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So, what I would like to know more about, is which model of this bike is the best one from the self-maintenance point of view? -- Practical experience and not what the dealers say. Is anyone doing their own maintenance on a 1200 (once the warranty has expired presumably!) - lots of them are exchanged every two years from what I see around me.
While there are lots of posts that try to compare, say, Jap bikes with European (or whatever) and there are other posts about specific maintenance questions, I can't remember seeing anything about the relative merits of the various BMW GSs for maintenance purposes.
I know there are BMW owners who don't consider the F650GS to even be a "proper" GS (on other forums anyway) -- oh boy, what sort of heartache will there be when the 800GS hits the showrooms & roads in droves --, but any views on how they compare with the shaft drive models would be interesting as well!
And, RS/RT owners need not feel left out on this question; the engine/suspension are the same, are they not?!
Even though I ride a 1200, I actually think the 650 makes a more versatile machine.
Less weight, less electronics to go wrong, better fuel consumption, still capable of hauling ass, wide range of on/off road tyres and reliability is second to none.
As a tall person however, I wished they'd overhall the front end, and put a decent screen on - maybe doing an off-shoot of the 'proper' dakar bikes with the tall screen, and offering the ability to mount a GPS to the bike, rather than to handlebars.
The oilheads are all pretty reliable bikes and when it comes to maintenance they are practically equal.
The airheads have a bit shorter service-interval but IMHO the service takes shorter time so in the end it will be about the same.
On my airheads I use less then one hour to do a full service (adjusting valves, change oils++)
Luckily there is minimal need for maintenance between services.
When it comes to what kind of problems you can solve on the road I would say it’s easier the older the bike is. You can almost always get an airhead started but if your ring-antenna on your 1200 breaks you are in big shit.
Most off the bikes has their issues, it will always be something that brakes first, but it’s mostly known stuff and can be avoided.
I have only worked on the older 650 (ST?) and I didn’t like it. Changing oil was more complicated and I had to remove fairings to get access to the motor. The plugs was difficult to remove and you had to strip half the bike to get access to the carbs. The chain needed attention almost every day….
For me it brought back to many memories from my previous jap-bikes. I’m not saying that it is a bad bike, but it’s to fiddly for me.
I went for 1100 path myself, in terms of "cheap and cheerful" as they say here.
I always consider a possibility the bike getting crashed/totalled or stolen. You can be almost certain you get no money back if someone totals your bike (not with your fault) in third world, insurance simply doesn't work there in most cases. I'm a poor bastid myself and thus don't want to lose an expensive 1150 or even more expensive 1200 I'm maybe being a bit too paranoid here tho., but this is the thing always to consider if your wallet isn't exacly a thick one. 1150 and 1200 look modern by outer design, while 1100 looks like from a previous century, so doesn't get any real attention from those eyes who may have a potential to steal it from you. If you got loads o' dosh to replace any bike any time, then things are different of course.
1100 and 1150 are exacly the same in terms on maintenance. Technically very similar to each other, also in performance. Dead easy to work on it your own, they're robust. Replace oils (engine, gearbox and bevel box), air filter and valve check/adjust etc routine works. My 1100s have been chepest running costs bikes I've had.
What I don't like about 1150 myself is the extremely tall first gear making it a bit bulkyer to offroad and more usage of clutch. Also 1150 is 6 kilos heavier than 1100 with the same configuration, ADV even more. If going 1150 I'd take ADV version with shorter 1st gear, pro for ADV is longer suspension travel, which is good if you're a skilled offroad rider. Tho 1150 ADV was much out of my low budget.
ABS was one of my requirements. More simple and proven ABSII (non-servo) that 1100 and early-1150s had was a pro, since there were some servo-assised ABS (later 1150) problems reported that made me a bit worry, altough this could be also my own paranoia (this ABS problem could be as well as "a tar drop in honey pot" phenomena and BMW says they have a solution for it). If ABSII fails somehow, it just disconnects itself and brakes work as normal brakes on a non-ABS bike.
If aiming 1100 I'd strongly recommend later 1997-1999 models. They are ironed-out ones, pre-1997 had some issues (mainly "lottery to failure" gearbox was the major one that kept me away from them).
1200 was a way out of my budget and although most of the issues are starting to be ironed out but you then need to buy almost new or a brand new one (£££). I've testridden 1200 and it's a superb bike, although the weight difference isn't that big as people say when you compare them through a comparison test ride, on tar there's almost no difference, on offroad you feel some difference, but not that big. Seat for me and especially for pillion is more comfty on older 11xx models. Performance is much better on 1200, more than I'd ever need tho. 1200, unfortunately, is out of my budget.
All of them boxers are good mile eaters and capable bikes, especially for cold and wet weathers we have here in Northern Europe - roomy, heated grips as standard, cylinders keep your feet warm and dry if you put additional flaps (I made them myself for example) you feel like home , just take the flaps off if going into a warm country. 1100 and 1150 have more boxer "character" apparent than the 1200 with balancing shafts, riding my 1100 always makes me grin, altough on 1200 you often grin thanks to it's huge torque. So any of them is an ideal bike for me if doing long travels, solo or 2up, using it everyday communiting and they're surprisingly capable and fun offroad too if you're not afraid to take a big trailie offroad. For me they represent a rare combination character and capability.
RS/RT are road-oriented bikes, engines are very similar to the GS cousins, just few more BHPs for road use and also maintenance intervals usually are almost identical. If riding on bad roads and offroad you need to aim for a big trailie.
650GS is very nice bike if you ride solo, I've ridden it for some longer distances: sufficient comfort and performance for solo but for my 2-up needs it is too small, both in terms of space/comfort for me and pillon and performance. Altough some can travel 2-up with a 125cc too...
So in the end, it depends from the rider, his/her needs and budget, as always... This was my, fully personal version. I'm sure some may not agree with my 1100/1150/1200 comparison.
I've just taken an R850GS 18months round South America, and before that a month or so bashing it up in Morocco. The 850 is rare but just the same as the 1100.
Didn't know much about the mechanics of it before i went. learnt the basics like servicing and picked up a lot on the way. But as said, very easy to work on with 6000mile intervels so you shouldn't need to spend too much time on it.
The few weak points that showed up on mine are well documented.
Broken rear subframe. (same on 1150)
Reinforce it before you go., and therefore before it distorts once you have broken it and ridden 100 miles with it off road! voice of experience there.
Final drive pivot bearings
Final drive, bevel box crown bearing and oil seal.
My pivot bearings seem to go every 20- 25K miles (carried spare)
My crown bearing went after 50,000 ( didn't carry spare as the manuals say it is a job only for BMW , but it turned out to be easy to replace them).
these are the same on the 1150 as well, but a lot of the crown bearing seem to fail earlier. As i think Margus says - think of them as you would a chain and sprockets and check and change them as neeed be, with the added advantage that spare ones take up less room and less weight than a chain and sprocket set.
With Conti TKC80's on they are ok off road. as long as you learn to pick it up.
However the indicator broke every time i dropped it, so changed them for bendy ones!
With the advantage ( in my opinion) over the F650GS that you can cruise round all day at 80mph on 500 mile days and still get 20 kpl/ 55mpg
With the advantage ( in my opinion) over the F650GS that you can cruise round all day at 80mph on 500 mile days and still get 20 kpl/ 55mpg
Not sure about that! The F650 in my household is returning 70 mpg consistently with tarmac riding only.
It can cruise OK at 80 mph - I have got over 90 mph out of it for short time periods (indicated on the clock) (on the private airfield runway!! ) but that is not a speed I would want to hold for a long time - I believe the bike can do it, but I don't like the wind blast off the shortish standard screen; it might be OK with a taller screen though.
But, back to the maintenance - which is the best GS for self-maintenance?
So far, not much response, and no one is saying "good things" about the 1200GS.
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