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Thread: Considering new R 1200 GS - need advice

  1. #1

    Considering new R 1200 GS - need advice

    I currently own a Kawasaki C14 sport tourer and considering an adventure style bike because of the upright seating position. I narrowed my search to the GS and the Ducati Multistrada. My main concerns are highway wind protection, buffeting, comfort, and reliability. I'm drawn to the adventure seating and weight. Wondering if I'm making a bad decision if most of my riding will be street and highway.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Charlotte, NC

    The upright seating position

    is more comfortable, although if the suspension doesn't do it's job, any bumps go right up your spine.

    The GS (can't speak for the MS) doesn't have as much wind coverage as a sport tourer, although in the hot weather, that is actually a benefit.

    The other item that wasn't asked about was the decrease in weight that you would have by going from the big 4 to the twin. Makes slow speed handling much better!

    Enjoying the ride, but always on the alert for a rally.......

  3. #3
    2011 R1200RT ka5ysy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Prairieville, Louisiana
    Good morning and welcome to the group !

    The wind protection of a GS can be improved with after-market windscreens as a lot of riders have done. A big sell point of the GS is the off-road ability, but in actual fact, very few ever leave the pavement. BMW Marketing has done a great job promoting the "Long Way Around" mentality to prospective purchasers.

    The bike is a lot of fun, and the new LC engine is really nice. I am kind of looking at the new GSA, but simply because I like the bike, and it is different from the RT. All that said, I mostly am on-road at this point in life, and the RT is absolutely the best choice for my specific use. My RT has an upright seating position. Initially it had a slight forward lean that would bother my back after a bit, but putting riser/barbacks on instantly solved that issue and it is a very comfortable position for me now.

    You will note that I am in south Louisiana. It gets very hot here in the summer, but I do not find the RT fairing to have too much wind protection coverage for the heat. The GS will definitely have more air flow because it is basically a naked standard bike, but the RT is, to me, not that much different. The RT is definitely better for cold/wet weather protection. Long trips are easy with the range and the fairing is going to keep the wind buffeting off your body. The GS Adventure comes close in weather protection, and the 2014 LC redesign has a lot of benefits to handling the beast plus cruise control too. The RT's electrically adjustable windscreen is used more than you will realize to set the quiet zone and keep the buffet off your helmet. The GS can do this with manual adjustment, and the newer (2014) bikes have a knob that makes this much easier to adjust.

    You will not go wrong with either choice, as both bikes will give many years of great service and are an absolute hoot to ride.
    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

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Eastern Washington
    I personally know very few people that have regretted getting a GS. I realized years ago that I am GS type of guy. Nothing to do with the image and everything to do with how I use the bike.

    My current GS Adv offers adequate weather protection for my tastes. I like top loading panniers and the ability to easily lash something to the top of them if needed. Since I travel mostly solo I don't do any crazy off road stuff, but I don't hesitate to explore an interesting dirt road or two track trail. In the out of the way areas I prefer to travel there can be quite a few of those.

    For me the do it all nature of the GS makes it the ideal bike for me. Spend some time riding one if you can. I think the Multi's are beautiful bikes with a lot of appeal, but to me the GS seems more rugged. If you do your own maintenance the boxer motor BMW's are pretty easy to work on.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Wilmington, NC
    The Duc is a very different animal from the GS from both a riding and ownership perspective.

    Ducs are not exactly fun from a maintenance perspective- if you do your own.
    If you use a dealer, may not matter. The GS is easily serviced by an owner with a bit of knowledge- but you do need a way to reset the service indicator- either a dealer or a GS 911. The Duc is, for want of a better word, "sportier" than a GS but the GS has very good road manners and generally light handling at normal speeds.

    If you aren't "tall enough" the GS Adv models can be a nuisance just to mount. Not an issue once on board for an experienced rider but at 6 ft with a 30" inseam (and too fast leaving my 60's) both the 1200 and 800 GS higher models are just a pita to me.

    As has been pointed out, few BMW GS ever go off road. Of the folks I know who own one, I can't actually think of anyone who has done anything more than a handful of miles on a gravel road- except a couple who did the Haul Road in Alaska. If you've ridden real dirt bikes, you know the GS is more like a tractor off road- it can do a lot of stuff in the hands of a capable rider but surely is a lousy choice for simple fun off road due to its weight. Anything 200 or more lbs lighter is lot more fun, if less "adventurish", whatever that means. (To me it means more chance to strain some part of your anatomy lifting a heavy bike.)

    At any decent size BMW dealer you should find both the GS and RT demo (AFTER they fix the failing suspension component issue- probably Sept. May still be some camheads around to demo, especially lightly used ones) plus the 6 cyl. So do the obvious and ride at least a couple of them to see what floats your boat.

    I'm an RT type but I also ride 4 other bikes (all BMWs except my Transalp).
    My current RT is an 08 hexhead with about 50K miles that has had no serious failures so far. For rolling up highway miles in comfort there is little that can rival an RT- but no road BMW comes with a fully upright position, not even the RT- but its easily fixed with bar backs.

    One thing often overlooked about the GS is that it not well equipped for visibility in city traffic or for night riding. Single headlight, small and not very visible tail light and other weaknesses. All can be addressed with aftermarket stuff though.

    BMW dealers are few so many owners end up doing their own maintenance. The150 miles to the nearest dealer and the simplicity of the boxer design makes it way preferable to BMWs overly complex K bikes, for me. K's take about double the time for routine maintenance as Rs..

    To give you some idea of my perspective base. The Concours and C14 surely have a solid motor but the styling reminds me a of a clown car, not that I really care much how a bike looks. But the riding position of the C14 is well into the unacceptable zone for touring for me- the lay out on the tank version is no fun for a 400 mile or longer touring day. (I've got a BMW K-RS for that sort of fun anyway)
    Last edited by racer7; 07-05-2014 at 06:42 PM.

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