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Discussion Starter #1
Evening ladies & gents,

Now that I've (technically) sold my DL650, I've just been waiting for folks to list their k1200rs when spring comes around.

The DL got me used to luggage coming from a Sportster but I never, ever go offroad. Therefore, compromising a bit of comfort, handling, and speed for offroad capabilities that I don't use isn't really worth it.
Where I live, I can't get a sports bike unless I want to pay roughly 1k US a year in registration alone (6-8 months of riding because of winter), and since the 130hp of the KRS felt quite good when I test-rode one last year, this was my main choice. As it's not listed as a "high-risk" motorcycle, it makes a lot of sense too, because I'd get a ton of power and most of these bikes have luggage as well.

However, not many KRS are up for sale (read: none right now, about 10-12 in total throughout a summer, GT-trim included), so my options are scarce.
However, there's 2009 F800ST with side bags that is for sale for roughly the same amount as a nice KRS.

85hp coming from a 66hp Suzuki would make for a nice change (less than 130hp, but the ST is much smaller than the RS), and the ST I would assume is much nicer as far as handling is concerned.
I need decent comfort, luggage, reliability and ride about 6000 miles per summer, with the occasional passager here and there.

What are your thoughts in this regard?

Thanks,
Ed
 

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If you're sure you won't miss the horsepower of the K1200, the St might make a good choice. As long as you don't intend to spend a lot of time riding "two-up" or want to flog the bike like it's a supersport, then the ST should fill your needs. It's a nice bike, light weight, especially when compared to the heavy K bikes. I think the main difference is that the ST, being a twin, is not as smooth as the 4 cyl. K bike. You need to ride one first and see if the vibration will be an issue for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you're sure you won't miss the horsepower of the K1200, the St might make a good choice. As long as you don't intend to spend a lot of time riding "two-up" or want to flog the bike like it's a supersport, then the ST should fill your needs. It's a nice bike, light weight, especially when compared to the heavy K bikes. I think the main difference is that the ST, being a twin, is not as smooth as the 4 cyl. K bike. You need to ride one first and see if the vibration will be an issue for you.
The current situation is such that my DL650 sold yet; I have a deposit, but the buyer offered for me to back-out should I decide to keep the bike. It's still winter here, so no harm done, but the sale is happening in the second week of March (third if I'm lucky) so I need to make up my mind fast.

My two primary concerns with the current bike are that it’s somewhat lacking in power and toss-ability for what I want (the compromising I was referring to earlier, though I could still live with it), and I had a hard time being two-up on the DL for stability and maneuverability at low speed (-10mph, stop&go). The latter being due to the height of the seat and the pillion weighing a bit more than what I’m used to (ie: the ex-girlfriend).

For what I could purchase with the money from the DL, the only bike that's of interest to me would be a KRS (or an F, hypothetically), or else I'd keep the DL. The reasoning is that they don’t make the brick anymore and they're becoming increasingly rare, but Suzuki is still making a DL, which I could acquire again a few years from now if I wanted to. All in all, the DL isn't bad choice; It's practical, comfortable, inexpensive to run and maintain for what it is (and for the cost of keeping it vs another bike), but it feels somewhat bland (and slightly unsafe when two-up in city riding).

We did go see a K1200rs at a dealer so that I could at least feel how stable it was at a standstill (just for ergonomics, I knew I wouldn’t buy that specific bike). I tilted the bike on each side, had the GF move about a bit, and everything was fine. I’ve also ridden a KRS before, albeit solo, and I had no problems myself but I’ve never been on an F800.

To that point, however, there is no way for me to take any bike for a ride right now, solo or two-up, being that it’s still -15C (5F) and we’ve had roughly 6 feet of snow in the last month.

I’ll be checking out the aforementioned F800st on Saturday, with the GF, for ergonomics and stability at a standstill. I only intend to have a passenger 1k miles out of 6k total for the year, but when she sat behind me on the KRS, she preferred the seat of the DL (and it's handles). However, me having to lean a bit on the K offered her more visibility than just the back of my helmet.

1) How is the smoothness of the F compared the 650 in my DL?
2) Power to weight ratio, if the F weighed the same as the K, the former would have about 124hp compared to 130, so not much of a difference, is there?
3) There seems to be many horror stories of 06-07 F’s, but to my understanding, most were resolved afterwards?
4) The K felt like a stiff bike and it didn't bother me; How would the ride quality of the K (or F) compare to the DL from a pillion's perspective?

Not sure about anything right now, as demonstrated by the wall of text I just spewed...

Thanks,
Ed
 

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Er, it would be of some help to where you live. US? Canada? UK? Seychelles? ;)

Since there's some chance of riding two-up, scratch the F800 if you have any thoughts of anything approaching long distance riding two-up. Locally... meh... you'll get by. And that's about it. OTOH, it looks as though wheeling KRS off the show room floor will set you back, annually, some serious money. On the plus side of the ledger, the KRS will take you and your GF down the road briskly and in comfort. The Gixxer boys will eat your lunch, but you'll be riding while they're oiling their chains, changing sprockets, etc., time consuming etc. And not a lot of long distance riding in the crotch rocket world, eh? Back to costs...let's assume you go for the ST. If you like it, fine. If not, that's one more bike to sell, one more loss to take (depreciation, etc.) and then there's still the KRS to buy. Save your money and start with the KRS. Whether you can do the deal is, of course, between you and your banker. :)

Coming back to carrying your GF. There are some options for making the back seat more comforting (back rest, for example, or a top case). Ride quality is, of course, very subjective. Someone's marshmallow ride is someone else's ride on a device designed for torture. You can, for example, install after-market shocks (Öhlin, Wilbur, and others) that can be dialed to your needs. This isn't for free, of course. OTOH, if your GF is good with the bike's ride, she might just sign on for more than 1K/yr... Me, I'd sooner hold a lit match over an open gas can than say how to play that one. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Er, it would be of some help to where you live. US? Canada? UK? Seychelles? ;)

Since there's some chance of riding two-up, scratch the F800 if you have any thoughts of anything approaching long distance riding two-up. Locally... meh... you'll get by. And that's about it. OTOH, it looks as though wheeling KRS off the show room floor will set you back, annually, some serious money. On the plus side of the ledger, the KRS will take you and your GF down the road briskly and in comfort. The Gixxer boys will eat your lunch, but you'll be riding while they're oiling their chains, changing sprockets, etc., time consuming etc. And not a lot of long distance riding in the crotch rocket world, eh? Back to costs...let's assume you go for the ST. If you like it, fine. If not, that's one more bike to sell, one more loss to take (depreciation, etc.) and then there's still the KRS to buy. Save your money and start with the KRS. Whether you can do the deal is, of course, between you and your banker. :)

Coming back to carrying your GF. There are some options for making the back seat more comforting (back rest, for example, or a top case). Ride quality is, of course, very subjective. Someone's marshmallow ride is someone else's ride on a device designed for torture. You can, for example, install after-market shocks (Öhlin, Wilbur, and others) that can be dialed to your needs. This isn't for free, of course. OTOH, if your GF is good with the bike's ride, she might just sign on for more than 1K/yr... Me, I'd sooner hold a lit match over an open gas can than say how to play that one. ;)
- I'm in Canada;
- So few KRS's for sale though, like, ever. It's insane.
- The most we'd ride in a day as a duo would be about 250 miles;
- Any other reason than two-up for ditching the F800st? I checked one out today and it's quite nice actually. The riding position is similar to the KRS, center of gravity feels really low (compared to a VFR - See below), and it's a belt so not much maintenance than a shaft either. The example I checked out was in pristine condition, except for a stone chip on one plastic; Other than that, all the invoices since time of purchase including the dealer invoice, with maintenance being at 10/10. Heck, the guy has an excel file where he noted everything he's done with the mileage, including the fill-up of every tank of gas. Givi V35's, tank bag, etc... the whole nine yards.
- A friend also suggested I check out a VFR 800, and I did tonight as well. More aggressive than both the KRS and FST, but still comfortable. Luggage is nice, but clearly heavier than the F and with a higher CoG. Feels like it would be a lot of fun in the twisties.
- Maintenance on a KRS doesn't seem THAT expensive? If only a decent one could come along...
 

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You're right, KRS' are, like the next series of K bikes, scarce. I don't know how many were produced, but I suspect that the two series have the same "problem": owners keep them. My '03 is hardly the latest word in bikes in general, and K's in particular. Aside from the K1600 (sadly, hell will probably freeze over before SWMBO will concede a change of bikes), I really don't feel a need to move sideways into a fast tourer.

Options are the FJR or Concours (had a C10 version, liked it very much but no ABS, and a willingness to let gas dribble into the cylinders). That last leads to hydraulicing one or more cylinders which, since gas effectively won't compress that leads to bent piston rods. Sadly, BTDT. Sold the bike for peanuts to some who could replace the motor. I don't see the VFR 800 as a true tourer so much as a long day ride bike for sport touring. See YouTube videos by Richy Vida, particularly his current series about four VFR's brought to the US from the UK. The fifth member of the group brought his GS. The four VFR riders constantly complain about being knackered at the end of the day(s). Point made, I think.

I think the ST has very good points. But extended two-up isn't one of them. Particularly when carrying cargo (camping stuff, clothes, etc.) on long trips.

Any BMW maintenance is spendy. It's just how it goes. That said, generally, I think the KRS is generally good on not a needing constant diet of parts and techs' TLC. But... if the ABS modulator lets go, the replacement, to BMW specs is EFFIN' SPENDY ($2K USD). Typically the servo's motor fails. In my case the seals went. Either way, effectively no brakes. There are two alternatives. There is a company that rebuilds the modulators. AFAIK the work is good and the rebuilt unit is reliable. Some people report by-passing ABS altogether. That's stupid. No other description applies, save to add adjectives such as effin', etc.

The problem with the rebuilt modulators is any dealer probably won't touch a rebuilt unit. The process involves pulling the modulator, sending it out before reinstalling it. This opens up Plan B for maintenance. There are some good non-dealers who did work that's every bit as good as most dealers, and maybe better. And some a trash. Finding a good garage takes some research, but could well be time well spent.

Another main area of woe is the rear end. The details of any failure mode are, IMHO, unclear and range from outright failure (bad unit with defective parts shot from day 1) to poor maintenance (change the rear-end oil as you would your motor oil). Neither of these are guaranteed to happen, it's just they're ones most discussed.

The one must-do: the fuel line quick-disconnects (QD's). The stock QD's are made from plastic. Some have failed, the rest will fail. Period. The good news is there are after-market sources for replacement metal QD's. If the PO put them in (often happens, but not always), good. If not, do it like it happened yesterday. Really. If one lets go, at best you have an out-of-gas moment. At worst, pray the fire department arrives in time. 'Nuff said. You can look through the opening on the right side the tupperware, where the motor sticks out. You can see one of the two fittings. If it's white, it's plastic. If it's silver, no worries.

Things to change... First, resist the urge to change anything until you lived with the bike for at least 500-1000 miles. What seems odd on day 1 will probably be just fine later. That includes dropping foot pegs, mucking with handlebar mounts, and other ergo-destroying things. BMW really did get the ergos right. If you feel an over-whelming need to do something, add a small air horn. The stock horn really is sad. But almost any bike's stock horn is sad. You can add reflective sheets to the rear end of the bags. Won't hurt, might help, and there are some good, ready-cut kits available.

The stock headlight just doesn't seem to get it done. I don't know why BMW punted on this one. Your only options are live with it, or move to HID lighting. LED's are not an option. There simply isn't enough space to handle to heatsinks behand the lamps - no way. BTDT have $50 tied up unless stuff. The low beam HID will swap without a lot of fuss. You will need to drill a 1 1/8" hole in the dust cover, to take the dust seal from the HID, but otherwise it's plug&play. The high beam H3 lamp requires the existing socket be seriously altered to hold the lamp. Think hard about that. Two things that simpy don't fly: 1) changing the wiring, desirable as that is, really won't fix much. The headlight internal wiring precludes a real fix. For the hot supply wiring or the grounding. BTDT, saved a ton of useless effort. 2) High wattage (100W, 80W) lamps will ultimately melt the headlight reflector. It's 100% plastic. The added heat load will, sooner or later begin to soften and... best of luck finding a replacement. BTDT, see $50 useless lamps above - $10 for a 100W H3. You can, of course, all manner of external lights. I did that on my C10 and found the odd shadows on the road, from the mounting location available, just didn't get it done. But live with the bike for a while before starting to mess with the lighting. The changes all take some effort.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Contacted two BMW dealerships today (200 miles from one another, not affiliated) to talk with their advisors regarding both the KRS and FST...
Both said that I should be ready to drop 2k in maintenance (1.5k US, if you care) at any moment after the bike hits 50k miles or so.

One tech has been working there for 12 years, he had three KRS's in his shop: The first had had 50.2k miles, the other 52.5 - Both had bills over 2k (cad) for various bits. The third bike was at 74k and the bill was at 3.6k (cad). He suggested I stay away from those bikes as they're getting long in the tooth. According to him, in the last 2-3 years, no KRS coming in the shop (except oil changes) left with a bill smaller than 1k (cad...)

The tech from the other dealership has been there for about 15 years, he had one KRS getting ready for the next season; Bill was 1.4k so far. I asked him at what kind of mileage I should start getting worried, and he said 40-50 could be okay, certainly a gamble, but anything 60+ I should stay away from. I mentioned the bills from the other place and he says he's not surprised, that he too noticed an increase in bills for the older bikes, and that it would certainly catch up to the 03's and 04's as mileage on them creeps up.


Sure, dealerships are called stealerships for a reason, but both mentioned transmission rebuilds, QD's if they haven't been done yet, main seal, abs module and final drive. That's a lot that could go wrong. Also, both commanded the FST as a good, reliable choice, and that with 85-90% of the KRS's power (power-to-weight) and a 85kg handicap for the KRS, I should be really pleased in the handling department as well.


Tomorrow is going to be quite hotter than the seasonal average (57F, though 25F on Sunday...), so I will go take both the VFR and FST for a quick spin. If I end up liking the FST better than the VFR, hopefully it will feel nice enough to justify the 2300$ upgrade from my DL650...

Thanks everyone,
Ed
 

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Contacted two BMW dealerships today (200 miles from one another, not affiliated) to talk with their advisors regarding both the KRS and FST...
Both said that I should be ready to drop 2k in maintenance (1.5k US, if you care) at any moment after the bike hits 50k miles or so.

One tech has been working there for 12 years, he had three KRS's in his shop: The first had had 50.2k miles, the other 52.5 - Both had bills over 2k (cad) for various bits. The third bike was at 74k and the bill was at 3.6k (cad). He suggested I stay away from those bikes as they're getting long in the tooth. According to him, in the last 2-3 years, no KRS coming in the shop (except oil changes) left with a bill smaller than 1k (cad...)
.....
......
Tomorrow is going to be quite hotter than the seasonal average (57F, though 25F on Sunday...), so I will go take both the VFR and FST for a quick spin. If I end up liking the FST better than the VFR, hopefully it will feel nice enough to justify the 2300$ upgrade from my DL650...

Thanks everyone,
Ed
I am very familiar with K1200RS, having done 92,000 miles (149,000 KM) in 14 years on mine since new. However, as you were told by some dealers (indirectly) you should NOT buy a 15 years old bike that is fairly complex if you cannot do the work yourself. Mine as been very reliable, but my only major problem (seal leak into dry clutch) would have cost me about $2300 at dealer. Because I did it myself, it was about $400 in parts.


Statistically, any bike (any brand) that 10+ years old will have some problems and maintenance surprises. Sometimes you hit jackpot (good owner, good brand and a reliable Model/Year) and sometime you hit a very expensive bad choice because you did NOT do your homework / research....

For the F800ST and the VFR800, you should be able to see / judge most of these strong / weak points yourself during a good long road test.
My opinions are:
---------------
BMW F800ST
---------------
+++ Strong points:
very good fuel mileage (4 to 4.5 L/100km - 50 to 58 miles per US gallon)
very good brakes and very good handling even at a rapid pace
good power to weight ratio
final drive by belt. Less maintenance, although this can be seen a weak point as a chain is cheaper to replace short term - $US$ 500 for the belt alone if your used bike as a problem with this.

--- Weak points:
avoid 2006-2007 models with many problems / recalls
Noisy engine with vibrations at higher RPM
Rough gearbox operation
limited wind protection from fairing unless you install higher windshield (mainly a concern for a lot of high way speed)

ALSO: I am not 100% sure but I believe these were optional - you should prefer a used F1800ST with these options: ABS and center-stand

--------------------
HONDA VFR800
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I am assuming you are looking at a 2002-2013 having the VTEC engine (earlier models 1998-2001 are different in many ways). Honda did major changes on 2014 and later models (fairing , new dash , traction-control , muffler not under seat anymore , better fuel mileage..).

This would apply to 2002-2013 models:
+++ Strong points:
Very good brakes and very good handling
A few exceptions, but it is typical Honda reliability with many dealers at any major city
Engine is fairly smooth at most RPM (limited vibrations)
VTEC can be a plus or a minus (depending on riders) but it is better to buy a 2005 or later for better engine behavior as RPM reaches the VTEC operation mode.

--- Weak points:
With stock handlebars, position is a bit more sport/agressive than F800ST (bars further and lower)
Fuel mileage is a bit high for a 800cc engine (6.5 to 7 L/100 km - 33 to 37 miles per US gallon)
Valve adjustment is expensive on these VTEC (time consuming) so check for maintenance records,
limited wind protection from fairing unless you install higher windshield (mainly a concern for a lot of highway speed)
VTEC behavior can be annoying on 2002-2004 models (engine change of character is sudden at RPM that VTEC kicks in)

ALSO: I am not 100% sure but I think ABS became std equipment only on 2007 or later models (may have been optional on 2002-2006). Honda rear luggage integration is good but these side-cases are expensive to buy separate, so find one with original Honda luggage.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I am very familiar with K1200RS, having done 92,000 miles (149,000 KM) in 14 years on mine since new. However, as you were told by some dealers (indirectly) you should NOT buy a 15 years old bike that is fairly complex if you cannot do the work yourself. Mine as been very reliable, but my only major problem (seal leak into dry clutch) would have cost me about $2300 at dealer. Because I did it myself, it was about $400 in parts.


Statistically, any bike (any brand) that 10+ years old will have some problems and maintenance surprises. Sometimes you hit jackpot (good owner, good brand and a reliable Model/Year) and sometime you hit a very expensive bad choice because you did NOT do your homework / research....

For the F800ST and the VFR800, you should be able to see / judge most of these strong / weak points yourself during a good long road test.
My opinions are:
---------------
BMW F800ST
---------------
+++ Strong points:
very good fuel mileage (4 to 4.5 L/100km - 50 to 58 miles per US gallon)
very good brakes and very good handling even at a rapid pace
good power to weight ratio
final drive by belt. Less maintenance, although this can be seen a weak point as a chain is cheaper to replace short term - $US$ 500 for the belt alone if your used bike as a problem with this.

--- Weak points:
avoid 2006-2007 models with many problems / recalls
Noisy engine with vibrations at higher RPM
Rough gearbox operation
limited wind protection from fairing unless you install higher windshield (mainly a concern for a lot of high way speed)

ALSO: I am not 100% sure but I believe these were optional - you should prefer a used F1800ST with these options: ABS and center-stand

--------------------
HONDA VFR800
--------------------
I am assuming you are looking at a 2002-2013 having the VTEC engine (earlier models 1998-2001 are different in many ways). Honda did major changes on 2014 and later models (fairing , new dash , traction-control , muffler not under seat anymore , better fuel mileage..).

This would apply to 2002-2013 models:
+++ Strong points:
Very good brakes and very good handling
A few exceptions, but it is typical Honda reliability with many dealers at any major city
Engine is fairly smooth at most RPM (limited vibrations)
VTEC can be a plus or a minus (depending on riders) but it is better to buy a 2005 or later for better engine behavior as RPM reaches the VTEC operation mode.

--- Weak points:
With stock handlebars, position is a bit more sport/agressive than F800ST (bars further and lower)
Fuel mileage is a bit high for a 800cc engine (6.5 to 7 L/100 km - 33 to 37 miles per US gallon)
Valve adjustment is expensive on these VTEC (time consuming) so check for maintenance records,
limited wind protection from fairing unless you install higher windshield (mainly a concern for a lot of highway speed)
VTEC behavior can be annoying on 2002-2004 models (engine change of character is sudden at RPM that VTEC kicks in)

ALSO: I am not 100% sure but I think ABS became std equipment only on 2007 or later models (may have been optional on 2002-2006). Honda rear luggage integration is good but these side-cases are expensive to buy separate, so find one with original Honda luggage.
I can do simple maintenance, but it's all in the parking lot of my apartment building, so big jobs like final drives, not so much... After riding the VFR, I think if I had to pick between that and the KRS (given the availability and age), I'd get the VFR for peace of mind.

The comparo at hand, however, includes the FST...

The FST I'm looking at is an 09, with a complete maintenance record since new, with mileage on every invoice. Belt was changed 15k ago as prevention, he still has the old belt and it doesn't look worn at all. Givi V35, oem top-case, tank bag, progressive front springs, PR4's with 8k km on them (still good for another 9 to 11k), comes with an extra set of brake pads and an extra throttle cable. The invoice for the belt was 230$ and he did the job himself - Bike comes with two manuals and I looked on youtube, it looks fairly easy to change. It requires me to drop 2k over the sale price of my DL, but I'm not sure it's that much better...

The VFR is a 2007 RWB with luggage, no ABS, helibars. Mileage at 46k km, valves checked at 27k km, 4k km on tires

Both are roughly the same price, the FST is 6k and the VFR is 5.5k.


I see that you're from Montreal, and I'm on the north shore, so you know how the roads are today...
Handling on the FST was very light, I didn't mind the gearbox but I couldn't get it on the highway because of the weather. It felt really nimble at around 40kmh, and the CoG is quite low. Less presence than the VFR.
The VFR was somewhat top-heavy but seemed manageable over 15kmh. The ergos didn't bother me, but the size of the pillion might be a bit of an issue. Power was very, very nice. Even though power-to-weight is almost the same as the FST, the delivery is much more brutal on the VFR.

Maintenance seems more involving the VFR, however...
I travel from Montreal to Quebec once or twice on month in the summer, with half the ride on hwy 40 and the other half along the river on the 132. I wonder how I'd feel about the more aggressive ergos of the vfr after a two/three hour ride, especially my wrists.

Thanks
 

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Contacted two BMW dealerships today (200 miles from one another, not affiliated) to talk with their advisors regarding both the KRS and FST...
Both said that I should be ready to drop 2k in maintenance (1.5k US, if you care) at any moment after the bike hits 50k miles or so.
[/... yada, yada, yada]
I wonder what world they're living in. The notion of any contemporary BMW motorcycle (and IMHO the KRS does fall into that group) expiring or requiring major repairs at 50,000 miles is ...um... curious. The first question about the bikes in the shop is "what's their history?" Were they maintained properly? Were they raced on or off the street (that is, used hard)? Beyond that, sure, some days you just can't win, and the bills will pile up. But, if anything, as long as you do the proper service at the proper intervals, the odds of not having large bills improves greatly. Have changes in design and production improved longevity? No doubt. But the KRS letting go at 50K? Nah.

Any BMW, with two or four wheels, is not inexpensive to repair. Sometimes it's downright infuriating to see what I'd take as an inexpensive part cost as if it were made from unobtainium. Understand this applies to the ST as much as the RS. It's the nature of BMW ownership. If you can live with that, welcome to the fun. If not, I sincerely give you joy of the bike you do choose.

- - - -

Ergos... everybody's built differently. The stock KRS riding position (the GT sits the rider up a bit more) works for me without a problem. I rode about 325 miles on Tuesday, albeit with a break, to do some tasks, at the turn-around point, and was doing well when I returned home. I'm old enough to collect social security payments. Some people half my age whine (IMHO) about the position, and some folks really can't use it. Everybody is built differently. How any bike will work out for you will only show up after a lot of miles. A 10-20 mile "round the block" test ride won't tell you much. A couple of hundred miles will give some hints, but you'll be so overwhelmed with lots of new sensations, from a bike unlike your last, that a true picture still won't show up. 500-1000 will get you much of the true picture. Unfortunately, the odds of being able to do 500-1000 miles is somewhere between slim and none. In short, it's a gamble. Let's hope the dice are hot. [/laugh]
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I wonder what world they're living in. The notion of any contemporary BMW motorcycle (and IMHO the KRS does fall into that group) expiring or requiring major repairs at 50,000 miles is ...um... curious. The first question about the bikes in the shop is "what's their history?" Were they maintained properly? Were they raced on or off the street (that is, used hard)? Beyond that, sure, some days you just can't win, and the bills will pile up. But, if anything, as long as you do the proper service at the proper intervals, the odds of not having large bills improves greatly. Have changes in design and production improved longevity? No doubt. But the KRS letting go at 50K? Nah.

Any BMW, with two or four wheels, is not inexpensive to repair. Sometimes it's downright infuriating to see what I'd take as an inexpensive part cost as if it were made from unobtainium. Understand this applies to the ST as much as the RS. It's the nature of BMW ownership. If you can live with that, welcome to the fun. If not, I sincerely give you joy of the bike you do choose.

- - - -

Ergos... everybody's built differently. The stock KRS riding position (the GT sits the rider up a bit more) works for me without a problem. I rode about 325 miles on Tuesday, albeit with a break, to do some tasks, at the turn-around point, and was doing well when I returned home. I'm old enough to collect social security payments. Some people half my age whine (IMHO) about the position, and some folks really can't use it. Everybody is built differently. How any bike will work out for you will only show up after a lot of miles. A 10-20 mile "round the block" test ride won't tell you much. A couple of hundred miles will give some hints, but you'll be so overwhelmed with lots of new sensations, from a bike unlike your last, that a true picture still won't show up. 500-1000 will get you much of the true picture. Unfortunately, the odds of being able to do 500-1000 miles is somewhere between slim and none. In short, it's a gamble. Let's hope the dice are hot. [/laugh]
For the reference, the Strom is selling for 3400, but keeping it would require new tires for about 500 to 600$. That money can go towards the next bike as well, which brings the strom to value of 4k. The FST will cost me 6k, and 5.5k for the VFR. Here’s my ad: Suzuki V-Strom DL 650 2007

Albeit a similar riding position to the Strom, I liked the FST as it felt much lighter and the CoG was much lower. Will certainly be quite flickable in the twisties. Not sure it was worth the 2k extra over the DL however, given the riding position... How much more flavor it would bring to my riding experience, really?
It is fully equipped and with an impeccable maintenance record. Seat height is the same as my DL. Here's a link to the ad, if you're curious. BMW F800ST 2009

The VFR is more expensive on gas, but, unlike the FST, I felt like it was different enough from the Strom that I could get a new kind of experience from it and that alone would justify part of the difference in cost. It did feel like it would get both tiresome after anything more than 15 minutes on the highway at legal speeds. VFR 800


As of yesterday evening, I haven't decided anything... This week, I must get back to this lady who’s ready to give me a deposit on my DL - I can't keep her waiting any longer.
Should I decide to let the DL go, I also have to make up my mind on the FST as it's honestly the nicest example I'll ever find and it will certainly sell rapidly.
VFR’s are plenty, so not worried there. The RWB is nice, but not a deal breaker if it’s not this very example.

- FST : Nice blend between the touring and comfort of the Strom and the agility of more sporty bike, but not much of an upgrade?
- VFR : Racer-ish with a touch of comfort, would still allow me to carry some stuff and take the GF with me on occasions. Added fun factor compared to the strom, but the occasional highway might be tough.
- Keeping the Strom : Cheapest option, quite comfortable but it felt bulky and a tad underpowered... I put it up for sale for a reason, but it seems like I just can't come around to it.

Then, this morning… This came up: BMW K1200RS 1998
Same price as the VFR, so 1500$ extra over keeping the Strom, decent mileage (48.5k km = 30.1k miles), but 20 years old… Dried up seals, etc…

It’s in French, but it basically says it has a new battery and brand new tires, comes with 2 hard cases and liners, a soft top case, a tank bag, and the seat has been reupholstered. Comes with a shop manual as well.
Tempting, to say the least, but most likely the most expensive bike to own/maintain. When I took one for a test ride last year, it felt like a proper tourer, but sporty enough as well. Probably a great middle point between the racey VFR and the more up-right, tame FST. The latter is much, much lighter however. Will I get pelted for calling it a Bavarian VFR?

Great, now more confusion… I might as well just start taking the bus!
 

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....
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Then, this morning… This came up: BMW K1200RS 1998
Same price as the VFR, so 1500$ extra over keeping the Strom, decent mileage (48.5k km = 30.1k miles), but 20 years old… Dried up seals, etc…

It’s in French, but it basically says it has a new battery and brand new tires, comes with 2 hard cases and liners, a soft top case, a tank bag, and the seat has been reupholstered. Comes with a shop manual as well.
Tempting, to say the least, but most likely the most expensive bike to own/maintain. When I took one for a test ride last year, it felt like a proper tourer, but sporty enough as well. Probably a great middle point between the racey VFR and the more up-right, tame FST. The latter is much, much lighter however. Will I get pelted for calling it a Bavarian VFR?

Great, now more confusion… I might as well just start taking the bus!
As a big fan of the model, I always watch for K1200RS for sale in our Province (Kijiji and Lespac). I am quite sure I saw the same 1998 for sale at end of season last year - I suppose he removed the ad when the snow came in. Although I know a few K1200RS owners in the province here, I do not recall having met this one - he is from Levis (south shore of Quebec city).

Things to be aware for 1st generation K1200RS like this one (1997-2000 for Europe/Canada - 1998-2001 for USA) are:
- less fairing and windshield protection than later generation (2001-2005 with facelift nose fairing)

- more agressive handlebars and foot peg position (this can be upgraded to later specs K1200RS)

- all 1997 and some 1998 have "potential" to blow the engine if they have the older design connecting rods. BMW made a design change mid-1998 without any recall as it was handle on a case-by-case basis. All later K1200RS have the newer design connecting rods.

Based on anecdotal data collected from many owners, I would guess there is only a 10% chance of blow-up on 1997-1998... but I would NOT take it. Before buying a 1997-1998, you can check by looking thru the plastic oil fill plug hole with a strong flashlight if the connecting-rod bolts are Torx like (star shaped but more protrusions) or if they are regular nuts as the rod end of cylinder 2 or 3 is visible.

See attached photos....

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P.S.: ALTERNATIVE choice similar to K1200RS:
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Many used yamaha FJR1300 can be found for your $CA$ 6000 budget. They fit roughly in same power / weight / sport-touring niche as my K1200RS and they have shown thru many years to be quite reliable.

My only concern on an FJR1300 before 2005 would be if you can tolerate the heat that radiates from engine on your upper and lower legs. Yamaha did some change starting in 2005 (and later generations) to reduce this problem. Of course, the problem is mainly annoying on very hot summer days (at any speed) and in stop-go traffic with limited airflow around bike. You would have to do a road test on a 2003-2004 on a day where the outside temp is above 21 C (70 F) to notice it - it gets much worse in 30 C temps (87 F).

The FJR1300 is less fussy from a mechanical standpoint (BMW always have quirks) and you can find many Yamaha dealers everywhere. Of course, I think the K1200RS 2nd generation like mine looks much better than an FJR1300, but I am somewhat biased.... ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
As a big fan of the model, I always watch for K1200RS for sale in our Province (Kijiji and Lespac). I am quite sure I saw the same 1998 for sale at end of season last year - I suppose he removed the ad when the snow came in. Although I know a few K1200RS owners in the province here, I do not recall having met this one - he is from Levis (south shore of Quebec city).

Things to be aware for 1st generation K1200RS like this one (1997-2000 for Europe/Canada - 1998-2001 for USA) are:
- less fairing and windshield protection than later generation (2001-2005 with facelift nose fairing)

- more agressive handlebars and foot peg position (this can be upgraded to later specs K1200RS)

- all 1997 and some 1998 have "potential" to blow the engine if they have the older design connecting rods. BMW made a design change mid-1998 without any recall as it was handle on a case-by-case basis. All later K1200RS have the newer design connecting rods.

Based on anecdotal data collected from many owners, I would guess there is only a 10% chance of blow-up on 1997-1998... but I would NOT take it. Before buying a 1997-1998, you can check by looking thru the plastic oil fill plug hole with a strong flashlight if the connecting-rod bolts are Torx like (star shaped but more protrusions) or if they are regular nuts as the rod end of cylinder 2 or 3 is visible.

See attached photos....

--------------------------------------------------
P.S.: ALTERNATIVE choice similar to K1200RS:
--------------------------------------------------
Many used yamaha FJR1300 can be found for your $CA$ 6000 budget. They fit roughly in same power / weight / sport-touring niche as my K1200RS and they have shown thru many years to be quite reliable.

My only concern on an FJR1300 before 2005 would be if you can tolerate the heat that radiates from engine on your upper and lower legs. Yamaha did some change starting in 2005 (and later generations) to reduce this problem. Of course, the problem is mainly annoying on very hot summer days (at any speed) and in stop-go traffic with limited airflow around bike. You would have to do a road test on a 2003-2004 on a day where the outside temp is above 21 C (70 F) to notice it - it gets much worse in 30 C temps (87 F).

The FJR1300 is less fussy from a mechanical standpoint (BMW always have quirks) and you can find many Yamaha dealers everywhere. Of course, I think the K1200RS 2nd generation like mine looks much better than an FJR1300, but I am somewhat biased.... ;-)
Called the guy, he had a 98 before but it was rammed into by a car making a left-hand turn. 24k miles maintenance was done, he's got invoices. The bike was maintained by the shop that does the cops' BMW's.
Thanks to your recommendation, I'm having him check the con-rod bolts. He says he's negotiable too, and they're selling it because they purchased a convertible last year.

At 5k and with the proper connecting rods and all maintenance record, it could make sense... I wonder how hard/expensive maintenance would be for me, compared to the VFR/FST/DL.
The FST is the more expensive of the bunch at purchase, but probably certainly less expensive than the KRS in maintenance?

Edit: Not digging the FJR, but thanks.
 

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I've wisely (<- hooboy, that's rich!) owned three first year vehicles (Honda Prelude, '02 Mini Cooper S, '04 BMW X3). I suggest letting someone else have the fun of finding all the things BMW did wrong or didn't do well.
 

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I've wisely (<- hooboy, that's rich!) owned three first year vehicles (Honda Prelude, '02 Mini Cooper S, '04 BMW X3). I suggest letting someone else have the fun of finding all the things BMW did wrong or didn't do well.
I thought KRS's were introduced as MY 97?
 

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I thought KRS's were introduced as MY 97?
YES... it began in 1997 in Canada and Europe, but many readers here from USA where the K1200RS was introduced ONLY in 1998. The only change for USA was the fuel-tank venting system that goes into charcoal canister under seat (and of course the MPH speedo).

Fact is many recalls and problem apply to 1997 and 1998 models. I only gave you the most critical and expensive one (connecting rods). In my mind, the best/reliable K1200RSs with problems fixed are 1999-2000 for 1st generation fairing in Canada ...OR... 2001-2004 models for 2nd generation fairing (in Canada). Of course the USA specs fairing changeover was in 2002 (instead of 2001).

A few others 1997-1998 recalls like the fuel-tank (a molded hidden plastic fuel tank under fairing): the tank could either crack or leak at the fuel-pump flange attachment. Was caused by deformation over time: the updated fuel-tank has thicker walls. Very difficult to be 100% sure if he had recall done for a 1997-1998 (unless he can show invoice). You can ask for his VIN (last 7 digits) to make sure he is above "ZA26935" (Europe/Canada) or above "ZA51086" (USA spec bike): in such case he would have a K1200RS that was built at factory WITH the fix already applied.

If his bike is a bit earlier BUT STILL above "ZA26464", he has the new tank from factory, but not all the fixes (involved new gasket at fuel-pump flange under tank).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
...

A few others 1997-1998 recalls like the fuel-tank (a molded hidden plastic fuel tank under fairing): the tank could either crack or leak at the fuel-pump flange attachment. Was caused by deformation over time: the updated fuel-tank has thicker walls. Very difficult to be 100% sure if he had recall done for a 1997-1998 (unless he can show invoice). You can ask for his VIN (last 7 digits) to make sure he is above "ZA26935" (Europe/Canada) or above "ZA51086" (USA spec bike): in such case he would have a K1200RS that was built at factory WITH the fix already applied.

If his bike is a bit earlier BUT STILL above "ZA26464", he has the new tank from factory, but not all the fixes (involved new gasket at fuel-pump flange under tank).
I'll ask for the VIN, thanks.
Is there also a specific VIN range regarding the con-rods?
 

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I'll ask for the VIN, thanks.
Is there also a specific VIN range regarding the con-rods?
NOT for the connecting-rods unfortunatly.... this is why I gave you an alternate tip to check visually.

I suspect they have published an internal Service-Bulletin for the connecting-rods change, but I have never seen anything about it. Because the dealers were handling the broken engine on a case-by-case basis, it would appear that the mothership tried to do as little noise as possible about this problem (my opinion of course).

HOWEVER, I know from anecdotal data compiled over 15 years that ONE early 1998 (built date of FEB-1998) had the new connecting rods. This is the only one that has "broken" my assumption that the changeover was mid or late 1998. Hence, I always suggest to check visually as I have shown with earlier photos. Having the new bolts type will ALWAYS tell the truth, assuming the check is done correctly thru limited view of the hole (doubt owner will want to remove right crankcase cover).
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
NOT for the connecting-rods unfortunatly.... this is why I gave you an alternate tip to check visually.

I suspect they have published an internal Service-Bulletin for the connecting-rods change, but I have never seen anything about it. Because the dealers were handling the broken engine on a case-by-case basis, it would appear that the mothership tried to do as little noise as possible about this problem (my opinion of course).

HOWEVER, I know from anecdotal data compiled over 15 years that ONE early 1998 (built date of FEB-1998) had the new connecting rods. This is the only one that has "broken" my assumption that the changeover was mid or late 1998. Hence, I always suggest to check visually as I have shown with earlier photos. Having the new bolts type will ALWAYS tell the truth, assuming the check is done correctly thru limited view of the hole (doubt owner will want to remove right crankcase cover).
The owner called a dealership to inquire about the connecting rods and the advisor said the con-rod issue was on another model, not the K1200rs... I'll go have a look myself, or have a mechanically-inclined friend check it out for me and save me a 6-hour round-trip.

Vin is ZA28232, which would mean the fuel tank is a non-issue.
According to what I found, it was built on February 2nd, 1998.

Called the dealer (Inter), two recalls on this bike, both were done. Brake calipers, and oil pump. Nothing else, apparently.

Should these be legitimate concerns for a '98?
Defective fans
Head gasket failures
Defective main seals (I thought it was all KRS's, but maybe they corrected at some point?)
Frying clutches
Premature wear of final drive (even with proper maintenance)

Thanks for your help, John (and everyone else, too!)
 

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"Yes" and "no" to "all of the above". At some point any of them goes from "happened to me" to "they all do it!". Heck, I've heard that light bulbs wear out, brake pads wear down, and tires let go about the time the "extra traction" fibers show up in the tread, too. Dreadful! Trust me, that way lies analysis paralysis. It's a machine. Machines break on occasion.

If you like the bike, it's proven to be reasonably well maintained, any obvious down checks can be put right easily (and, better, on the seller's dime), buy it, ride it, and enjoy it.
 
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