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Old 9 Jul 2007
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BMW 1150GSA or BMW 1200GSA

I am wracking my brains trying to decide which bike to get: BMW 1150GSA or BMW 1200GSA. Have read about the CAN bus issue, and am wondering if I should steer clear of the 1200GSA. I plan to ride off road through the deserts of Southern California and other areas of the USA, and realize this is not the same as riding in Outer Mongolia, and that I would still be in the BMW service grid. Am I paranoid? I am mechanically inclined, and would like to think that I can fix whatever problems arise in the field, assuming they are fixable. However, I am not a BMW technician with a laptop.

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Old 9 Jul 2007
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If you are going to stay on the BMW USA grid and make use of those dealers, go 1200 because it's lighter for off road riding.

If reliabilty is paramount, I suggest 2002 and earlier 1150s.

After time, your priorities could change.
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Old 9 Jul 2007
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Thanks. Why 2002 and earlier models? Were 2003's given "upgrades" that might require the need for tech support to fix?

Also, what would be considered a "high" odometer reading for one of these models? Are there any pitfalls in buying a 2002 or older model that I need to look out for? I'm a newbie when it comes to BMW's, and I don't really know what questions to ask (yet).

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 9 Jul 2007
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You can find a lot of info here:
The BMW R G/S and GS motorcycles
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Old 9 Jul 2007
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BMW started their servo brakes in the 2003 models.

My 1150 reached 160k miles before needing a new motor. There should be many <50k bikes sitting around.
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Old 9 Jul 2007
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To be honest, having seem the write-ups of many a broken 1150 and 1200, I think its a case of half dozen of one and 6 of the other.

The early 2004 1200's seem to have quite a few problems with their electrics and the CAN-BUS didnt help matters. If something went wrong you couldnt necessarily get out your multimeter to fix. That said - im riding an 04 1200GS and have yet to have a problem that has stopped me riding.

As for the 1150's they too share their own issues. Oil leaks are common and are not necessarily easy to fix in the middle of the desert. Final drive units, gears, bevel boxes all seem to suffer.

I've seen horror stories from riders of both bikes that you would just think that their bikes were lemons..but none of me or my bmw riding friends have yet to experience them.

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Old 9 Jul 2007
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1150 vs 1200 GSA

I do hate these subjective questions as answers are so biased, and how can they not be?
I have owned both. I rode the 1150 2-up across China a few years ago, cleaned the air filter. Just put 17K miles on a 12GSA this past 12 months and just returned form Prudhoe, added gasoline. Again 2-up. I never liked the 1150 because of its weight/balance feel, and never like the 11xx engines.
I love the 1200 engine, and the balance of the bike; even with that big tank, the ABS/linked brakes, tranny, unreal torque. I feel the design of the 12 GSA gives the weather protection of the RT, and the handling of the S. It has been amazing and I have been impressed, with its reliability. Yes, its still new, but it has recieved some abuse, and took it well. Did I mention how great that engine is!!
Off road, get a 950, they are tops, but don't go too far from home! I have never felt the GS a great dirt bike. But for long distance adventuring and reliability, they're tops.
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Old 12 Jul 2007
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x2 with what LE said....

I've been anal-retentive with my 1150 Adv. maintenance, and will likely do a pre-emptive final drive bearing replacement at about 50-60K, but other than that I've had no issues whatsoever....

Like all GSs...it does get a bit heavy to pick up after the 5th time or so....

With a little love and luck, we will get by.
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Old 12 Jul 2007
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"through the deserts of Southern California" ? ut of the dirt.
Forget the Adventure model. Heavy, tall and stupid.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 05:25.
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Old 13 Jul 2007
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No. I'm not planning on taking that big dog on desert trails (I have a DS 650 for that). I do want a street bike that will go long range with comfort and be dependable, not strictly for dirt (just a little though). I considered an XR650 but didn't feel it was beefy enough should I choose to include a pillion. Long range dependability and the fact that they look soooo good got my attention, initially. I do plan to travel overseas at some point, and I couldn't help but notice that alot of people use BMW's.

Thanks for everyone's input.
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