On November 4, 2023, a new chapter was opened in the history of what is probably the most successful motorcycle in the Western hemisphere. The new BMW R1300GS was officially presented to the world. And it breaks with many traditions, some of them decades old. It feels like the scene is talking about nothing else. But better than talking about the bike is definitely riding it.
And while winter is setting in in large parts of the northern hemisphere, we are retreating to the sun-drenched south of Spain. To Andalusia to be precise.
On this exclusive tour, the men and women of "Motos America" and "RawHyde" explore one of the most interesting motorcycle regions in Europe. And probably the hottest new motorcycle release of 2023.
Arno, Noel and Thomas
Today is officially the first day of our tour. There really isn't much to report yet.
Curious, we sneaked around the brand new 1300GS in the parking lot. And of course, a bit of theory and shop talk is a must. It's finally time to ride the thing.
In the afternoon we meet our guides and get all the details about the upcoming tour in a briefing. And finally our keys.... It's time to press some buttons!
The time has finally come. The first riding day of the tour and of course the first time we can put the new GS through its paces. At this point, we have no idea how intensive this test will be. Malaga greets us with a beautiful sunrise, but unfortunately also with a little drizzle. But hey... we're not made of sugar. After the morning briefing, we set off straight away. We fight our way through Malaga's rush-hour traffic until we finally reach the mountains. There's nothing going on up here and we have the road almost to ourselves. Unfortunately, the roads are a bit damp and slippery, so we have to be careful. The bike cuts a pretty good figure in these conditions. And the riders too, of course.
We enjoy one last view over Malaga before we finally plunge into the cornering paradise. Unfortunately, the weather doesn't really mean well with us and the rain picks up even more after the coffee break. Nevertheless, the varied landscape of Andalusia is a delight... and hey, anyone can enjoy the sun.
Countless damp bends later, we reach our lunch stop where we enjoy typical Spanish specialties and recharge our batteries.
Freshly fortified, we continue through seemingly endless olive groves towards our destination. We take a little shortcut so as not to be too late at the hotel. Because this place is something very special.
Riding day number 2 begins and today the weather seems to be in our favor. Not a bad time as we have some very interesting kilometers ahead of us today. So we take a last look back at our monastery and saddle the horses.
Our first stop takes us up to a viewpoint. The area is called "El Torcal" and was once the bottom of an ancient ocean. There are bizarre rock formations to marvel at to the left and right of the road. Not to mention the view.
We continue along almost empty roads through hundreds of bends, up and down, to a reservoir, the "Embalse del Guadalhorce", where we first have a leisurely coffee and enjoy the view.
From now on, one highlight follows the next. We climb the "Tajo Encatanda" viewpoint and the road gives us the opportunity to test the performance qualities of our BMW. Back in the valley, "Garganta el Chorro" is waiting for us. A deep and remarkably narrow gorge. And one of the must-see places in Andalusia.
We continue to Setenil, a small village famous for its houses built into the rocks. We take a stroll through the town and enjoy another typical spanish lunch in an unforgettable atmosphere.
After a short stop in Zahara, perhaps the second most beautiful "pueblo blanco" in Andalusia. We immerse ourselves once again in the mountain world. The road up to the "Puerto de las Palomas" is a dream. Countless bends later we finally reach the officially most beautiful "pueblo Blanco" .... Arcos de la Frontera
As the sun rises over Arcos, we are already on our feet as day number 4 of our adventure begins. After breakfast, we all meet on the hotel terrace and discuss the day. One last look down into the valley and then we're off.
Our highlight today will be Gibraltar... a place that everyone knows. And I'm sure everyone has an idea of what it's like there. So we set off to turn our imagination into a memory.
We first head south on winding side roads. But before we hit the highway, we have our obligatory morning coffee in a small town called Jamon.
Once we arrive in Gibraltar, we first have to find a way to avoid the traffic jam at the border. Which we actually manage to do very elegantly
Unfortunately, the weather is not so great. But the lunch makes up for the effort.
Afterwards we board some vans which take us up to the famous rock. Our drivers entertain us with cool stories during the ride.
Despite the fog, there is plenty to see up here. On the one hand, there are the famous and incredibly trusting monkeys and on the other, highlights such as the light show in the stalactite cave "St. Michaels Cave". We realize that this place is worth a visit in any weather.
Back at sea level, we make our way along the coast of Gibraltar towards Ronda. Crossing the border back into Spain is a little difficult, so we have to make some changes to our plans. A good opportunity to test the headlights of the new GS
When we arrive in Ronda, the streets are full of people and there is a hint of Christmas spirit in the palm-lined streets.
Ronda is still completely shrouded in fog when we look out of the window this morning. Today is a rest day, but of course that doesn't mean we have to lie in bed all day. A colorful bouquet of activities awaits us.
In the morning, two groups set off on two different tours. One shorter and one longer. Just as we leave the garage, the sun has already broken through the fog. That's a good start. Both tours take us on wonderfully winding roads through the beautiful mountains around Ronda. Of course, one or two stops in a "pueblo bianco" are a must.
Both groups are back in time to explore the city extensively. After a guided tour of the famous bullring, Noel has a tour of the city in store for us. And all this in glorious weather.
We round off the evening with a few tapas and a great dinner. What a day.
So here it is, our last day of riding. And when we take a look out of the window in the morning, we still have no idea how great it will be.
Just in time for the end of our last morning briefing, it stops raining. And the first rays of sunshine make their way through the clouds. That looks pretty good, we think to ourselves. We head south, our first destination is the coast... but not to stay there, but to get a running start. Our route takes us along mostly empty and breathtakingly winding mountain roads. We take a short break in a small mountain village called Jubrique. Not least to give the sun time to dry the roads. And it works, with every kilometer and every hour that passes, the roads become drier and the lean angles of our GS increase.
Once we reach the coast, we take the highway for a few kilometers before starting the ascent to Ronda again a little later. This time in sunshine and without rain or fog. What a ride.
Back in Ronda, we have lunch and finally set off in the direction of our actual destination. We turn off in the direction of "Puerto del Viento" The landscape is barren but still spectacularly beautiful. And the road?.... OMG... A paradise for motorcyclists.
Countless, sometimes spectacular, combinations of bends later we reach Mijas. A small town nestled against the cliffs northwest of Malaga. Some of us are looking for the atmosphere while driving through the narrow streets. Others stay a little longer and enjoy the Christmas market in a Mediterranean atmosphere.
Our destination today is Malaga. The place where our adventure began 6 days ago. Unbelievable that this trip is already coming to an end. We could go on like this for a long time.
Behind us lies a journey full of memories and impressions. And we were able to put the new GS through its paces.
The bike is great, as you would expect....but even more important than that is the fact that we are all richer for the memory of an adventure.