130 miles on a saturday morning -- first impressions - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old May 6th, 2006, 7:20 pm Thread Starter
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130 miles on a saturday morning -- first impressions

Wanted to get a jump on the rain that was predicted for the day and spend some time with a few of my dealer's customers talking about the new K1200GT. I had a chance to do 130 miles on the many Farm to Market roads here in North Central Texas.

I'm following the run in schedule that BMW recommends, keeping the RPMs below 7000 and varying the RPMs and trying out different gears. Here are my initial impressions:

First, this motorcycle beats the previous generation RS/GT in nearly every class. Power, handling, suspension, ergonomics, bells & whistles, and functionality. The only place where I would say the old RS/GT still wins is styling and the feel of the stock seat. This is the bike I think BMW meant to make in 1998, but just hadn't quite figured it out yet.

Power: Gobs of it. I was asked to compare it to the K1200S. It's not the same at all. In fact, I think it feels more like a K1200R than the K1200S in terms of the power delivery (more torque at the expense of a few ponies).

Handling: Oh man oh man! This bike out handles the previous generation RS/GT is so many categories. Given equal riders on a very technical course (i.e., twisty with hills and sweepers), the new GT would leave the old RS/GT in the dust. The new GT is EFFORTLESS when making high speed turns. You provide input, and the bike just goes there.

Suspension: The handling characteristics are all about the Hossack-Lever suspension. I refuse to call it the Duo-Lever, because if it weren't for the foresight of a brilliant designer -- Norman Hossack. The ESA component of the overall suspension package really makes this bike. I spent some time taking a particular route, changing the ESA settings, and re-riding the route. I find that with my fat ass, the two-up/sport setting works best for me. I could probably go with the one-up with luggage/sport setting, but I'll stick with the two-up/sport setting for most brisk rides. Moving between the comfort and sport settings seemed to be the best for me. Comfort when traversing distances between fun roads. Sport for the fun roads. I did hit a tight corner in comfort mode and caught me a little off guard. Just enough of a pucker to get a hint of vinyl in the back of my throat. I turned around and did the same route in the sport mode, and all I can say is WOW!!! It's really that much of a difference.

More Notes on the Suspension: Some people have observed the lack of "feedback" with the Hossack-Lever suspension. But I think it's just a matter of getting used to it. When in sport mode, on a washboarded corner, I felt enough feedback to keep me confident through the turn. In comfort mode, you definitely have a lack of feedback. In addition, the rubber mounted grip assembly seems to also mask some of the feedback. Again, I think it's just a matter of getting used to it rather than considering it a deficiency.

Ergonomics: Great. I took delivery of the bike with the bars in the highest position. Feels just like the RT, not quite as tall as the LT. But comfortable. I moved between the middle and lowest settings. For me (being 6'3"), I will pick the middle setting. The setting of the bars makes a BIG difference in terms of how well the windshield protects you from the wind and buffeting. In the high position, I found the windshield quite INADEQUATE. However, drop into the middle and low settings, and it was much better. I feel that 3rd-party windshield makers will fix this problem. When has BMW made a decent windshield?

Ergonomics Continued: Also, the seat has a high and low setting. I didn't realize I was in the low setting for more than half of the ride, and I didn't notice. When I finally moved the seat up, it did feel better, and would make a long distance ride much more enjoyable. Speaking of the seat, it's too hard for my tastes. I am sure Sargent or someone else will have a seat coming out soon. That's the problem with seats. Some people will love them (like the stock seat on my LT) and others will hate them. The other guy who took delivery of his GT on Friday said he loves his seat, and he has 100 miles on me. The GT seat, to me, is too hard. I like firm, but I felt like I was sitting on the Ducati Multistrada's seat.

More Notes on the Ergonomics: READ YOUR OWNERS MANUAL IN REGARDS TO THE HANDLEBAR ADJUSTMENT -- IT WILL SAVE YOU TIME. It's so simple, you'll slap your head like the old "I coulda had a V-8" commercials. After my "duh" moment after adjusting them the first time, it takes about 1 minute to adjust the bars to whatever of the 6 possible positions available.

Bells & Whistles: The cruise control works just like the LT, RS/GT, and RT. Seamless and just works. Holds speed very well, even on hills in 6th gear. The electric windshield is great; however, I think how well it protects depends on how tall you are and where you have the bars set. ESA - AWESOME - need I say more? The computer and display provides you more information than you ever wanted to know. I find that the MPG and miles to empty screens the most useful for me.

Functionality: Aside from the bells & whistles, there are some really nice functional aspects of the K1200GT. The bags are perfect. The fit is nice, it's very difficult to install them improperly, and the locking/release mechanism is how the System Cases should have been for years. As I said before, the seat height adjustment is quite ingenious. Simple and effective. Between the windshield and the dash is a airfoil that helps provide effective airflow to the rider. Adjusting the windshield also adjusts the flow or air through the airfoil. The last functional element, while small, is a big help. The valve stems for the tires point to the side. Unlike in previous years, you either suffered through it, or installed side pointing valve stems. It's nice of BMW to think about the little details.

Again, my only complaints about the next-generation K1200GT is the styling and the seat comfort. In every other way, this bike outclasses it's predecessor and several other BMW bikes. I believe you will see many K1200LT, K1200RS/GT, and R1200RT owners moving to the K1200GT. I also believe that you will see many non-BMW riders look at the K1200GT as the entry into the line of BMW touring bikes. While I will get used to the looks over time, this bike has already sold me. The power delivery, features, suspension, handling, and functionality is second to no other motorcycle, BMW or otherwise.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old May 6th, 2006, 8:22 pm
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Great report!!!!!!!

Thanks for that great report. Funny how the timing works out. I got to test drive my brother-in-law's new K1200S, and could relate to the appropriate segments on that bike too. As I was riding it, I was thinking of the new GT. It occured to me that the new GT was a compromise by BMW, in the sense that it is more in the way of protection, etc. like the LT and still somewhat sporty......like the S model.... Although the old GT was closer to the old RS than to an LT....I hope I'm making sense here.

As far as windshields and seats....that is what keeps the aftermarket guys in business. I saw the new GT at the dealership in ABQ the other day and have to admit, it looks better than it does in the pics.....very tempting for me.....I'm glad they have cruise control, and was puzzled why the S is without this fine feature.

Thanks again for a great report.....

Leroy
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old May 6th, 2006, 8:34 pm
 
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Great report, thank you!

Here's something I'd like to you consider reporting on, when you get to it. I took the dealer's demo out for a sixty mile spin today. Somewhere in there, the low fuel signal started to flash, and the computer reported something like forty miles to empty (may have been more, I was still getting to know the bike, so might have missed it. By the time I found a station, it was reporting twenty nine miles to empty, and I filled it to the bottom of the fill tube (no gap showing at all, which is pretty much as full as you can make it), and it only took four point six (4.6) US gallons. I figure there was only about .7 gallons left, as per the computer's report, which would make it a full gallon shy of the listed amount. In fact, my current GT takes right at 4.5 gallons if I wait until the low fuel light has flashed for a bit. I'm wondering if that's what you and others find when fueling. I'd hoped for better range than that amount of fuel will provide.

I agree completely with the comments you made during your report. The low speed fueling issues that I complained about during my test ride of the pre-production bike at Daytona are almost completely solved. It's still a bit touchy doing walking speed in first gear, but considering the fierce nature of that engine, BMW did an amazing job of taming it.

I found the seat to be awful in the low position, I kept sliding into the "tank", which vibrates some at 80 MPH +- 2, the seat was much more comfortable in the high position, but I'm already planning on replacing it!

Thanks again for the report, keep them coming for those of us that are still waiting.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old May 6th, 2006, 8:55 pm
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljeffe
.

Power: Gobs of it. I was asked to compare it to the K1200S. It's not the same at all. In fact, I think it feels more like a K1200R than the K1200S in terms of the power delivery (more torque at the expense of a few ponies).
Actually the torque characteristics of the KR and KS engines are the same. The KR *feels* like it has a bit more grunt because it's gearing is a bit steeper. The KR does have 4 less ponies due to having only 1 airbox. The power to weight ratio between the 2 bikes would be about the same tho (or tilted in the KRs favour), as the KR is around 25 lbs lighter than the KS.

Nice report BTW.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old May 6th, 2006, 9:44 pm
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One of the finest reports I have read, Jeff. Thanks for sharing your perceptions with all of us. I picked up mine today but commitments prohibited my riding until tomorrow, Sunday.

Thanks for sharing!

John
Jacksonville, FL, USA
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old May 6th, 2006, 9:52 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpalamaro
One of the finest reports I have read, Jeff. Thanks for sharing your perceptions with all of us. I picked up mine today but commitments prohibited my riding until tomorrow, Sunday.

Thanks for sharing!
I'm shooting for a 300 mile trip tomorrow. I'll let you know how it turns out.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old May 6th, 2006, 10:56 pm
 
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Jeff,
thanks for writing all that for us. your thorough interpretation of the GT is a Godsend to those of us who wait for their's to arrive. i know it is too soon to tell if you will ride that LT again, and... if so, how much

get some sleep my friend.... you've earned it
i hope that we will get even more info from you after the 300 miles tomorrow... if you still have the energy to do so
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old May 6th, 2006, 11:16 pm Thread Starter
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I'll know the eventual fate of the LT after the trip to Rango's Roundup in Red River. That should get me close to 2000 miles.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old May 7th, 2006, 3:55 am
 
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Congrats Jeff
I've now done 900kms on mine and I agree with all you have said except for looks...they are great. The seat well maybe you're right.....but its not that bad. Windscreen could be better.
I've nothing really to bitch about
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old May 7th, 2006, 7:38 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljeffe
I'll know the eventual fate of the LT after the trip to Rango's Roundup in Red River. That should get me close to 2000 miles.

as i was lying in bed last night.... i was wondering about the Curve Cowboy Reunion.... a mostly LT event.
would GTs be invited as well?
i know how important that event is to you personally, as you were one of the founders.
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