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Thread: Choosing between a GS and R12 RT

  1. #1

    Choosing between a GS and R12 RT

    I am trying to sell my K 12 RS because I feel I need to move to a more upright riding profile. I use to ride an R 1100 RT before moving to the K 12 RS.

    I'm looking for opinions from riders that have ridden both a later model GS and an RT. Which bike do you like and why.

    Thanks, Tom B. / Kansas City

  2. #2
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Hi Tom, is NOT a K bike...but you had an 1100 RT so you know...

    Have an '05 RT and a '09 GSA...had a '05 GS prior to the Adventures.
    Quickest answer is the RT is the 4 door sport sedan...quick/nimble one or two up, stylish with a few extra comforts such as push button adjustment of the windscreen and good lower leg protection from rain/cold.Heated seats are an option available on the RT,as well as cruise...the cruise is really nice.
    The GS is a bit more leaner in feel and response,even though a smidge less HP and gearing, Taller than the RT, but handles as well or better, even on pavement. Does two up OK, just not as comfortable for some as the RT. You will get wet on this bike,especially the lower legs & feet.

    The fairing does not move on the RT, the windscreen mounted on the handlebars does on the GS...some do not care for the feel of the RT for that reason...took a bit of getting used to for me,but not a deal breaker.You also know that feeling.

    Advantage however between the two is you can try any road with the GS you might think twice on with the RT. I now take my RT places I wouldn't take it before, but it is easy to scratch and break plastic that is not on the GS and the tires don't care for the slightest of muddy/loose conditions comfortably. Carrying capacity with stock GS sidecases are close to the RT's...

    Fuel economy is higher with the RT..I seem to average in the 50's...the GSA in the mid 40's. The stock GS has a shorter range than the RT.

    I ride the GSA all the time as it's tank profile mimics the protection of the RT...other than the feet. The larger cases hold a lot more and the tank is larger than the RT. If I had to pick..the GS or the GSA wins for me, the fun factor sells it for riding partner only climbs on back when she parks hers to run to restraunt on trips...

    One 52 year old,6'1" s opinion...stand by for more...and you will be happy regardless
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  3. #3


    Thanks, Steve. That was a well detailed comparison. Very enlightening. I do have an LT for when my wife want to go along. I do, however, do a lot more riding by myself or with another fellow rider.

    I am just looking for something that will fill my desire to run around local but will still take me across the country at a whim. Whichever I decide on I'll probably look for an after market seat with a rider backrest.

    I thank you for your help. I wish you safe and enjoyable riding.


  4. #4
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    You need to test ride a GS then...test ride one and you will be impressed it will do all you describe...I've ridden both long distances...the GS is up to the task and FUN especially one up.

    Good luck & enjoy the ride
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  5. #5
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    GSA here:)

    Long line of GS's and a current GSA'07. Came off a KLT1200, as I just had to try the king sized BMW for a few years, but back to GSA again for me. Talk about protection, the KLT gives plenty(like RT's). My new GSA is very good, with its 9 gallon tank, that gives equal protection to the legs. The windsceen is tiny in comparison and its what it is, for an offroader and provides fair protection. Packing, I find the GSA a TON easier to pack, even two up, including camping gear, where the KLT had very limited space for this. I use Jesse Bags, the big ones(Safari's). CON; The GSA gets poor mpg's, compared to the Road only Bikes, with fairings. I get 37-39, running fast, 75-80mph and do much better if I keep the speed below 70...Its gets 42-43 mpg here. My best GSA mileage is at 55-60mph and it hits the higher 45+ mpg's. Not a great mileage bike on gas , but it has a TON of ability to go places others do not have! The GS lineup has always been considered one of the BEST handlers of all bikes, BMW and otherwise! Randy

  6. #6
    Registered User mistercindy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    N. Dallas 'burb
    I came very close to trading in my 12GS for a 12RT because the stock screen beat the heck out of me with buffetting and noise. I test rode the 12RT and its a wonderful bike. But, as a last resort, I put an Aeroflow on my 12GS and that solved the noise and buffetting headaces. That was in early 2006 and I haven't looked back.

    I've ridden my 12GS just under 40,000 miles and its a great bike. You just can't deny its versatility. Every time I'm on the road and I want to turn onto some gravel or pot-hole filled road I'm very happy to be on my 12GS. And its a superb commuter. You sit high enough to see over and around a lot of SUVs, and its high clearance and shock length make it easy to ride across medians and grass to get away from traffic jams, etc... With the Aeroflow I have RT type quiet at highway speeds. And I never worry about dinging or laying the bike down on expensive plastic. Its a great bike.

    There may yet be a 12RT or its successor in my future. It gets better mileage, has better range, its better two-up, and there's no doubt that its a better pure highway/street machine. So, ride both, evaluate what you want to do, and get what you like.
    '05 R1200GS
    Former owner of an '03 R1150R
    BMWMOA #113847

  7. #7

    GS vs RT

    Hello, Grant. I thank you for the input. With the info coming in I am more and more leaning toward the GS. Your mention of the larger windshield follows the thought of a friend that lives in NM. He said the A-- windshield made such a better ride it was almost like a different bike.

    I, like you, went to an LT reluctantly (to please the wife). My heart is just not in the LT. But luckily she doesn't tag along very often. I would really like to shed the LT for an RT.

    Thanks, Tom

  8. #8

    Tippy toe feeling on a GS

    Purely a subjective sense I know but the GS felt more tippy toe (if that makes any sense) I felt too high and exposed on the GS.

    I bought an RT and am very pleased with it for the most part. The whole gravel road thing is a deterrent from some of the great back roads around here.

    I like the comparison between the RT and a sport sedan. I think that's apt.

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