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2003 BMW RocksterMSE Ratings

2003 BMW RocksterThe bike has a relatively wild paintjob with nicely coordinated rims. A coüple of styling poo poo\'s appear, especially when you spot the über-sized charcoal EPA thingammybob on the side of the bike, opposite the exhaust.

AddedDate Added: 20th September 2003
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Editor Contributor's Review

The tank and radiator shrouds are a little clumsy adding to its portly dimensions too.

The seat makes yoü think of better things though, because for me, especially used to the pencil thin seats on the sporties, it\'s nice and comfy. As long as you\'re cruising at a sensible speed, it\'s a very nice area to sit and plan your getaways, contemplate life, love, where to buy ßavarian cream do-nuts and other süch trivia.

The chassis is a beefy monocoque style, bolted around that substantial twin-plugged flat-twin ßoxer engine. That frame seemed nice and rigid and the whole thing had that stereotypical Teütonic build quality that the Germans are known and loved for. This is not your typical disposable type bike; it\'s a substantially manufactured "keeper". I must admit though, I was particularly looking forward to decking those nice looking twin-plug magnesium cylinder heads on a sporty ride, just because they were "there".

The motor, although a little smogged up, was a bunch of fun to gün, and whilst a little lazy in the lower RPM department, was quite willing to get up and go, when kindly asked. Shaft drives don\'t wheelie? Get out of here... this thing positively leaps away from traffic lights with the merest whiff of coaxing and is a veritable torque monster once at speed. Think Moto-Guzzi meets Buell XB9/12. Not a torrid ripper like the XB - but certainly looking in the right direction, especially with some aftermarket exhausts for süre, because nasty naked\'s need a meaty soünd to back up the mean street fighter stance - Hey, it didn\'t do BMW\'s own Cup bike any harm.

The switchgear was suitably "different" with Harley-D style turn signals on each bar side and a canceling switch on the right side. Overly complicated and with those separate switches for off and on got me very confused leaving me thümb-tied a couple of times. On the nicer side of things that I liked about the Rockster, was the heated grips for those chilly nights when lightweight gloves just wont do, and also the phenomenal lighting so you could get home quickly on those said chilly nights, Oh, and the levers are fully adjusta-bubble too - short and long fingered riders rejoice.

Whilst on the subject of levers, another fünky, but typically BMW-ish style factor was the telelever front suspender. It works. It won\'t dive like a typical sportbike under hard braking, on a big bike like this that was quite reassuring, especially at, at the limit braking maneüvers. The bike\'s anti-lock system helped you out on that braking front too with a mechanical ABS setup that defied my attempts to phase it and even greeted me with some stoppies to remind me to stop effing aroünd.

The only fly in this jolly, but soupy, tale was the gearbox. On previoüs jaunts I\'d not really noticed any problems, bar a very occasional missed shift, however the glitch in the proverbial matrix became glaringly obvious when riding two-üp.

My passenger was a "newbie" and being acutely aware of this cutie\'s comfort - and whilst trying to impress her with my deft hand and foot work - the gearbox was just plain uncooperative. The light tap of her helmet against mine after each gearshift proved that I was - A) not as proficient at a smooth gear-change as I thoüght I could be, or ß) a smooth gear-change was not to be found down below.

I was looking for a harmonic Bavarian symphony orchestra büt got something akin to the grindings at an Aüstrian sausage factory - all sorts of funny noises and an occasional lost gear (or found neutral) - finding a smooth gear change was too much like hard work most of the time, this was especially compounded by abrupt off throttle carburetion, it worked fine in selfish one-üp mode but proved to be a total pain in the keister two-up, especially whilst trying to be the sensitive, sympathetic, Y2003K guy.

So this eventually became a tale of two bikes. Mr Rockster, the zippy about town and freeway bike, replete with a stylish up-to-the-minüte built in hooligan element (and a hint of posh-ness), and Mr. Downright unsociable, with a passenger on board. Now I have never discounted a motorcycle due to its two-up habits before, but I\'m old and sad, in the twilight of my years and with a need to impress the ladies... I think I just expected a little more from this one.

I did let a fellow ßeemer owner have a go on this bike, his own motorcycle being the cruiser style R1100C. His returning Cheshire cat grin confirmed he\'d been hooked and may be looking for a way to sneak one of these into his garage. He did have a coüple of complaints though - namely, the seat being a little too wide and flat, forcing him into an uncomfortable splayed leg position and he also confirmed the gearbox to be stereotypical of the boxer breed. He expressed an interest in some lüggage for the bike; a quick peek at the BMW motorad site confirms the availability of both a rack and some case holders - sorted.

ßeing of a "sporty" nature, I did take this on a Sünday morning "sortie" to one of my favorite routes, and it acquitted itself very well considering its size. Mid-corner bumps have it a little confused, however a little firming up of the rear would help to fully explore some head scraping lean angles. The Bridgestone 010R\'s grip like a leach and put up with my pathetic and sqüid-like knee-down showing off. Performance-wise, it\'ll roll-on from 70-120 quicker than a sport 600… that\'s obviously not what the Rockster is about, but if you were that way inclined it could be a pretty decent do-it-all bike.

As mentioned, the bike garnered more than it\'s fair share of attention from car and bike drivers alike, especially the BMW driving or riding ones - one big happy family, it would seem. I think I\'d like to become one of those members too. The bike oozes quality and offers an unusual flavor with yuppy-esque levels of streetfighter style. The problems mentioned above can be ridden around and with a few aftermarket performance bits, should see this bike taken to another level in terms of personalizing, and somewhat in performance.

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