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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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  #16  
Old 6 Aug 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by y_kiwi
Essentially nothing goes wrong on the BM's. The 1200GS just works, as does the F650GS. .
Er...?
My mates '05 Dakar just spent two months at the local BMW dealer while they tried to sort an electrical fault which made the bike die without warning. In the end, after endless buggering around with their diagnostic computer which kept misguiding them to the wrong problems, they fixed the problem by replacing ALL the ignition and engine management etc. electrics on the bike. A week later in Norway he burst his fork seals.
I remain to be convinced BMWs deserve their reputation for reliability. Personally, I'd go Japanese every time.
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #17  
Old 6 Aug 2006
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""- Essentially nothing goes wrong on the BM's. The 1200GS just works, as does the F650GS- ""

Oh damn ! Now I've just spilt tea all over the keyboard !
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  #18  
Old 6 Aug 2006
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I would not imagine running a 1200 GS RTW. Possible it maybe But I would be reluctant to take one far away from a dealer. I don't need to look the part, just prefer to have a bike that I can fix and is not going to cost the earth.

Below is the cost of running my GS for six months, I never finished a trip without a problem.

BMW R1200 GS 12000 mile report

Service cost
6000 mile service £152.44 inc. vat
6000 miles Rear Pirelli 607 - £100 inc. vat
12000 mile service £188.24 inc. vat
12000 miles Front and rear Pirelli 607 - £181.00 inc. vat
10000 miles Replaced head light bulb £3.00 (Morroco price)

Fuel - 52 mpg estimated, £965
Oil consumption – Negligible, non added

Insurance - £175 pa

Warrantee
500 miles fuel sender not working - Replaced Fuel sender
3000 miles LH indicator stopped working - Replaced LH handlebar switch
4500 miles starter switch sticking - Replaced RH handlebar switch
6000 miles rear brake judder - Replaced rear disc and pads
6000 miles play in rear drive box - Replaced rear drive box
12000 miles rear brake judder - Replaced rear disc and pads
12000 miles front brake judder - Replaced front discs and pads
12000 miles leaking Front shock - Replaced FSU
12000 miles leaking RH fork seal - Replaced fork seal
Horn stops working during extended use -Unresolved

Accessories
GPS, MP3, AutoCom Bike to Bike, 2nd accessory socket BMW Heated Grips, BMW panniers.
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  #19  
Old 7 Aug 2006
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eh, tu

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Cartney
Er...?
My mates '05 Dakar just spent two months at the local BMW dealer while they tried to sort an electrical fault which made the bike die without warning. In the end, after endless buggering around with their diagnostic computer which kept misguiding them to the wrong problems, they fixed the problem by replacing ALL the ignition and engine management etc. electrics on the bike. Matt
My F650GSD has been grief for 3 weeks out of 4 on my Alaska trip due to a voltage regulator going bad, then a week later something similar to your experience - dying without warning. I spent 4 days in Anchorage at the BMW dealer where they ran down various faults from the diagnostic computer, but no real solution. I spent a week doing the 750 miles from Anchorage to Haines to catch the ferry down to Seattle ($800 for me and the bike) to take it to my dealer there. I'm thinking the same thing - it'll come down to replacing the engine management system.
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  #20  
Old 7 Aug 2006
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Suzuki DRZ400

I've done some long distance on a DRZ400 and have been happy with it.
Sure, it's not the best bike for long miles on tarmac. But it is a fantastic bike for dirt roads, when packed light. Simple and reliable. Can be set for long distance relatively cheap. If you load it with too much luggage, the main advantage will be lost. And for RTW, that may be an issue. But I would definitely consider it it you plan to do lot of riding on bad roads.
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  #21  
Old 7 Aug 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog
I always know about 4000 miles before my chain is done.
:
Hi Mollydog,
Apart from having had to adjust ones chain adjusters many times, what are the signs of a knackered chain? I know that if you can pull it away from the the rear sprocket some way that indicates a worn chain but are their specific 'service limits' for this and other tests.
Cheers,
Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #22  
Old 7 Aug 2006
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Thanks Patrick, apart from punctures, my chain was the only thing that gave me trouble on my last big trip (entirely due to neglect from me ) so I'm a bit more chain conscious now!)
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #23  
Old 8 Aug 2006
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Previous 1100 did 60K. Absolutely no problems till written off crash.
Current 1100 is at the 45K. Absolutely no problems.

Both are 1998. (the '97-'99 are the most sorted-out 1100s)

I don't pussycat with the right hand eighter. Lot of two up and mostly potholed roads and gravel here in the eastern-block periphery.

On travelling, I always carry the final drive main bearing, the seal and few different size spacing shims with me. It all costed me 75$ from the BMW dealer. Knowing how to replace it you can do it on the road in a smart way (hot exhaust or primus and cool water comes in hand removing and installing the bearing ), not knowing how to do it, then you can go to nearest car-repair garage anywhere in the world, any car mechanic knows how to replace the bearing. The bearing set costs about 3X less than a hi-tec X- or O-ring chain i used on my previous sports bikes, it lasts at least 3X more (looking at my current GS mileages) on my riding style and the set also takes about 3X less storage space to carry with me than a chain set with the sprockets.

After my Iran mid-summer expedition 17+K with absolutely no maintenance done on the bike (compare it to the maintenance intervals of wet-clutched and same oil gearboxed bikes), average temperatures were over +30C, only kicking it, and doing here around 50% on the gravel roads both of my 1998 R1100GS have proven to be completely bullet proof bikes. (Well, the only bike i've had breakdown on the road was my 600cc Suzuki GSX sports - their electrical side is legendary for me)

Bottom line, would take my trusty 1100 GS RTW today.

Just my 2 cents for what's it worth.



EDIT: service costs

I do all the services and the bike's health monitoring my own. I don't trust any BMW dealer. I think they are the main reason of all the faults and breakdowns because they have absolutely NO motivation to service YOUR bike with care. One of the most uncompetent bike mechanics i've meet with are the BMW-service ones.

I use the cheapest line of semi synth car oil (low revving, robust, dry clutched, separate gearbox oiled machine doesn't need any better than this). Air filter clean/re-oil (K&N) or MANN paper air filter (home use, better filtration for the gravel roads), oil filter (MANN, exacly the OEM but no "BMW" marked on it, cheaper), valve check/adjustment (easy, 15 minutes job on a boxer), throttle body syncronisation (maximum 5 minute job with my ultra-precise home made $5 syncer), gearbox reoiled, final drive reoiled (both with the cheapest GL-5 spec car transmission oil), ABS/brakes bleeding, all the cables oiled - i've calculated the average cost of the materials less than $50 per service, usually around $40. I do the major service every 10K because it is so cheap, altough BMW specifies to do it every 20K and minor service inbetween. It's the cheapest to run and easiest to maintain bike i've ever owned so far. I do everyday communiting with the very same bike as well.

Happy travels, Margus

Last edited by Margus; 9 Aug 2006 at 00:26.
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  #24  
Old 9 Aug 2006
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Hi Margus.

If I were going to do an RTW with a big GS, it would either be an 1100 or pre-'03 1150. I have an '02 1150 and finally had some major internal motor problems after 160,000 miles (both top cam chain rails broke within 10k of each other which requires splitting the cases, and a broken valve at around 155k). Just before the failure, I'd installed it's 4th rear bearing and seal. This bike has been virtually trouble free, other than what's noted. And as you said, a spare bearing and seal can be carried. Cost of these parts is approx $135us for the 1150s.

The 1200 is so far an unknown, but what has popped are problems not experienced before on the previous models, due to some major design changes. This would not be my bike of choice for an extensive trip. People read their propoganda and sometimes drink their Kool-Aid, but they have some things to work out before it can ever really become what they've touted.
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  #25  
Old 9 Aug 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog
And who carries a spare chain and sprockets?
Why would you ever feel the need to do that?
If I'm on a trip over 1,000 miles I do. I started riding when chains weren't nearly as good and the 3lbs or so for a chain and sprocket might be needless, but, it's comforting.

Quote:
In a civilized country a BMW is OK. BMW dealer and parts in every major city. No problem.

On the road in the real world, Japanese dealers are there at a 40 to one
ratio to BMW in most places. You decide.
You calling the US uncivilized? It's pretty easy to be a few hundred miles from a BMW dealer here.
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  #26  
Old 9 Aug 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog
You're a brave man to leave your bike in the hands of a car mechanic.
I don't trust most of the mechanic wannabees, whether they are car or motorcycle as i stated before, read more carefully next time . It was a tip for the BMW riders going into third world and afraid of it really fails, then the local BMW dealer rip you off around 1000EURos for a complete bevel box replacement rather than just a 40 to 60 EURos bearing and/or seal replacement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog
My DID X ring chain cost $115 usd. OEM Sprocket set about $80usd. Chains last 30K miles on my Vstrom. (As reported above) no need to ever carry a chain while travelling. Unlike shaft drive, with a chain you always know when to replace it.
My DID X ring chain costed about the same, a bit more so around 3X more expensive than the BMW (it's FAG acctually, but only made for BMW) bearing that is the only thing failing basically. D.I.D. lasted just a bit more than a 20K under my GSX. Here in Estonia we have lot of gravel roads and the main roads are dirty too. One chain set i tryed to clean and lubricate every 500 kilometres (yes, idiotic small interval!) as the D.I.D. specified, hands dirty, wheels dirty and lot of mess even with the delicate use of cleaning liquid and the chain oil. I also monitored the tightness of the chain as well before every ride. It gave me another 5000kilometres, so i got the blessing 26Ks out per set. No scottoiler what so ever would have helped me. Simply, no chains for me anymore please if i do lot of annual communiting mileage and travel a lot.

I'll make it clear: even IF the shaft FD lasts around constant 30K, i'd still prefer it above chain IMHO. But it's proven for me now it lasts much more than this indeed. Everything that moves wears, so like the chain and sprockets i consider the bearing a consumable part on the same way, but much cheaper and hassle free version of it to maintain in a "real life". If it comes to sports bikes and racing, i wouldn't consider the shaft tho, but i'm no racing guy. The chain has it's charm as well for me, so don't get me wrong. It all depends from the given purpose and your needs, it's the con and pros of the both systems you have to choose between.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog
Do you think the reliability of your bike is typical of most oil head GS's? Based
on at least 10 GS riders I've ridden with since the first oil head in 1994, I'd say your bike is the rare exception. Also, from what I've heard there are other problems with the drive line besides just the bearing your talking about. Then we could talk about electrical failure as well. Certainly not unheard of on Oil heads.


What about gear boxes freezing up? or splines wearing out? or U joints failing? or drive shafts breaking? I've heard of all these issues. At least five or six of my riding buddies do their own work, and two are BMW factory trained mechanics who WORK at a BMW dealership. Even their bikes have had some problems. (rare)
I think my bike is definately NOT rare in BMW reliability. I think those have increased probability of having constant or nasty failures who let the service be done by the dealers. I know lot of BMW (also jap) riders to back up that statment, also i know riders who have the bikes beyond 100+K with no problems and who are competent and passionate bike owners (all work done by their own). I have first hand experience on both - european and japanese bikes, unlike you who only "back up" the village gossips and stories going around. Not saying BMW is some icon in reliability, certanly not, but it's definately not losing any ground to japs. If there's a man riding the bike who services and knows his bike throughoutly, then there's no difference what bike you ride.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog
The kinds of problems that are generally unheard of on Japanese bikes.
Oh really?

It's really assuring to hear someone with the first hand experiences commenting it.

What about my friend's V-Strom 1000 blown clutch, bad noise from the valves and poor engine EFI factory tuning on the low revs, noisy plastics and bad wind buffeting, oil radiator leakage from a rock hit it from the front wheel because it's so badly engineered and put on so wierd place?

My GSX'es worn out ignition wiring agains the frame, short circuited coil, blowing fuses and fireworks directly below the fuel tank just around 15K from a brand new bike, or should i be happy not to be sent to the Moon with the fueltank explosion or the bike completely burnt down?

...or do i have to say those are a very rare type of japanaese bikes and i should not listen all the gossips going around the village about the poor japanese bikes reliability? Yamaha R6 and R1 electricity issues, Honda's blown cam chains, stretched valves and broken frames on Kawasakis, lot of brand new bike recalls etc stories, do i have to listen them all and take it as an absolute truth about japanese bikes?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog
Do you think German electronics in general are better than Japanese?
Do you believe BMW specifically have superior electronic design to Suzuki?
Not superior in the first comparision, a quarter century old stuff anyway on all of them, only the new BMWs has that can-bus digital. But in my direct experiences with the Suzuki, it's electricity has been VERY bad. Mechanically the bike was reliable till the 50Ks when i sold it. But from the electricity side i say the old bmw farts have done 10 years ahead work with the simple and basic wiring technique than the sukzuki boys at the factory. There's no excuse to wire the cables so that they wore out with the vibrations, the fragile connections and poor quality welding spots, dangerous "russian-roulette" business they do there in the "safely thinking" Japan.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog
BMW????
The same company that took 10 years to solve surging?
Good to hear someone has experienced the surging. Haven't even felt it, with the both 1100, friend's very first 1994 "beta" version of the 1100, early 1150 and the brand new 1200 testdrived.

Now let me think the reason - BMW dealer who cannot sync the TBs correctly or adjust the valve clearance wrong enough...? Oops...


Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog
I think BMW dealers can be good or bad. You get all kinds. Its mostly the bikes that fail, due to poor design and cheap parts, not incompetent mechanics.
Did you just sayed the word "design"?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog
I have no doubt that many BMW's do very well over the long term. But in my experience.....which is fairly extensive.....
Glad to hear there are very experienced fellows out there! The more of them there are, the more technical 'know-how' there is and and the more "reliable" (what's that?) bikes there will be in the World.


Ride the bike you like and ride safe, Margus
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  #27  
Old 9 Aug 2006
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I must confess, the thing that gets me about beemers is not they are bad, I'm sure they're not. But here at least they are SO much more expensive than an equivelent Japanese bike and, in the best case scenario, equally reliable.
Why spend more on a bike that's no better?
I agree we should all ride the bike we like (hell, my other bike's an Enfield!), I'm just non-plussed by BMW popularity.
Please enlighten!
Matt

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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #28  
Old 9 Aug 2006
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[QUOTE=Matt Cartney]But here at least they are SO much more expensive than an equivelent Japanese bike and, in the best case scenario, equally reliable.
Why spend more on a bike that's no better?
I agree we should all ride the bike we like (hell, my other bike's an Enfield!), I'm just non-plussed by BMW popularity.
Please enlighten!

Last edited by Margus; 9 Aug 2006 at 17:42.
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  #29  
Old 9 Aug 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Cartney
But here at least they are SO much more expensive than an equivelent Japanese bike and, in the best case scenario, equally reliable.
Why spend more on a bike that's no better?
I agree we should all ride the bike we like (hell, my other bike's an Enfield!), I'm just non-plussed by BMW popularity.
Please enlighten!
I would ask why people buy Harley Davidsons coz they're so damn bloody expensive? Lifestyle? Hmm.. Could be, but ask from Peter Forwood who has ridden his over 400 000 kilometres and decades around the world now. I'm sure it's just not about it would be the answer.

I think BMWs aren't that "SO" much expensive if you look at the package what you do get. Paralever shaft drive, telelever or duolever, ABS, even the heated grips as a standard. Bosch Motronic brain etc, lot of bits are european made indeed (MZ, Ducatis, Guzzis, Agustas etc are NOT cheap eighter).

Those technologies acctually put the BMWs into relatively different technical class compared to other "classical" bikes (regular forks, chain, no ABS, etc) - you can't compare them directly in the price terms. You can always say you get "much more bike" in that price with the new Enfield or Hyong Hung compared to similar new Honda for example, if you look at the basic biking principle - to ride. But why do we have expensive space shuttles still working, not the cheap russian space modules? Because they are the niche! There's nothing else like it in the world (besides russian copy, the Buran that failed due USSRs financial reasons)

The boxer twin is only made by the BMW (russian Urals and Dneprs and the new chinese ones are acctually exact copies from pre-WW2 BMWs). Also the flat inline-3- & 4 (older K bikes, not the new K1200) was only made by BMWs. The telelever is only used by them, also the paralever was a niche for a 20 years (now the latest models of Moto Guzzis have finally "copied" it, but indeed, Guzzis are another niche with their v-twin engine positioning).

So despite it's a good overall package like the GS in the travelenduro side or the RT in the sport-tourer side, i guess it's also kind of "originality" or "think different" feel among many BMW buyers-users. Just like the Honda Goldwing owners - it's the only boxer-6- or -4 on the bikes world and the users are extremely loyal to it just like the BMW boxer-2 users are. Or the Porsches or the Subarus in the cars for example.

Look at the BMWs basic package like the rotax-bmw F650 - well it's a bit more expensive than a competitors, but not much. Also the new 650 single's replacement, the new F800 parallel twin basic bikes will be relatively well priced compared to the japanese competitors. Thus I think BMW tries to emphasise the boxer R- and inline 4 K-bikes more as a niche product with those innovative technologies. But everybody don't want those, don't have any need for those technologies, that's why there's a cheaper, basic options like the F-models to keep the sales balanced. Most of the companies and goverments send their (spy) sattelites into space with the cheap russian modules anyway, it just works this way as well, just like any bike with the two wheels nomatter how pricy it is.

Well anyways, that's my theory that seems the most likely version, i'm no BMW company insider and don't know what they accually have spinning in their heads there in the bayerland. It also seems to me that the BMW Motorrad has some radical changes coming: the HP2, K1200S&R the F800s are the first birds to give a clue that the good old low-revving K & R 'real-life' engines are history.


PS: I probably will never buy a brand new BMW bike, but i know some things abot the second hand market. Two times i've been inbetween to decide whether to buy a few years old V-Strom 1000, a Triumph Tiger, a Honda Affy Twin or to pay around 500 or 700 euros more and get the later R1100GS with the ABS, telelever, paralever, heated grips, luggage etc. It was a dead easy choice and the best investment i've done so far. I've bought my two second hand BMWs from germany where they are very cheap.

Happy travels, Margus

Last edited by Margus; 9 Aug 2006 at 17:51.
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  #30  
Old 9 Aug 2006
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I can understand that the technology aspect of BMWs is cool and if I was a richer man I'd definately consider one as first world trip/day trip bike. What surprises me is the preponderance of BMWs as RTW/ Adventure touring bikes. The HU meet in Derbyshire was like a GS owners club meet!
As adv-touring is very hard on bikes and Jap bikes have greater parts availability and similar, if not slightly better, reliability, you'd think the preponderance would be for Jap bikes, but it ain't.
I suppose part of it is down to motorbiking being an individualistic thing where the most practical answer is not always the right one for people. I guess the fact we owe much of the development of adv-biking to the Germans also plays a part!
Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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