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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 27 Oct 2012
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Bmw 12gsa

Is it ridiculous to consider doing a solo rtw on a bmw gsa? I have read all the opinions proclaiming that lighter is better, but no other bike I have tested has moved me as the GSA. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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It's a very big bike for sure. It has been used by many people for long overlanding trips though so eventually the riders have figured out to work around the weight issues through riding style and terrain selection.

It depends a bit on where you are going RTW. If you plan on sticking to the pavement (eg. London to Vladivostok on the Transiberian or Ushuaia to Deadhorse on the Panamerican as two examples) then you'd be fine. If your plan is to wander of onto unpaved roads and mud and sand then most would suggest that you would be better off to get something lighter.

If you are really stuck on a 1200, you may want to consider the non adventure model. A bit lighter and used more often than the adventure for really long trips. Of course there is a whole host of middle weight bikes (eg. 650'ish) that are very commonly used by wanderers, but sounds like you are captured by the big bike bug. Understandable, but you may want to borrow one off a mate and see how it feels on a bit of gravel with some luggage on it.
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  #3  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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I completely agree with MountainMan; the 1200s are great bikes, and you can certainly go around the world on one, as long as you stick to paved/gravel roads (which is certainly doable in most countries). If you plan on going into lots of mud and sand, a GS is certainly not the best bike.

As mountain man says,you need to think about whether a GSA or regular GS. The GSA is significantly more bulky, but the GS' fuel range is pretty weak. I'd probably go with the GSA, but it also depends on how big you are etc.

All of that said, personally I would recommend going on a smaller bike, like a 650 or maybe an 800. Unfortunately there are not many 650s to choose from in the US IMHO, I don't like the Sertaos or KLRs, and AFAIK, the 650 kawas are not avail in the US. If you can find a good used xChallenge they are awesome adv bikes with some prep. I also really like the look of the Triumph Scrambler but haven't read much about them being used in adv mode.
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  #4  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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+2 on the GSA comments.

The Scrambler is low, easy to ride and mechanically sound. It is however entirely built for getting good photographs outside coffee shops. For long term use you'd probably want to buy a fuel tank that'll give more than 120 miles range, upgraded shocks, a coil that works in the rain, wheels that don't snap spokes and a plate to move the back brake out of the way. It can be done but when you've finished the result is still G650/Wee-strom performance at above F800/Tenere/Tiger XC prices. My Bonneville took eight years of this abuse but my new Wee goes the same places straight out of the box.

Sorry about the thread hijack, but maybe such an off the wall comparison of lighter bikes will trigger some ideas. If you like BMW's why not test ride an F800 too, same effective street performance (ie it'll go two up, all day, at the marginally illegal speeds most people want) but a little happier if you do spot a bit of gravel you like the look of.

Andy
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  #5  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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Ride what you love because there is no such thing as a perfect adventure bike, everything is a compromise. But remember, you never hear anyone wish there bike was heavier! All bikes are capable of a RTW: think about scooters in the sahara, sports bikes in the arctic or Harley's in the jungle. Some bikes are just better suited to some things. Whatever you use, learn it's weaknesses and plan accordingly. Bon voyage.
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Old 27 Oct 2012
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You want to do an RTW. That means that you probably don't want to be restricted to highways and good roads.

You probably will also want to keep costs down too and not be paying over the odds prices for spares and repairs...

Consider...

Fuel Cost:

Big bikes use a lot more fuel than smaller bikes. On a RTW, you're talking A LOT OF MONEY.

Transport cost:

Usually done by volumetric weight. Shipping a bike bike costs more than shipping a small bike.

Weight:

The GSA weighs something like 285kg ..... How do you fancy taking that down sand roads and lifting it up alone if you slip or fall. It's not a lot of fun taking big bikes off tarmac unless you have some experience or some big balls. People do it all the time. They are usually an AA phone call away from home too.

SIZE:

It's going to be harder to put a big bike on a boat, hide it in a garage or tuck it away in someones garden...

Parts and repairs..

Phone you BMW and ask them how much a 'thingymadoofawobblejointrectifier is' . Take a seat first though. And do you know where it is and how to replace it ??

Unless you want to have a Ewan & Charlie support team with you or rely on a Mongolian workshop to stock a BMW flux capacitor, you're best off getting something more simple.

This is not me BMW bashing. It's me bashing large, overly complicated and electronic bikes for RTW travel.

OF COURSE, you should ride the bike that YOU want to and just get on with it.

My advice would be to get something in the 600-650 range, with cheaper easily sources parts and components that most back street garages (or yourself) can fix.

XT600E, Transalp, Tenere etc etc. There are a million threads all about this. Keep it simple, keep it lightweight, keep it affordable.


If you have plenty of cash and are sticking to good roads, by all means take the BMW1200 and have a blast.
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  #7  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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You fancy the GSA, money's obviously not an issue so take the GSA and work around it's limitations - ie. stick to paved roads.

If it's the trip that's more important than the wheels then choose something lighter and spend the spare cash on having a good time.
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Old 27 Oct 2012
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I've used Transalps in the past for touring, and they are very capable, and managable in situations where you are on your own. My last one was the 700, however I'd look for a good 650 as they are easier to maintain

I moved to a GSA, and its an excellent tarmac machine, or light tracks, but at 268 kilo without loggage its a heavy beast to hold or pick up, especially with 33 litres in the tank.

I've now acquired a F800GS for more adventurous trips and rougher tracks. Its magnificent, well balanced, and very capable. MPG is in the 60's. Well worth considering

All said, look around, see what works for you and have a good time !

Iain
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Old 27 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnon View Post
You fancy the GSA, money's obviously not an issue so take the GSA and work around it's limitations - ie. stick to paved roads.
That's not always the case though...

Many a new overland rider will just think that they have to buy a big silly GS because of the overwhelming marketing....

I've met so many people on the road who are all "Jeez, I wish i'd bought something £5000 cheaper and 100kg ligher"

Live n learn....
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  #10  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtwnyc View Post
Is it ridiculous to consider doing a solo rtw on a bmw gsa? I have read all the opinions proclaiming that lighter is better, but no other bike I have tested has moved me as the GSA. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance.
No it ain't a ridiculous concept and what has moved you is the most important factor - many of the posts in the HUBB will confirm this

Anyway, to the HUBB; this first post of yours will kick off some well-aired opinions!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by iainnic View Post

I've now acquired a F800GS for more adventurous trips and rougher tracks. Its magnificent, well balanced, and very capable. MPG is in the 60's. Well worth considering

All said, look around, see what works for you and have a good time !

Iain
Just as a point, my riding partner has achieved up to 65 MPG (UK gallon) on the computer display of his 1200GS (not the Adv version) with a light hand on the throttle and when sticking to posted speed limits. Refuelling checks/calculations have shown 60 MPG to be a good planning figure for his style of riding over many miles and always on half decent roads.
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  #11  
Old 28 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
That's not always the case though...

Many a new overland rider will just think that they have to buy a big silly GS because of the overwhelming marketing....

....
We are winning though. Back in the 90's I bought a certain brand because the only info was magazines and the manufacturers marketing, both in it for the money. At least now you can come on here and only have to work out who's been there and tried it (the majority) and who's trying to justify what they bought.

Andy
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  #12  
Old 29 Oct 2012
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Thank you all for responding to my first post on the HUBB. I am overwhelmed by the support and feedback you have all provided.
I understand lighter is in all likelihood better. In that light, what are your thoughts about the bmw F800 vs. the Triumph Tiger XC?
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Old 29 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtwnyc View Post
Thank you all for responding to my first post on the HUBB. I am overwhelmed by the support and feedback you have all provided.
I understand lighter is in all likelihood better. In that light, what are your thoughts about the bmw F800 vs. the Triumph Tiger XC?
I know that the F800GS has suffered many a reliability issue. Search the HUBB for many a post..

I'm not sure about the Tiger. They are GORGEOUS manchines though and people have done some miles on them.

Maybe too soon to tell ??? I don't know.
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  #14  
Old 29 Oct 2012
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I have the F800GS and there are reliability issues, it's not much lighter than the R1200GS(A)... I can just about pick it up fully loaded but its still too heavy, much too heavy for proper off road trails - unless you're an off road god. It's also very tempting to over modify and personalise it, I speak from experience. Keep it cheap and keep it light, save the money for the road.
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Old 29 Oct 2012
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Water cooling on the way

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtwnyc View Post
Thank you all for responding to my first post on the HUBB. I am overwhelmed by the support and feedback you have all provided.
I understand lighter is in all likelihood better. In that light, what are your thoughts about the bmw F800 vs. the Triumph Tiger XC?
That's another thread in fact and the latest that I can find on the topic is here: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-800xc-t-63479

There is quite a bit of discussion in there about the two bikes you identify.

There will be more, especially within the BMW tech forum - BMWs are always controversial in the HUBB
However, there is rarely discussion in here about Triumphs in general and certainly the newish 800 in particular.

As for the subject of this thread, there will be a new water cooled BMW 1200GS for 2013 (not sure about the Adv, but I guess that will be marketed at the same time).
It is getting the UK bike journos very excited.
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