Thursday, September 15, 2011

Product Review: BMW R1200GS

I received this inquiry recently, and thought it would be a good topic.
Hi Gail.

I wanted to ask you what is it that you like about your GS over the K bike you had? I too have a K bike that I'm putting up for sale after 5 years of ownership and have interest in either the 1200GS or maybe a 990 KTM.
[...]
Thanks for your time,
Mike


Dear Mike,
I hope I can be of some help as you make your decision to move away from the K bikes and into a dual sport. Your ’04 K12RS is practically identical to my '04 K12GT, give or take some Tupperware.
As I mentioned in my Adventures in Motorcycle Shopping post, the decision was several years in the making. I can only assume you have found yourself on the same path. The K bikes are great to look at, zippy on the road, but you can't keep up with your ADVenture friends.
So now that I’ve had the GS for 10,000 miles, do I think it was a good choice? I can sing the praises of this bike all day long, sit next to me at the campfire, and it will be all night long.


Comfort
No contest. But with a caveat – I immediately put a Corbin on the GS, never went that route on the GT, part of me wonders how much that would have helped. With virtually no lean angle (like the K75), the riding position on the GS is very comfortable for the long haul. The GT had bar backs, giving me a much needed boost to sit up more, but the approx 15% lean angle was a problem after 4 hours.
Corbin Seats...makes the day easy
Economy
Neither of my K bikes got more than low 40’s for mileage, I was lucky to get 140 on a tank on the GT. It is very pleasing to see 250-270 range on the GS. It seems to make little difference if it's fully loaded with bags, or I'm just running the Givi on my commute to work, the range has been consistent.
Utility
A primary objective in my purchase of this bike was its utility - packing. I can pack for a long weekend of camping with nothing outside the bags except the lawn chair. Take the Mica Tech bags off, and the Givi is perfect for commuting.
Packed for a week
Break TIme in NY

Two Up
The K75 is still the winner for two up. Lisa complains about two things riding on the back of the GS - first the seat is uncomfortable. Not surprising, it's stock. Also the passengers riding position is much high up, so more wind on her. This is not such a big deal for us, seeing as she is moving onto her own bike. I carry all her stuff, and she rides her Ninja. But if you need the two up aspect, this should be considered.
Two Up and over a 4x4
Two Up...way Up!

Performance
I was very concerned that the GS would be disappointing when it came to giddy-up and cornering. Those worries faded away as soon as I hit the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was pleased at how easy this bike is to handle. And while I may not be the quickest off the line, I am by no means embarrassed at the light. The GS can get out of its own way. And now I have the torque I need for long slow days in the back woods. I finally have the right bike for the dirt roads. I have not tried a more aggressive off road tire, and was quite happy to put a new set of Metzeler Tourance tires on last month.
The joys of packed gravel

Good luck with your shopping decisions!

2 comments:

Mike said...

Hi Gail,
Thank you for taking the time to put your review together, It was very helpful. I was thinking I was the only one not able to get comfy on the K1200. I'll be sure to consider your views when making a final decision on my next bike

Mike

MarkF - Oilhed said...

Hi Gail,

Your switch to GS has motivated me. I've always been a campfire and tent kinda rider and a K-bike wasn't the right direction. Neither was the Ducati. Fingers crossed I'll be GSing soon enough,