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Thread: K1200GT - K1300GT - compare and contrast

  1. #1
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    K1200GT - K1300GT - compare and contrast

    I currently have an '03 K1200RS, which I like very much. However, the later GT's keep rattling around in my thinking. I rode a K1300GT (don't remember the year) yesterday (about 20+ miles of straight and fast and serious twisties up over a ridge and back down) and was, frankly, somewhat disappointed by it. The problem wasn't go power, whoa power, or suspension so much as a general feeling disconnection from the bike. To be fair, the PO had bar backs on the thing (no change to the pegs, though), which, IMHO, are a good way to screw up steering (like touch-typing with chopsticks). Overall, the controls weren't much fun. I kept bumping the high beam every time I tried to fiddle with the ESA. I really, really do like the old turn signal switches. The grips were downright skinny. Finally, the saddle felt like I was sitting on a small (albeit cushy) bar stool seat (the saddle was in the low position).

    So the question is, what would I be giving up from the K1300GT to go with a K1200GT?
    Don't let your bike go anywhere your brain hasn't already been five seconds ago...

  2. #2
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    One of the reasons I chose my 08 K1200GT was to keep the old style signal controls rather than the new japanese switch gear on the 1300. The 08 model also does not have the servo brakes so it seemed to be the sweet spot between those unwanted features.

    I've read lots of complaints about the 1200s and various issues, though most seem to be affecting the earliest model years and were sorted out by 08. The bike I bought had a number of warranty updates done to adress some of the other issues. So far it's been a great bike. I did put a Sargent seat on in place of the stock one; all other ergos are stock.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  3. #3
    Rally Rat
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    I recently got an '06 GT, not crazy about the servo brakes, but getting used to it. Bought the bike with 32k, have put 3k on it in 2 months, no issues. I am 5'10 with a 32" inseam. I have the seat and bars in the low position, no peg adjustment. Previous bike was a K1200S, so I am more upright than I was used to, prior to that I had a 2000 K1200RS. Not sure how much differance there is ergonomically from the RS to the next gen GT, having had the "S" for 4 years in between it is hard to remember the seating of the RS to compare to the GT. Gas mileage on the GT is averaging 44, so fairly similar to the RS, but it has a 6 gallon tank, so if your bladder will last, you can go 250 miles between fill ups, where I was only doing 190 on the S. Kinda miss the RS in some ways. Seemed to have more soul or something, hard to put my finger on it.

  4. #4
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Interesting... I agree the RS felt generally more responsive than the K1300GT I rode. Some of that is, I'm sure, a matter of what one's used to. The twisty road is very twisty (Hawk Mountain Road, near Port Clinton, PA - home of Hermy's BMW) and also steep, making the ascents and descents a good test of the suspension, steering, and braking. The K1300GT didn't feel "out of it", but demanded more motion to make things happen - much of this I ascribe to the darn bar backs. Still, I came away disappointed.
    Don't let your bike go anywhere your brain hasn't already been five seconds ago...

  5. #5
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Bump - no further comments?
    Don't let your bike go anywhere your brain hasn't already been five seconds ago...

  6. #6
    What, me worry? GILLY's Avatar
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    Ahhh sure, if you want to hear from a guy who hasn't been exposed to the 1300 really much at all;

    I came from a K75S and was glad to have the 3 button switches in my next bike as I was so used to it after 20 yrs on a K bike. I thought the "UJM" style switch was somewhat more refined than the actual UJM type switch, just touch it once and release and will self-cancel, doesn't seem SO bad of a system but can see where those like me would find it an irritant, at least at first. To me neither of these systems compare to the Harley 2 button system, I had me one of them "V TWIN" motorcycles for a few months and that is really the only thing I really liked about that potato masher of a cycle. THE best thought out system for signalling gear EVAH! Between the 1200 and 1300 I am still glad to have the 3 button switchgear. Score one for the 1200.
    The high beam switch on the 1300 I thought looked pretty cool and that I would favor that part of it. Although again have never ridden a 1300 so will call it a draw.
    For general appearance, I would give it to the 1200, but of course am biased, I do not like the Buick ventiports on the side panels, but do love the "dagger" looking indents on the 1200 a LOT.
    I also prefer the silver frame coloring, but eh, that's just fluff and nitpicky.
    But still prefer the looks of the 1200, not just that stuff but also the "urine specimen cups" for the reservoirs on the 1300, yuckers.
    The 1200's controls are way more sleek and integrated looking. WHY did they make the grips smaller diameter on the 1300 is beyond me, if anything I'd like them larger, and i have small hands! Or at least not big paws for hands.

    No fair comparison on the engine part as i haven't ridden the 1300, is all this other stuff i like about the 1200 made up for by the extra 100cc??

    The 1300 was said to be "what the 1200 should have been when it was released" with all the bugs worked out. To a certain extent it might be true. For sure the 1300 seems to come with just about all the bells and whistles as standard with only a few options. My GT didn't even come with a Xenon headlight (I converted it over but I still think the factory one is better). So you really have to study what you are getting when you buy a 1200. Some things you just assume you'll get in a 1300 like Xenon or tpm you might not be getting in a 1200 (of course be sure to pay attention with either one).
    The teething pains MAY be more evident in the 1200, you have to be especially careful with regards to the timing chain part progression in the 1200, like does it have the most recent timing chain tensioner and does it have the anti-jump guard on the 1200, or does it have a history of engine damage already (this is on the 1200), on the 1300 I don't know but dont think they had these problems at all with the timing chain issues. By the end of the 1200 run I think they had this stuff all upgraded on the factory floor which of course must have carried over on to the 1300.
    Not sure where any of us stand as far as the final drive. My impression is there were some quality issues and some people got bit pretty hard as a result, which seems to have even turned long-time owners away from the brand even. Some people got a good final drive with no complaints. I am almost betting it is a lot like the timing chain situation, changes were made or at least the quality problems were sorted out and the later 1200s are probably good and that carried though on to the 1300, not sure if i have heard of a simgle 1300 lunching an engine or munching its FD.
    Wife beckoning,all for now
    Gilly
    Last edited by Gilly; 05-25-2012 at 08:51 AM. Reason: corrected some errors in spelling and punctuation
    87 K75S, bought new, now sold
    07 K1200GT Bought new, now traded in
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  7. #7
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Thanks for the insights.

    As I mentioned earlier, I kept tripping the high beam accidentally on my 1300 ride. No real damage done, but a couple of cars must have wondered where the cops were that I was flashing a warning about...

    It's funny how, after riding various "rice burners" going back to a Yamaha YL-1 (100 cc twin), the 1300's turn signal switch was a serious "I gotta think about this" item, while the older switches seem so natural.

    Looks... truth is, that slab side looks so... eh. I have to wonder how both the 1200 and 1300 fare in cross-winds.

    I am a devout believer in HID's. I put them in the K1200RS (low and high beam - DDM Tuning kits). The KRS' stock lights simply don't get the job done. Maybe it's my aging eyes, but I felt that even at speeds of 40-45 I was outrunning the low beam (that is, I couldn't look 3+ seconds ahead at 40-45 MPH at night) and the high beam wasn't much better. I'll be happy to discuss the project elsewhere.

    Thanks for going over issues like the timing chain. This is the sort of thing I want to know should I decide to move to a GT.

    Finally, regards to beckoning SWMBO.
    Don't let your bike go anywhere your brain hasn't already been five seconds ago...

  8. #8
    What, me worry? GILLY's Avatar
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    The headlight lense is different on the factory xenon, has the shield out in front of the bulb, not sure how different the reflector is, at any rate the retrofit helps a little, I haven't been able to do any real-world comparison but again feel the factory xenon would be better if you can find one with it.

    I sort of like the slab-sided look, the did enough to break it up to make it interesting, and again my personal opinion is the 1200 fairing is better looking, I know the "ventiport" is a functional item but I don't like the look of it. I have heard of no problem with not having a vent on the fairing on a 1200.

    We had some pretty bad windy weather here in WI yesterday, and have ridden in equally windy conditions before, the bike handles winds just fine, I have no fears of riding this bike in windy conditions, but I have heard others complain, NO idea what their problem is with winds. When you get to a certain point ANY vehicle will have problems of course, yesterday for example sustained winds of 30, gusts to 45. I was 1 up and just a few things in the saddlebags for work, nothing heavy, I don't know if weight makes things better or worse? I would initially think lighter would be worse, although a passenger might make things worse as well? Higher CG?
    87 K75S, bought new, now sold
    07 K1200GT Bought new, now traded in
    13 C650GT
    MOA 44606

  9. #9
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Oh, agreed that factory HID is the better choice; retro-fitting it would be ...ah... can we say "insanely spendy"?

    It's interesting to hear about riding in 30G45 MPH winds. As you say, any bike (or car) is going to be challenged by that. It sure is exciting in our '90 Vanagon.

    I don't think weight, per se, matters in this situation. The bike's already up around 750+ lbs with a rider, so 20 lbs in the cases won't change much. I don't know where the CG is with a rider seated on the bike, so the case load may or may not drop or raise the CG. Bottom line: I'd call it a wash.
    Last edited by RBEmerson; 05-25-2012 at 02:22 PM. Reason: Typo cleanup
    Don't let your bike go anywhere your brain hasn't already been five seconds ago...

  10. #10
    What, me worry? GILLY's Avatar
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    Not too spendy to just upgrade to an add-on HID of course, that's what I did. It is better lighting, maybe not as much as the sellers of the kits would lead you to believe, but it's better. I also added 65W high beam bulbs. In high beam the lighting is great, compared to the old sleds i used to own. In low beam it's kind of "meh". The xenon does seem to light things up better in the normal path. Many guys will add aux lighting, I'm not into adding all sorts of stuff like that. The factory xenon assembly again may be better than retrofitting a halogen headlight assembly.
    87 K75S, bought new, now sold
    07 K1200GT Bought new, now traded in
    13 C650GT
    MOA 44606

  11. #11
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    DDM Tuning's kits are quite affordable and the results compare well with the factory HID lighting in our X-3. Now if DDM Tuning also transplanted the X-3's adaptive setup, too. (as in the lights turn as I steer the vehicle)

    I've used external Hella FF-50 lighting on past bikes. It works but it's never the same result as just plain having a bright headlight in the right place.
    Don't let your bike go anywhere your brain hasn't already been five seconds ago...

  12. #12
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    I am looking at a 2003 k1200rs or a k1200gt. I have read that each has the potential for a transmission seal to leak leading to clutch failure. The gt has 73k miles but had the seal failure at 62k miles and had a new clutch and plate put in. The gt has service records for the life of the bike The rs has 60k miles but only has a service record of the 60k mile service being done and no history of the seal issue. If the seal issue has not presented itself at 60k what are the chances that it has dodged the bullet? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  13. #13
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Truly, life is a gamble. Maybe the GT let go prematurely and the RS has a failed seal in its future. Maybe the GT stayed on the probability curve formed by all the other failed seals and the RS will never let go. Or just plain maybe stuff happens.

    Your best bet is to decide which bike makes your heart go pitty-pat and then use your head to decide if you can afford major repairs for your choice. BMW's, in general, aren't as cheap to maintain as UJM's. Past that, life is truly a gamble, with only the leaving of it a certainty. Have a nice day.
    Don't let your bike go anywhere your brain hasn't already been five seconds ago...

  14. #14
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    Life is a gamble, but I am a fan of probability and just trying to size up which is the most probable to last without the probability of a major expenditure. I am buying the bike for my brother who just had his bike totaled by a uturn driver pulling out in front of him. Of course the driver is uninsured so the games begin with my brother's insurance. Since the bike is his only mode of transportation I am helping him out with the purchase, since he is also a teacher and his cash flow is not always to the positive on a big ticket item like this. So if it were for me I would take less of a probability that the bike can go a few years without a major expense to the clutch and seal repair. But in my brother's situation I need to increase the probability that the bike will run longer without a seal issue. I have been taking care of my little brother sine he was picked on in school. He was bantam like when we were little and he never backed down even if the bully was twice his size, but I always had his back. And as old men now he is still my little brother. I have also looke at a much less expensive bike that has had all major issues addressed over it's life span......a 1994 1100RSA......maintained by a BMW enthusiast. But it has 106000 miles. So I am doing the probability calculation on that one as well. .

  15. #15
    Blocking the slow lane
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    Quote Originally Posted by moralem View Post
    I am looking at a 2003 k1200rs or a k1200gt. I have read that each has the potential for a transmission seal to leak leading to clutch failure. The gt has 73k miles but had the seal failure at 62k miles and had a new clutch and plate put in. The gt has service records for the life of the bike The rs has 60k miles but only has a service record of the 60k mile service being done and no history of the seal issue. If the seal issue has not presented itself at 60k what are the chances that it has dodged the bullet? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    You may wish to move this question over to the Flying Brick forum.....the bikes you are talking about here have the previous generation K-four engine.
    Jon Diaz
    BMW K75/K12GT
    BMWMOA Ambassador

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