Thank you for wonderful experience with your company and excellent bikes .
We will be back soon again in TN and will rent ADV bikes from you.
Confessions of a BMW virgin
I recently had a chance to do something I haven't done in 30 years of riding street bikes; I rode a BMW, the liquid cooled 1200GS to be more precise. And I liked it. Although I've been on Tenere's, Multistrada's, dual-sports, sport touring, and sport bikes, the GS never really tripped my trigger.
With all the hype I've been reading, I jumped at the chance to ride the new wet head. I even picked it over the KTM 1190 that I wanted so bad last year. The fact that the forecast called for ninety degrees helped take the bun cooker KTM off the list. Now on to the impressions from a BMW virginâ¦
Well, I said I liked it and I did. A lot. Don't think that it was a complete love fest though. You can read plenty of that in magazine reviews so let's get the not-so-good out of the way. To say it shifts like a tractor is insulting to tractors. That big clunk my ST1300 makes when I shift into first from a standstill, the BMW does it too. And then it does it when you shift into second, and third, and fourth, and, well you get the pictureâ¦ And then it does it again on the way back down through the gears. Now it could just be technique, because I was able to make a handful of non-clunking shifts over the course of about twelve hours, but the hundreds of clunking ones were my biggest annoyance. And if thirty years isn't enough experience to shift right, well I think it's fair to say that there is room for improvement in the shifting department BMW.
Another area that I wasn't completely enamored with is its handling on a very tight, curvy road. Although it feels light, especially compared to my 1300, it felt as big as a bus wheelbase wise. I think this part may take more research on my part in the form of riding it some more because I was on this road at the beginning of the day and we may not have bonded yet.
Now on to the brighter sideâ¦
The fueling was perfect. Purr-Fect! Although it didn't have rip-your-arms-off power, there was great torque throughout. 3000-4000 rpm's was my favorite spot on the tach and rolling off the power wouldn't practically throw you over the bars like a certain KTM I know and own. In town, a couple of times I let it get down to 2000 rpm and it pulled cleanly back up the rev band. Ducati and KTM could definitely learn a thing or two here!
As far as heat and airflow management, I think BMW did a very good job. It seems a common problem for some of the new high power bikes is getting rid of the heat without cooking the rider. Even though the ambient temp got pretty warm, I never felt an uncomfortable amount of heat from the bike. One time my feet got a little warm, but I think most of that was from wearing 8" leather boots out in the sun on a ninety degree day. The relatively small windscreen also did a very good job of blocking the wind and not creating a lot of buffeting like many bikes do. An entire industry has been created trying to cure the buffeting issue that most manufacturers face. Well done.
I think the weight is pretty good for a bike this size. Fortunately, I did not have to pick it up off the ground and I might feel differently if I did, but for normal riding it had a very light feel to it. It transitioned from side to side very quickly and easily and it seemed to balance easy too. Those big jugs close to the ground probably helped in that department. Ladies, there is a bright side to getting olderâ¦ 🙂 The combination of wide bars and weight down low made for a great handling bike that was a pleasure to ride in the curves of the smokies.
I have a love/hate relationship with electronic suspension. In some ways I'm anti-tech. I like the idea of simple and suspension that just works, without having to think about the complexity, the added cost, and the idea that it might leave you stranded on a trip, but in practice, I like using electronic suspension. I love being able to choose the soft setting while cruising down a rough road and then dialing in hard or firm when the road smooths and the curves start coming at you hard and fast without even having to stop to make the change. We are spoiled in this day and age, but I'm sure a day will come when I curse it when it breaks and I have to pay for it. Like I said, love/hate.
And last, but not least, is electronic cruise controlâ¦
For those of us who like to travel by bike, real cruise control is an awesome feature to have. Imagine putting a brick on the accelerator in your car to maintain speedâ¦. zooming down the hills and crawling up. We wouldn't consider it in a car, but using throttle locks and wrist rests is acceptable on a bike. I don't think so. This bike has real cruise and it really works. Set it and forget it. Up hill and down, it maintains the speed you desire and deactivates with the clutch or either brake, and probably the switch I never used. Why this wasn't more common before now makes me wonder if other manufacturers ever took their bikes on a trip. I don't want no stinkin' keyless ignition or hill hold control, just make sure my bike has cruise.
Well, this is already pretty long and there are areas I neglected to cover, but that is all from this BMW virgin. To summarize, I liked it and look forward to riding it again. Give Dan a call and try it for yourself. At the end of the day, my butt was killing me yet I still was looking for reasons to ride a little longer. That's about the best endorsement one can make.
Even though I currently have three bikes of my own, I like being able to test drive models I may be interested in. For a little over $200, I was able to ride a $20,000+ motorcycle all day, under a variety of road types and conditions. This is about the fourth time I have rented from Dan and I've saved a fortune by not buying bikes I thought I couldn't live without. I hope GSM Motorent thrives for a long time because their bikes are in excellent condition and Dan has always treated me very well. I just wish he would let me help pick the bikes he buys. There are lots of others I would like to tryâ¦
I highly recommend Dan and Deb's rental service
"As an avid fly and ride tourer I highly recommend Dan and Debbie’s rental service. They have a diverse selection of motorcycles that are in great running order. Their local knowledge of the best roads and routes is without question. Dan also is an avid and experienced dirt bike rider and has some very interesting gravel and single track tours outlined. They can assist you with routing and coordinating your trip and that alone will save you valuable riding time and money."
John, October 2014
Good morning Dan and Debbie,
I trust you found the keys where I left them under the mat, and that the motorcycle is returned in the same condition that it was when I left Friday except for the mileage I put on it. Please let me know if you have any concern that you want to bring to my attention. I wanted to tell you that I followed your instructions and sprayed the lube on the chain right after the first long ride while it was still warm. (My riding buddy helped me, and he said it is best to apply chain lube when the sprocket is warm.)
I had such a great weekend of camping and riding – perfect weather, as you know! And I realize you both ride regularly, so you know what a joy it is, especially riding that motorcycle! The bike is a real head-turner, and so many people stopped and asked me how I liked riding it. It didn’t give me any problems at all, and it was so much fun. We stayed overnight in Murphy, North Carolina and rode in the North Georgia Mtns.
I am so glad that you provide this amazing opportunity for people who want to ride motorcycles!
Thank you again,
Another great trip!
This is my second testimonial for GSM Motorent but I should have written several more. A few friends and I were some of Dan and Debbie's first customers several years ago and had a fantastic time. We have been back at least once a year ever since and these trips are always some of my all time favorites. A group of us visited again a few weeks ago and had our best trip ever. The weather was perfect, especially after a brutal winter in Chicagoland. As usual, Dan and Debbie's knowledge of local trails and attractions is fantastic. They are both wonderfully positive and friendly people and their hospitality is top notch. I love the cabin and consider their place my home away from home. The roads and trails in the area are superb and we had a blast playing around on and off road. We even had the honor of riding with Dan for a bit. (A word of caution here, Dan's riding skills are riding skills are excellent so trying to keep up with him could be hazardous to your health!).
My wife and I are already planning to visit Dan and Debbie again in October when we will be in the area on an Appalachian tour. I Cannot recommend GSM Motorent highly enough for anyone looking for a world class motorcycling adventure.
Our thanks to Dan and Debbie and Sam at GSM Motorent
Kayaks loaded! Mountain bikes loaded! Fishing poles packed! Hiking gear packed! Camper loaded and ready to go! My husband and I are geared up for our annual Smoky Mountain camping trip. We look like a rolling sporting goods store clipping down I-75 South. This trip however, would also include one more activity that we were both excited about. My husband had been researching the Kawasaki KLR 650 dualsport motorcycle for sometime. We both ride our own street bikes and have been riding off and on for years, but dirt and gravel were something we avoided. My husband's desire to hit some back gravel roads and to explore new territory led us to GSM Motorent in Townsend Tennessee, just 7 miles from where we would be camping in Cades Cove.
Dan and Debbie Dickie own Motorent with most of their inventory being the highly revered KLR, (great on gravel, great on highway-hence, dualsport).
The morning we arrived we met Debbie and Sam the dog. Deb gave us a quick orientation on the bikes and suggested areas that we may want to ride.. After we signed enough papers to keep the lawyers happy we set out for Parson's Branch Road, exiting the back side of Cades Cove to intersect highway 129, the infamous Dragon. From there to Robbinsville with plans to ride some gravel roads off the Cherahala Skyway. As we rode deeper into the back country, the more it rained. Luckily these bikes do there job very well, so it didn't matter if it was raining,dry,pavement or gravel. Dan had upgraded the suspension and brakes on the KLR's, which enhanced the ride even more. It was a fantastic experience to ride these bikes in the beautiful Smoky Mountain area.
There was only one drawback to this whole experience- Time. , or the lack of it. It was getting late and we still had to ride back to camp. As I rode up beside my husband to turn around, there he sat on his 650, a gleam in his eye and a smurky little grin in the pouring rain. "We've got to get a couple of these", he said. Oh my goodness,I thought, I've seen that look before! (This was Thursday. By Saturday afternoon we were sitting on our own new Kawasaki KLR's)
After having a very enjoyable riding experience on the KLR's, we turned the rentals in Friday morning and my husband became a possessed man calling every Kawasaki dealer east of the Mississippi. He contacted Tommy's Motorsports in Clinton Tn. just 50 minutes from our campsite. Tommy gave us the best deal and lowered my motorcycle with no extra charge! Everyone at Tommy's were very helpful and professional and made our purchasing experience very enjoyable. Tommy, the owner has a great sense of humor and fun to talk with, but has a no nonsense approach to selling motorcycles,which also added fun to this crazy midlife crisis ordeal!
We rode the 650's back to Cades Cove and spent the next 4 days exploring places where these bike excel. When the 650 is lowered, the kickstand becomes too long and needs to be shortened. Dan at GSM Motorent cut about an inch and a half off my kickstand, rewelded and painted it for $20.00 and it looks like factory!
The KLR's consumed us. The kayaks never saw water, nor was there a fishing line wet. Bicycles never left the rack of the camper and our backpacks and hiking boots took a rest this trip. We had put 600 good break-in miles on the bikes by Thursday . We stopped at Tommy's to buy oil filters and pick up some paperwork on the way back home.
Our thanks to Dan and Debbie and Sam at GSM Motorent for all their help and the try before you buy plan! Thanks to Tommy and the guys at Tommy's Motorsports, who made this a most memorable vacation, with 2 great souvenirs to take home.
P.S. Our street bikes are for sale!
Once we made it home safe and sound, driving down our driveway, my husband looked over at me grinning like a possum and said " The Kaw's have come home".
Jerry and Mandy
I'll be back next year.
What a great chance to see the Back Country and areas rare to visitors in the Park. The KLR's looked like new and were freshly serviced. These bikes are very comfortable for a day in the saddle and handled great on the twisty's too. Dan & Debbie are true motorcyclist and it shows in their enthusiasm for the sport. I'll be back next year.
Thanks for everything.
I had the pleasure of renting a Kawasaki KLR from GSMMotorent yesterday. Dan and Debbie were great about working with our travel schedules and riding plans. They seem like great folks who really enjoy motorcycling. The bike was almost new. It appeared to be well maintained and in great shape.
We rode through Cade's Cove, out Parson's Branch, and up the Dragon. Then we hopped over to the Cherahala Skyway and dropped down to ride some of the primitive roads in the Cherokee National Forest. We worked our way back through Knoxville, then rode some more in the National Park.
Dan and Debbie will be my first choice next time I need a dual sport in the East Tennessee area.
Thanks for everything. Be sure to call whenever Debbie wants to trade bikes. I really liked that red one.
See you soon,
We're already planning to do it again.
Three friends and I visited GSM MotoRent earlier this year. We arrived much later than expected, tired, wet, and hungry from a long miserable rainy day on the road. Dan and Debbie waited up for us and cheerfully greeted us. Debbie asked if we had eaten and when we said no she gathered up some fresh greens from her garden to go along with the fresh muffins and snacks already in the cabin. The food really hit the spot! They didn?t worry about check-in or payment but told us to have some food, get some rest, and see them in the morning. The cabin was very clean and cozy. We thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the deck listening to the river run past and slept very well. In the morning Dan was very efficient and helpful about getting all our paperwork done, explaining the bikes, and suggesting routes. The bikes were in great shape and well maintained. We had an unbelievable day riding 180 miles of excellent paved and unpaved roads in and around Smoky Mountain National Park. We arrived back at GSM in the late afternoon very happily tired. We all agreed it was one of the most enjoyable motorcycling days we?ve ever had. This was our first experience with GSM MotoRent and it could not have been better. Dan and Debbie are wonderful people and run a top-notch outfit. We're already planning to do it again.
Thanks for the new memories and fun.
Wow! What a blast, it was the best time I had on my ten day trip to Townsend.
I had not ridden in years and always loved to ride in the Smoky Mountains. I was a little nervous at first when we first took off but it soon changed into pure enjoyment. I am sold on your business and keep telling everybody that it is a "must do." I can't wait to come back to GSM because there are so many other places I would like to ride on your KLR. They really are a smooth ride. Cades Cove was beautiful, next time I'll take a different tour that is longer. It really is a unique way to experience the mountains up close. Thanks for the new memories and fun. I will see you on my next trip up.
Enjoy and great adventures to all.
If you want to do something fantastic, if you want an experience you will not forget, check out a trip with GSM Moto Rent to Terlingua Texas. Where the hell is that you say.....as did I! It's in the Big Bend area of Texas. Dan Dickie and his lovely wife Debbie are hanging their shingle in the amazing town of Terlingua Texas for a portion of the year. Why you say? as did I. Because as they showed me, it is one of the coolest places on earth and it near some of the most amazing riding I've ever seen. The asphalt roads are great and scenic, the surroundings are beautiful in a way that cannot be described, but lets talk about the 60 mile river road trail that absolutely blew my mind. Dan and his good riding buddy Karl tooks us on this road that challenged all my riding skills and then some. It is truly like another world. But when the going got to rough, Dan was right there helping me through it with a smile. In fact, it seems that Dan always smiles.
In my life, I go after amazing experiences. I kite board, race shifter karts, whitewater kayak, surf kayak, climb and in general try to leap tall buildings with a single bound. It is all about the great adventure for me. Well, that few days with Dan in Terlingua and the Big Bend area were some of the more amazing times in my life. When is the last time you camped in the desert at night. You need to! When is the last time you heard a silence so quiet that it hurt your ears? It is another world and you will love it.
Dan, Debbie and their company GSM Moto Rent have been showing me a great time in the Smoky Mountains for a few years now. Their excellent motorcycles and great attitudes have made numerous great trips possible and a great amount of fun. I greatly appreciate them including me on this preview trip of the new area for their business and I know you will have an amazing experience if you partake of that experience with them. You've gotta do this, you gotta see this place. I am hoping that Dan will put this letter on his web site and I am hoping he feels free to put my contact information in as well. I will gladly talk to you and personally tell you that you should go to Terlingua Texas. If nothing else, how many people have ever been there?
Enjoy and great adventures to all.
Thanks again for making the vacation fun and effortless.
I rented a KLR from GSM MotoRent in Big Bend, TX. Wow! Not only did Big Bend produce a great ride, but GSM MotoRent provided quality motorcycles and superb, knowledgeable, friendly service. The bike started first time, every time. Thanks again for making the vacation fun and effortless.
I'm sure I'll be back next year.
I had owned a KLR previously, but had sold it due to lack of time to do many dual sport rides where I live. Well, I decided to try renting a dual sport bike from Dan and Debbie, to scratch that dual-sport itch that still remained. What a fun day! The bike itself was in great shape and very well maintained. Dan set me up with a recommended route, based on what I wanted to do. He had every turn, every road, and every mile marker (down to the tenth of a mile!) all written down, on an easy-to-follow sheet. There's no way I would have ever found all these forest service roads by myself, and it was quite a fun time getting to explore the Cherokee National Forest using his directions. Thanks Dan and Debbie! I'm sure I'll be back next year.
My friends and I had an absolutley fantastic time.
I must repeat my expression of enjoyment. My friends and I had an absolutley fantastic time. We could not have enjoyed ourselves more. I assure you that we will return and hopefully will bring more friends with us next year.The equipment was in very nice condition, maps were a great help.
Until the next time, stay safe and may God bless you and yours,
Dean, Independance, KY
We will be back.
Okay, to preface this, I got back into road motorcycle touring 3 years ago when my buddy and I decided to do the ultimate guy trip (to try and supplant our epic post college trip of thirty years ago) and spent a week on rented BMW’s exploring Scotland. Between that country and my home state of Washington, I thought that I had covered some of the best biking roads on the planet. Then I found GSM Motorent and the Smokies of Tennessee and North Carolina! Further preface: since getting back into motorcycling after 30 years, things have changed! A 1000 cc is medium-sized?? And there is this new class called: “Adventure bikes”, which are huge touring enduros which you can take almost anywhere?? It just so happened that the bike that I rented in Scotland, and became very familiar with was the famed: BMW GS 1200. Fell in love with that bike, despite not being a huge Beemer fan, but in Scotland, like most rental bikes places, you aren’t allowed to take them off road like they are meant to be.
Well, not only does Dan and Deb at GSM Motorent let you go off-road, but they specialize in it, encourage it, and they know the Smokies like the back of their hand and will tell you places to go that you would have a hard time finding yourself. Their hospitality and advice is the best and they planned some of the finest riding that we have ever done. Not only that, but – being a Yamaha fan – I was ecstatic when the inventor of adventure bikes with the smaller bore Dakar winning Ténéré, came out with their bigger-bore Beemer competitor a couple of years ago - and Dan has one in his fleet (fully customized by “Twisted Throttle”). That gave my buddy and I a chance to swap back and forth between the Super Ténéré and the GS 1200 through our 500 mile weekend of twisties and forest service roads and got a great chance to really compare these two top-rated machines. The verdict: the Ténéré feels taller and narrower, smoother and more stable both on the asphalt and off. The Beemer is noticeably a little squatter and lighter, but seems to be more squirrelly on the gravel. Certainly more character, but my personal preference is for a bike to be so functional that you forget that it isn’t a part of you. I like them both and they are both excellent and fun rides, but my Yamaha bias has me dreaming of owning an ST someday (trying to get that one by the “Fun-Police”). Where else could you really take these bikes out and do such a “magazine-style” comparison on and off -road?
GSM Motorent also has a great cabin on the river to come back to each night. Sipping on some Tennessee bourbon (“George Dickel’s”) on the deck to the sound of the river babbling by below and recounting the day’s adventure, and tomorrow’s ride plans was special. Ride tip: if you think the famous “Rte 129: Tail of the Dragon” is the ultimate ride (11 miles and 318 curves), go try R.#32 at the Northwest corner of the park for a great stretch of “twisties”.
Thanks, Dan and Deb, you guys were fantastic.
We will be back.
H. Mitchell Kirkland, WA April 2012
Thank you Dan for a great weekend!
I live in Nashville TN and have been riding in the Smoky Mountains for 15 years. After purchasing one map and a 20 minute converstion with Dan, I had far and away my best weekend of riding yet. Little did I realize how many good roads I had overlooked/missed.
From now on, all riding in the TN/NC mountains start in Townsend TN after directions from Dan. Thank you Dan for a great weekend!
Richard, April 2012
Hit the Trail with GSM!!!
Contemplating renting road bikes to tour the Smokies, I came across GSM and gave them a call. The attraction of GSM is the ability to ride trails in addition to pavement. This turned out to be best decision I made. I have been to the Park numerous times but never did I see it on the trails carefully selected by Deb and Dan. Just a wonderful experience and one my nephew and I will repeat. There is no better way to see the park than on a ‘overlander’ cycles that GSM provides. Hit the trail with GSM, you will not be disappointed!
Overall: awesome ride, awesome location, and awesome company
Overall, one of the best days of riding I've ever had. Thank you! I'm not sure what to really say about my experience with GSM Moto Rentals; except that it was one of my best days of riding. The diversity in terrain, and the self guided tour delivers a huge value to the rider in search for a large serving of solitude. At times I found myself laughing at how removed I was from the rest of the world. In my book, that is epic! The GSMmotorent website barely scratches the surface on the experience to be had for some East coast riding. The wildlife you encounter and the views make it that much better. The black bear I nicknamed Mary (I ran across her on the trail) was definitely one of the highlights! Overall: awesome ride, awesome location, and awesome company who was willing to rent me a bike even after they had closed down for the season! I will definitely come back.
Rent Your Bike From GSM!
There is a long list of reasons why my experience with GSM MotoRent was excellent. I went from being nervous about trying to rent a vehicle to astonished at the ease and enjoyment of the whole experience. I am a young girl from Canada and I was completely green to the Mountain Riding or Off-Road experiences with motorcycles. My boyfriend suggested that I try some real motorcycle riding up in the mountains. Since I don't have a motorcycle in the US, we were going to have to rent one for me. I was really worried about renting, since I am under 25 (which usually means TONS of extra fees) and since we had to drive 5 hours to get to the mountains and I had no idea if the motorcycle I wanted would be there! However, when I called to inquire, I was greeted by an incredibly friendly woman who answered all of my questions and said she could reserve the bike I wanted no problem. Since we were driving such a long way, we ended up stuck in some traffic and arrived later than I had indicated, but the motorcycle was still reserved no problem! I was delighted to find out that a 1-day rental was indeed a 24 hour rental and it was no problem for us to return the bike the following morning. While I was filling out paperwork to finalize the rental, Dan was talking my boyfriend through a bunch of suggested routes we could take to make sure I got all of the off-road and mountain experiences I came for! The owners were both incredibly helpful with route planning and even leant us a waterproof tank bag with maps and directions in it for our route! I had an absolute blast riding around in the mountains, definitely something I am going to do again! It poured rain on us a few times but it was still a great ride! When we arrived back to return the bike it was still raining and Dan greeted us, asking how the ride was in spite of the all of the rain, and we had a good chuckle over the whole experience. Having looked up prices before leaving, I knew that the rental was going to be $124 and had estimated spending about $200 after all the insurance fees and taxes had been applied. After the experience I had, this would have been a completely reasonable "price to fun" ratio. However, the icing on the cake of this whole experience was seeing my bill at the end of it all, $123.95! GSM is a down to earth rental place operated by genuinely good people. With no hesitation, I recommend this experience to everyone! If you are trying to plan your vacation next summer, make it a motorcycle trip to the mountains, and rent your bike from GSM!
I highly recommend this experience and plan to go back as often as possible!!!
If you want to have the most interesting experience possible then just past the glitter and neon of Gattlinburg is GSMotorent in Townsend Tn. (about 18mi away)There you'll meet up with Dan and his wife at their awesome shop. They will hook you up with great bikes and an insiders look at the park. I came down with my girlfriend and we went on a 200 mile trip (on separate bikes) thru the mountains that I will always remember. Dan and his wife made us feel right at home, asked us what type of riding we were looking for and set us up with turn by turn instructions that will get you there and back. I highly recommend this experience and plan to go back as often as possible!!!
Very Sincerely, Bob Burriss
I just wanted to Thank You
I just wanted to Thank You for putting together some awesome routes through the area. Me and a friend came down from New York just after Labor Day and bought some route sheets from you. I must tell you that this was one of the best trips I've taken yet! We rode our KLR's on the Park Loop and Cherohala Loop and couldn't have been happier. By the way we did the detour to Buzzard's Roost and were definitely impressed. We also took another detour on Flat Branch Rd. which was great! Thanks again! Maybe we'll see ya again at Big Bend.
Keep up the good work!
Just wanted to let you know that I had a great time on your Tenere recently. I just wish I could have had it for a few more days. I would also like to compliment you on the way you have it outfitted. The aftermarket parts make a good package even better, both in looks and performance. The only thing that would keep me from being a repeat customer is if I end up buying my own. Maybe before that happens, I should try out your new Triumph. I also liked the route directions you gave. I had a great ride ride. Even though gps tracks would have been easier to follow, the written directions you gave were more involving and made for a better experience. Keep up the good work.