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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old Jul 28th, 2009, 7:42 am Thread Starter
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Help from Prospective BMW owner!

Hey List Members

I'm a 5'7", 32-inched inseam female Harley rider whose next bike is a sport tourer. I've rent and rode an R 1200 RT for 2700+ miles and 10 days on a recent vacation. I've test-ridden the K1300GT twice, and the Honda ST once. Below are my impressions of the rides, and the BMWs remain above the other prospects (ST, FJR, and Concours) b/c they already have the amenities I want w/o needing to go into after-market and putting on extras that push the cost more toward BMW anyway (cruz, heated grips, ABS). However, I want to do thorough research and riding on all of these before I make my decision. As you'll see, I've some likes and dislikes about each BMW, but then again, comparing a bike you've ridden for 2700 miles to one that you've ridden for 20 minutes is difficult. Thus, I'd really appreciate if you'd have a look thorugh my likes and dislikes, and let me know why you would choose (or already chose) the K1300GT over the R or any of the other makers' bikes. I see in a lot of reviews that engine power and speed are factors, but all of these bikes, including the R are like lightning to me coming off a Harley! One of my main questions about the K is--does that seat break in??? It's not too comfortable. Here's my impressions:

R1200 RT - great bike. Likes the seated position, the turn signals on left and right sides, the nimble handling and easy steering input, light weight of the bike, and the sound of the boxer twin. Look of the bike with bags off - it doesn't look like it's missing something. Cruise control and heated seats/handgrips. Dislikes: Mirrors (can't see like I like to), and my legs felt a bit cramped, and specifically, my knees hurt after a few hours on the bike.

K1300GT. Likes: Bike with the throttle that never ends and movable handlebars. Light weight of the bikes. I didn't see this bike w/ its bags off, but presume its rear looks like the R1200 RT with bags off. Cruise control and heated seats/handgrips. The mirrors (I could see every where). Dislikes: Seat felt really stiff and uncomfortable. Felt like a bird sitting on a perch, rather than in the machine as one with it. Turn signals all on one side. I also found the throttle to be very touchy and this affected my ability for smooth throttle ons, etc. With handlebars in most relaxed position, I still felt like I was leaning forward a little too much, as for some reason, my left wrist felt like it was taking a lot of pressure. Steering input felt a little stiffer than R, so I wondered about smoothness of cornering.

HONDA ST (non ABS version): Likes: smooth throttle and stopping, responsive steering input and handling in turns. Gigundus gas tank. Mirrors (I could see every where). The fact that they have rubber mounts on the side that will protect fairing and side area from falls. This bike definitely does not show its weight (heaviest of sport-tourers in the 4 cylinder class). The reportedly low maintenance fees and long distance between standard maintenance checks. Dislikes: . Heat off the engine was extremely uncomfortable within 10-15 minutes or riding. No cruise control or heated grips (why build a mile-eater with no cruz so a person can occassionally rest throttle hand?). Felt a little like I was sitting ON the bike as opposed to in it, but not as high-perched as I felt on the BMW K. This bike looks patently retarded without the bags. Bags were a little more difficult to operate than BMW bags. Same thing as K regarding the handlebar positioning, only the Honda was a little more aggressively seated and thus, my left wrist took even more punishment.

Regards and shiny side up! Signed,

Joyce whose trying hard to do this process right and not let the Bike Bug take over
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old Jul 28th, 2009, 9:04 am
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Hey there. I have owned the 1100,1150 and 1200 RT's and also a 2004 KGT as well as my current ride 2008 K1200GT.
1.) My experience has been all BMW seats will need to be replaced. Russell Day Long saddles are my choice.
2.) Both the RT and KGT are fine bikes and you wouldn't go wrong with either one. My preference is the KGT. I like the power delivery, real mirrors and the looks of the bike.
3.) All amenities between the RT and KGT are about the same, ie cruise, heated seates and grips etc. Some say the RT is more nimble and I agree to a point. These bikes have a different mission than the Harley and it takes some getting use to the higher speeds and longer distances you can achieve on these bikes.
4.) Can't comment on the Honda....never had one, but a lot of us do our maintenance.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old Jul 28th, 2009, 3:11 pm
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I am a first-time BMW owner, having owned an array of Japanese, sport-oriented bikes. My previous "sport-touring" bike was a Honda CBR1000F with Krauser bags.

That said, I had a very long look at most of the contenders, and had an extended rental of an ST1300 in Europe (called Pan European over there), as well as an extended rental of a K1200GT in California.

So it's all a matter of perspective. I'm coming from the "sport" side of sport touring. I'm probably more critical of a certain type of handling, braking and power than someone coming from another direction may be.

Also, a big issue for me is that most of my touring is done two-up. Many bikes that would be ideal as long-distance munchers (with some sport) for one person, but failed the test when riding two-up.

My observations on your list (based on the ones I have experience with):

Honda ST: More "touring lite" than sport-touring (particularly the newer ones). It had a low center of gravity, so wasn't all that bad at slow speeds, but felt heavy and cumbersome when hustling down backroads. I belong to a Honda group and know for a fact that there are plenty of guys who can ride those bikes quickly, but to me, it's not sporty enough. Also, was surprisingly poor two-up, mostly due to cramped footwell area.

K1200GT: Adjustable ergos are nice. Really love the adjustable suspension. Long wheelbase means greater passenger space. More luxuries than I really wanted (but appreciated now that I have them!). Spectacular engine. When loaded up with two people and their stuff, horsepower (and torque) is your friend. Cons: Complicated and expensive cost of ownership (I got an extended warranty to help offset this).

I would also consider a Yamaha FJR1300 (second place in my testing) or a Kawasaki Concours (new model). The Concours seems like a great bike, but not much for two-up riding. The seating area was so sport-bike like for the passenger that we never even made it to the test ride stage.

If you like the boxer and BMWs in general, nothing wrong with the RT either. Boxers have been around forever, I've always respected them, but they never hooked me purchase-wise because of (my) perceived cost/performance ratio.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old Jul 28th, 2009, 3:45 pm
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Joyce, I've owned the R1200RT and now own a K1200GT. The RT is a nice bike however for me I enjoy the GT much more. Smoother, more power lower center of gravity. Fuel mileage is less than the RT but GT is where it's at for me.

And yes you'll need an aftermarket seat. Only a few BMW riders like the stock seat, one of the down falls of BMW.

As far as the other bikes you listed I can't help you there other than to say for the most part the BMW world is wonderful and traveling if you need a dealer they are the best at helping.

Hope this helps and let us know what you end up with and ride safe.

Wayne

http://fergie.smugmug.com/

2006 K1200GT Blue
2008 F800ST Blue (Wifes)
2006 R1200RT (Traded)
2006 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Traded)
1999 K1200LT (Sold)
1985 K100RT (Sold)

Last edited by Fergie; Jul 28th, 2009 at 4:06 pm.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old Jul 28th, 2009, 4:24 pm
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The seat is getting better with time

Or you could get a custom one. I really like the R1200RT but the GT is awesome.
I cannot dream of a better bike. That is kind of a stupid argument I know. But I still think the GT is awesome. Take the bags off and you can take it to the race track. Put the miss on the back seat and you can ride it as a californian.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old Jul 29th, 2009, 1:28 pm
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I came from an ST1300 before the K1200GT. ST was a very solid bike but the width of the tank and nature of the seat to push me into that wide tank was not good for my comfort.

I find the narrower profile of the GT much more comfortable. The stock seat on the ST would soften too quickly for me. My GT seat is very much like it was when I bought it about 8,000 miles ago (which is not a tremendous amount of seat time), but it in that time it has not changed noticeably. For me what I had to start with on my '07 GT is about what it is today.

For me the ESA, adjustable bars and CRUISE were enough to switch from the ST to the GT. I know you can add cruise at a reasonable price on the ST and other bikes, but the integration on the GT was appealing to me. For me, if you are buying a bike that can be loaded up to cover many miles in a day/weekend/week, you will come across roads where cruise would be nice to relax the right wrist for a bit. After having it for 2 years it is my one of my favorite features on my bike.

If you can get ASC as well, better yet.

'12 K1600GTL
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old Jul 29th, 2009, 2:22 pm
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I had a ST1300abs for about a month, for me the heat made the bike unrideable in temps much over 75 thing just throws big heat. I've ridden several R12RT's and for me it just doesn't have enough motor.. I also think the GT is a better looking bike, and the 4 cly is smoother.. I love my GT and think it's a keeper. Just get a aftermarket seat..
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old Jul 29th, 2009, 3:51 pm
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I went from a st1100 to the KRS and then the new 1200GT and now the 1300GT. IMHO, the GT seies blows them all Away .
Go for it!

Larry
Deep Blue 2009 K1300GT
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