View Poll Results: Which Bike for Off Road Tour

19. You may not vote on this poll
  • Buy GSA and Lower Bike

    3 15.79%
  • Buy Stock Lower GS and Add Options

    9 47.37%
  • Buy F800GS

    3 15.79%
  • Other Bike, Brand ?

    4 21.05%
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Decisions, Decisions GSA, GS or ???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Decisions, Decisions GSA, GS or ???


    From feedback from other posters I think that at +/- 5'9" (barefoot) and 30" inseam, I may be too short for using a GSA on more technically challenging terrain. I am looking to do some long, cross country trips in developing countries:

    My riding will be:
    -On pavement (But-poor road quality common to expected in sections) 50%
    -Dirt roads 30%
    -Poor dirt roads, washed out in places 20%
    -Developing countries
    -Poor fuel availability, variable quality

    Right or wrong I have a lot of confidence with BMW Boxer reliability, basic maintenance and feel comfortable with the riding position. So (I think) want to stick with a BMW.

    GSA-Pro +
    -A Boxer!
    -Large tank, long range
    -Spoked wheels
    -Low gearing
    -Stocked with extras
    GSA-Con -
    -Very high seat height

    GS-Pro +
    -A Boxer
    -Lower seat height
    GS-Con -
    -Cast rims, prefer spokes
    -Need to add lots of extras (standard on GSA) to get it tour ready

    F800GS- Pro +
    -A BMW
    -Off-road round the world capable (still to be decided?)
    F800GS- Con -
    -Not a Boxer (Is this still relevant?)
    -High seat height
    -Small tank

    With the above in mind am I better off ??:
    -Buying a GSA and making it lower?
    -Buying GSA and learn the Flamingo
    -Buying the lower GS and adding large tanks and extras?
    -Buying another non-BMW bike?

    Appreciate all the advice, feedback and comments from people that have earned their experience the hard way.


  2. #2
    Registered User Anyname's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Portsmouth, NH
    Last year I rode a factory lowered R1200GS and while I liked the lower height, I found that the suspension compliance was quite harsh compared to my standard R1200GS. The difference was pronounced enough that I would plan on spending the money for aftermarket shocks.

  3. #3
    Registered User boxerkuh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Talking Airhead GS

    Well, if you are comfortable with the maintenance, I would go with a Airhead GS and get it set up the way you want to. Fuel, seat height, tires, brakes, suspension, can all be motified, stuff readily available. And you will probably be cheaper than any other option. But I am an Airhead...
    Keep the rubber side down!!
    1986 R 80 RS
    1992 R 100 R
    BMW MOA Life member; Ironbutt Member; Airhead Member

  4. #4
    if you lower a GS, you're pretty much eliminating the one thing that makes it a GS... longer-travel suspension.

    i am 5'8" and 29" inseam and seem to manage.

    the other thing you want to think about is picking the thing up when you fall (notice that i said "when"...).

    full of gas, the GSA is a mutha to lift. regular GS is bad enough.

    i voted a GS for you. leave the suspension how it is... if you buy shocks that are softer, you'll be bottoming them all the time.


    (and no, my R80G/SPD is not for sale!)
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
    __________________________________________________ ________________________________
    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '97 F650ST || '00 1150 GS || '06 HP2e || '07 Xchallenge || '14 Grom

  5. #5

    Training is the answer...

    Kevin Sanders, Double Guinness World Record Holder (Trans Americas and Round the World), run three Trans Americas Expeditions (2005, 2007, 2009), runs BMW Rider Training School for the whole of the UK, Ridden 500,000+ Miles throughout the world all on an 1150GS or 1200GSA, leaving for London to Beijing via Tibet and Everest Base Camp on 17th April.

    He has 29 inside leg.....

    If you really really want to be inspired

    Tamsin is under 5 foot and rides a GS Adventure as an instructor on the Off Road Skills School (Official BMW Off Road School for UK like Rawhyde)

  6. #6
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Atlanta 'burbs
    On the GSA's larger fuel tank: Can your bladder go that many miles?
    On the spoked wheels: they are available on the 'standard' GS.
    On the height of either bike: set the preload way down and you'll bring it closer to Earth. The bike will still be tall, but not as much so. If you come upon some rough goings, just crank the preload back up to deal with it.
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  7. #7
    Registered User stkmkt1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Tremont, IL
    I have a 30" iinseam and manage just fine on my GSA. I do have the extra-low "R" model on it though. My bladder may not go 400 miles but I do typically stop every 300 - 325 miles and fuel up. I can stop in between if I have to take a leak, but I don't have to worry about a gas station.

    The GSA is a bit tough to pick up if it falls over. But given that I am on the tarmak pretty much of the time, I don't see that as a problem. I have picked it up to make sure I can. No problem, but If I was asked to do it about ten times in a row, I might not be able to do it.

    Other than that, I love the GSA. But If I were to go off-roading all the time, I would buy a little bike like the 650 twin. In fact, I think I will anyway, since my wife seems to like that bike. But I'll keep the GSA for me. I love it.
    '09 BMW 1200 GSA, 2013 BMW 700GS, 2000 Goldwing SE, '09' V Star 950, '09 Honda Rebel,
    '77 Honda 750A. Holding at six til I get new garage built - need more room for more bikes!

  8. #8
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Spring Lake NJ, USA

    And the R1200R comes with a low suspension model, although with a 30" inseam - you won't need it..

    Don Eilenberger
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

  9. #9
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Canada and the Alps
    Quote Originally Posted by scwood63 View Post
    I am looking to do some long, cross country trips in developing countries:

    My riding will be:
    -On pavement (But-poor road quality common to expected in sections) 50%
    -Dirt roads 30%
    -Poor dirt roads, washed out in places 20%
    -Developing countries
    -Poor fuel availability, variable quality

    The bike is right, but the vintage is wrong.

    An R80 GS or GS Paris Dakar would be ideal.

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