R1200GS

UPDATE: I traded my BMW R1200GS last Saturday (2012-03-03) in complete stock form for a 2012 Triumph Tiger 800 with some goodies. So, this is now my "previous bike".

In August 2010 I sold my BMW F800GS. For quite a while I wasn't sure what the replacement would be. I tried the Triumph Tiger 1050, the Ducati MultiStrada 1200, the BMW R1200RT, thought about keeping the V-Strom or waiting for the Yamaha Super Tenere 1200 or the Triumph Tiger 800.

In the end, I settled on a BMW R1200GS for various reasons:
  1. A great relationship with San Jose BMW. It's a really good shop, awesome service, good sales team. I wouldn't trust any of the other dealerships in the immediate area here for any of the bikes mentioned above.
  2. The 2010 model is a great improvement for me. I like riding at low revs and the 2010 is better in that regard then the 2009 was. 
  3. I love the convenience features: ESA, windshield adjustment, seat adjustment, onboard computer, heated grips and so on. And everything is very neatly integrated - quite in contrast to some other bikes like the heated grip controller on the Super Tenere (look at the left side of the handle bar - that's awful).
  4. The safety features like ABS and ASC are mature and switchable. 
  5. The bike fits me very well - good height, not too bad seat, good arm stretch, reasonable size and weight. 
  6. Something that I really had to get used to was the boxer engine. I still think it's pretty agricultural but I got used to it and kind of like it now. It definitely has a unique character. 
There were other reasons and I will edit this page as I think of them.

Here are some of the best photos I have from the bike:





Now, all this is well and good - but on the photos you can clearly see that the bike isn't exactly bone stock anymore, so, here's a list of things I have done / added / and sometimes removed or changed again.

Why not a GS Adventure?

There is often discussion about whether to get a standard GS or a GS Adventure (GSA). I was thinking about the GS Adventure, did a test ride on one but came back with thoughts, that this might just not be the right bike for me compared to the GS. Here are some reasons:

  1. The GS is not a "pretty" bike. But the Adventure is in my opinion just plain ugly. It has weird proportions and looks like somebody slipped with the pen while drawing the mockups as it happened with the "Lara Croft" character in the game - some people liked it and there it was. Out of proportion looks. Not the well fitting lines of the standard. Of course, this is a very personal opinion. You like what you like and I like what I like.
  2. The parts that are on the GSA but not on the GS are nice but I didn't like a lot of them. I didn't want big and heavy bars around the bike all the way up to protect that bulky ugliness of a fuel tank. Na, not for me. Also, no protecting bar under the cylinder head, so by far not as stable as it looks. So far I just added the aluminum head protectors and even those are probably useless as a cylinder head cover is cheaper than those protectors. I might, one day, add Hepco & Becker engine bars, but right now I don't see the need. Haven't dropped a bike in a looooooong time.
  3. Often the GSA comes with the side case racks for the Adventure aluminum cases. I like the racks, kind of, but I don't like the cases that much. If one of the many plastic pieces on the case cracks and breaks, it cannot be replaced as BMW in all its wisdom doesn't sell repair parts for the boxes. So, sorry, but I like different cases. 
  4. The GSA is about 30kg heavier than a GS. I don't want to lift this additional weight or push it around manually or deal with it when doing really slow maneuvering. The GS feels lighter and more flickable, is the faster bike in the twisties and the better bike for offroad (after adding some protective gear to it). 
  5. Didn't like the GSA seat. It's sloped forward and too soft.
  6. The footpegs are nice and wide, but not much lower than the pegs on the GS, so I would have replaced them, too. Therefore, again, no advantage.
  7. The windshield is actually pretty nice and I use it on my GS at the time of writing this, but it might not be the final thing that will stay on long term. If it doesn't work on the GS, it doesn't work on the GSA. Therefore, again no advantage. Nevertheless it is incredibly much better better than the standard GS windshield which is a POS.
  8. I really don't need the fuel range. It would be nice to have a gallon more in the GS, but overall - I don't need it. The GSA tank is overkill for me.
Overall I can say that the GSA is an incredibly nice package, but it just includes too many things I would replace, don't like, or that are "just not quite right" for my taste. 

It came down to the point that I accepted that a GS will cost me about the same if not more once I have it set up the way I like it, but I started with a lighter, faster, better for off-road bike, and added exactly the things I like. Didn't have to take the parts BMW thinks are adequate. 

In the end, the GS fits me better, I like the looks better, and it's "just right" for me.