The First Ride.. K1200GT.. Goin' to da Dark Side! - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 3:58 am Thread Starter
 
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The First Ride.. K1200GT.. Goin' to da Dark Side!

It is 9pm. I just finished dinner at a small local restaurant and I am now heading down the Pacific Coast Highway on my new K1200GT. I shift into 5th as I look to my left and see the moon over the ocean...

7:30am. I am pulling down the last piece of road toward my job. I am riding from Torrance where my girlfriend lives to Calabasas. I am riding my trusty R1200RT. It has now just turned 20,000 miles. I had left early to avoid the heavy traffic on the I-405. I really do not need to be at work until 9am so I make a quick decision. I remember George down at BMW of Ventura County saying that I'd better get in early if I wanted to ride the K1200GT.

I shift and move onto the I-101 heading toward the Wendy Drive exit. I have at least time to look at the bike that I am thinking about. I had already decided that I wanted the graphite metallic. I was only going to look at the crystal gray and hopefully ride it later in the day if it is not sold before I can get back there. I am daydreaming a bit as I pull up to the BMW dealership. It is now just before 8am. I have about 30 minutes to look around.

I go in, as the service department is open. I am met with happy faces at Ventura BMW. I have always felt welcome ever since their doors opened a little over a year ago. I look around the showroom floor and I do not see the GT. I head to the service department and talk to Butch. He smiles and immediately gets up and shows me the bike. Giving me a proper tour.

This motorcycle strikes me crystal gray is simply amazing. It always looks white in the pictures but in truth it is the most gorgeous metallic silver I have seen. It has a pear hue to it where it reflects the light around it and takes on the flavor of the room around it. The hard lines on the front fairing are striking. It is silver. It seems alive with color.

I ask to sit on it. Butch readily agrees. He knows that I have been around a motorcycle or two. The bike is on the center stand. I put a leg over it. This feels great. This bike looks great. The seating position feels nearly identical to that of the RT. I know that riding it is different than sitting on it but still I realized I may need to take a chance.

I remember George's words again. "Someone else also is interested in this bike.” Now I have known George for years. If I hadn't I would have assumed that it was just a sales tactic. The truth is--if George says someone else is interested--he means it. I had to make a decision.

My original plan called to ride this GT around noon and then order the graphite. I went ahead and made a choice--I wanted this bike. It iddn't matter that I had not ridden it. I simply wanted the bike.

I talked to Pete (the GM) and said “The early bird gets the worm and I am the early bird!” He quickly put a sign on it letting everyone know that this motorcycle was soon going to exceed my expectations. George had not arrived yet. I needed to get to work. Meetings you know!

I told Pete I would be back at noon. I wanted the bike and to be sure to let George know. He agreed. They had not promised the bike to anyone. It really was first come first serve. My 85 mile ride to the BMW dealer had paid off.

As I left to head back to work I wondered who looked at the sign and thought to themselves that they wished they were me and that beautiful K1200GT was waiting there to exceed my expectations.

I came back at noon with a friend in tow. He loves motorcycles thankfully. I completed some negotiations and George was working on the paperwork. It's funny--normally I go through a lot of internal turmoil on decisions such as this. This one however just felt right. My friend and I went and had a bite to eat as they worked on completing the paperwork and handling some accessories that I wanted for the bike that was on my RT.

Now what of the RT? Well I love the bike. The R1200RT is so far superior to every other motorcycle I have owned that I found it a bit difficult to give up. The thing is--I have always wanted a K-engine based RT. The last GT fell short because of the silly side cases that held nothing and the even sillier plastic they added to the K1200RS to make it a GT. No offense to those who liked the bike--but it was not for me. The RT is a 2005, which I also purchased from BMW of Ventura County. I had it just over a year. Thankfully I had put enough cash into it that I was not upside down on the trade.

I look at my watch. Damn. It is nearly 1:30pm. I have to get back to work. I have a conference call. I go to George and he apologizes for taking so long. I quickly make it clear that it is I who is trying to rush them and that I understand that things take time. I turn to my friend and we head back to work. He had already agreed to bring me back later now that I have left the RT in Ventura's hands. I would ride the RT no more.

Hours go by as I finish my work for hte day. We head back. I go into George’s office and he had a present for me. He presented me with a model R1200RT so that I would not be without it. It was a nice touch. They’re great guys. I don’t think you can always count on getting a nice model of your trade-in but perhaps if you’re nice who knows!

The bike is ready. The papers are ready! Time to do the check out!

My RT didn't have ESA so it was a treat to hear about that. It was also interesting to see the other differences between the GT and the RT. The most striking was the return of the dipstick and the loss of the sight glass, which I had come to finally understand. The dipstick and oil fill (which is the same place) actually is directly under the seat. I am not crazy about that really as I know I will somehow pour oil down into the bike. Still with the careful use of a funnel it should be fine.

Other differences include an improved bike computer that shows the trip meter all of the time. The RT (at least the 05) did not do this.

The check out complete the bike is pushed outside. I get a lesson on the use of the ESA with the engine running and then I do a quick test ride. I was given a warning about the throttle that it was more responsive than the RT. They were not kidding.

Old habits die hard. I put the bike in gear and immediately rev the engine a bit more than I should as I move to ease the clutch in. It looked ok as I pulled forward and thankfully I didn't over rev the bike (not even past 7k) but still I would have liked a smoother start and perhaps one less giggle from my friends.

I do a short round the block move and come back. I am ready for the first real ride. It is now 7pm. I couldn’t tell much in that short bike. I just adjusted the mirrors and tested the brakes. I immediately felt confident to ride on the street in traffic. The transition did not seem difficult. Use less throttle and watch your speed!

I head back to the shop. Wave and thank my friend and the kind folks at BMW of Ventura for staying late to accommodate my schedule. They truly have a great reputation and I recommend them highly. If you are ever near the Ventura area you owe it to yourself to stop by. They truly love to ride and they love BMW motorcycles. You'll never feel like a stranger.

I head to David's house in Simi Valley. I have to show him my new addition to the family. He has lusted after the GT ever since he saw it at the Long Beach motorcycle show. I was not gloating I just wanted a ride and his house seemed a natural destination. I take the back way so I can get used to the bike.

I start immediately noticing some differences. The seat in the highest position is lower than the RT in its highest position. I have a 30" inseam and while it is adequate for the task of reaching the ground with the RT seat in the highest position I can't really flat foot it. The GT I had no such problem.

I noticed that shifting was a bit clunky perhaps worse than the RT. Yet the engine was smooth as silk. I found with a bit of practice the shifting smoothed a bit. Still it seemed a bit harsh at first. Perhaps harsh is the wrong word—more like noisy.

The brakes felt different. They felt "softer" to the grip yet they provided stopping power as good as the RT. It just felt different and somehow better.

My riding position was a tad more aggressive but not enough so that I was really in pain. I was pretty focused on not making any serious mistakes as I rode to my friend’s house. Upon arrival he looked at it and clearly showed a great deal of interest. We chatted for a few and I honestly believe that it is only a matter of time before David turns in his K1200RS for the new GT.

I now head out from his house for a set of twisties. It is the Santa Susana Pass. It is now around 8:20pm. It was twilight.

Those who know my riding style know that I am not a particularly fast rider. I have some fear associated with blind turns and cane be a little tame to hard core twisties. I entered my first turn with the GT and immediately and I am not kidding immediately was introduced to the most invigorating and confidence inspiring motorcycle experience of my life. I pulled into turn after turn each one moving faster and with more confidence.

Here is what I noticed. The motorcycle feels "sturdy" and never felt like it was going to dive into the turn. The RT is very nimble and reacts to even the slightest input. The GT just planted itself in the turn and pulled a perfect corner each and every time. Perhaps it was the riding position. Perhaps it was the engine. Perhaps it was the weight distribution. Whatever it is--I noticed a huge improvement in the experience and my ability to ride a motorcycle through some reasonably difficult turns.

I was smiling ear to ear.

I have ridden my friends K1200RS. My biggest fear with the GT was that it would feel like the RS. It is not that I hated the RS—it is a nice bike. It is just that in corners I felt that you really had to push the bike over to make the corner happen. I always felt drained by the seating position and over worked after a bunch of twisties. I do not know what the difference is between the K12RS and the K12GT but I can assure you that if you’re looking for the K12RS experience then the GT is not your bike. The GT is simply a “think about it and it happens” riding experience.

I came down to the valley and had to have a bite to eat. I stopped at the restaurant and had a sandwich. I made a few calls telling any friend that would listen how this was the perfect motorcycle. Finishing my sandwich I went ahead and decided that even though it is was now around 8:50 or so I had to do a real ride. At least 100 miles!

My plan--a ride down Kanan road to the Pacific Coast Highway and up the coast into Oxnard!

The moon is beautiful as I continue my ride up the PCH. The motorcycle is feeling all the more natural. The curves are being eaten and I start to notice how happy I truly am with my purchase. My thoughts of the RT are now in my memory never to look back at. Well not exactly—I have a model that I can look at and remember my excellent trip across the United States brought to me by my R1200RT. I honestly think that is the reason George gave me the RT model. He understood what that trip meant to me.

Now a bit more about the GT. Is it really perfect? No. The seat is going to be a real problem. I rode about 130 miles tonight and already know that the seat is just awful. I honestly believe a plank of wood with splinters going into my ass would be more comfortable on a long ride. I am going to be looking at seat options if I don’t adjust to the seat soon.

I also noticed that even in the comfort mode the bike is not nearly as comfortable on the freeway as the RT was. I think that this is mostly due to the overall harder ride. Still it felt great. I had power no matter what gear I was in. Power here and power there. I no longer needed to perform any real gear management like I did on the RT.

My new lesson that I must learn is to watch the speedometer. I do find the speedometer a bit hard to read as it is just covered with numbers full of speeds I’ll never reach due to my fears of LEOs. I warn everyone that going fast is what this bike does. I am not convinced that I have any real control over this. It seems two speeds—fast and faster!

I couldn’t be happier.

Thanks to my friends at BMW of Ventura County and BMW for brining me my motorcycle of my dreams.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 8:54 am
 
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Wink

My sentiments exactly! As I said to my dealer upon my 1st ride, "Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about"!
Carl
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 8:56 am
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Exactly how I feel in the month that I own this great bike trading up from my KRS. Your words echo my thoughts. Enjoy !
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 9:58 am
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Interesting Write-Up/Kudo's to you

Eventually, should you hang around these Internet sites long enough you will run into a number of issues, whether perceived, real, or pertinent to but a specific minority. These ni ggling items will fall into the jittery throttle at low-speeds, transmission, clunk, ECU/Computer Software upgrades, etc.

Your post tended to put these minor (IMO) issues in perspective and some of us owners (I included) periodically forget what a magnificent bike this really is (and I include all of the K/S/R/GT models). Great appearance, handles like a dream (makes me a better rider than I ever thought I was), and knockout looks.

And while "feel good" threads don't seem to gather as much momentum as griping threads, you once again have at least reminded me that this is one helluva bike. And how happy I am to own one.

With regards to some of the grumbles, and at my age cynicism typically is the prevailing attitude, I don't think I am being polyanna-ish in believing that these minor issues will either be corrected by BMW, for those that are experiencing them, or we will put them in perspective relative to the bike's attributes.

Thanks again!

John
Jacksonville, FL, USA
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 1:21 pm
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Welcome Mark,

I too purchased my GT from BMW Ventura. I was the first to take delivery of a GT from this dealer and they have been just great.

I have almost 4K on the bike now and just returned from a nice little trip up the eastern Sierra's, through Sonora Pass, down the 49 and on to Monterey for the Moto GP. The bike performed flawlessly. I realize I am in the minority on this, but I find the seat to be pretty comfy. It took about 1000 miles for it to get that way. I must have a BMW butt.

On the trip, I was accompanied by two friends, one on a new Duc ST4s and the other on a HD FLHT standard. I kept leaving them behind and had to stop and wait for them to catch up. I attained 120 mph during several passes on 395 and couldn't believe how easy it was to get to those speeds. In defense of the Duc, the bike was still being broken in and my buddy put too big of a tank bag on the bike which was affecting his handling. The HD just kept scraping floorboards and that friend said he is going to get rid of it when he gets home.

I have a meeting today in Brentwood and will be taking the GT. The weather has cooled down a bit and my bike is clean and ready to make me smile some more!!

Enjoy your new GT and I look forward to seeing you on the road or at BMW Ventura soon.

Pete D.
Simi Valley, CA
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 6:14 pm Thread Starter
 
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Pete,

Did I meet you yesterday morning at the shop?

Sigh.. I wish I was riding today. I took it to work but sadly work is only 4 miles away.

-mark=
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 7:38 pm
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I had to work yesterday and was not at the shop.

BTW, I also have a Crystal Gray baby in the garage.

Pete D.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 2008, 11:52 pm
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Noisy clutch 2007 K 1200GT

Each time I start off in 1sr gear the clutch has a high pitch noise. Is that normal?
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 4th, 2008, 1:03 pm
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Normal, not really! Common Yes!. Mine goes in next week to get it fixed. There are several posts on the subject. it will be fixed under warranty.
Also have the broken brake wire to be fixed.
The only other problem has been, the tread disappeared on the tires. Trying the Avon Storms, much nicer than the BT020

'07 K1200GT Crystal Gray Metalic
'00 Ducati 900 Monster
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 4th, 2008, 2:12 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkMGT
It is 9pm. I just finished dinner at a small local restaurant and I am now heading down the Pacific Coast Highway on my new K1200GT. I shift into 5th as I look to my left and see the moon over the ocean...
Congratulations on the new bike Mark. You picked out the fastest color!

I replaced my seat ('08 GT) with the heated Corbin set and have been extremely pleased. Its a bit of a ride for you but you could do a "ride-in" custom fitting at their shop in Hollister.

Now, I have to ask this question. I know I am being suckered in to this, but if you were going down the PCH and looking at the moon, wasn't the ocean on your right?

Steve Sylvester
Paso Robles, Ca

'08 K1200GT

Last edited by Rebus; Aug 4th, 2008 at 2:40 pm.
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