After a few weeks of riding across some of Indonesia’s most spectacular islands and hiking up many of the volcanos I came across I was more than happy to spend a few days relaxing in the beach side town of Senggigi on the island of Lombok. It wasn’t long before I started getting itchy feet though and after a few days out of the saddle I jumped on the bike to explore the temples, waterfalls and forests throughout the island. I noticed a strange noise on the bike as I returned to the hotel and after a quick inspection noticed that the rear brake pads had almost completely worn. I must admit I was more than a little stressed, up until this point I hadn’t seen one mechanic in Indonesia that looked like they could work on a BMW or even know where to begin ordering parts for that matter. I had heard there was a new BMW dealership in Bali, I had no idea what to expect but I found their website, sent them an email and was pleasantly surprised to get a reply within minutes saying they had the correct brake pads in stock.
The R1200 GS has a semi integrated front and rear brake and I didn’t want to risk any damage to the brake disc so I decided to remove the caliper completely and cable tie it to the rear foot peg, not the safest solution but it got me to the ferry terminal, across to Bali and to the BMW dealership. Upon arrival, any concern that I had about the dealership quickly disappeared, it was one of the nicest I had seen, the only thing more impressive than the selection of bikes in the showroom was the huge array of brand new GS’s in the workshop. After a quick chat to the guys in the parts department I was introduced to the mechanics, who to my amazement set time aside to fix the bike straight away along with showing me a few maintenance tips. I was completely won over by these guys, this was the best service I had received from a bike shop but it was about to get even better. Duncan the shop owner had heard that I was travelling through and took the time to swing past to say hi, after a long chat he organised a tour guide and mechanic by the name of Kadex to do some off road rides around Bali on the GS and also invited me to a trail ride on the weekend with some local off road riders, I even got to borrow a 449 Husky!!!
It turned out that Kadex was a local legend, he was a great off road rider, a BMW and Husqvarna mechanic, had been to the BMW training facility in Germany and was a qualified GS tour guide. We were both on R120 GSA’s and headed out to Serangen National Park, a small island just south of Bali, we were also accompanied by some local dirt bike riders, a few of whom were even riding off road scooters. It was one of the best afternoons of riding I’ve done on the Beemer, the track took us over single track, fire trails, beaches and a few water crossings, it goes without saying we had the big bikes sideways as much as possible. We stopped halfway at a popular surf beach to have a bite to eat at a local warung restaurant and watched the surfers as the sun went down. The ride home was fantastic, we did a lap of a long levy bank with the headlights on, racing all the way and once again sliding the bikes around every corner and getting a little air over every bump we could. We finished the days riding with a roadside coconut juice, I couldn’t think of a better way to end such a great day of riding.
I was impressed by the afternoon of riding on the GS’s but I was about to have my mind blown away on the weekend by the trail ride that Duncan had planned. Kadex and I rode to Duncan’s house where we met up with over a dozen riders on Husqvarna’s and Sherco’s, I hadn’t ridden a dirt bike for a few years but it all came back very quickly and I was loving throwing the light bike around. We headed out through a mixture of backstreets and dirt roads until we were well into the forests of Bali, I had no idea that this small island had such great riding to offer. We rode through dry riverbeds, up technical climbs, long stretches of beach and best of all a section through what I think was a quarry that resembled a lunar landscape and allowed some excellent side by side racing. Not only was the riding amazing but the scenery was spectacular, we’d finish a climb and overlook a volcano or end a forest single track and stare out across vast valleys covered in rice fields. We rode all day and didn’t get back until dark, we rode across Bali and back and only occasionally stopped for a bite to eat, fuel top up or bike maintenance, I must admit I was sore but I couldn’t enough, I would off kept riding well into the night if I could.
I had no Idea that Bali offered such amazing riding, it certainly rated as one of the best places I had ridden a motorbike, best of all though was the motorcycle community I had met while I was here. From the riders on the trails who were all very supportive and enthusiastic about meeting a new rider to the guys at the BMW dealership who took the time to make sure that myself and my bike were looked after. Many thanks to Duncan for your generosity and Kadex for your time and help, it just proves that it’s the people that make a place great.