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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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  #1  
Old 29 Apr 2006
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A Question for the PASSENGERS......

I had the extreme pleasure of test riding a new BMW R1200GS yesterday. I had my wife along to test the passenger side of things. Well, I fell in love with this bike and would have ordered one that day. My wife however wasn't so happy. I believe that she was a little tense through the ride as the bike had no backrest which is something that she has become accustomed to having (presently we ride a 1100 V-Star cruiser). So she was "tense" as I put the bike through it's paces. She loves to ride. She just wants to be comfortable.

My request is if any other passengers on long trips could comment on the comfort (or, to be fair, lack there of) on the bike, it would be appreciated.
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Old 29 Apr 2006
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Passenger safety

My last bike was a BMW K1200LT and my wife would often fall asleep on the back (great bike for hard surface riding. My current bike is a BMW powered Chang Jiang that we will do our RTW tour starting in mid July. The first thing I did was to add a temperature activated foam seat from Bar Enterprises in California because the Chang seat was such a horror. Not really looking to loose my wife off the back during her sleep times, I am adding a backrest. With the number of companies around who can fabricate such a modification it should be quite easy.

Better to ride a funny looking bike you love rather than to get a bike you don't like just to keep a riding partner.
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Old 30 Apr 2006
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Talking

A top box fits in nicely with the travelling, and makes the wife happy - doubly - more stuff, and a backrest - if you put a nice pad on it.
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Old 30 Apr 2006
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Your mention of the Chang Jiang reminded me that they are the ones that make the sidecar/bike as a replica BMW. Why not the sidecar model?
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Old 30 Apr 2006
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Yuma

We wtought about her riding in the sidecar but neither of us could tolerate the thoughts of tens of thousands of kilometers in the sidecar so we will pack that with the gear and and Janet rides as pillion.
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Old 30 Apr 2006
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maybe

'So she was "tense" '

because

'I put the bike through it's paces'

were you scraping the pegs? she gets on a new bike, which will feel totally different to the old one, and you up the pace because you're enjoying it. maybe she just needed a gentler introduction to the new bike? the gs will corner faster and lean more than your cruiser, which would probably make any passenger nervous if they're not expecting it.

you could always try again and consciously ride slow.
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Old 30 Apr 2006
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oh believe me...i was in the middle of the BMW riding group so no, no scraping pegs. it was the lack of backrest (and the BMW guy saying "hang on so you don't fall off the back".....

and she is used to hearing the cruiser floorboards scraping, believe me....

no, she just couldn't lean back and relax while i was accelerating and deaccelerating, that's all....
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Old 30 Apr 2006
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Unfortunately the 12GS lacks a bit of pillion comfort, IF you have the chance to test ride a 1150GS with her go for it, and you (she) might be surprised...
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Old 1 May 2006
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This 'comfort' thing I think is over rated. Back in the day my wife used to fall asleep on the back of my RD350YPVS, the relative comforts of one tourer over another are minor concerns as compared to the attitude and character of the person riding pillion. Riding a bike two-up over distance is simply not that comfortable (Goldwings excepted).
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Old 1 May 2006
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Perhaps the 1150GS is more comfortable than other bikes for passengers. My daughter also falls asleep on the back though I don’t encourage it and do wake her up again.

A topbox is a must for peace of mind. I also have panniers onto which I strap SealLine Baja Bags (similar to Ortlieb). These contain our tent and sleeping bags so there is no heavy weight high on the bike. The overall effect is an enveloping armchair and relative security for the sleepy pillion.
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Old 1 May 2006
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I have to agree what sayed here before - the 1200GS loses some ground in comfort (dunno whats got into BMW heads lately(?)), sayed by me and by my better half we mostly ride together (she's nearing 100,000km as a pillon) the R11xxGS (R1100, 1150 and 850GS have the same stock seats) has noticably better passanger comfort. After my two hours of R1200GS test drive i also find the rider seat is a bit more uncomfty, not losing much tho. Well, 2 hours isn't much but it looks like if going for 1200 consider some aftermarket seat for your passanger, and maybe for you too, if planning to do a long legs on travels.

We've been on V-Strom, Affy Twin, Capo Nord so far the ancient old GS has the best on comfort for both. But indeed, don't give up the others just because of that: you may get aftermarket seats for any of the bikes. The footpeg and handlebar configuration is your next problem on the rest of the bikes, indeed. But with lot of playing with different configurations you may find ideal positioning for you and your pillon. Had to do this with all our previous bikes, but on the GS it was just "sit on" as it is and continue to ride, nothing starts to hurt. We're mostly doing 600 to 1000kms per day on travels, meaning full day of intense riding on shaky roads mostly.

Re top box as a back rest for pillon: don't count on it! Driving fast on potholed asian roads the normal plastic TB vibrates so lot, that it rather kicks your passanger's back than supports it! We dropped the TB idea soon enough after going outside Europe, elastic waterproof luggage roll is the thing for us.

Looking at the pictures Grant had much different (own built(?)) top box compared with the "regular" ones you can get from the shop, that fixes a lot more onto bike than a single top-box-frame, i think that's why Grant recommends it - it doesn't vibrate that much. I've had lot of experiences with the "regular" top boxes - they are good things to have on a smooth roads of europe - you can secure helmets in them etc, but after 3 times broken rear frame on potholed roads - not that good idea in third world road conditions! Maybe there are some smart TOP box mounting systems around that fixes those vibration issues, but i haven't seen one yet.

Those special (mostly made only in USA) backrests - everybody have different views about it. Altough it seems to be the best option for passanger's back resting we don't use it for safety reasons and it proved to be the right one after high speed crash when the bike rolled over us few times, don't want to know what would have been happened if there was a chopper-style thick metal framed back rest installed that doesn't bend even with huge force and the bike lands with full weight on it, you between and your passanger's spinebone in contact with it? Food for thought...

Last edited by Margus; 1 May 2006 at 09:55.
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