Originally Posted by Wideopen
I am considering purchasing one of these bikes new. Can anyone give me the pros and cons. I want something sporty, fun to ride. Not like a full blown sport bike. I have read many stories about final drives failing. I have Kawasaki zx1400, ducati 1198s and harley cruiser. Thanks!
I have been coveting the K13GT for several years. Well, first the K12, then the K13, but hesitating because of of an experience with a 1998 R12C I bought new that year. Really, that was more about me than anything else, as it was just the wrong bike for what I wanted to do, which was distance riding. I got a 1999 H-D Ultra Classic, and I'm on my third one now, but I digress.
I finally got tired of paying $20K+ for the H-D, then having to buy a new seat, have engine work done and upgrade the suspension just to get a usable bike for anything other than straight-line highway riding. I'm not trashing the Harley, it just is what it is. Again, more about me, as I became more interested in the sport end of touring.
So, off to our local BMW dealer we go this spring, determined to finally test drive the K13. Before going, I started researching, including on this forum. Everything I found and read told me that the R12RT was the better bike for what I wanted to do, which is usually a full day, at least, of riding to get to the mountains and then several days of riding twisty roads and otherwise enjoying life. This is interspersed with, usually, at least one long trip every year, sometimes more. By long, I mean going from where I live, just outside DC, to Key West, which we did this March. Overall, that sucked, but another story. Last year we went to Nova Scotia and PEI. A couple of years ago we went cross-country. You get the picture. By we, I mean my lovely bride and I. She rides her own bike, which figures into this story at the end.
We go to the dealer, me now expecting to walk away with the RT. First, I take the RT for a short test ride. Nice, but nothing great. Next, she takes the RT and I take a GT. Wow, this is a real motorcycle! I come back with a smile and convince her that she really needs to try the GT, which she was reluctant to do. She liked the RT just fine. Off we go, this time her on the GT and me on the RT again. When we got back, she says the GT is definitely the way to go. She, by the way, also rides (rode) an Ultra Classic. You see where this is going?
We buy the GT, a 2010 model, with all the bells and whistles. I now continue to ride my Ultra Classic while she rides the K13GT. She is very happy, me not so much. Her comments are that the GT feels like a part of her, which she was always fighting the H-D. Truly, I think it's about the weight of the bike more than anything. She's not a little girl, about 5'9" and 145 lbs. and fairly strong, but she just likes the way the GT responds to her. We have been on one trip, so far, to the mountains in western NC with it and she hasn't changed her opinion.
On that trip I rented an R12RT, just to get a side by side comparison. We switched off several times. I remain convinced that he K13 is the better bike, for me. It needs better wind protection, some bar risers and a new seat, but so did the R12, in my opinion. Wind protection is a little better on the RT, but not great. I am 5'11" and tend to sit up very straight, so that might matter. There is no comparison at all in the power department, the K13 has it hands down. Cruising along on the R12 is fine, but it takes much more to get up there. We generally ride at about 80 to 85 mph on the highway.
I took the K13 to upstate NY in June and really enjoyed it. The seat is a torture device after a couple of hours, but I haven't found one yet that isn't. Again, that may just be me. I think motorcycles are more about individual fit than we may want to admit. As to working on them ourselves, I gave that up a long time ago. I carry a cell phone and a credit card, and pray that it will be a warranty repair. Most things that break are way too complex for my dumb ass to fix, so I don't plan to. So far that has work, although I do recognize the potential limitations.
The only thing I really miss when I'm on the GT is the radio. I work around that with my iPhone, so it's no real big deal. Now I'm just waiting for BMW to get that K16 in production so I can try it. I am hopeful that it will solve the few shortcomings of the K13 and I can finally get to ride it, assuming my lovely wife doesn't like it better! I guess at least then I can ride the K13?
Hope this helps a little and sorry if I was rambling. Good luck with your purchase, whichever way you decide to go.