K vs R - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2010, 11:11 pm Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Whitesboro, TX, USA
Posts: 20
K vs R

I own a 03 k1200rs, this is my first street bike. I have rode dirt bikes for over 30 years. I rode a r1200rt before I bought the K. The front end felt very heavy the bike felt strange. In the last couple of days I have talked to two people who went from k1200rs and gt to r1200rt. Reason, better touring, better two up, and not top heavy, easier to ride. Did I ride a bad R because when I rode the K after riding the R the K felt like these guys said the R felt.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old Jul 9th, 2010, 12:36 am
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Your buddies are right. The RT offers much better two-up protection from the wind than the K does. The K seems to allow wind to buffet the rear passenger around a bit. If mama's not happy, then the ride goes much the same.

The K seems heavier on the front end for me than the RT, at least it sits that way on the center stand. My old RT would teeter-totter back and forth on the center stand and even getting it onto the center stand was easier than the K. Now I parked the K on a thick square sheet of plywood under the rear tire just to get it up onto the center stand (Don't want to snap it off in the process), but the bags and trunk are pretty much loaded too with tools and gear. Might be just the difference in the overall bike weights too. However, tire wear seems to be the same so I don't know if that's true (1 front for every two rears seems what I use for both models).

Yes on the lower CG for the boxer as well. KT has a higher CG. Just let it get a little bit off vertical while stopped and try and recover. Not once did I drop the RT in 10 years and 100K miles. The GT hasn't been so lucky and I find it takes a ton of cash to get it fixed back up when it does go boom.

A good rider on a R1xxx-GS can pretty much take control of the 'twisties' over the K. Lighter weight and far more flickable too, imho. Sort of like trying to take on an S1000RR. Fat ladies won't go around the corner as easily as thin ones when you poke them. Boats too. Straights will go to the K though over the R. The R has that odd torque-to-the-side thing going on when you twist the throttle that can help you or hurt you in the turns. I find I can brake in turns easier on the K over the R when the situation arises though.

The R is a snap to work on too which can help in ownership savings. Pretty much all do it yourself stuff where the K takes a lot of work to get to the valves, and sometimes costly special tools too if you have to go deeper.

Very different beasts and I've often thought about going back to simpler is better. Don't know how the newer cam-in-head R's are working out.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old Jul 9th, 2010, 2:43 pm
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I agree with GMack with regard to the R-K comparison. Actually I've never ridden an RT or GS but I had an '08 naked R12R prior to this K13S.

The R was totally more flickable than this K-S primarily due to its weight, F/R balance & low COG... had full Remus exhaust which removed weight and bike had nice balance to it, but like G said, K brakes are awesome. The late R12's are a lot quicker than you'd think. My buddy has an RT and I can barely keep up with him in the twisties; the big sweepers I kill him. He's got more riding exp than I do since was out of bikes for so long before return. The R gearboxes are smoother too. Considering return to an R12, or Duc Monster 1100S to get back to lightweight simplicity. The fellow (Duc dlrshp owner) who installed/tuned my K13S owns 8 bikes including an R12GS... he tuned that bike to produce an actual 109 rear wheel hp and more tq with totally stock exhaust... it hauls!

Correction: the latest boxer actually has overhead cams whereas the previous gen were cam-in-head. Wonder if new design holds valve adjustments longer.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old Jul 9th, 2010, 3:51 pm
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Anaheim, CA, USA
Posts: 1,397
There has been a lot of discussion about "flickability". One factor that makes a difference is the orientation and rotational inertia of the crankshaft.

The R bikes and older K bikes have their crankshafts oriented front to back, the same as the direction of travel, which makes it easier to lean the bike into a turn. The newer (2005+) K bikes have their crankshafts oriented side to side, perpendicular to the direction of travel. The crankshaft's rotational inertia will resist leaning into turns more than the R and older K bikes. This would be even more noticeable at higher RPMs.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2010, 11:08 am
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Annandale, VA, USA
Posts: 17
My comparison is between a K12RS and an R11GS.

R - more vibration, more noise, rougher ride, better view, easier to load & carry big loads, harder to find tires, easier to do routine maintenance

K - smooth all around, less helmet buffeting, feels like there's more power on tap, helmet vents finally work like they're supposed to, harder (for me) to cycle between left & right turns quickly

Until I gather the parts for my GS sidecar project, I'm still riding the GS a couple days a week, so I'm switching back & forth between my two bikes fairly regularly.

Right now, I'd rather commute on the GS and ride the RS pretty much anywhere else.

As far as working on them, the idea of taking off the body panels on the RS every time I want to do any maintenance is kind of daunting. On the GS I can drop the bash plate & have the fuel tank off in about 5 minutes.


'98 K1200RS (being hacked)
'05 R1200GS
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2010, 10:03 am
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Location: Golden, CO, USA!
Posts: 447
Could it be you test rode an older RT? The new 1200s are reported to be amazing bikes, more upright than your GT and surely more comfy for a passenger. BUT, for my $$ I still prefer my GT (classic) over our R1200GS for that riding on rails feeling.... aaaahhh, like buttah!

I agree with Chiba on the maintenance part - all that tupperware is a PITA to deal with; poor design there. I think about cutting a hole in the bottom with every oil change!

Deb and Dean Sauer
Golden, CO

The cure for boredom is riding motorcycles, and there is no cure for riding motorcycles...
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