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Thread: 2013 Wethead GS vs 2012 Camhead - New engine questions

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    2013 Wethead GS vs 2012 Camhead - New engine questions

    I currently ride a 2009 R12R.I'm considering a 2013 GS and looking for input on buying that model year as it's the first year of the wethead motor. Were there any major bugs found with the first year motor and corrected in later years? I've read an extensive thread about cam problems and somewhere in that thread someone mentioned the problem years for that issue were 2014 to 2018.

    An alternative to the 2013 is a 2012 camhead, it's last year as the powerplant for the 12GS. I've read about the attributes of the 2013, more horsepower/torque and consistent temp. control, but curious to know what some riders who have experience on these bikes think. Is the increase in complexity in the systems worth the advantages the newer model offers ? Are there other elements of the bike such as electronic riding systems that the newer model offers which give it a distinct advantage. I like doing all the routine maintenance myself. Are the wethead models as easy to maintain as hex/camheads? I'm a little concerned about higher levels of electronics which I will be unable to deal with on my own.

    I know, lots of questions , but I know this forum is a good place to ask them.

    Thanks,
    BeeTee

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    Registered User pappy35's Avatar
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    The very early Wetheads had alternators that were later redesigned. There are a few reports of those failing (and when they do it's very big $$$) but given how many they sold of that vintage verses the number that have reported them on online forums (which is not very scientific in any way really), I'm not sure it would be warranted to warn you off of them. I don't think the 2012 GS' had cruise control but I could be wrong. That would be a deal breaker for me so if you care you might want to inquire about that.

    The Camhead motors are rock-solid.
    '13 R1200RT 90th Anniversary Edition

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    Quote Originally Posted by pappy35 View Post
    The very early Wetheads had alternators that were later redesigned. There are a few reports of those failing (and when they do it's very big $$$) but given how many they sold of that vintage verses the number that have reported them on online forums (which is not very scientific in any way really), I'm not sure it would be warranted to warn you off of them. I don't think the 2012 GS' had cruise control but I could be wrong. That would be a deal breaker for me so if you care you might want to inquire about that.

    The Camhead motors are rock-solid.
    You're correct Pappy, no cruise control on the '12. That sort of option is one of the things I'm weighing in deciding. Others are various ride modes , ESA, etc. My current bike has ESC which has been good to have on several occasions. I don't really know if I would use the advanced choices the more modern bikes offer. I don't do a lot of long distance riding but I love to ride the twisties! I know the hexhead motor is strong from personal experience and the camhead is considered to be an improvement over that.

    Thanks for your response !

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    Registered User pappy35's Avatar
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    In a nod to technology, the newer bikes ('18+ I think, maybe '17's) have sensors whose data is fed into the ABS and traction control systems to take lean angle into consideration. For me, that's a very significant improvement in a safety system that could influence my purchase decision.

    I have never wanted a dynamically adjustable suspension. I'm not that aggressive nor do my loads change much from ride to ride to justify the added cost of the ESA II system. Not the purchase price premium mind you, I mean the cost of replacing the components when they wear out is north of $2200 just for the parts if you buy OEM replacements, is not worth it to me. Of course, having said that, I don't think you could find a used one absent that feature and there are aftermarket solutions for worn out shocks. Just food for thought.
    Last edited by pappy35; 01-31-2020 at 11:13 PM.
    '13 R1200RT 90th Anniversary Edition

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    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pappy35 View Post
    In a nod to technology, the newer bikes ('18+ I think, maybe '17's) have sensors whose data is fed into the ABS and traction control systems to take lean angle into consideration. .
    My 2016 RS left the factory with this hardware in place.
    The card I received in the mail from BMW said it can be turned on for $485 plus computer download time.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

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    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tater View Post
    ...but curious to know what some riders who have experience on these bikes think. Is the increase in complexity in the systems worth the advantages the newer model offers ?
    I have an '05 R1200ST and an '18 R1200RS. Like you, I was skeptical about the electronic foofera on the wetheads and held off buying one until last spring, when they went on sale.

    After a half year's experience with it, I can report that it is a much improved bike over the Hexheads and Camheads, particularly due to the smoothness and broader power band of the engine. Also, the brakes are less touchy.

    With the exception of the cruise control, I don't use the electronic equipment, and if the ESA fails, I'll just install normal shocks.

    It might be possible to special order a wethead with just the cruise control as an option; that would be ideal.

    But these bikes are really amazing.
    Rinty

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