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Cruisin the MidAtlantic joyfully
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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I've now test-ridden both the GTL and the GT at 2 local dealers, and can make a comparison of the two bikes, as well as to my '08 new-gen K1200GT.

GTL:
Pros:
1: Very relaxed seating position, which is great for low speed maneuvering, with a very low seat height.,
2: Super maneuverable, and feels 200 pounds lighter than its weight. Somehow combines cornering agility of a great naked bike with the high speed stability of a tourer. A great chassis. ESA settings worked well for me, selected changes very noticeable and useful.
3: Engine is awesome, with a great sound, absolutely no vibration through bars or pegs, and excellent power, with butt-dyno power to weight ratio about like my K1200GT. It revs freely and quickly, has just right amount of flywheel effect.
4: Fit and finish excellent
5: Dynamic cornering lights were not evaluated by me, but seem great from on-bike videos
6: I started out in Rain mode, at dealer's requirement, but switched to Sport, whose increased power and reduced nanny intrusion is easily noticed.

Cons:
1: Erect seating posture makes you subject to vertical spine loads over any large bumps, like a cruiser seat, and the U-shaped seat give you no room to move around on the bike for comfort (monkey butt) or cornering.
2: Left handgrip computer controller takes some getting used to, and sometimes doesn't respond immediately to "clicks". Without the manual, it's not obvious how to adjust the ESA preload, just the damping.

GT:
Pros:
All of those for the GTL, plus:
1: Seating position very slightly leaned forward with stock bars and seat, much more comfortable for me overall than GTL. Still more upright than my K1200GT, even with the K12's bars at the highest position. Seat itself is flatter and allows more fore-and-aft, as well as more sideways movement on the bike for comfort and cornering. Seat height is higher, but I could almost put feet flat along bike, at 5'11", with a 31" inseam. Seat is still softer and more comfortable than the K1200GT stock seat.
2: Handling is awesome for a bike of this weight, like the GTL but even moreso. It was very confidence-inspiring on the best fast twisty road in our area, at pretty high speeds.
3: Brakes are spectacular, and I could evaluate them more completely on this more sporting machine, as I could ride it harder and brake harder. Among the best I've ever ridden. Very strong, progressive, no fade ever. Linkage from front brake to rear is subtle and transparent to rider.
4: The windscreen gives good, not great protection from buffeting in its nearly top position for me, with a nice notch at the centerline that allowed me to look over the screen but still benefit from the greater protection overall. I was pretty warm behind the raised screen on the 86 degree F. day I rode the GT on, almost too protected. Moderate helmet buffeting at speed with screen lowered, but I liked it best in that position for spirited riding on a twisty road.

Cons:
As on the GTL as far as handgrip, but not seating, and:
1: A little more radiant heat on my feet, L > R, was noticeable on the warm day I tested the GT. It seemed to be coming from the header pipes, which are in the airstream just in front and below the pegs. Not awful but some sort of deflector at the lower edge of the fairing between the headers and the pegs would help this, I think.
2: The front of the seat is a little wide, so standing on ground astride the bike is a little uncomfortable for long periods.

Overall, I really liked both bikes, but I liked the GT a little more for my riding style and ergonomic preferences. YMMV, of course. I think the greater agility, better ergonomics, and the smoother power with no vibration are both bikes main advantages over the K1200GT. I am now on the list for a GT after the pre-release ordered bike deliveries are done. I'm looking forward to it. :)
 

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According to my dealer, the only 1600s this year will be the pre-ordered bikes. Maybe there'll be some backouts available?
 

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Sat on GTL, could have taken it for a test ride but didn't. You do sit low in the saddle when compared to the K1300 GT. It may truly be a grand bike but the "luxo-barge" styling just isn't calling to me.
 

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Cruisin the MidAtlantic joyfully
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Discussion Starter #4
GillyWI said:
According to my dealer, the only 1600s this year will be the pre-ordered bikes. Maybe there'll be some backouts available?
I was told there probably will be some. I'm in no hurry. I like my K1200GT fine for now. :)
 

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Cruisin the MidAtlantic joyfully
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K13GT said:
Sat on GTL, could have taken it for a test ride but didn't. You do sit low in the saddle when compared to the K1300 GT. It may truly be a grand bike but the "luxo-barge" styling just isn't calling to me.
You know this, but the GT has an entirely different look and riding feel, especially without its panniers in place. Very handsome bike.
 

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The 1600GT is appealing but, an engine smoother than my already smooth 13GT, just isn't enough to get me too excited.
 

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wintermute said:
I was told there probably will be some. I'm in no hurry. I like my K1200GT fine for now. :)
Ditto here. The 1200 is just so capable, I just can't imagine it being worth the price of admission. Plus my 1200 is paid for, and only been paid for for a few months, so no thanks (for now). But the 1600 does seem like it WOULD be a hell of a ride!

Lottery? Lottery? Hello, anyone there, Powerball????
 

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Thanks Wintermute

Enjoyed your comparison/evaluation. Also have K1200GT 07 model and do enjoy same style riding as you do. Fast riding, screen down with my girlfriend as passenger. I am sure no bike can handle high speed riding with a passenger total loading me and her 160kg and make one feel so confident.

But there is the inherent vibration of a 4 cyl mounted as stressbearing chassis component and I do not like that. And nothing beats the smoothness of a straight six (only a flat 12 cyl engine is more smooth)

Thus it is not a question of if I will get the K1600GT but only when will it be available here in South Africa.
 

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Hmmm...

Really doubt the 1300GT is much different than my 08 1200GT, but there is a very noticeable high-frequency vibration/'hum' in the handlebars that is completely gone on the 1600. There is actually a huge difference engine-wise between the 1200/1300GT and the 1600GT. You really need to test-ride a 1600!

And the slow speed handling of the 1600, while heavier, is actually more well-mannered than the 1200/1300; the CG is lower and the bike handles beautifully. I actually am excited to replace my 1200 with the 1600...


eng943 said:
The 1600GT is appealing but, an engine smoother than my already smooth 13GT, just isn't enough to get me too excited.
 

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amzarinelli said:
Really doubt the 1300GT is much different than my 08 1200GT, but there is a very noticeable high-frequency vibration/'hum' in the handlebars that is completely gone on the 1600. There is actually a huge difference engine-wise between the 1200/1300GT and the 1600GT. You really need to test-ride a 1600!

And the slow speed handling of the 1600, while heavier, is actually more well-mannered than the 1200/1300; the CG is lower and the bike handles beautifully. I actually am excited to replace my 1200 with the 1600...
As for the comparison between the 1200 and the 1300, there is a world of difference( not as much as compared to the 1600). having had both the 2006 1200 and now the 2009 1300, I see the big differences in handling as the 1300 is so much more nimble as the 1200. The 1600 has even better nimbleness. the 1300 hasa much better throttle response than the 1200, as well as better road feel and a host of ther small differences that made my riding so much better on the 1300.

As for the 1600, I will have to wait until there is a 2nd year model with greater improvements and solving the 1st year teething problems.
 

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amzarinelli said:
Really doubt the 1300GT is much different than my 08 1200GT, but there is a very noticeable high-frequency vibration/'hum' in the handlebars that is completely gone on the 1600. There is actually a huge difference engine-wise between the 1200/1300GT and the 1600GT. You really need to test-ride a 1600!

And the slow speed handling of the 1600, while heavier, is actually more well-mannered than the 1200/1300; the CG is lower and the bike handles beautifully. I actually am excited to replace my 1200 with the 1600...
I spent the holiday weekend with the 1600GTL and put over 150 miles on it. I disagree with you in a few areas.

I find my K13GT to be an overall nicer handling bike. The 1600 has somewhat lighter steering, and handles very nicely, but no better at speeds than my 13GT, and low speed manuevers on the 1600GTL revealed it's extra weight.

Engine smoothness goes to the 1600, although I felt it in the pegs at times. However, I just don't have any problem with the granier feel of an I4. The only time I really notice any vibrations in my bars is when I am accelerating. I thought the 1600 engine felt a little vanilla as well. On my K13 I always feel like it is ready to pounce even in top gear. The 1600 felt a little lazt in top gear roll ons by comparison.

I have a 1600GT on order, and I really don't think I want it unless it feels better to me than the GTL.

I'm just not that impressed, and as a matter of fact would take an RT over a GTL now that the 1300GT is no longer available. Sorry BMW....too heavy and vanilla for my approval thus far.
 

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A holiday weekend and only @ 150 miles? I didn't want to bring my demo back but they know where my family lives. :teeth
 

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beavtm said:
A holiday weekend and only @ 150 miles? I didn't want to bring my demo back but they know where my family lives. :teeth
Could I have done more?...I suppose. However, the dealership owns the bike....not me, and I didn't feel entitled to pile miles onto someone elses motorcycle when I had already ridden it enough to glean an informed impression.
 

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1st Year Teething Problems? Probably

westridge said:
What are the first year teething problems? Haven't heard any yet.
Who knows what will go wrong, but BMW's are notorious for 1st year problems. I had a 1998 K1200RS (one of the first delivered in New England) that was a wonderful bike, but a reliability disaster - 5 sets of cooling fans, blown freeze plugs in the head, new head, new fuel pump, new FI ECU, new ABS modulator, new short block - all under warranty in the first 13K miles! Total warranty claims were over $16K (BMW refused to give me a new bike but rather continued to dump money into the original one). And this was even for a bike that had been shipping in Europe for about a year before they came to the US. True, the US got the 130HP model at the same time as Europe (which made do w/ the 105 HP version in the first year).

Most of the problems were sorted out by 2003 when I traded the '98 RS for an '03 K12GT. Only issues on the GT were premature pivot bearing wear, oil seal leaks in the tranny/final drive, and an ECU re-mapping. All pretty minor as far as BMW's go (but would earn any Jap bike a reputation as lemon, for sure!).

I really, really like the K1600 but WILL NOT buy one in the first year! If, as they get in owner's hands, the bikes are not all what the media is making them out to be, they will depreciate like a rock. In the meantime, I'm sure the early adopters will keep us filled in on how their new bikes fair in the first year or two.

OK - maybe guilt by association with my early K12RS - but you've been warned!
 

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eng943 said:
Could I have done more?...I suppose. However, the dealership owns the bike....not me, and I didn't feel entitled to pile miles onto someone elses motorcycle when I had already ridden it enough to glean an informed impression.
It's a demo, ride it. I'm going back for another drive and this time seriously put some miles under it. Given I'm waiting, might as well find out why I'm waiting so long. :teeth
 

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Test Ride?

Max's told me my 1600GT is in, and actually took me into the basement where there was a sea of 1600's, mine being the only red one. I didn't expect it before September, so I'm scrambling now trying to sell the 08 GT for at least a little more than they're offering in trade.

I rode the GTL, but I know that it's not the bike for me. I'm going to have to ride the GT before I make my final decision (buy / don't buy), but it is, after all, new, and shiny, and red! (exactly like the one on e-bay for $28K)
 

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If you get one get the engine guards on it and pronto!

On the K1600 forum, one guy was attempting an IBA 1000 miler and low-sided at night in the wet, ground the engine casing up (photos of it posted), and the bike was totaled after a week or two of ownership.

The width of that 'exposed engine' isn't good for a laydown without some modicum of protection which they seemed to neglect more than any other bike they made at that weight. That part is keeping me from moving to one. I'd go for a yucky Gold Wing or slow-poke Harley prior for a large tourer as they don't total-out for just falling over. My GT, for as many times as it has been down for whatever reason (Electric power-assisted brakes aren't good at slow speed full-lock turns while I'm moving I'm finding. Grabby bastards!) has sufficient 'cheaper' (ahem!) bodywork to protect the $12,000 engine. Made me a better body-worker and painter though. The K1600 engine is probably upwards of $16,000 so if it crunches and grinds, it's pretty much bike toast. A heavy bike needs some sort of protection against minor incidents, especially if it's ridden by old pharts who will have issues holding onto it when it's leaning 45 degrees while stopped.

I'm waiting for Consumer Reports to do some "Let's drop this here motorcycle on both sides test and see how much the damages are." No doubt BMW will come out on the bottom end of it. Even the Ricky-Racer guys on their S1000RRs can low-side at speed and get back on and keep going, providing they upgraded to the drop-sensor and the special anti-siphon oil breather hose that sucked oil and hydrolocked that engine which required replacement on a minor fall-over or low side before BMW jumped on it. Luckily my S1000RR has yet to lie down, whereas the GT is just plain lazy and I can't afford to keep paying for it's sleeping episodes.


Mack
 
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