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Thread: Considering a switch from 2016 RT to 2018 GS or GSA...thoughts appreciated

  1. #1

    Considering a switch from 2016 RT to 2018 GS or GSA...thoughts appreciated

    Greetings all,

    I love touring, long distance day rides, and just exploring. Currently living in the Northeast (CT).

    My consideration is...I don’t really know. The RT is dialed in, so maybe it is just for something different.

    Looking for those with experience that can provide strengths and weaknesses.

    Thanks,
    MadHadder

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadHadder View Post
    Greetings all,

    I love touring, long distance day rides, and just exploring. Currently living in the Northeast (CT).

    My consideration is...I dont really know. The RT is dialed in, so maybe it is just for something different.

    Looking for those with experience that can provide strengths and weaknesses.

    Thanks,
    MadHadder
    Hmm, the RT is much better for touring, bigger fairing, more options, etc.

  3. #3
    Registered User marcopolo's Avatar
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    In late 2015, I traded in my 2006 R1200RT for a 2015 GSA. I just wanted something a little different, and didn't want all the bodywork anymore. I've now had the GSA for almost three years, and have just over 30,000 miles on it. If I could go back in time, would I still make the switch? Yes. I enjoy the GSA...a lot. And it's not that I didn't enjoy the RT. I put just under 100,000 miles on it. What differences did I notice right away? The GSA is a bit louder, and it flows more air. The GSA is geared differently, so the engine is turning more rpms at the same road speed. And, as I mentioned, I get more air, so I assume that there's a bit more wind noise too. I should add, though, that I had an aftermarket screen on my RT, which could have doubled as a barn door. I was well protected from the wind, but in the summer, I prefer the additional air that I get from the GSA, due to its smaller windscreen (still bigger than the GS), and minimal bodywork (it still has more protection than the GS, given its large tank). I bought the BMW aluminum panniers, and top case, and I much prefer them to the RT's cases. They carry more, and are much less fiddly than the RT (I often though I was going to break a latch, or hinge, when I was trying to get the RT's side cases closed, especially when two-up, on a long road trip). I like the lack of body work. I have set my GSA down twice (both times at a dead stop), and not a scratch anywhere. I certainly like the LED headlight, brake light, and driving lights on the GSA (I hated changing headlight bulbs on my RT). I also added Clearwater driving lights, and changed out the turn signal bulbs on the GSA for LEDs as well, so the bike is 100% LED. How does it ride? I think it's great, whether munching miles, or in the twisties. I like touring on it, and in that respect, I don't miss the RT. The GSA is about the same weight as the RT, so it's pretty much a wash there, though the GSA's tank is a bit bigger (GSA, though, is not as aerodynamic). I ride almost exclusively on pavement, but it is nice to be able to ride gravel, and fire roads etc., without giving it a second thought. Yes, you can do that on an RT, but I prefer it on the GSA. I won't get into the liquid-cooled engine on the GSA, as comparing it to my '06 is a bit apples, and oranges. Suffice to say it's a great engine.
    Mark
    2015 R 1200 GS Adventure

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by marcopolo View Post
    In late 2015, I traded in my 2006 R1200RT for a 2015 GSA. I just wanted something a little different, and didn't want all the bodywork anymore. I've now had the GSA for almost three years, and have just over 30,000 miles on it. If I could go back in time, would I still make the switch? Yes. I enjoy the GSA...a lot. And it's not that I didn't enjoy the RT. I put just under 100,000 miles on it. What differences did I notice right away? The GSA is a bit louder, and it flows more air. The GSA is geared differently, so the engine is turning more rpms at the same road speed. And, as I mentioned, I get more air, so I assume that there's a bit more wind noise too. I should add, though, that I had an aftermarket screen on my RT, which could have doubled as a barn door. I was well protected from the wind, but in the summer, I prefer the additional air that I get from the GSA, due to its smaller windscreen (still bigger than the GS), and minimal bodywork (it still has more protection than the GS, given its large tank). I bought the BMW aluminum panniers, and top case, and I much prefer them to the RT's cases. They carry more, and are much less fiddly than the RT (I often though I was going to break a latch, or hinge, when I was trying to get the RT's side cases closed, especially when two-up, on a long road trip). I like the lack of body work. I have set my GSA down twice (both times at a dead stop), and not a scratch anywhere. I certainly like the LED headlight, brake light, and driving lights on the GSA (I hated changing headlight bulbs on my RT). I also added Clearwater driving lights, and changed out the turn signal bulbs on the GSA for LEDs as well, so the bike is 100% LED. How does it ride? I think it's great, whether munching miles, or in the twisties. I like touring on it, and in that respect, I don't miss the RT. The GSA is about the same weight as the RT, so it's pretty much a wash there, though the GSA's tank is a bit bigger (GSA, though, is not as aerodynamic). I ride almost exclusively on pavement, but it is nice to be able to ride gravel, and fire roads etc., without giving it a second thought. Yes, you can do that on an RT, but I prefer it on the GSA. I won't get into the liquid-cooled engine on the GSA, as comparing it to my '06 is a bit apples, and oranges. Suffice to say it's a great engine.
    Interesting. I was thinking of going to an RT after my third GSA. Here are my thoughts and observations: My 2009 1200 GSA had more room and better wind protection than my '16GSA. I've tried 3 different windshields and the wind and weather protection on my new bike doesn't compare with the '09 w/airflow screen. Visibility sucks when it's raining. Love the engine and suspension on my '16. Had Ted Porter set up Tractive shocks for my bike for two-up touring with my wife. Just as good as my '09 w/Ohlins. New bike is a lot louder than '09 @ all speeds. I used to be able to take phone calls on my intercom @all speeds and conditions. Not anymore. Exhaust heat on our right lower legs is pretty uncomfortable. Actually, I find it unacceptable. I've managed to reduce this with a bunch of homemade shields and exhaust pipe wrap of the CAT. This is not an issue with the luggage off the bike.(Micatec) 90% of our rides are day rides between 150-300mi. and we usually take at least one trip out west every year for a couple of weeks. Also been to Alaska twice. The bike is fun to take down dirt roads. It does seem a little buzzy @ intestate speeds but will run all day @80-85 and not use a drop of oil between services. The exhaust heat and poor wind protection are bad enough for me to consider switching to an RT. Hope this helps.

  5. #5
    I have had both BMWs, one RT, one GS and Two GSAs. I started with a GS and put 50,000 miles on it including a trip to Alaska. I then decided I needed an RT for my travels across country. I put 46,000 miles on the 2010 RT and determined that the GS series was better for my riding. I did not like the RT luggage and the fairing was entirely too hot in the western summers. I then went to a 2013 GSA for another 40,000 plus pleasurable miles, but decided to get a 2015 GSA when they came out with the lowered frame model. I currently have 78,000 miles on the 2015 GSA. IMHO the GSA is a superior machine for me for the following 3 reasons: 1. 7.9 gallon fuel tank, 2.top loading luggage and crash protection, 3. No tupperware to remove for service and to sustain damage in a low side, if it happens. Both models are fine machines for traveling but the lowered GSA just works for me in my old age. Good luck with your decision.

  6. #6
    Registered User gsinnc's Avatar
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    All the responses so far truly outline the best and less good features of both bikes. I have owned 97, 06 and 16 RTs along with 02 GS and 12 GSA. Currently I have both the 2012 GSA and 2016 RT. And I love both bikes for all the positive reasons noted. For longer trips where there is likely to be some highway and interstate riding and because it has cruise control and SAP I prefer the RT. In addition as noted earlier the RT gearing is much better for cruising at 70+ mph. Heat and airflow have never been an issue and I rode the 16 RT to both Salt Lake and Des Moines with no issues whatsoever.

    But I truly love my 2012 GSA and I really prefer it when riding a lot of backroads and twisty stuff. I too like the near 9 gal fuel tank and the way 1st gear engages. I hate how on the wethead RT you have to let the clutch way out before it engages. (A lot has been posted about this on numerous

    Wind protection on both bike for me is pretty much a wash. I have thought about trading my 2012 GSA for a wet head GSA to get cruise and SAP but I like my 2012 GSA too much to see it go.


    I am lucky to have both bikes but as you can see you really have to decide which things are most important to YOU.
    Ed Apelian
    Motorcycling is my passion because golf is far too dangerous!
    2018 R1200GS - Light White !
    2016 R1200RT- Platinum Bronze

  7. #7
    Registered User LFarling's Avatar
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    After trading my 15 RT for 17.5 GS I never looked back.

    First the transmission is second to none. It is butter. After it is heat soaked I can get a bit of clunk into first at times, others not. Still the transmission and SAP are pretty flawless.

    LED headlight is all that and a bag of chips with salsa too.

    I use a tailbag for around town with no side cases so I loose about 60-70 lbs and th ebike looks great without them.

    I bought a low in anticipation of my Russel Seat. I love the low bike.

    I do not need 7.9 gallons of gas in any way shape or forum so the GSA was out for that reason and I wanted to cut weight.

    While it is a bit more open I still find the protection just fine from wind and elements. I wear AeroStitch so weather is less of a consideration to me.

    Mine is loaded and has every option there is.

    I love the position and the locking ability of the Nav VI on the GS.

    If I was going for another while the 18 will be priced to move and 17 and 18 used will come to market so guys can have the 1250, depending on cost I would do the new 1250 GS. Kinda a gamble but 3 year warranty and I am pretty sure they will have it pretty squared away on release. IF it will be 1 or 2K to own the 1250 I would do it.

    On the other hand I think the 18 is the best of the LC models so far, They are proving reliable, with few issues. I get 42 to 47 MPG on it no matter how hard I run it. Most if not all of the kinks have been worked out and it is a proven design. My 17.5 has everything a 18 GS has including cornering ABS and the slight body style change.

    As I am ageing weight becomes more of a issue so being able to ride 70% with no bags and less weight is very attractive to me. A Helmet lock and smallish tank bag and the GS soft tail bag carries my flat tire supplies and other needed things with plenty of room left over.

    The GS was right for me ride one and see if it may be right for you.
    Lee
    2017.5 R 1200 GSW

  8. #8
    Registered User BruceWA's Avatar
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    Cool

    Made the leap to a new GSA two days ago, had a 13 GS and farkled it to my taste, really enjoyed this bike for about three years but my wife finally tired of my Ducati talk and said to buy one. So I did, a 15 Multistrada S Touring fully farkled. Hard to compare them, however, I decided to keep the Duc and the GS. In two years I only rode the GS twice, on extended trips. After two years I decided to sell it. Broke my heart and as I watched it leave my house and I knew Id made a mistake. As I said they are similar bikes but the Duc has power to spare and the fun factor is full scale. It isnt as accommodating for touring, carries less cargo, and IMHO the maintenance is only marginally more than the BMW. Anyhow I missed my GS and started looking, was looking to find a used 15-17 model and found some really nice ones, but decided to look at the 18s. Scheduled test rides on the GS & GSA. The GSA just seemed more comfortable to me, and it is the low suspension version to accommodate my short inseam 😳. So I am very happy with my GSA and didnt want to wait for the shift head and displacement increase. Heck, if I want more power Ill take the Duc.
    Figures don't lie, but liars can figure!

  9. #9
    Registered User patm's Avatar
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    It's hard to tell which is best for you. Only you can know that. I suggest you rent one for a few days and find out.
    Pat

    Ride Safe!
    '16 RT

  10. #10

    15 RT v 16 GS range comparison

    My riding buddy has a 2015 RT and I have a 2016 R1200GS. We ride long rides together (thousands of miles) and generally find that his RT gets about 5% better mileage and has about 80 miles more range than my GS, when on paved roads. Just guessing, but I suspect that the larger gas tanked GSA would have comparable range to the RT.

  11. #11
    I don't belong in this thread as I haven't owned both bikes, but as I am addicted to electrically adjustable windscreen I wouldn't consider a GS! My hope as Father Time takes his toll that a brand finally realizes there is no statute that states it's illegal to put an electric screen on a motorcycle with a curb weight less than 604lbs! Can't beat what it affords in hot, cold, wet and foggy weather! I know I'm in a small minority on this so starting to doubt my hope will come true so I be keeping my '16 RT which I hit 36K just yesterday for the foreseeable future. RTW: best motorcycle for riding on any kind of pavement for any distance in the history of motorcycles! Sorry, couldn't resist!

  12. #12
    Registered User gsinnc's Avatar
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    So there you have it, all the good and bad of each model. Now it is up to you to determine what is important to you. What pros and cons do you weight more in your decision

    There is no perfect motorcycle for everyone but there are some great options from BMW that can put a smile on most any riders face.

    Good luck and do keep us posted with your decision.6
    Ed Apelian
    Motorcycling is my passion because golf is far too dangerous!
    2018 R1200GS - Light White !
    2016 R1200RT- Platinum Bronze

  13. #13
    Rodney Aiken Ctrod's Avatar
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    Love the GSA

    My experience is almost exactly like MAROPOLO's. 06 RT to a 2016 GSA. If you like to explore you'll love the GSA. There are lots of dirt roads in the North East to explore.

  14. #14
    Registered User wbrownell9's Avatar
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    +1 on what MARCOPOLO said. I like the more open seating on the GSA (my knees don't like being bent for long days in the saddle). Top opening boxes where stuff doesn't fall out when you open the lid are WONDERFUL. My bike is my daily ride and jamming grocery bags into a pannier was really frustrating, loading the left side pannier in particular on my RT was aggravating unless I put it on the center stand. I generally only do that when I'm home, or when I need to check the oil.

    I ride year round and I found the extra air on the GSA was a wash in spring & fall, and beneficial for the hot months. And face it, Texas in July is hot no matter what you ride so you can only make it worse, not better. The heat on my right ankle is only an issue when it's over 90 and even then not always. The extra wind protection of the RT was only worth it in the dead of winter.

    I don't care if they call me a poser for having a GSA with PR4 street tires. It's comfortable, reliable (>100K with just a weeping FD seal), and does everything I want it to. I like it more the longer I have it. As a bonus, it's so ugly nobody messes with it.
    2016 R1200 GSA

  15. #15
    Registered User gsinnc's Avatar
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    Ok madhatter get to shopping. Lots of opinions on the GSA.

    Motorcycles are all about choices and options and ultimately personal preference
    Ed Apelian
    Motorcycling is my passion because golf is far too dangerous!
    2018 R1200GS - Light White !
    2016 R1200RT- Platinum Bronze

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