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  1. #1
    JohnWC
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    BMW's Too top heavy for older riders?

    Just wondering if anyone else has had the same thoughts. I'm past sixty and lately have begun thinking it's time to downsize. Twice as of late my R1100RT, which I really like, has started to tip and been a real back straining exercise to get it upright. It's 500+ pounds that just wants to very quickly fall over.The newer BMWs, past the airheads, seem to be designed to be top heavy. Mine certainly is, especially with a full tank of gas. Just a few degrees past vertical, and they just want to go right on down. All it takes is a mishap with the kickstand, some loose gravel under foot, too sharp a slow turn, and you've got a real problem with this big thing laying on the ground, probably with several very expensive plastic parts broken. Much as I like my bike, I think I am ready to shift to a much smaller, easier to maneuver (and possible pick up) machine. I don't know how you ever get those fully loaded GS models off the dirt by yourself. I don't recall my 1976 R60 having this problem. Is it just BMW that likes to put all the weight high up, or are they all like that now?

  2. #2
    Back in the saddle again mikegalbicka's Avatar
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    I put front and rear crash bars on my 07RT for that reason. The first time I had a slow drop and almost blew my thigh muscle out trying to save it. The second time I just let it go. After having to repaint each side bag I opted for the crash bars. I am a slow learner I guess.

  3. #3
    We bought two G310GSs.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  4. #4
    "Do you even lift Bro?"

    I lift and they are still heavy as hell.

    While I'm kidding about this, that R60 was 463 lbs and you were stronger then. My GS is 538lbs wet. Not great not bad. A Sportster is heavier than my bike. That center of gravity is lower on the Harley than the GS, and way harder to pick up if dropped. I find it easier to put the GS on the center stand than the wife's G650GS (the tank is under the seat). I believe the position of that centerstand is an issue. I've picked up a dropped G650 for the wife and that thing it harder to pick up than the R1200GS.

    Even a light bike can feel heavy in the right (or wrong) circumstances.

    You can have fun any any bike and enjoy it. I like the G650GS. The 310's would make great commuter bikes. One woman is touring on one. There's a lot of great non BMW bikes that are cool and don't weigh a ton. I hear the KTM 390 is nice and light.

    Think how much heavier a bike would be with metal instead of plastic parts. The good news is the tech is getting better and people are realizing they don't need huge expensive bikes.

    But still it's a matter of getting older. I hope you find a bike that's right for you. I'm 55, I might be getting there soon. All bikes are too heavy after being dropped.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by anglojaxon View Post

    The 310's would make great commuter bikes. One woman is touring on one.
    In 2018 we rode our 310s from Texas to Washington to New Mexico to Des Moines to New Mexico to Duluth to New Mexico. And local riding. In 2019 we rode New Mexico to Tenessee and then Virginia and back to New Mexico and then to Nakusp, BC and back. Indeed a person can tour on a 310.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  6. #6
    Rocky Bow BMW Riders #197 bogthebasher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    In 2018 we rode our 310s from Texas to Washington to New Mexico to Des Moines to New Mexico to Duluth to New Mexico. And local riding. In 2019 we rode New Mexico to Tenessee and then Virginia and back to New Mexico and then to Nakusp, BC and back. Indeed a person can tour on a 310.
    Paul, maybe a little off topic but have been meaning to ask you how they handle in heavy winds (the kind one gets on the east side of the Rockies in the US and Canada)? I ask since some more top heavy bikes are a beast to ride in side winds.
    Ken Dittrick
    2008 R1200RT (Biarritz Blau)


    Excuses are the rocks upon which our dreams are crushed - Tim Fargo

  7. #7
    Registered User Anyname's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    In 2018 we rode our 310s from Texas to Washington to New Mexico to Des Moines to New Mexico to Duluth to New Mexico. And local riding. In 2019 we rode New Mexico to Tenessee and then Virginia and back to New Mexico and then to Nakusp, BC and back. Indeed a person can tour on a 310.
    I have a KTM 390, and it's a hoot to ride, but taller/older riders will find the legroom rather lacking (at least on my 2016). The handle bars are great, the engine is amazing but the gas tank is small and my legs cramp on linger riders. I've sat on, but not ridden, the KTM Duke 790 it's not a lot heavier than the 390, but it's roomier.
    BMW R bike rider, horizontally opposed to everything...

  8. #8
    Registered User billspurgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    In 2018 we rode our 310s from Texas to Washington to New Mexico to Des Moines to New Mexico to Duluth to New Mexico. And local riding. In 2019 we rode New Mexico to Tenessee and then Virginia and back to New Mexico and then to Nakusp, BC and back. Indeed a person can tour on a 310.

    I use to tour on a Honda 305 Scrambler back in the day.

    Bill

  9. #9
    RK Ryder
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    Quote Originally Posted by jconway607 View Post
    Just wondering if anyone else has had the same thoughts. I'm past sixty and lately have begun thinking it's time to downsize.
    I am 72 years young, now down to 5'6", weighing 150 pounds, with a short inseam and I am quite comfortable on my R1100RT (even though a set of crash bars might be in the bike's future).

    Having said that, a friend, the same age as me, but 6'2" and weighing in at 225 or so, found his R1100RT to be too heavy when he was 67. That's when he moved to smaller bikes.

    If you are thinking that the bike has become too heavy and the thought to downsize has happened, then, in my opinion, it is time to downsize.
    Paul F. Ruffell
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  10. #10
    Left Coast Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_F View Post
    If you are thinking that the bike has become too heavy and the thought to downsize has happened, then, in my opinion, it is time to downsize.
    Exactly.

  11. #11
    Kawa Afterthought weschmann's Avatar
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    I just changed to a r9t Urban due to the weight issue from my previous Yamaha STenere. Well over 600 lbs when equipped, I am Noe at 500 lbs and much better distribution of weight. I learned of the ease of picking up the 1200 gsís While wrangling at a past Giants event. Figured the niner hopefully will be even easier, but havenít had any events yet but know they are coming. Mt 700 gs was a bear to pick up compared to the 1200, even though weighing less. I loved the Tenere but reality set in this summer on a lonely backroad where if a farmer hadnít been going by and graciously offer to help, my ego would have taken a hit by having to break out my bike jack. So smaller is better, although I still need to do something about my rock hard niner seat.

  12. #12
    Nick Kennedy
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    Jconway

    Don't give up, your too young!
    There are many awesome cool bikes out there that meet your needs, The BMW310 and that Honda both look real good to me.
    I get what your saying about to much weight and top heaviness...
    You don't need a large displacement bike to have a ton of fun.

  13. #13
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    I'm the opposite of what most people say. I feel that my '07 R1200RT is easier to move around in the garage compared to my '13 F800GS... probably due to the wider bars and different center of mass.

    The RT is easier to pick up with the Ztecnik head protection bars and the HEED rear bag protection bars as both prevent the bike from getting all the way over on its side.
    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT, 2013 F800GS
    Former: 1995 BMW K75S, 2009 BMW G650GS
    MOA Member #:150400, IBA#: 37558

  14. #14

    Personal decision on when too infirm to ride

    Everyone's health is different, so some will ride forever, and some will make lifestyle or bike changes. Crash bars help in lifting the bike since the bike uses them as a pivot point and usually doesn't fall "all" the way down. An RT is probably a little too delicate to even think of dropping it, all those expensive plastic fairings. If it is increasingly likely that you might drop your bike, you should probably get something a lot lighter, or built more like a tank (GS) than a fragile RT.

    I am 73, 5'6" and ride a factory-lowered 2017 R12GS. I've dropped it five times, always at low speed, maneuvering. No damage at all to the bike (except minor dings on crash bars.) I have upper and lower crash bars and there are scratches on all of them. Having the bike better fit by being lowered makes it less likely to fall over. Once its down, though, it is a pig to lift, about 600 pounds in current configuration. In the right circumstances, I can right it by myself, but not in every circumstance.

    Since there are some circumstances where it is virtually impossible for me to lift the bike by myself I built and carry a device to jack the bike up, similiar to the commercial gadget eastbound(dot)shop motowinch. I haven't had to use it yet, but nice to know it is there. (BTW, if I had it to do over, I would just buy the commercial product, rather than building my own.)

    I have had a number of open (incision from top to bottom) stomach surgeries so am very aware of potential for incisional hernias, because I've had a bunch, and I really don't want any more repairs.

    In the photo below I removed all the bags and boxes as far as possible to lighten the bike before I attempted to lift it. I was annoyed at BMW's fuel tank to cap connection, because it was leaking fuel.

    IMG_20180812_180506.jpg

  15. #15
    JohnWC
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    I have always thought my R1100RT is the best bike I have ever owned. But I have also come to the conclusion that owning a bike with that much plastic covering it is a bad idea. I'm not an off road rider, (it's Ohio after all) but I would definitely switch to a GS style bike that could tip over without incurring $500 or worse in repair parts. I had a Honda PC800 for a brief time recently, but it left quickly when I realized the plastic parts were getting older and more brittle. Otherwise, a nice, practical bike. But even with GS style bikes being less fragile, it's the higher center of gravity and more total weight that concerns me. When you're on one and it starts to go over, you're panicking in trying to get out of it's way before 500 pounds lands on your leg or ankle. Not something I want to risk anymore.

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