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Thread: K12RS versus K12S

  1. #1
    On the Road
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Helena, Montana

    K12RS versus K12S

    Hello All,

    I currently have an 02 K12RS that I love, but am really impressed with the technical upgrades on the 'S'. I know the S is lighter and more nimble, but what about the riding position? I have no issues with the riding position on the RS and, frankly, don't understand all the blogs that have complained about the riding position over the years. But what about the S, is it that much more tiring to ride long distances than the RS?


  2. #2
    Honey Badger Semper_Fi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Kingston, NH
    Moving to wedge - hang on!
    2011 R1200 GSA Smoke Grey Metallic Matt
    2009 G450X White
    IBA #35651
    Rogue Moderator

  3. #3
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Lancaster County, PA
    I had a '00 K12RS prior to my '05 K12S, actually had them both for a couple months. I'd take the RS out once in a while but quite honestly, after being on the "S", the RS was just too heavy. The RS was a little more upright, depending on the position of the adjustable handle bars. I ended up putting a K1200R triple tree on my "S", and a Corbin seat which is scooped out lower than stock, so it is very similar to the RS now. My knees are bent a little more than on the RS but that does not bother me at all. I rarely ride 2 up, my wife just isn't in to it. My typical ride is somewhere around 250-300 twisty miles, but have done 650 and 700 mile days.

    I love the ESA, being able to stiffen/soften the ride while on the go. The new suspension is great, as well as the lower weight, it makes twisty roads even more fun that the RS was. Of course the power is differant, less linear than the RS in my opinion, more on and off. The RS would pull from fairly low RPM all the way to redline, the "S" doesn't pull as hard at low RPM, but seems to hit nitros at about 6500. The final drive/clutch/engine issues that I keep hearing about have me wondering if I should have kept my RS, but at 20k miles I haven't had an issue with any of those big ticket items. I did have the fuel strip replaced (out of warranty, $300+ something, don't remember) but so far so good on everything else.

  4. #4
    Registered User 119240's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    I went from a K75S to a K1200S
    '91 K75S, '06 K1200S
    BMWMOA #119240
    YB # 1463
    NRA #154764753

  5. #5
    I'd rather be riding... spanky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Colorado Springs
    I went from an '04 RS to an '06 S and there are days when I miss the old RS especially the cruise control and slightly more upright riding position. I don't miss the weight or handling except when I've been out on the interstate in nasty crosswinds. I agree with another poster who talked about the power distribution difference between the bikes. The RS is definitely linear, the S' throttle is like an on-off switch. Heavy acceleration on the S is almost violent and you're concentrating as much at hanging on as you are controlling the bike. That was where the RS' weight came in to play in a more positive way, it's more of a gentleman's sport tourer as opposed to the S being closer to crotch rocket status.

    Prior to buying the S I'd taken my RS up into Montana and as far south as Texas Hill Country. While many here wouldn't flinch at doing a multi-state trip on an S there is no way in hell my body could handle 500+ mile days on end.

    In short the S' power is seductive but beware the potential mechanical pitfalls others have mentioned. Mine surges, has a clunky tranny, and the cam chain noise. All these things are out of warranty.

    So, to sum it up how do I feel about my S? I like it a lot but find myself cruising Cycletrader, eBay, and Craigslist for a sweet, low mileage RS or GT.
    '02 RT
    '06 K12s bumblebee

  6. #6
    Registered User 58058D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Mendocino, CA USA about as far left as you can get in the lower 48
    See my post on the other forum (Y2K12RS). Most all the issues for the earlier models have been remedied in the new 1300S, and for me at least, all the recall issues have been addressed quite promptly and completely. The power on the 13 is greater and smoother, I am told, than the 1200S. The electronic upshift assist, traction control, latest abs, suspension mods on the fly....all icing on the cake.
    Jim Douglas '00 K1200RS >138,000 miles -- Black, 01/10/2000 to present
    Gone: White '09 K1300S sold @ 22k mi, Black '93 K1100RS traded @ 78k mi, Red '85 K100RS sold @ 44k mi, '06 Kaw 650R chrome yellow track bike sold

  7. #7
    I have not ridden the K1300S, but I have ridden over 15k on an 05 K12S and another 17 on an 08 K12S. I would say the problems of the early K12S have generally been solved by the 08 model.

  8. #8
    One Man Wolfpack Kent Niederhofer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    West Bloomfield, MI
    Quote Originally Posted by goldeneyes View Post
    I have not ridden the K1300S, but I have ridden over 15k on an 05 K12S and another 17 on an 08 K12S. I would say the problems of the early K12S have generally been solved by the 08 model.
    For those of you who are interested in the technical performance improvements in the K1300S over the K1200S (as well as R and GTs), please read the June 2009 issue of Ricardo Quarterly. Ricardo GmbH did the powertrain development work on the K13 which addressed the shortfalls of a highly capable engine:

    As an aside, I got to ride a K1300S prototype while in Germany and knew I had to have one after it came out. It took another year of negotiating with my wife (after a 25 year absence from riding) and I now have a 2009 K1300S in Light Grey Metallic... and it is sweet!

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