Is the K12GT for me? - - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 2010, 10:13 am Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Oriental, NC, USA
Posts: 6
Wink Is the K12GT for me?

Looking for the K12GT for me?

I'm shopping for a used sport touring bike (having sold my '02 Concours last summer), and have been looking (online) at RT 1150's. Came across an '03 K12GT for about $7K (with ~10K miles) and I'm considering it.

- Is this a decent year?

- Worth spending more for the newer engine version?

About me: I have crossed the US once, plus done Nova Scotia - so I like touring. Rode an RT 1150 for a day (trading off with a friend) and liked the bike; particularly the low COG. Three things I disliked about the Concours: high COG, heavy, and vibrated too much at highway speeds.

BTW, I've had lots of bikes over the years - mostly sport bikes, including several Ducati's. I do all my own wrenching (and I'm restoring a 1970 Guzzi Ambassador at present).

I'm mid fifties now, and pretty new to MC touring. Fine handling, smooth, quiet, comfortable is what I'm looking for.

Test riding a private party used bike is tough, so I'm asking for advice before driving three hours to go look at this K12GT.

- Is it too much like the Concours?

- Is this a decent price?

- Anything to particularly look for?

Many thanks...
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 2010, 11:25 am
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Reality, TX, USA
Posts: 486
2003 was the first year for the K1200GT. It is a smooth running bike with plenty of power. I own a 2004, same bike very little differences between the two years. I have toured the US extensively. The bike is great for all day in the saddle and easily accommodates a passenger. It's got six gears, the 6th is definitely overdrive. Depending on your use of the throttle, you can get between 36 and 50 mpg. The tanks holds approx 5 gallons.

The ABS is great to have as is the electronic cruise control. $7,000 for a 10,000 mile 2003 K1200GT is a good price. It is a very low mileage bike.

The seat (saddle) may not to the liking of you butt. It is adjustable, two positions - high and low. Tires last approximately 7,000 miles.

I think you will like it. It is a good touring machine.

Lache pas la patate

Robert Odendahl
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2010, 6:08 am
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: dunedin, FL, USA
Posts: 437
'04 kgt owner

i never rode a concours, but the k has virtually NO vibration. it does, however have a high COG. under 10mph is very clumsy as a result. if u are like me and want +600 mile days, a $500 investment in a russell day-long seat is a necessity. other than that, this thing is a road monster, and will eat miles. good luck. btw, maybe go to a dealer and ride a used kgt. it will give u an idea of what u are getting. also check on the for sale bike for oil misting on engine and clutch seams for the juggernaut seal leak. if there is misting, offer $1500 less, because that's what the dealer will extract from your hip pocket fot the seal job.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2010, 8:03 am Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Oriental, NC, USA
Posts: 6
Many thanks...

...for the great advice.

Looks as if the '03 KGT has been sold.

I will persevere to find a test ride on one, then decide between it and an RT. I'm on the North Carolina coast, if anyone knows of a local KGT for sale.

Nice forum!
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2010, 8:08 am
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Considering Kelly Blue Book shows $8,310 for a 2003 GT and the offer is $7,000 I'd say it is a good offer. Trade-in is about $5,800 so it looks like the owner is compromising since a dealer will offer him far less than $7K,.

As mentioned, look for fluid leaks though. BMW seals do tend to harden after 5-6 years and leak. My RT had to have 5 tranny seals changed after about 6 years as 3 were leaking. Some were installed inside-out on the tranny so it was a complete tear down which ended up taking me 3 weeks to complete with the seal searching for Viton replacements along with some BMW updates to mechanical pieces. The catalytic was right under the tranny and cooked them until they almost crumbled.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2010, 9:35 am
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Nashua, NH, USA
Posts: 311
Absolutely LOVED my '03 GT. With factory cruise you can run the highway all day long, stopping for gas and food. The BMW seats seem to work okay for me, even the one on my '10 GT which everyone seems to swap out.

Issues with the '03 GT are as mentioned earlier

- High center of gravity which is mainly an issue only in parking lots. But be careful with sudden stops as this can be an issue. I never dropped my '03 during the 3 years (60,000 miles) I had it, but came close numerous times.

- Bike will roll off of the side-stand if on an incline. (oops)

- Clutch slave issues are to be watched for.

- Tires about every 8k for me, can be pushed a little further depending on make of tire. I used the Z6's. The original tires were Bridgestone BT-020's and they tend to cup badly, especially on the front.

- Range was a little shorter than I would have liked, but it was decent. All day at 65 mph and you are usually in the 190 mile area. A little more conservative and you are talking closer to 200. Around town and having fun about 160 miles.

- I won't say there is absolute no vibration, but it is incredibly smooth.

- ABS brakes are amazing

- Factory Cruise Control sounds like a minor thing, but for all day highway riding it is unbelievable.

- This bike WILL seduce you and make you think that the posted SPEED LIMIT signs are not intended for you. Be careful, most LEO don't care that you are riding an amazing machine.

'10 K1300GT
Royal Blue Metallic
Garmin Zumo 660
Nolan N-103 w/ BT Kit
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2010, 2:34 pm
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Location: Kirkland, WA, United States
Posts: 97
The RT is more like the Connie than the GT. I would say the GT is quite a bit different than the Connie. The GT is a lot smoother and faster than the RT and Connie, but also less comfortable than either. The newer GT is considerably improved over the flying brick GT in almost every way.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2010, 6:27 pm
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Location: Skippack, PA, USA
Posts: 518
FWIW, I just did the transition from a '99 Connie to an '03 K1200RS (it and the GT are very close cousins). In general, the K1200's strike me as German Connies that moved up-market. All the things I liked in the Connie (day-long quick riding with reasonable comfort) are there. The K1200's don't feel as "tippy" as the Connie although I suspect the RT's COG is lower (maybe not?). The really good news is the Beemer motor pulls like a freight train and the brakes do their job without a lot of fuss and with ABS. In fact, when I went looking for the replacement to Barney, ABS was a must-have.

The down side is the complexity of the Beemer. Changing the air filter means pulling the gas tank (honest!). It's a lot harder to add electrical farkles (horns, lights, etc.). Even a lot of the fasteners are not the usual metric bolts and screws but either Torx or hex screws/bolts (the problem here is more adding new tools to the tool box - as fasteners go, I like Torx fasteners over standard bolts).

Misc. pros and cons... the K's handling is (surprise!) really confidence-inspiring. The lights... it's too easy to outrun them at night - plan on changing to brighter bulbs or HID's. The centerstand on the K actually works without threatening to blow your back out or give you a hernia. The Connie bags hold more than the Beemer bags. The Beermer bag mounts are more robust than Connie antlers and you don't need to unbolt antlers and cover the bolt holes up with tupperware, as on the Connie, if you want to ride without them. The seat is as comfortable (or not) as the stock Connie seat. The Connie seat is vastly easier to take off and put back on. The K's seat, in its lower position, will have you sliding forward and jamming "the boys" into the back of the tank - bet on it. In the upper position... not so much. I may look for a Corbin replacement, as I did on my Connie.

I put something like 40K on the Connie before the engine hydro-locked. I had a lot of fun with the bike and was truly sorry to see things end, at 61K on the clock and a lot of riding otherwise left in the bike. In the roughly one month I've had the Red Flash so far, I've done two 300+ mile trips and some local riding. Would I buy the bike again? In a New York minute!

- - -

ADD: I installed an after-market AudioVox cruise control on the Connie. My KRS has the OEM cruise control. The AudioVox unit worked well, although I quickly learned to keep my weight off the throttle grip (and on the handlebar end weight) while it was engaged. The BMW unit doesn't much care about that, but if you hit a bump on the road and accidentally back the throttle off, the cruise control disengages (as it's designed to do). In general, with a real cruise control (as opposed to a throttle lock - IMNSHO, a near-suicide device), long distance slabbing becomes much, much easier. Don't leave home without it.

Not all who wander are lost. Which still leaves room for more than a few lost wanderers...

Red Flash - '03 K1200RS, lightly farkled

Last edited by RBEmerson; Jul 27th, 2010 at 6:34 pm. Reason: ADD: Cruise control comment
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 28th, 2010, 7:57 am
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Location: Skippack, PA, USA
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Further comments: the tranny and clutch. My Connie had a habit of being a little difficult with finding neutral between first and second and Kawasaki deliberately made going from neutral to second, while stopped, a problem. The clutch had good feel. It's possible to move the shifter pedal on its splined shaft to get just the right space for some thicker riding boots (I have Aerostich's Combat Lite boots by Sidi - thick suckers but "da bomb" for riding). The KRS' tranny is effin' notchy and clunky. The clutch is a beast to feather well when shifting (oddly, or perhaps not, the same is true for all three BMW cars with manual shift that we had or still own). The shifter pedal has two positions, period, end of story, basta. And neither position really suits me. Of all the gripes about the KRS, I think the tranny and clutch gripes are the ones that bring me closest to saying "BMW Motorrad, WTF!!! Were ya thinking?!?"

Not all who wander are lost. Which still leaves room for more than a few lost wanderers...

Red Flash - '03 K1200RS, lightly farkled
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 28th, 2010, 8:34 pm Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Oriental, NC, USA
Posts: 6
Wink Great Forum!!!

Just finished reading your great replies, and then saw a couple of messages (also really excellent) from fellow Carolinian Stephen.

What can I say...but Thanks!

Enjoyed the Connie vs K thoughts. Funny, I installed the obligatory throttlemeister/bar ends on my Concours, but always thought it was a sorta' stone axe approach to cruise control. I am definitely drawn to the K's integrated cruise control, and agree that it would be a priceless cruising companion.

And, yes, I need a way to maintain a legal speed, as I seem to get at least one ticket a year.

The transmission comments; ditto. My 6 speed M5 is exactly as described.

Good land - y'all do rack up the miles on your bikes! They must be good, to deserve so much prime butt time.

I'm continuing to look for a K bike, and will be travelling to see at least one example within the next week. A big factor is this compliments to everyone.
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