Dayton GT Demo 03-07-2006 Long Also - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 8th, 2006, 12:26 pm Thread Starter
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Dayton GT Demo 03-07-2006 Long Also

Should this review have a tinge of negativism allow me to explain why. I arrived at Daytona mid-morning on Tues Mar 7th expecting to sign up for a demo ride on the GT. The first glitch was trying to identify anyone as BMW vs the hordes surrounding the on display bikes. I was immediately told that demo’s were filled for the day and unless I was here by 6:45 AM the next day chances were non-existent for a demo ride. I informed them I was only interested in riding the GT, and I was told that it would be virtually impossible to get a ride on a specific bike through the week. THERE WAS ONLY ONE GT ON THE DEMO CIRCUIT. The other GT was in the display area for viewing only. The two people with whom I talked clearly identified themselves as an outsource company that ‘did’ this for BMW and they had no control over anything. For example, I asked if they could change the position(s) on the adjustable bars as that was a key question (looked about like a 50T). I was told in no uncertain terms that they had no provisions to do anything like that in that only an authorized BMW could alter the configuration of the cycle and they carried NO tools. I got the same treatment when I asked if the display bike could raise/lower windscreen to see the amount of travel. I was promptly told that I would have to wait about an hour+ for the operational bike to return from the demo ride. The cycle on display [allegedly] had no battery (nor did they have a key) to run or operate anything on the cycle. E.g. windscreen. And while the personnel were polite I get the general impression I was getting some significant BS. BTW, I stayed very polite during these discussions knowing rudeness would yield even less. I will now attempt to answer the issues that were raised (questions) in a previous thread/post.

With regard to pictures. There are plenty of pictures of the GT on various sites. I limited just a few pictures to give clarification to seating position, windscreen, etc. After reading this text you may have come to the same conclusion regarding any videos. I brought my videocam but took no videos.

MY PERSONAL OPINION OF APPEARANCE:
I will start off by first giving my personal opinion as to the GT’s general appearance. Please remember, this is MY opinion and is not in any way meant to be a statement of fact. Also, my opinion could have been tainted by what I have written already. First, I give its appearance as acceptable; not beautiful, not ugly, just acceptable. I may be the only person that thinks it looks better in pictures than in person. The cycle is very angular as compared to a smooth look. In some instances parts of it almost look ‘bolt-on’ (side panels and areas around the fairing) as opposed to something factory designed. The quality of workmanship is typical BMW, excellent, but something was just not quite right in the appearance department, but yet I cannot tell WHAT other than it just did not light my fire the way the K12S did. If you looked at some of my earlier posts regarding the 12S I was enamored with the quality of workmanship and design: the GT looks a bit ‘clunky’. Once again, my personal tastes, but for example, the foot pegs are of the rubber/neoprene material as opposed to those beautiful aluminum forged pegs on the 12S. The side bags/panniers seemed unusually thin and flimsy as compared to previous models e.g. older GT, LT. I presume, of course this was a weight reduction exercise. Also, the ‘Crystal Gray’ (I believed it’s called that by BMW) is much more ‘silverish’ in person and in sunlight.

HANDLE BARS: I was unable to change the position, see above. In the uppermost position other than the most vertically challenged, the bars should be comfortable. In this high position the GT feels very close to an RT; I made the transition a couple of times and feeling was very similar. In the lowest position I think the bars would feel similar to the S, but not quite as low as the S.

GENERAL ERGONOMICS: The seating position is definitely more upright and moved towards the touring end of the spectrum. I felt that I was no longer on an S-type bike but more of an RT type of bike. Seat was comfortable in a BMW sort of way as were peg placement. Pegs much more forward as can be seen by the picture(s). I would say that BMW has moved this bike much more towards the ‘touring’ end of the spectrum and away from the sport bike presence of the K12S. No doubt there. But, lowering the bars to the lowest point appears as if it would at least start to approach the configuration of an S, but then again I think, and I will check, the pegs may affect that feeling. An interesting side note was that the bike felt a lot taller than the S. I know this is not true but seemed that way. Part of this ‘taller’ feeling was fueled by the actual demo bike being parked on a ‘crown’ so that I had a lot less left leg to heft the bike off of the side stand. I am presuming this is more illusory than real; but I must say that it did seem much more top-heavy than the K12S. There was no top case on bike to raise the CG so must attribute this to the crown in the parking area???

Also, I solicited both a 6’5” and a 6’6” person to sit on the GT for fit and comfort. Both found it good, no knee bashing against front area, as seen from the picture. And the person in the picture is quite big.

WINDSCREEN TRAVEL: Very good. It’s a bit hard for me to be totally objective here, riding an LT with a Cee Bailey #2 with Wings that blocks all wind. Without riding the bike I can tell you that at my 5’ 8” and the 6’5” person sitting on it, that both of us look over top of windscreen in its lowest position. In its uppermost position I, at 5’ 8” barely look over the top. BTW, this was not the tall windscreen I don’t think . . . personnel there could not confirm this, but I am quite sure based upon other pictures I have seen. For those that want windscreen above their eye-level, I think the tall version would be excellent for inclement weather riding; and the regular screen will suffice as well.

’06 VS ’07 MODEL ISSUE: No one there was capable of understanding the issue (at least no one that I talked to). This, along with the extended feature list continue to be an unknown. I called my dealership and they did not know either.

PANNIER/BAG INSERTS: Same as the ‘above’ answer. No one I spoke with knew the answer as to whether there were inserts, coverings, for the pannier hardware sans panniers.

COMMENT ON THE RIDE: Sadly cannot comment as I did not ride it (see opening comment). However, sitting on it my subjective assessment that it’s an entirely different bike than the S. It can approach the S perhaps, but don’t think that’s what BMW intended. Want a sport bike, buy the S. Want a ‘touring’ bike with sport characteristics, buy the GT.

Hope this answers some of the questions re: the GT. Lots of writing without riding is as disappointing to me as to you I am sure, in that much of whatever is perceived as negative perceptions could all evaporate with a nicely performing bike.

SOME FINAL COMMENTS: The peg placement just feels much different than the S and I have not gone through the effort of actually looking at the heliarc welds to see if they are different. The seating is definitely more upright. With regards to negativism . . . Daytona Bike Week venue was not the greatest place for a BMW demo situation. It was very crowded and I think I saw BMW at its worst. As I made a final comment to someone, a good test ride, does it meet the wind management and creature comforts I am looking for in the GT and the cycle can be catapulted from my acceptable rating to GREAT.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 8th, 2006, 3:01 pm
 
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John,

I'm so sorry that you didn't get a test ride, but the advise that you received about needing to arrive by 6:45 is good. I was there before 7:00 A.M. Monday, and there were already several ahead of me. Lucky for me, only one couple ahead of me wanted to ride the GT, and they agreed to swap the bike at the half way (ABS braking demo) point, and took the second to last ride of the day. I took the last ride of the day, but asked to be put on a list as an alternate for the 12:30 ride if the bike was back from service by then. It was, so some lucky person got my 4:00 PM ride. I noticed the crowd waiting in line at 7:45 was nearly as long as all the other demo ride areas put together. Us BMW fans really must have the infection bad!

I was there Saturday morning when they were unloading the bikes, and the key was in the silver (Crystal Grey Metallic) GT, but either the battery was missing or not connected, as I turned it on, and tried to adjust the windscreen too. It was still pretty informal at that point, so I started the demo bike, to hear it, run the windscreen up and down, play with the ESA, and check out the outstanding headlights (high beam won't come on without the engine running, both low beam lights stay on when high beam is on)

I'm five inches taller than you, and my knees didn't come anywhere near hitting the fairing, but the windscreen was about chin high at the highest setting. I'd need the taller windscreen, but with the two windscreen sizes, adjustable bars, and adjustable seats, the GT should fit a very large range of rider sizes.

I've ridden several LT's, including a few hours on a 2005, and I found the "ride" at least as comfortable as any LT. Wind protection on the legs seemed to be as good as an LT also, but due to the low screen, the GT didn't provide me as much wind protection as an LT. Based upon my experience with many other bikes, I'm dead sure that the GT will never offer the upper body wind and weather protection that the LT offers, especially for the passenger.

There is now a pretty sharp division of missions for the K-bikes. "S" for luxury SPORT-touring, "GT" for luxury sport-TOURING, LT for luxury TOURING, and the "R" to let loose the hooligan is us The GT feels MUCH different than the S (way more different that the prior RS/GT), even though they have the same basic running gear and engine.

My conclusion is that there's enough difference between the GT and the LT that they'd feel like totally different bikes, although each could do much of the other is designed for. If you really like your LT, there's really no reason to trade, after all, other than the lighter weight of the GT, most of what it can do that the LT can't could risk your drivers license.

Judging by what I saw at the speeds I was allowed to ride, I'd guess the GT is going to be RPM limited to about 170 MPH, maybe a bit less if it can't pull redline in top gear. I'm dead sure it'll do at least 160 MPH, again unless they have a speed restrictor on it. Very few places in the US that you can use that kind of speed, the only legal place that occurs to me is the track, and both the "S" and the "R" would probably be a better choice there anyway. Did I just talk myself into keeping my '04 GT? :wtf

Thanks for sharing your report. I can sure understand your disappointment about riding a hundred miles or so, and be denied a ride. Gonna try it early tomorrow?

BTW, I sure wasn't too impressed with whoever serviced the demo bike, the left grip was loose, which left me wondering the whole time whether something was going to fall off during my ride. I'm still left wondering if they aren't doing more harm than good, allowing rides of a prototype machine, which often lack refinements that the production machines have. After all, to the best of my knowledge, those machines were never even intended to be ridden by the general public.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 8th, 2006, 3:14 pm
 
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Atlanta (Marietta) serviced the bikes...
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 8th, 2006, 5:53 pm
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Sounds right- I and a buddy of mine have had similar service issues with them. They have left screws and misc items off mine as well as fastener tightening issues.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 8th, 2006, 7:14 pm Thread Starter
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I may try again Ruben, but it's doubtful. Especially the odds of getting on the GT. Your real life ride affirms my suspicions that it is neither S nor R, but a good Touring/Sport bike (reverse intended). I didn't bring up the fact that I also sat on a Yamaha FJR1300A and felt similar. Good ride report and perception of the bike's place in BMW's inventory.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 8th, 2006, 7:43 pm
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Sour grapes

John, you seem pretty annoyed about not getting a test ride. I can't say I blame you for being peeved. But I can't say I'm surprised either, given the scene that others have described. You seem underwhelmed by what you saw -- the color, the shape, the seating position, the footpegs, etc. -- and it's hard to tell how much of that is colored by your disappointment about getting shut out. The big question: Are you underwhelmed enough to cancel your order? Considering you already have a FJR on order, it seems like you'll have everything you want on your Yamaha...
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 8th, 2006, 7:47 pm
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John,

Well that really sucks you didn't get to ride. It sounds almost as bad as what a buddy of mine is going through. He's dating a model, and after a couple weeks of dating, she just isn't quite ready to "go that next step". He says it's the most frustrating experience of his life.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 8th, 2006, 8:16 pm Thread Starter
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Like I said at the end of the post, a good ride will go a long way. I tried to be objective and answer a lot of questions that were asked of me; sadly and I didn't mean it to be negative but more a statement of fact. At least the main text.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 11th, 2006, 9:03 pm
 
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Bike week demos

Hi John,

I visited BMW on Wednesday of Daytona Bike Week. I arrived at the staging area at 8:30 and found out that was way to late for a ride on anything but what was left. I own a Yamaha FJR 1300. I thought it was to "sporty" for a tourer. Great ride though!
I wanted to try the much touted new 1200 GT. No way at Daytona unless you showed up at 6:00 AM. After seeing the issues at the sign up area and talking to the folks riding the demos I was quite surprised that several were just doing it for YUKs. They had no intention of buying anything. "I do this every year" was a theme.
Unfortunately they have as much right as any one to get in line and ride. Well like you I was able to mount the static K1200GT and was impressed with the feel. My FJR even with risers leaned to much. The 1200 seemed right felt right and if I could have ridden her for 15 minutes Ilikely would have ordered one. Now I will wait until one shows up in SW Florida I can ride.

I certainly appreciate your attitude when faced with the demo issues at the show. I was not a happy camper either. However I found the new K1200GT to have a modern efficient look that the German engineering world seems to embrace.

Couple of design gripes. Why don't they design into the faring a couple of small "glove boxes" so one could at least store your registration, a 12 volt power supply, and some other small items. That deep well on the right side is to deep and unorganized.

My 650 Burgman that I also own has lots of spots for storage. Touring means having stuff with you. Side bags and trunks are a drag for little stuff. Come on guys wake up!!

Phil Tyson
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 11th, 2006, 9:12 pm Thread Starter
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We could have grumbled together Phil. And even if you got there at 6 AM and unless you were first in line, you still would not have ridden the GT (I guess you could be up to 5th in line and take the last demo...too much trouble for me). BTW, I think the thought is that you are supposed to buy a tank bag and put all of that stuff in. Tank bags are I am sure big profit margin items.

Well, good luck in your quest for the ultimate bike. Heck, that Burgman is one sweet tourer and the Japanese knw how to put in compartments.

Regards,
John

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