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Thread: 2003 K1200RS or K1200GT

  1. #1
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    2003 K1200RS or K1200GT

    I am looking at a 2003 k1200rs or a k1200gt. I have read that each has the potential for a transmission seal to leak leading to clutch failure. The gt has 73k miles but had the seal failure at 62k miles and had a new clutch and plate put in. The gt has service records for the life of the bike The rs has 60k miles but only has a service record of the 60k mile service being done and no history of the seal issue. If the seal issue has not presented itself at 60k what are the chances that it has dodged the bullet? Any thoughts would be appreciated. You may have seen this post over in the wedge forum and it was suggested I move over here. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    From the top...

    Truly, life is a gamble. Maybe the GT let go prematurely and the RS has a failed seal in its future. Maybe the GT stayed on the probability curve formed by all the other failed seals and the RS will never let go. Or just plain maybe stuff happens.

    Your best bet is to decide which bike makes your heart go pitty-pat and then use your head to decide if you can afford major repairs for your choice. BMW's, in general, aren't as cheap to maintain as UJM's. Past that, life is truly a gamble, with only the leaving of it a certainty. Have a nice day.
    Honest, these bikes are basically the same animals with detail changes. Unless you have a crystal ball with 20-20 foresight, you're just going to have to roll the bones and hope you don't come up with snake-eyes.

    The RS is a little sportier and the GT is a little more touring - it's all in the ergos. The RS never had the heated seats the GT had - you can retro-fit them on the RS but it's going to take a little effort and luck from the used bike supply chain. The same is true for the hand guards and leg guards that are stock on the GT. Hint: if you have the RS, you can get the GT handguards in their law enforcement version (added passage for wiring for flashing lights) for $38 ea. The "civilian" version goes for $158 each - and that's the cleaner, less complicated part - go figure. Either part is a bolt-on item. The leg guards go for $178 each and you'll have to drill the RS' tupperware for mounting points.

    The GT's bars and windshield favor a slightly more upright or "RT" riding position. OTOH, I like my RS for long rides - I'm 6'1" with a 34" inseam.

    The point here is really that you're best off picking the bike that stays in your heart. Sweating the possibility one or the other will have problems will only ruin your day.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  3. #3
    Registered User 58058D's Avatar
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    ++1 to RB, (and The Top).
    The phrase 'so far' would need to be added to the bullet dodging comment, and how long a given seal job will last is also a crap shoot....There are several reasons one or another seal may fail. I had one trans seal go due to 'who knows', followed by another because the first replacement was not done correctly I am told, then the clutch slave seal failed and caused the tranny seal to fail, causing the gear-oil covered clutch need replacement along with the clutch slave and tranny seal....Did that one myself and learned a lot.

    Some fail, some don't. Since it is a reasonable possibility that either will have a seal failure within the next 50,000 miles, that part of the decision is about even, and I would not let it bother me at all. Like RB says, which one suits you best? Go with that one.
    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 http://www.seagullbb.com/

  4. #4
    mayojuaf
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    I had an rs 2003 two years ago and now a GT2004. I believe having good records means the bike has been taken care. Fluids changes, oil, filters, valves etc. Clutch and slave seal... This is very important.
    GT has as extra heated seat, motor windshield, more wind protection for legs.
    The RS only one service information? what did they service? did they change all fluids? how did the fluid come out? all black and rusty or pretty much clear? they did valves?
    I would no doubt go for the GT
    My 2 cents

  5. #5
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    I appreciate the feedback. I am prone to go with the bike with more records and owner involvement
    . I am going to check the bike out this weekend.

  6. #6
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Are either or both bikes dealer sales? It may be that a dealer can run down some info on where the bike's been. OTOH, if a bike is just passing through the hands of a private seller, your options are limited. That said, having tons of records isn't always good news.

    We bought a '90 VW Westphalia (pop-top camper) with a ton of paperwork (and 180K+ on the clock). I looked through some of it at the time, nothing scary jumped out, and we bought the van. Reading through the stack of paper later showed the thing ate transmissions (we seem to have transaxle #4) and that we seem to be on engine #3. That said, we did a trip from Phila., PA to Key West and back and (aside from a popped brake line) all went well. Yeah, I should have taken a couple of hours to sort through the paperwork. If I weren't standing in the guy's living room and we weren't 350 miles from home with no way back but that Westy we came to buy.

    The point is, the vehicle will say more about what's been done (or not) to keep it flying than a stack of paper. While I missed on the state of the wiring (PO made some scary changes), otherwise the vehicle has checked out pretty much as I expected from climbing over it.

    Back to the bikes... the GT may have a ton of paper behind it, but the owner may have flogged it unmercifully. The RS, OTOH, might have had a generally good life and wasn't rode hard and put away wet. Looking at the bike for signs of boogered bolts and nuts, chipped paint, scratched casings, etc. will tell you a lot.

    And past that, all parts have a MTBF - mean time between failure. But it's only a mean or average. Any one part could have popped the day after delivery, or not pop for the life of the bike. Yeah, we're back to life is a gamble.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  7. #7
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    Yeah, life is a gambe and I am almost paralyzed into not making a decision. but sooner or later I have to take a position. Honestly if money was no issue I would get the RS and an RT that just came available in my area. A 2000 with 12000 miles and a great price point. I know, that is a whole other bike, but then I would have one of the boxers to go along with a brick. Yeah life is a pain isn't it. If I ever pull the trigger I will let you all know. And neither bike is through a dealer. The RS is from a guy who just bought the bike and now says he needs to sell and the GT is from an older gentleman who has wend the bike for years, but needs to sell because his health is affecting his strenthg to hande the bike. And the RT is from a guy who as owned the bike sincev2007 and has only put 7000 miles on it in the last five years. The motor is barely broken in. As difficult as this is I am thankful that I am in a position to at least acquire one of these. Amen.

  8. #8
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Indeed, feel free to give thanks that you can be in this dilemma.

    FWIW, of the three, and this is totally sight unseen and having zero sense of your riding interests, I'd rank the bikes 1) GT, 2) RS, 3) RT.

    If at all possible, try to ride the RT and either the RS or GT back to back. The RT is simply not as smooth as the K bikes and a comparison will show this in a heartbeat. Additionally, particularly if you're riding two-up, you'll find you'll do more "gear jammin'" with the RT than the K bikes. I ride regularly with a friend with an R1200RT and I've ridden RT's, too. The K's simply have more muscle.

    Unless the RT really, really calls out to you, I'd let that one pass. On the K's, certainly the provenance on the GT seems better and you have some sense of who rode the bike. From what you've written, I don't think the GT was, in fact, rode hard and put away wet.

    The RS is clearly something of an unknown. You're left having to depend on what a bike flipper has to say about the bike - maybe he knows where the bike came from and you can do some homework on that. Or not.

    At least on the intellectual side, I'd still opt for the GT over the other two (engine vibes and shifting, unknown provenance versus somewhat known commodity). With the RT running a distant third in my thinking, the gut check is on whether you want to be a lot sporty in your riding or want to sit up a bit more while still being somewhat sporty. The RT and GT riding ergos are similar, the RS will have you a bit more forward and a bit more folded, with more wind coming over the windshield. What suits ya?

    - - - -

    As an aside, I recently demoed a K1300GT with bar-backs and lowered pegs. The GT had lots of go, the ESA suspension could be tuned to lose some of that chatter from a stretch of chewed up road and then tightened up when I hit some good twisties. The engine and throttle response were close to my RS' only with a little more power. But the bar-backs and the pegs utterly ruined the bike. There was far less sense of what the front end was doing, and far more steering effort needed when the going got tight - that was the bar-backs' fault. The dropped pegs were... like riding a horse with stirrups that are too long - not fun for "the boys" and, again, less contact with the bike and its inputs.

    I brought the bike back sooner than I'd planned (Hermy's BMW very nicely expects demos to last for several tens of miles, not just around the block) and, given a chance to ride it again, passed. Yeah, that bad.

    The point here is a) go with the bike for more than just around the block before messing with it, and b) don't mess with the bike just because all the other guys do. There's more than a small chance that BMW really does know how to make a bike work.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

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