Into The Valley
Bike UK|January 2018

5 November, snow storms shut the Stelvio Pass for what could be winter. 4 November, Ben Lindley pops through on a 2018 R1200GS Adventure heading for Milan, and EICMA. At least that’s the plan...

Ben Lindley

AT THE MOMENT’ starts the email from the Bormio Tourist Office, ‘we still don’t know exactly when Stelvio pass will be closed. For sure it will be open on 4 November, but from Saturday evening to Monday there will be a snow storm.’ The fourth of November, so that’s in two days. So I need to thrash this 2018 BMW R1200GS from Yorkshire to the Stelvio in under 48 hours…

Easy work for this particular motorcycle, surely. It’s the R1200GS Adventure TE-spec: £17,120 with heated grips, cruise control, keyless ride, clutchless gear shifting and tyre pressure monitoring all included. On top of that BMW have fitted the £220 anti-theft alarm, the £595 new TFT Connectivity system that connects the all-digital dash to phones and earpieces, the new £295 emergency SOS button on the right switchgear, and the £675 Navigator VI sat-nav. There are also panniers and a top box (£1250 fitted) and waterproof inners (£89 each). Total price: £20,422 ready to ride. Considering that a base GS is £12,400 otr, that’s the price of a Yamaha MT-09 in accessories. 

To make sure nobody steals the thing I pack a heavy-duty lock and chain along with thermal undergarments, glove inners and neck warmers. There’s also a laptop, camera, two lenses and a selfie stick for EICMA once I get through the Stelvio and reach Milan. So I guide the fully-laden GS out of my Yorkshire driveway, mount up and tap the ignition. The boxer barks into life with an ECU-controlled blip that sets off the alarm on the Peugeot parked opposite.

Exit York south on the A19 and head east on the M62 for the ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge, Belgium. A steady 85mph is all-day achievable thanks to the adjustable screen, and an LED headlight set high enough in the frame to persuade car drivers out of the overtaking lane. On to the ferry where the Adventure is met by open loading bays and industrial strength hospitality. It’s a calm crossing and a good night’s sleep.

At Belgian border control, the policeman checking my passport asks where I’m going. ‘Milan,’ I say. ‘I’ve got two days to get there.’

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