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Thread: Seeking Purchase Advice after Long Absence!

  1. #1
    Registered User David R. McCoy's Avatar
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    Seeking Purchase Advice after Long Absence!

    Good Afternoon! I just joined the club after having been away from motorcycling for some time (though maintaining my endorsement) and I am looking for some advice. My first BMW was a '75 75/5 in the mid 80's whilst living in Cincinnati. What a Great Ride! I now reside in Clallam County, WA and am interested in acquiring another BMW and am not sure which to consider (Air-Head. Oil-Head, etc). I'm not looking for a new one nor am I in a hurry. I am 56 and my bride of 5 years supports this and is looking forward to some nice long rides & some tours either here in the states or in B.C. Canada (Dual Citizen, eh!). Should I shop local (west of the cascades) or more broadly? A chap waiting w/a group of 3 others to take the ferry to Victoria suggested that which ever design I favour, to pick the last model year in that design.

    Thanks for your assistance!
    David R. McCoy

  2. #2
    Stronger, Faster, Tougher iRene's Avatar
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    I'd focus more on what type of riding you plan to do and narrow a search to models that historically fill the niche.
    Will you haul camping gear, or do you plan to hotel?
    What percentage of time will you spend 2-up vs. solo?
    Is your riding style more leisurely or... energetic? Any offroad meandering? Extended tours or day/weekend rides?
    Start with a list of what you plan to do, and perhaps we can get you pointed in the right direction.
    Welcome aboard! I'm sure we can get you on the right track.
    MOA Ambassador
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    '08 R1200GS | '60 R60

  3. #3
    Honey Badger Semper_Fi's Avatar
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    David Welcome Aboard!

    Please review Irene's comments - you need a clear understading of how you will want to use your bike.

    From there you can tree down to the model that best fits your needs.

    Luis
    2011 R1200 GSA Smoke Grey Metallic Matt
    2009 G450X White
    IBA #35651
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  4. #4
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    Glad to have you here David.

    Good advice above.

    Please let us know when you get the bike and post a pic so we can drool.

    PS A lot of folks do a lot of 2 up riding/touring on the GS.

  5. #5
    Registered User David R. McCoy's Avatar
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    Type o' riding...

    Thanks, iRene, et al for all your reflections. I(we) will probably:

    1. Motel vs. camp for the first couple of years,
    2. Ride 2-up for at least 75% of the time,
    3. Ride at a leisurely style,
    4. Little off-road excursions, mostly highway but prefer to avoid the interstates where feasible,
    5. Weekend jaunts (2-4 day) w/at least an annual 1-2 week

    What's next to consider and identify?
    David R. McCoy

  6. #6
    535IS
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRMcCoy View Post
    Thanks, iRene, et al for all your reflections. I(we) will probably:

    1. Motel vs. camp for the first couple of years,
    2. Ride 2-up for at least 75% of the time,
    3. Ride at a leisurely style,
    4. Little off-road excursions, mostly highway but prefer to avoid the interstates where feasible,
    5. Weekend jaunts (2-4 day) w/at least an annual 1-2 week

    What's next to consider and identify?
    Airhead RT ...

  7. #7
    Prefers to play martinph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRMcCoy View Post
    Thanks, iRene, et al for all your reflections. I(we) will probably:

    1. Motel vs. camp for the first couple of years,
    2. Ride 2-up for at least 75% of the time,
    3. Ride at a leisurely style,
    4. Little off-road excursions, mostly highway but prefer to avoid the interstates where feasible,
    5. Weekend jaunts (2-4 day) w/at least an annual 1-2 week

    What's next to consider and identify?
    Welcome,
    Looks like an RT of some kind would do you. You dont say how big you are, a Oilhead GS is a handful. Lots of Airhead RT's still around! Or maybe an Oilhead R.
    Drop by if you are up this way.
    Martin.
    Martin. BMW MOA Ambassador.17748
    BMW MOA Charter, Life member.
    Valley BMW Riders. British Columbia.

  8. #8
    Rally Rat PAULBACH's Avatar
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    Welcome Aboard! You have come to the right place.

    A question about the best bike could start a fight in an empty barroom.

    Try out several at a dealer. I don't think you will loose no matter which bike you select

    except ...

    ABS is a fine feature.

    Paul

  9. #9
    Registered User David R. McCoy's Avatar
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    Thanks, Paul & Martin for the welcome and feedback!

    That fight would probably be with the three of me! But alas, at some point I will just need to make a choice, put down some $$ and get on my horse(s) and ride!

    I stand 6'2.5", 210-215 lbs. My Bride, Susanne is 5'8" about 170lbs (ouch, am I in trouble now or what?!). I don't expect a concensus on "Best" but hopefully some good advice from the wealth of knowledge and experience y'all have in this organization.

    Martin, what part of B.C. do you hail from? I just regained my Canadian Citizenship & acquired my Passport this past April so I spent Canada Day in Victoria and had a Great time!

    Are there any significant differences in those manufactured for Canada vs the USA or are they more subtle in nature?
    David R. McCoy

  10. #10
    Addicted to curves azgman's Avatar
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    You'll want to try a K1200LT...
    MOA #107139
    RA #28511

  11. #11
    Registered User David R. McCoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWPhreak View Post
    You'll want to try a K1200LT...
    Why do you suggest the K1200LT?
    David R. McCoy

  12. #12
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    At your size and expressed intent, I'd go for an R1200RT, or R1150RT. Or a GS. The GS's are the sleeper tourers. Almost as good as the RT's, but with a bit more fun and silliness thrown in. A K12LT might fit you even better, but ... it's a whole other kind of riding.

    Much of it comes down to your budget. A used oilhead (1100 or 1150) GS or RT will be from around $5k to $10k depending on the year and condition. A hexhead (1200) will start a few thousand higher.

    Get a sense of your budget and go to a dealership for some test rides of comparable machines. You'll get a much better sense of how these new bikes fit your idea of what riding is.

  13. #13
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    You've received some good advice here, but let me muddy the waters. Perhaps you should buy a much smaller bike, for example a 250cc enduro, to get your feet wet. A few months of riding a smaller bike, developing your skills and building confidence may make your reintroduction to riding go much more smoothly. Such a bike can be had for a relatively small amount when purchased used.
    Kevin Huddy
    The Outpost, Silver City, Montana

  14. #14
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    75/5, mine too:)

    My first BMW, that is! And so many since, lost count. I was just out cleaning my R100/7, my other love since I bought it new in '78. My current GSA1200 is a fine 2 people bike, with a lot of adventure thrown in and its VERY tour oriented too. Many of the GS lineup of years past are just superb bikes for two, BUT. I've had the BIG K1200LT in '01 and my wife and I, towing a trailer behind it, toured 97000 on it. Its the BIGGEST BMW with the most comfort for two up riding, period. A big seat! 800+lbs, the bike, is doable, but KNOW your limitations after being away for years. You can learn the bigger bikes, but do it with a degree of caution, as with ALL bikes. The bigger one just gives you the additional weight to handle and once you're settled(used to it), its all fine. Happy Trails to ya and welcome to the outdoors again. Randy

  15. #15
    What's that noise...? basketcase's Avatar
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    Don't let the size of the R12 or K12 scare you away.

    I've seen re-entry riders such as your self and even first time motorcycle owners successfully ride off the lot on new Gold Wings and never look back.

    And then I've seen careless (and sometimes experienced) riders drop bikes, run it in a ditch, hit inanimate objects, stopped cars -- about anything.

    My point is that when the basic throttle/shifting/braking skills are laid aside, getting used to and riding a new bike comes down to attitude and approach.

    So what ever you get, take some time by yourself to familiarize yourself with it.

    Sit on it on the center stand in the carport and talk yourself through the controls until you can name and ‘«£touch‘«ō every control without looking.

    Then go to an empty parking lot and practice low speed throttle and balance control by doing large and lazy "figure 8's" in and out of the lines of the spaces to learn the balance.

    Next, start from a dead stop and roll on the throttle just a bit to get some speed, and then brake suddenly and scrub off the speed with a view to holding a straight line.

    Finally, get on a straight and deserted road and practice counter-steering. I.e., push on the left handlebar and go left; push on the right handlebar to go right. Easy does it; get a feel for how the bike wants to right itself and learn how to manage the thing like a dance while moving.

    Granted, your bride may be anxious to go with you. But putting her on the seat behind you will change the weight distribution, center of gravity, and handling. It will be well worth it to be familiar with the ‘«£baseline‘«ō handling before she gets on with you. You can manage much of the weight distribution/COG issues with suspension adjustments.

    Before getting back into riding in 1995, I had sold my last motorcycle (Honda 250 cc street bike) upon moving to grad school. Then I was ‘«£bike-less‘«ō for 13 years until I re-entered on a Honda VT700 Shadow. Before buying the Shadow I went through the same ‘«£can I handle the size‘«ō mental gymnastics. A friend recommended the drills listed above to me so I bought the Shadow in spite of the questions and within a couple of hours I was comfortable handling it.

    Less than a year later I traded the Shadow on a K100RT. By now I was plenty confident but I was still jumping from 700 to 1000 cc‘«÷s, and from a bike I could ‘«£flat foot‘«ō at a top to something where I had to choose one foot or the other as I stopped... It was roughly 10 miles from the BMW dealer at Vinemont, AL, to the interstate down at Cullman. By the time I got to the interstate I was in love‘«™

    Then in 2001 I bought a GL1500 Gold Wing over the phone and had never been on one. I trailered it home and after I did the drills routine I never felt antsy on the Wing.

    I‘«÷ll close with two comments.

    First, I try and ride year round but each Spring I do the same drills just to re-familiarize myself. I also do those drills after installing a new set of tires.

    Next, what ever you get, you will not really ‘«£know‘«ō the bike until after you have spent a long weekend or perhaps a week on it in the mountains or out touring in unfamiliar territory. There will come an epiphany moment in which speed, balance, gearing, and controls usage is automatic and you realize ‘«£I‘«÷m one with this thing.‘«ō Better still will be when it is the two of you in unison with the bike.

    Naturally all this is my humble opinion, but FWIW, it is what I‘«÷ve done myself and seen others do.

    When you get what you want, enjoy it!



    PS: I do think the RT and LT models bring a level of comfort to two-up touring that a GS model will never touch.
    '98 BMW Z3 Roadster, '00 R1100RT

    If you insist on exercising a right to burn our flag, first be so kind as to wrap yourself in it and then douse yourself with gasoline just before you strike the match.

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