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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 28 Nov 2009
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Max weight loading?

I’m looking at all possibilities for an extended overland trip for two. One of the first bikes looked at is the GS 1200 Adventure, as advertised it has a max payload of 476 Lbs. Considering I’m 240 Lbs and my partner is 140 Lbs that don’t leave much. By the time we add our riding gear and a tent we have just about got to the limit! Now looking at some of the bikes on this site it appears that either the riders and pillions are way lighter than me and my partner or the bikes are carrying way more than the recommended max weight? We could use two bikes but the trouble is I can’t help but think that as soon as you put 4 wheels on the ground we may as well do this in a 4x4. Thanks in advance for all suggestions and advice.

Dave.
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  #2  
Old 29 Nov 2009
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If you're looking at an extended journey in 3rd world countries, I would suggest something less high tech and unreliable as the BMW1200s.

If you do go for the big German marketing machine, you could always strenthen the subframe at a local fabricator.

Your BMW will probably have an electrical hissy fit or chew up its rear axel before your subframe snaps anyway


You could alway reassess your packing list too... You have to think LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT and take less than half of what you think you need.

Less is definately more.



If you buy, check these recalls have been completed first (worrying amount)

BMW R1200 GS Problems | BMW R1200 GS Recalls & Defects

This review sums it up pretty well...

BMW R1200GS Motorcycle Review - Motorcycles. Review of 360922
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  #3  
Old 29 Nov 2009
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A lot of people who overland on BMWs end up blowing rear shock absorbers, or having them physically snap where they attach to frame/suspensionlinkage/swingingarm. So I would be paranoid about overloading one of them.
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  #4  
Old 29 Nov 2009
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A lot of people that go 2-up ride overloaded bikes.
If you want to buy a new bike with offroad-capabilities for riding 2-up I don’t think you will find better bikes. The worst thing with owning a BMW is the nagging from people who don’t own one.
Yes you will find people that have had a lot of problems but you will also find people who have covered huge distances without problems.

Dependant on what model you choose make sure that suspension and rims are up to the job, and don’t carry to much stuff.




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Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
Last recall is from 2006……
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  #5  
Old 1 Dec 2009
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Thanks for the replies, it looks like I’m back to the drawing board. Not because I believe that the BMW would be unreliable it’s down to the weight of the machine itself and the fact that I’m pretty sure we will need two bikes. I can pick up two XR’s for the price of one BMW. Looks like a lot more research is needed, also looks like I have came the right place. Thanks again for your input.
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  #6  
Old 1 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DW1964 View Post
Thanks for the replies, it looks like I’m back to the drawing board. Not because I believe that the BMW would be unreliable it’s down to the weight of the machine itself and the fact that I’m pretty sure we will need two bikes. I can pick up two XR’s for the price of one BMW. Looks like a lot more research is needed, also looks like I have came the right place. Thanks again for your input.

Correction, you can pick up about 5 XR's for the price of a BMW
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  #7  
Old 2 Dec 2009
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We toured South America for a few months on a BMW R1150GS.

We had no problems reliability-wise, comfort-wise, or load-wise.

We were two up, had the typically excessive amount of kit, not to mention about 5 litres of wines we picked up along the way. All-in, the wheels were carrying 450kgs!!

The Johnsons, owners and founders of this very site did mega miles on a R100GS (IIRR), and Margus (site member) is presently clocking up astonishing miles on his R1100GS, two-up. His biggest issue was a blown rear shock, and that was a Wilbers aftermarket custom job (IIRR).

I'm no die-hard BMW fan per se, but I had not had any bad experiences with mine and I have personally met and read stories from others that stated the same. Mine got trashed by a car and I'm now on a Honda as I fancied a different bike, but I would happily buy another boxer-twin if the need arose.

Solo, I agree they are too heavy but, two-up, these are great bikes. Off-roading if you are two up will never be easy, and at least you have the road manners for the tarmac stretches to be a breeze.

Personally, I would not buy a R1200GS: for less money you can pick up other models just as up to the job, such as the earlier oil-heads. The rest of the cash is probably most of your fuel for the whole trip!

Others could also be the Suzuki V-strom 1000 (although I would heavily protect the oil cook that sits right behind the front wheel on the models I have seen: not the best place for it really... and is chain driven and watercooled: another radiator that could get holed...) or even early Transalps, Africa Twins and DL650s (also watercooled). These are all reliable, it would seem, but perhaps under-powered for two people and their weight limit would be lower IMO....

Test-ride them all, if you can, and I say go for comfort above all: an uncomfortbale bike will ruin your trip as you will actively avoid doing unecessary miles that could take you to the surpirse highlight of your adventure. Crappy off-road handling you can get round by simply taking your time...

As for weight: you could try what I did. I found the same thing. With all our chosen kit on board, we were very close to the max limit. So I got rid of weight from the place it was least needed: me!

I went on a diet and shaved 25lbs off my weight of the bike and my other half about 10. So that equated to about 35lbs (17kg: a tent, sleeping bags, mats, a stove and more) that we would not have to carry on the road. As we travelled we also sent useless stuff home too. By the end, we had half a roll-bag instead of two strapped to the panniers!!
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  #8  
Old 2 Dec 2009
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another vote for...

an earlier oilhead bmw.
and please, don't pack your bike to the weight limit. cut back on the 'supersize me' mentality, and as ted says, go light. lay all the essential stuff out on the floor, then take half. but that's been covered before on this forum.
cheers,
andy.
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  #9  
Old 3 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum
If you're looking at an extended journey in 3rd world countries, I would suggest something less high tech and unreliable as the BMW1200s.
Come on Ted, give the GS12 crowd a break, we all know it's the ultimate overlanding tool.

Regards, Mick
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Max weight loading?-gs1200.jpg  

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  #10  
Old 3 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desert dweller View Post
lay all the essential stuff out on the floor, then take half.
There is an old saying about advertising that half the money you spend is wasted but you don't know which half and that's pretty much the packing dilemma. I always start off taking too much and not using half of it. Stuff gets packed on a "just in case" basis - and then thrown (or given) away en route. That bit comes hard when it's something you've bought for the trip and never used up to that point as you're convinced you'll need it an hour after you've dumped it.

It's been ages since I last had a puncture on a trip so I could probably leave out the repair kit, pump, spare tubes etc but the last time I didn't have them and got a flat it took two days to get going again. Do I take the chance next time? Well, the stuff doesn't weigh much so stick it all in. It's only when you pick the panniers up and start worrying that the subframe won't take the weight that you take another look at the contents. Maybe I should add some welding rods just in case?
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  #11  
Old 3 Dec 2009
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I had seemingly endless issues with BMW's so only ever got as far as R1100's before I switched brands and won't really comment except to say their marketing department does a much better job than their engineers IMHO.

The load issue isn't one from the engineers, it's from BMW's lawyers. Read the sticker inside a BMW pannier, it says you can't sue them if it falls off with more than 10KG inside. They actually fall off through poor design, but the 10KG sticker is a great get out as no one will ever run that big a box at 10 KG. I've run Yamahas and Triumphs, totally ignored the weight limits, put sidecars on bikes that have doubled the weight (including a BMW) and to date had zero hassle.

I'd be anti-BMW as far as complexity goes, but the weight limit is about what you can ride and pick up, not what the handbook says.

I notice the airhead comes up time and time again. Go look at ones that are actually for sale. Like most twenty year old bikes they use poor electrical components and have years and years worth of previous owners bodges. Like all BMW's the prices are too high. For the early 1980's they were the superior machine, but today I'd say a Triumph Scrambler is better quality, better priced for the same performance and comes without twenty years of baggage.

Andy
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  #12  
Old 7 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DW1964 View Post
I can pick up two XR’s for the price of one BMW.
Yes and you will use twice as much fuel as well. Going RTW that will add up. The 1200 BM uses less fuel than many carbed 650s. And as for two carbed 650s ... well you get the picture.

I wouldn't be so hasty as to write off the big BMW ... especially if you are keen on riding 2 up. If you are sticking to asphalt and gravel roads, the 1200 is a nice big comfy machine with a huge alternator and a pretty short list these days of likely failure items.

People who think its any less reliable than anything else simply haven't owned one. If you wanted to cross a continent without ever needing to touch the bike, there is no other machine.

I had done a lot of miles on a 1200 GSA and only had one mechanical issue in about 30,000 km ... and it was a known fault - the fuel pump controller. If I was doing a RTW with one i woulld take a spare ignition ring antenna and a spare fuel pump controller (or two).

I don't have the 1200 GSA now cause it doesn't serve my current purposes, but if I was going RTW 2 up, there is nothing else I would rather be on.

People who talk about subframes failing are confusing their BMWs ... the 1150 had a very poorly designed shallow subframe - and it failed a lot, but the 1200 is a very different animal with a completely different subframe - and its just fine.

Rear suspension, stock isn't good enough for 2 up RTW. Ohlins, WP and Wilbers use only a 14mm piston rod. I would recommend Hyperpro, who use a 16mm piston rod.

There is just as much anti-BMW hype from people who have never owned one, let alone crossed continents on one, as there is positive spin from the BMW marketing machine. Bear that in mind, and as Warthog and Alibaba have implied above, people who have done long trips on them tend to have a lot fewer negative things to say about them than people who have never owned one.

Go figure.
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Last edited by colebatch; 7 Dec 2009 at 16:30.
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  #13  
Old 7 Dec 2009
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We did a 6-month / 34000km trip to Australia on a DL650 with my girlfriend, and I must say I´m quite happy with the way this bike performed 2-up, while practically overloaded. It is in fact exceptional in this class (being only 650 I mean)... I used to ride Africa Twins in the past, never had this much load on any of them, and still their driveability suffered more. The frame and subframe of the DL are very strong, and the engine pulled the load surprisingly well.

Sure its stock suspension could use some tweaking, but I´d also be careful installing some fancy multi-adjustable stuff, that might give up without proper maintenance. Stock items arent perfect, but generally they´re pretty good in taking the abuse. There wasn´t much ground clearance left (as there isnt much to begin with!) but it turned out to be only a minor problem. Naturally the routes you choose to go to, will dictate, how much offroad-ability you will really need.

To be honest, our bike, with this load, was almost impossible to ride in deep sand or mud, but luckily these were quite rare, and only encountered them in short sections, that we were able to ride through. And I´m not so sure, if there´s any machine, that´d be so nice to ride in real challenging terrain with this much weight on board. So personally I´d concentrate on the bike´s technical reliability, its ability to carry the load without failures, and being comfortable (for both rider & passenger) to ride long days on tarmac, or good condition gravel.
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  #14  
Old 7 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mick O'Malley View Post
Come on Ted, give the GS12 crowd a break, we all know it's the ultimate overlanding tool.

Regards, Mick

HAHA god, I remember them Mick. They rised some eye brows.

If I recall, their subframe DID break and so did their rear shock and drive shaft.

I found out when I was talking with a guy with a 1200 GS who was stuck in Ushuaia with another break down...

His starter motor jammed and the electrics went to Mars. He spent 90% of his total time in South America stuck in the South because BMW wouldnt entertain his warrenty outside of Germany.

He offerered to swap me his £10,000 BMW for my £1500 XT600E...... HAHHAAHAH ! No thanks, not with another 15,000 miles to go !

I joke not.
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  #15  
Old 7 Dec 2009
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The only down side to going on a New Tech bike is that when it break's you will find it harder to find someone to fix it.

I have tried a 2 up trip on a BMW and it was very good on tarmac...but a night mare when the going got muddy or soft sand...

They are far to heavy to pick up.

I did a 2 up trip on a XT660r and that was better than the bmw on everything but motorway, it also returned 76mpg fully loaded 2 up at 55..to 60 mph.

If you do want a Big trail bike for 2 up RTW try to find a good Africa twin...they are mile's better off road then the BMW.


Never ever over load your bike, you will see in this photo of my XR400R which in the owner's manual say's ..." to carry solo rider only "





stay safe ,and have fun

Dazzer
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