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Thread: BMW's Too top heavy for older riders?

  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
    Quote Originally Posted by bogthebasher View Post
    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.
    They handle cross winds as well as my F650s did. Almost as well as my K75s. Not as well as either Voni's R1100RS or my R1150R. Bothersome but not scary.

    They do not like stiff headwinds (say 20 mph wind) in 6th gear but motor on in 5th without much effort.
    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/

  8. #8
    I dropped my RT a couple of times, but I find my R1200RS much easier to handle. Itís lower, lighter and skinnier.

  9. #9
    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...

  10. #10
    Registered User crna59's Avatar
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    I'm with you.... had a F700GS and with the gas tank under the seat, it wasn't too bad. Was going to upgrade to the F850GS and over 500lbs. was just too damn heavy.

    I opted for a S1000R and recently weighed it at 435lbs.... nice and light to move around in the garage and with bar risers is really comfortable.
    Bruce A. Brown #212072
    MSF 2-wheel Instructor
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  11. #11
    Registered User Motodan's Avatar
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    I was RT for couple of decades, but switched to a F750GS this summer. It's a little over 100 pounds lighter than my last RT (2018), but is much easier from moving in garage to road work. I have standard height seat, but they also come in low chassis and varying seat heights. Smooth shifting, plenty of power and 56 MPG. Plus they can come with all the extras (cruise, heated grips, auto-shift, ESA (rear) and more). Only drawback (some would say an advantage), from years of RT's, is chain drive...which I'm readjusting to.
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    MOA #46783

  12. #12
    Registered User stooie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crna59 View Post
    I'm with you.... had a F700GS and with the gas tank under the seat, it wasn't too bad. Was going to upgrade to the F850GS and over 500lbs. was just too damn heavy.

    I opted for a S1000R and recently weighed it at 435lbs.... nice and light to move around in the garage and with bar risers is really comfortable.
    Bruce:

    How much fuel and oil was in your S1000R when you weighed it? BMW lists the S1000R weight as 476 lb. The listed weight includes full fuel and oil. The weight of 5.2 gal of fuel and 4 quarts of oil is ~ 39 pounds which is close to the difference between what you measured and BMW's listed weight.

    None of which changes the fact that your S1000R is about 150 pounds lighter than my RT. Looks like you've got a fun ride!
    Bob Stewart
    Salem, OR

    2018 RT

  13. #13
    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 !
    Niagara Riders & Knights of the Roundel #333

  14. #14
    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.

  15. #15
    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.

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