Guess who went out to play today on the GS from BMW Brizzelz. Now I am not a dyed in the wool Beemer fan and am giving a honest appraisal of a 2 hour test ride alone. Those who know me know I like a classic Honda of a certain age however I have owned a 1150GS and an original R80GS in my time. I found the 1150 a good road bike but didn,t really gel and when another low mileage tidy AT surfaced in Wantage it was gone with no regrets! The R80GS was good fun. Stripped to the bone with no toys I think it was a better bike for it. Enjoyed storming around Bath and Bristol on it but a niggling electrical fault (loom wear under the headstock) kept it cutting out. And after spending £500 notes on a supposed specialist to sort it which did sweet FA, I sold it cheap to a man who replaced the loom about 6 months later and was then a happy bunny! Onto the GS. I was interested in the base model (no ESA) but the man had the TS model with all the toys ready and said noone wanted the base model! So now sitting astride 14.5Ks worth instead of the £12k one I set off with friend Alan on a F700GS for company and headed for Usk in the sunshine. Crunch into first reminded me of the shaft drive but the very light clutch and throttle made a change from bikes of old. The bike felt light and agile for a big bike and the all important fuelling (for me) started promisingly. Lots of poke (120hpzish) had me smiling early on. Handling on Anakees felt very good and stable and tootling through Pilning at 30-40 felt good with no surges on shutting the throttle. I had a play with the buttons. Lots of modes to play with and the screen had a manual adjuster which was easy to alter on the move. I found it worked best on its lowest setting (I,m 6,3 with the seat on its high setting). I could feel the difference on changing engine modes. Normal and dynamic (sport) felt good but rain felt a bit woolly as you would expect perhaps? I was warned off the enduro setting and taking it down a green lane! The suspension did feel very good on normal setting and hard and soft seemed to work. It would be nice to try the none ESA model to compare. All the modes can be changed on the move which is handy. It felt a quality product (sorry but I always felt the 800 models look a bit cheaply made!) and crossing the old Severn bridge had me cruising at around 70!.....very very easy. It is a licence loser if your not careful. Onto the Usk road bends and a chance to have a proper play and it was great fun. Poky and great handling meant 4th for some bend swinging with great gobs of power on the straights. Being torquey meant not having to change gear too often in the all important 30-70ish performance. Heading back across the bridge was that a slight hunt in the fuelling? I'll blame myself as it only happened once. The speedo was a bit small to read but I was struggling to find too much to moan about. Luckily I slowed and waited for Al to catch up when a copper appeared round a bend and started to follow me. So best behaviour back to the shop. If and its a big if for an old luddite like me you can ignore the high pricetag and need only one bike this could be one. I would fear dropping it on the mud way more than my AT. I don't do too much dirt stuff on the biguns but I do enjoy it in the dry. I was very impressed over my preconceptions. Would I buy one. Yes if I was very keen and had the dough ready to go...however a couple things occurred after the ride. A lovely looking Ducati Multistrada in the BM bikepark just looked so cool and I would have to have a go (no dirty stuff on that) if I was going to spend big along with a Caponord and the favourite in my head...the KTM Adventure. As I have not ridden any of these yet I can't compare so I better go and try the KTM soon! The other thing was getting back on the Africa warhorse on its shagged knobblies after getting back from the Alps last week felt.....bit slow?..bit heavy?...Nah! Felt great.