of this does not come without a price. I went back to the basics, back to the bare minimum in many things. I fell into a business I love and I spend a lot of time with. I bought an additional business and try to make that work as well. Time is of the essence – but then time never has an end. There is a continuous and endless flow of time. We only feel time in the aging of our physical bodies. Time is also changing our perception of the world or of the people around us and how we fit into the world.

There is one thing which is beautiful on the road of transition. I have met so many new people. I connected with many people I have lost touch with or didn’t remember anymore (but they remembered me), I encountered many helping hands and unconditional support for all my endeavors and I have to say – I could not do all this without you. THANK YOU!

I truly appreciate your compassion.  And so I would like to share a slide show a friend put together just for fun. I really like it and this little song (unfortunately in German) is more than appropriate for the situation. Someday I will translate the lyrics someday. Honestly, I will.

This slide show is the teaser flick to the new To Drink the Wild Air book trailer clip which will air soon. More about that in the next couple of weeks! Just enjoy this little clip in this very moment.

Birgit on Locations 

                                                                   


The Wild Air of the Bay Area

September 19, 2011

The road of transition can be exhausting especially when survival knocks on the door ever day. Courage opens the door and looks into the eyes of survival and pokes on survival’s shoulder with perseverance and hope. This week I catered to survival most of the time but on Sunday I took a day off and  spent the afternoon on a sail boat. It was a beautiful day and even the sun joined us.  Here are some pictures of the Bay with some beautiful views.

Alcatraz, dolphins, playful seals and a  floating purse was on the agenda. The purse was rescued.It is never a good feeling when you see your whole life floating away in the Bay towards the Golden Gate Bridge sucked in by the open ocean….. it was not my purse – don’t carry one these days , have exchanged the purse for a backpack and nail polish and flip flops for boots.  That’s the price of motorcycling , and it is well worth it.


Book Review from myshelf.com

September 3, 2011

Shortly after my speedy trip to Sacramento for my quick guest appearance in the morning show Sacramento & Company I have received via Google alerts a book review I have not even anticipated.

Here is the link          http://www.myshelf.com/reviews.htm

“To Drink the Wild Air” was reviewed and featured in the Adult Non Fiction section right beneath Christopher Hitchens’ “Hitch22″and Stacy Schiff’s “Cleopatra”.

I take it as an honor to receive a book review from an established book review site like myshelf.com.

Here it is:

Another Review at MyShelf.Com


To Drink the Wild Air 

One Women’s Quest to Touch the Horizon
Birgit Soyka

Parendum Books
November 2010/ ISBN 978-0-9830398-0-8
Non-Fiction / Sports / Bio
Amazon 

Reviewed by Justin Feller

This inspirational memoir forced many personal questions I didn’t necessarily know that I had about how I’m choosing to live this life. Reading any book that causes as much self-reflection as this book does cannot be described as anything except excellent. Trying to be the first serious female competitor in a completely male dominated Californian motorcycle scene would be a lofty goal in itself, but over coming everything from career burnout, serious injury, isolation and even deportation makes this achievement completely inspirational. As you follow Birgit Soyka on her life journey you will without a doubt find yourself developing a closeness with this brutally honest, charismatic and often comical author that is rarely found in many books today. If you have recently been pondering that age old question, “Is this all there is to life?” then you will find this book nearly impossible to put down.

  

Reviewed 2011
© 2011 MyShelf.com