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Thread: Gs vs gsa

  1. #1

    Gs vs gsa

    Have a 2011 RT that I have really enjoyed for the last year. But, would like to do some gravel roads. I am 6' with a 32 inch inseam. My RT came with a low seat which I enjoy in town traffic but switch to the high position for trips.

    Looking to switch to a 2011 GS or GSA. Any thoughts on preferences between a R 1200 GS vs R 1200 GS adventure? Want to eventually do the Alaska trip. Thanks for any thoughts.

  2. #2
    2011 R1200RT ka5ysy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Prairieville, Louisiana
    The GSA is the better bang for buck. It already comes equipped with farkles that most GS owners spend big bucks to upgrade to. I find the GSA windscreen way better than the GS version, though both really suck compared to my RT with the CalSci windscreen. The huge tank on the GSA also gives better weather protection, kind of like the fairings on the RT. To me, the GS is a lot like my old R1200R: Lots of wind blast all over. Great for warm or hot weather, but kinda bad for any real weather riding. Suspensions on both are ok for highway riding, and both bikes handle quite nicely for such large machines. Low speed maneuvers are easy with either one. If you drop them, the GS is much easier to pick up, the GSA being a real heavy beast with all the gas onboard. Neither bike is really a dirt bike. Way to heavy !

    FWIW, gravel roads are not a really big deal on the RT either, unless deep and loose. Forest roads, etc. are not a problem. YMMV.

    Given a choice of the three, I would still stick with the RT simply because it is so versatile and can do a lot of things really well. The GS bikes are great machines too, but most never see any kind of activity people dream about doing. Given they end up being used by the Walter Mittys of the world and never go off-road, they are essentially street bikes anyway, without the weather protection and other amenities like cruise, etc.
    Doug, 2011 R1200RT Polar Metallic
    MSF #127350, Instructor, Louisiana Dept of Public Safety
    Motorcycle Safety, Awareness & Operator Training Program
    NAUI Instructor #36288, Board Member, Divers Alert Network

  3. #3


    Thanks for the thoughts. And what does YMMV stand for? So you have done the gravel roads and forest roads on the RT?

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Northern Front Range, CO
    ymmv= your mileage may vary.
    i've ridden both the GSA and the GS, though neither one extensively. i MUCH prefered the GS, due to its smaller size, lower height, and much less weight. some of the features of the GSA - especailly the driving lights- are not an upgrade that i would do at that price- way poor bang-for-buck, as they price around $450, but throw very little light, and are not even that great as conspicuity lighting.
    my advice would be to take each bike for a ride, back-to-back, and take YOUR word on which better suits your needs. (and, if you're looking at a GS for primarily/exclusively solo riding... don't discount the F800.)
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Craftsbury, Vermont
    I have one of each, and love each for different purposes. The GSA hauls a lot of gear, is a great long range ride, and gives more protection from rain, snow and cold temps. Like Bikerfish, I found the OEM aux lights insufficient. Last summer on our way to and from the rally, I got up at 3am to escape the heat of the day. The amount of light they put out was pitiful, and I've since swapped them out for Kristas. (Must remember to put OEM lights in the flea market!) I think there are better crashbars on the market, and I definitely like my Jesse bags better than the ADV bags. But since converting it to a tug for my dog's sidecar I haven't done anything else to it, and I'm very happy with it on long journeys.

    My GS with spokes, TKC80s, PivotPegs, Kristas, Ohlins, TT saddle, Jesse bags is my blast down dirt roads at insane speeds bike. It brings me joy in a different way. But I had to spend some $$ to get it that way.

    Both are great bikes, and there really is no wrong choice.

    '12 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Tulliver

  6. #6
    I personally wish they'd make a GS with all the Adventure features minus the large tank. The weight of the fuel is a real disadvantage in rough going, especially when you have to pick the bike up.

    A set of tank panniers provides similar protection to the large tank while carrying stuff closer to the bike's center of mass.

    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

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Northern WV
    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    I personally wish they'd make a GS with all the Adventure features minus the large tank. The weight of the fuel is a real disadvantage in rough going, especially when you have to pick the bike up.


    I don't understand, Ian. If just the additional 3.5 gallons (20#) capacity is the problem, why not simply fill the 8.5 gallon tank with whatever gallons (weight) of gasoline you like?
    14 R1200GSA, 93 R100R, 15 FJ-09, 15 Road King, 07 Moto Guzzi Griso No car is as fun to drive as any motorcycle is to ride.

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