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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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Old 19 Jul 2004
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Big vs. small?

Assuming that purchase cost is not a factor (even though it always is), which bike is better for distance touring (90% on-road, 10% off-road), the F650GS or the new R1200GS?

1) The initial purchase cost difference between the two should be ignored, although ongoing costs should be considered.
2) This is almost totally 1-up riding, no 2-up
3) Roads are mostly US, Canada, and Europe (not as much less developed nations). Mexico is a possibility.

Thanks for your opinion!
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Old 19 Jul 2004
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Well, the 650 will give you almost double mpg and will be cheaper on tyres etc. But then you will probably go through a chain or two, rather than a £1 oil change on the shaft drive 1200......

The 650 is easier to pick up, but you do not expect to go too far off track......

The 650 is an excellent traffic splitter, whereas the 1200 has those pots sticking out. ( This is more an issue in Europe where bikes are expected to lane- split and our traffic can get incredibly jammed )
But you have the luxury of being able to ride outside of rush-hours - a big help.....

As money is not a worry, it must be a case of you taking a test ride and seeing which bike fits YOU best. ( Not the trip as both bike can cope )

I think the 1200 would be ace in the US, big lazy and comfortable.

But a saving of £4,000 can buy you awful lot
of quality food and hotels.

Man, it's not easy this one, is it!!!
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Old 19 Jul 2004
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Why limit your choice to the 650 or the 1200? I'd say that the 11XXGS is an equal contender. They've been round long enough for all issues to be either resolved or at least well known.

They're also at least as as easy to service as the 1200 (no idea on service intervals though for the 1200, 6k miles for the 1150). The 1200 is a new model & as you'd expect from a new model, there are several reliability issues cropping up (drivetrain failures etc). They also only come equipped with EVO brakes which are not to everyones tastes & there have been reports of having to take the bike to a dealer to swap brake pads - IF TRUE, it's hardly maintenance friendly.

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Old 20 Jul 2004
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The 11xxGS's are hard to find in the US because BMW has been running a deal to clear out all 2003/04 leftovers so most dealers are depleted of them. Are you suggesting that I consider a used bike?

Also, you are definitely right about the failings of new models, but the 1200 offers more power and fuel efficiency for less weight than it's predecessors (8% less fuel consumption at equal speeds, 100bhp, only 496 lbs wet!). Also, I'm buying this year so that I can make small trips this year and next year in advance of longer trips in a couple of years, so I would hope that the kinks would be worked out by then.

If I were looking for a used GS, what would you recommend, an 1150?
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Old 20 Jul 2004
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Almost forgot Steve--

The dealer told me that maintenance on the 1200's (all of them, not just the GS), is 6K miles.

Also, can you expand a bit more on people's concerns about the EVO brakes? I don't really know a lot about them except that the bike I tested had them (1150 Rockster) and they felt fine to me on the highway. I decelerated very quickly from 90 to about 35 for an offramp, and they felt straight, true, and solid.
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Old 20 Jul 2004
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Cost is an issue. US$15,000 approx for a 1200GS + whatever you spend bringing it up to your spec.

I was recommending a used bike - if you look in the Flea Market forum of the Adv. Riders site, you'll find 1150's for US$8,000. There's a good chance they'll come with a host of extras that will have cost a lot of money (better lights, suspension, luggage & seats to name a few).

The 1200GS may be capable of an 8% increase in fuel efficiency but IMO, careful throttle use would get an 1150 to a comparable figure. Also note that the 1150 has a 10% larger tank (22 v 20 litres).

EVO brakes - the problem is not how well they work. I've only heard good reports about their performance. The issues I've heard concern the fact that they are elecrically servo-assisted with ABS. Fitting new pads, you need to push the pistons back in to the caliper to make space for new thick pads. On some bikes, this has upset the Control box & rendered the bike unusable until a dealer has rectified the problem.

I personally prefer bikes that are easy to work on. IMO, there's no need to have such complicated brakes. All that's needed are a m/cylinder, requisite number of brake lines & calipers, preferably fitted with decent pads This is why I went for a non-ABS 1150 that you can service by the side of the road if need be, without removing the tank. I originally wanted a KTM 950 but half the bike has to be dismantled before you can do anything to the bike. New model issues also steered me away from the KTM.

My photos: www.possu.smugmug.com
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