Day 44 – More from the rally in Hamburg

Day 44 – BMW Rally

Date: 07/15/2016 Friday
Starting Location: Depew, NY
Intermediate Location: Hamburg, NY
Ending Location: Depew, NY
Starting Odometer: 14,216
Ending Odometer:
Mileage Driven (days):  30 Miles
Mileage Total:  7380 miles
Today’s MPG:  40 mpg
Total Average MPG:  41 mpg
States Visited: CA, NV, AZ, UT, NM, CO, UT, WY, ID, WY, MT, WY, SD, MN, WI, MI, WI, IL, IN, OH, PA, NY, CT, MA, VT, NH, MA, CT, NY (22 States so far)

Working with the Vendors

After laying the groundwork the day before, today was the day that I would talk to the vendors, and try to resolve the problems.  I started with Touratech, and moved on from there

Touratech Helmet Issues

My Touratech helmet was one of the first helmets delivered in the US.  I purchased it while in Seattle on a business trip about 14 months ago.  Immediately after purchasing the helmet, I started having problems with the cheek pads.  The cheek pads are supposed to be removable for cleaning, and also for life-saving situations.  If a rider is injured, you’ll be able to remove their helmet without causing harm to their spinal cord.

In theory, a very good idea indeed.  In practice, it seems to be quite a trick to make the pads stay in place, while still allowing them to be quickly removed in an emergency.  In my case, the pad had fallen out hundreds of times, and while it looked to be in good shape, somethings were most definitely wrong with the helmet.

After talking to the Marketing Manager for about 30 minutes, and looking at a number of options, they decided to replace the helmet for me at no charge, under warranty.  This helmet is about $700, and so it was certainly taking the high road, and doing the right thing for a customer..

Over the past 3 years, I think I’ve spent about $3000 with Touratech, perhaps more.  So, I’m a loyal customer, and they did the right thing for me.

Sargent Seats

For the second day in a row, I spoke to the folks at Sargent Seats.  This time, I brought my seat with me to show them the problem.  They looked at the seat and quickly agreed that something is wrong with the material, and they would fix the seat, under warranty.

They provided me with instructions for how to send it back to them, and I left the second vendor, with a big smile on my face.

GS Giants

The GS Giants is an organization that is for people that like to ride off-road, on large bikes, and enjoy a good spirited competition.  At each of the MOA Rallys, the Giants team builds a course for the competition, and they allow any and all to compete.

I’ve taken the Advanced Rawhyde training class, attending the class last September.  I feel pretty confident with this type of obstacle, but decided not to compete.  To be honest, I’m kicking myself for not competing, as it looks like a whole lot of fun, and I’ll be sure to compete next time.

The competition is setup on the course, and then there are two lines designated on the course using Blue and Red chalk.  The two chalk lines denote the two skill levels that are competing.  You can either compete as a Bad Ass, or an Extreme Bad Ass.  Bad Ass competitors have a slightly easier set of obstacles than the extreme folks.

Both men and women compete in the event, and most of the competitors are riding bikes just about identical to mine.  The competition can be done on a 650 cc bike, or even an 800 cc bike, but as the name implies, these folks are Giants and most of them are competing on 1200 cc GS or GS Adventure bikes.

These courses are pretty difficult, and it’s pretty common to drop your bike at least once.  With my long legs, I’m often able to keep from dropping the bike, but if I competed, i would have needed to take some precautions.  These precautions would have meant removing the panniers (luggage boxes), changing the windscreen to a small windscreen, and making a few other small changes.

I did not bring my spare windscreen, which is designed for this type of event, so I did not want to risk dropping the bike, and cracking the windshield, so I deferred to better judgement, and decided not to compete.  But next time, for sure it will be my turn.

Below are some pictures of the course, which show some of the obstacles.

This first video shows what it’s like at the start, going through the deep sand.  If you’re an Extreme Bad Ass, you’re supposed to go through the sand, slaloming between the cones.


This video shows what it’s like to run the entire course.


The video below shows the view from the very top of the course.   Notice that you can see the bikes leaving the starting point, traveling through the sand, and eventually making it to the top, after going over the woopty doos.


This last video shows the most difficult portion of the course.  Notice that this rider is going to execute a trials stop on the hill.  A Trials stop is where you stop the bike completely, remaining balanced on it, and then release the brake, and continue.  This rider executes it on the downhill itself, a very difficult maneuver.


Back to the hotel

Friday night I stayed around to listen to the band for about an hour, and then headed back to the hotel for the evening.  As I was walking out, I noticed another MOA phenomena, the Bike Wash, and couldn’t resist taking a picture.


What will tomorrow bring?

Tomorrow will likely bring more of the same.

About the Author

Cliff Musante

Cliff Musante is a technologist, business leader, motorcycle enthusiast, father, grandfather, and more. In June, 2013 his passion for motorcycles was revitalized, and he set out to ride across Patagonia. Since then, he's logged thousands of miles, ridden across the US, and on July 10, 2019, he began a 120 day trip through Europe, and then on to Russia, China, and parts East. This 'Blog is the story of all of his adventures.