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#614746 - 07/03/10 03:25 AM Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider  
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 110
Robus Offline
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Robus  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 110
Chicagoland
Hi from the Chicago suburbs. I just registered on the forum. I'm a long-time Harley rider who is about to purchase a BMW in the near future. My current ride is a late-model 1200R Sportster. I love it and it suits me perfectly for 1-up riding around town. I'll be keeping it regardless.

The problem is that is just isn't ideal for riding 2-up or longer distances. Anything over 30 minutes and my wife rebels. Anything over 3 hours and my backside rebels.

I'm looking for a bike that will be comfortable enough to ride 2-up for longer distances, but that isn't so big that it becomes a monster to maneuver in traffic or parking lots, and that I could pick up easily if I dropped it. That rules out the bigger Harleys and single-purpose touring bikes like the GW. I am 5'10.

I've been looking at the 2010 K1300GT and R1200RT. I visited a BMW dealer this afternoon, sat on both bikes, and test rode the 1200RT. I'll ride the 1300GT soon.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Here are a few specific questions:

1. Rider, passenger comfort. How do these two bikes compare on longer rides?

2. Stock seats. Are they any good? Will I likely want to upgrade?

3. Passenger backrest. Is the optional luggage trunk/passenger backrest worth considering? Are there aftermarket backrests that do as well or better?

4. Reliability. Is the quality of these late-model bikes up to the traditional BMW standard? I understand that there have been some recalls with the 1300GT. Have those issues been sorted out?

5. Are there other BMW models that I should consider?

Thanks, Robus

#614793 - 07/03/10 12:26 PM Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider [Re: Robus]  
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,189
boatzo Offline
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boatzo  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,189
Eastern VA (middle Peninsula)
Hi Robus and welcome to the group. I will try to answer some of your questions that I have experience with. I do not ride 2 up so I cannot really address that. My wife tried the pillion and said "FORGETABOUTIT". We sat on Goldwings and she thought she might ride on one of those, but I can't afford one at this point.

I have had my RT for 5 years and have ridden 30k miles. I love the bike but it has never really been comfortable for me. Now keep in mind that I said "ME". There are lots of folks on this forum that have ridden all over the place and find the RT very comfortable. My problem is I am 5'8" and weigh 250 lbs. I find the bike top heavy and cannot flat foot at a stop. I have tried a lot of different seats, air hawk, bead rider and now have a custom Rick Mayer saddle that is better but not really there.

The reliability on my 99 is fantastic, I cannot speak to the newer RTs and GTs.

I am currently going to K1200LT in hopes that the wife will ride with me and that I will be more comfortable on the long haul.

Hope this helps some with your decision. thumbsup

PS I forgot to mention, there is a technique for lifting a downed bike. I think it has been posted on the forum somewhere but I am not good at the search function. In essence, you back into the side of the bike and raise it. See if you can find it, or some other members maybe can post it. It is presented by a light weight girl and it does work, I have used it several times.

Also, one big + for me on a Beemer is that there is almost NO chrome to clean and polish. laugh

Last edited by boatzo; 07/03/10 12:31 PM.

Bill
K3ZXV
99 K1200LT Basalt Gray
04 Triumph Speedmaster Black
99 R1100RT Glacier Green (SOLD)
#614808 - 07/03/10 01:08 PM Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider [Re: boatzo]  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,738
hopz Offline
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hopz  Offline
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Posts: 3,738
Colorado Springs, CO
Welcome on board. You have found the best place for all things BMW

Passenger comfort... MY '05 RT is the most comfortable bike she has ridden on including the 20 years of H-D (with the last 4 bikes being Touring models). Before we had the RT we had a K1300RS- predecessor to the current GT bikes (but pretty far back in the evolution) she didn't like it all that much mostly because I could not keep my hand off the throttle.

Stock Seats... seats are often the butt of many complaints. Many people change, but many others so not. I would not let this be a big part of the decision. ( I always changed the H-D seats...)

Passenger backrest... yes! by all means get the Top Case. It is comfortable and roomy. A must have for 2-up comfort although there are options- but you will end up with it anyway so go ahead and plan for it.

Reliability... not an issue. Some recalls yes but for relatively minor things.

If you want to remain versatile then the RT and the GT are the two most likely models for all around utility/comfort. If you are looking for a true long distance touring bike the LT should be considered but normal advice is to not let her sit on one, ever, until you have made up your mind. It ranks up there with the Gold Wing for comfort. But in the BMW world... LT stands for Light Truck. Heavy and difficult to live with for some riders (of smaller size) but wonderful on the highway.

Another thing about the GT vs RT... is rider involvement in maintenance. The RT is great for those who enjoy getting involved in self-maintenance. The GT is a 4 cylinder model with very little owner work to be done except fluid changes. So if you are the hands-on sort, you will likely enjoy the RT more.

I do.

That being said... the power and smoothness of the GT is almost overwhelming- if that is your thing you will be impressed. However the riding position is more sporty on the GT than on the RT. A lot will depend on your body shape, size, and willingness to re-learn how to sit a motorcycle. Many people moving from H-D will go through a learning phase where they will think they have made a mistake in the change-over. The difference is that on H-D one typically sits in a fashion much like sitting in an easy chair. On a BMW it is more akin to a comfy bar stool.


<---- (That's not it) 2014 R1200RT-W

“As Woody Guthrie says, ‘Left wing, right wing, chicken wing.’I keep my mind open. Whatever you believe, it’s all a mystery in the end.”
#614809 - 07/03/10 01:09 PM Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider [Re: Robus]  
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,834
Francois_Dumas Offline
Poldergeist
Francois_Dumas  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,834
Italy
Originally Posted By: Robus

Here are a few specific questions:

1. Rider, passenger comfort. How do these two bikes compare on longer rides?


My wifey thinks it is excellent, but she's only 5 feet tall (and am not allow to divulge her age, weight or favorite food).

I love mine (but it's an 1150 RT, not the new fangled 1200 (which I have ridden on a few occasions to, and is equally comfy)

Originally Posted By: Robus
2. Stock seats. Are they any good? Will I likely want to upgrade?


Still riding my stock seats after 6 years. Then again, the 1150 was more comfortable. And in Europe we don't start by changing all perfectly good parts right from the start *gg*

Originally Posted By: Robus
3. Passenger backrest. Is the optional luggage trunk/passenger backrest worth considering? Are there aftermarket backrests that do as well or better?


Nina would not and will not ride without the top case (with the ridiculously expensive little pad called 'backrest'.

Originally Posted By: Robus
4. Reliability. Is the quality of these late-model bikes up to the traditional BMW standard? I understand that there have been some recalls with the 1300GT. Have those issues been sorted out?


Dunno, only what I read about it. They are no Toyota's.....

Originally Posted By: Robus
5. Are there other BMW models that I should consider?


They are ALL tall, except for the Cruiser, and that would defeat the purpose ;-)

I am 6 foot something and weigh a hefty 198 pounds. I can keep the RT upright even in emergencies, but can NOT pick it up due to an increasingly bad back. Again, the 1200RT is slightly lighter than the 1150, or so I'm told.

I am not a 'racer' and therefor like the RT better than the 1300GT, but as with everything in life... YYMV.

Originally Posted By: Robus
Thanks, Robus


Francois


Francois 'Navman' Dumas

Francois' Blog,
EuropeRides.com and WhyFly.aero
#614910 - 07/03/10 11:17 PM Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider [Re: Francois_Dumas]  
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 110
Robus Offline
Member
Robus  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 110
Chicagoland
Thanks for the advice. I'm leaning toward the 1200RT. I'll test ride the 1300GT on Monday and make a final decision, then buy the bike when I return from vacation in late July.

#614929 - 07/04/10 01:22 AM Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider [Re: Robus]  
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 19,674
tallman Offline
Picture Perfect Humorist
tallman  Offline
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Member

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 19,674
Tallahassee, Florida
Ergos and pillion comfrot are greatly affected by the size of the parties involved.
Ergos between the R 1200 RT and K 1300 GT are very similar.
There are pictures of the 2 in overlay mode if you do a search here (originally posted by Tom) ( 3_Putt) I think.
My wife says real men ride GT's.
cool


If my mind wanders, should I follow it?
Tim
Conch Town Krewe
2003 K 1200 GT
1996 R 100 RSL
1980 R 100 RT
1972 R 75
1968 R 50
All now gone...

#614935 - 07/04/10 01:53 AM Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider [Re: hopz]  
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 226
Rphoto Offline
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Rphoto  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 226
Originally Posted By: hopz
Welcome on board. You have found the best place for all things BMW

Passenger comfort... MY '05 RT is the most comfortable bike she has ridden on including the 20 years of H-D (with the last 4 bikes being Touring models). Before we had the RT we had a K1300RS- predecessor to the current GT bikes (but pretty far back in the evolution) she didn't like it all that much mostly because I could not keep my hand off the throttle.

Stock Seats... seats are often the butt of many complaints. Many people change, but many others so not. I would not let this be a big part of the decision. ( I always changed the H-D seats...)

Passenger backrest... yes! by all means get the Top Case. It is comfortable and roomy. A must have for 2-up comfort although there are options- but you will end up with it anyway so go ahead and plan for it.

Reliability... not an issue. Some recalls yes but for relatively minor things.

If you want to remain versatile then the RT and the GT are the two most likely models for all around utility/comfort. If you are looking for a true long distance touring bike the LT should be considered but normal advice is to not let her sit on one, ever, until you have made up your mind. It ranks up there with the Gold Wing for comfort. But in the BMW world... LT stands for Light Truck. Heavy and difficult to live with for some riders (of smaller size) but wonderful on the highway.

Another thing about the GT vs RT... is rider involvement in maintenance. The RT is great for those who enjoy getting involved in self-maintenance. The GT is a 4 cylinder model with very little owner work to be done except fluid changes. So if you are the hands-on sort, you will likely enjoy the RT more.

I do.

That being said... the power and smoothness of the GT is almost overwhelming- if that is your thing you will be impressed. However the riding position is more sporty on the GT than on the RT. A lot will depend on your body shape, size, and willingness to re-learn how to sit a motorcycle. Many people moving from H-D will go through a learning phase where they will think they have made a mistake in the change-over. The difference is that on H-D one typically sits in a fashion much like sitting in an easy chair. On a BMW it is more akin to a comfy bar stool.


Good points. Here is some additional info based on our experience. My wife and I ride quite a bit 2 up. We started on a '99 R1100RT and it was very comfortable for us (I'm 6-1/290 and she is, well, lets just say 5-5 with weight commiserate with height.) Realy liked that bike but were concerned about the Final Drive issues and also increasing need for repairs so bought 2009 K1300GT. We wanted to get the R1200RT but it was too tight front to rear compared to the GT (and even our old RT). On paper the ergos are similar, we found the GT to be more leaned forward with tighter legroom. Suburban bar risers and peg lowers helped but still is a difference. We fooled around quite a bit with the top box/passenger backrest. We started with the big box and it was just too upright so now have the smaller one and she likes it. Many will tell you that the GT seats suck and I agree -- especially for the driver. Am playing with an Airhawk pad but might go with a Corbin/Sargeant/Russell at a future time.

I won't say much about reliability because it has all been said if you read this and the other Beemer forums. We got a bad one, but hopefully it is finally sorted out after many tears and a near-lawsuit. Quite a pain if you live far from the dealer and/or have a less than knowledgeable dealer. HD with its huge dealer network is much better in this regard (we also have a VRod).

Whichever BMW you get it will be in a whole different league regarding smoothness and engineering but will also be much more computer-driven, complex and expensive to repair than your current bike.


2010 Honda Goldwing
2009 BMW K1300GT
2006 HD VRSCR (Street Rod)
1999 BMW R1100RT
1982 Yamaha Seca 750

Iron Butt Association Member #48063
#614936 - 07/04/10 01:54 AM Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider [Re: tallman]  
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 1,078
FLrider Offline
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FLrider  Offline
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Joined: May 2009
Posts: 1,078
St. Petersburg, FL
I'll start off by saying that I really enjoy my RT as she is quick, stylish and has some great features (like the electric windshield).

Having said that and having ridden Harelys for 25 years, I would suggest that you rethink your assumptions about the new 2010 HD Touring bikes.

1) While they are heavier than an RT/GT, it is not true that they are less maneuverable in traffic or parking lots. The HD has a lower center of gravity, is (IMHO) easier to maneuver lock to lock and for passengers, there is nothing like that back seat, complete with armrests and true cushioned back pad. Additionally, you are more likely to find the stock touring seat on an HD more comfortable than the seat on an RT. If you browse these forums, you will see plenty of chatter about seat changes. Look in the classifieds. Used seats go FAST.

2) With a few pointers, I guarantee you that you can lift the Ultra just as easily as the RT. I've seen girls 5'6 and 150lbs lift Touring bikes. You just have to know how.

For me it was about torque, engineering, style duality and a desire to ride something that everybody and his brother doesn't ride. By style duality I mean that, in a matter of seconds, I can remove the top and side cases, lower the windshield and I have a totally different bike.

Happy hunting!

In the end,


1200GSW
#614958 - 07/04/10 04:14 AM Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider [Re: FLrider]  
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 110
Robus Offline
Member
Robus  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 110
Chicagoland
Thanks for the advice, FLrider and others. Regarding the Harleys, I guess I've just gotten to the point where I want to try something different. I can't bring myself to want a full dresser as my main ride. Another point too is the ABS, which I've heard is very good on the BMW. I had an accident in April, my first accident with injuries in 25 of riding, off and on. Without going into details, it would not have happened on an ABS-equipped bike. That has caused me to rethink what I am looking for in a motorcycle. I understand ABS comes on a few Harley models, but not the ones I would be particularly interested in owning.

In terms of convenience and service, the move to a BMW is going to be a big step backwards. My local Harley dealership is a mile down the road, and there are four or five others within about a 20 mile radius. There are only two BMW dealers in the Chicago area, one on the northside and the other in the northwest suburbs. I live in the south suburbs, at least an hour away under best traffic conditions (which you almost never find).

#614963 - 07/04/10 04:47 AM Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider [Re: Robus]  
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 110
Robus Offline
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Robus  Offline
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Posts: 110
Chicagoland
Tallman, I'd love to see that overlay. I did a search but did not find it. Could you give me a hint about the keywords to use? Thanks.

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