I've got an'04 1150 GS and have not ridden an RT yet; therefore, my response may or my not be of much help. I'm 63 with a 32" inseam and have ridden my GS 50,000 miles mostly on long cross country trips; best was 9,000 mile trip to Seattle and back home to Tennessee.
Originally Posted by striders
I love my GS; best motorcycle I've owned-had 7 since 17. It is pretty heavy, 560 lbs (1200 is 50 lbs lighter), and tall (1200 is a tad lower). Because of the weight and height I've dropped it at least a dozen times, virtually all at or near a standstill. Other than twice breaking a turn signal lens (always left side) it doesn't get hurt as I have cylinder protection bars and always ride with system cases attached. On level surfaces picking it up is never a problem, but once I dropped it in heavy gravel on a steep hill and it was a real chore to right it.
It is a very comfortable bike for really long rides. On my 10 day trip to Seattle I averaged ~500 miles/day, longest was 630 miles. After reaching Santa Fe all of the roads were beautiful back country roads. It rides well on interstate highways, back roads and gravel or dirt roads, and corners better than any bike I've ever ridden. I use a Throttlemeister throttle lock, aftermarket handle bars, which moves position up and back, and a BackUp backrest to make life easier. The original windscreen sucks above 50 mph!!!! I went through several iterations before finding an acceptable solution--I use the GS Adventure screen with Torbinators. I've never replaced the seat as I've always found the stock seat to be adequately comfortable. My friends have told me I've obviously got a "BMW butt". Although I try to avoid riding after dusk (too many deer) I found night time illumination to be inadequate and added PIAA driving lights.
I do my own maintenance and repairs and have found the GS to be as easy to work on as my former BMWs (R90/6 and R80/7) with the exception of changing tires alone (is royal PITA due to rim depth).
RT or GS
The height might be the decision maker, but you need to check it out. Seems Orlando's Craigslist got several bikes you could try.
2008 1200GS http://orlando.craigslist.org/mcy/3323429209.html
2003 1150RS http://orlando.craigslist.org/mcy/3319143105.html
1997 1100RT http://orlando.craigslist.org/mcy/3276528291.html
I'm riding a 2004 R1150RT with the standard seat in the highest position (32" inseam). Just rode it last weekend together with my wife through the Texas Hill Country around Kerrville. We did 512 miles in one day and enjoyed every mile. On the interstate or twisty roads the bike is awesome. Now off-road is a different animal. Depending on where you want to drive, who your driving buddies are (street or off-road bikes), and how much luggage you want to carry will influence your decision. Living in Florida I guess you don't have to face snow or ice cold wind and therefore a full fairing might not be on the top of your accessory list.
R1200GS low seat on Craigslist TX
Rt vs GS
I just traded my r1150 for a R1200Rt. The R1150 was great for all kind of riding. THe Rt was hard to get used to in gravel, My drive way is 400 yards down a dirt mud sloping hill. After one month I am used to the RT in all kinds of gravel and dirt, BUT it sucks in deeep mud. The protection is fantastic. It is lowered 1.5" my inseam is only 30" on a good day. I tend to stand in bad gravel and a few low water crossings. I couldn't be happier. BTW I have always been scared of dirt bikes, this one is a great all round bike. Go to a dealer for a long ride on each, that will make up your mind.
Russel seat makes it great to ride all day.
A friend of mine, a retired highway patrolman who rode the 1200RTP at work, had this to say when I asked him about the RT vs. GS:
"A GS will do everything an RT will do. An RT won't do everything a GS will do." He was referring to the better off-highway capabilities of the GS, while the GS can go anywhere an RT will go, and keep up quite nicely.
I have a 1200GS that I have put about 16000 miles on, including a few 1000+ mile days. While I have been lusting after the RT, every time I get back from riding my GS, I think "What a great bike!"
I'm 5'9," 175lbs., with a 29-30" inseam. I replaced my BMW low seat with a Sargent low seat, which is a little taller, and much more comfortable.
I did a test-sit on a lowered GS, and if I were trading in I'd go low - it feels steadier at rest. I too have dropped my standard GS a few times when I think and extra inch of leg would have made a difference in staying upright. If I ever get an RT, the FIRST farkle will be engine guards up front and Wunderlich tip-over bars in back (or buy an RTP with its standard protection).
One other consideration is the shape of the bags. The RT bags are streamlined, while the GS bags, both BMW and aftermarket, are generally "square," making them easier to pack things like a large laptop.
There was a write-up in Motorcycle Consumer News in 2010 that is interesting. It was a sport-tourer evaluation of the Honda VFR 1200F, the Kasasiki Concours 14, and the Yamaha FJR. A 1200GS was drafted to haul the camera gear. When the test was done, the evaluators all liked the GS better than the dedicated sport-tourers.
As others have said, definitely test-sit both, including the low models. Ride if you can. Good luck with your decision.
Last edited by Bunker; 10-27-2012 at 12:41 PM.
I have an '08 GS, and my brother has an '06 RT, and we have made several long trips together. His bike is heavier, faster, has more fuel capacity, gets better gas mileage, has more load bearing capacity, and more protection from the elements. It is also quite sensitive to off road terrain. He replaced the seat with an aftermarket version shortly after buying it.
My GS is a good deal lighter and easier to handle. Handles moderate off road conditions, ie, dirt and gravel, rock roads with ease. I have an aftermarket seat, windshield and PIAA lights. The way it is set up, it is a very comfortable touring bike. The bike is geared low and suffers poor mileage at touring speeds. I wish it had a bigger gas tank. Heavily loaded at 80+ speeds I get aroung 32 mpg. No load on 60 mph two laners it jumps up to 42-45 mpg. I completely ran out of gas on a desolate highway in Montana after 161 miles, running 85-90 mph.
They are both fine bikes. I am 66 yrs old, and the GS suits me. It is lighter and easy to handle, like riding a bike. If I was younger, I would probably go with the RT, unless I planned to do significant off road traveling.