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post #1 of 25 Old Jul 28th, 2008, 8:55 am Thread Starter
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Newbie question

Hi there. I'm planning on buying my first ever bike next spring. I've never ridden before, but I've arrived at my mid-life crisis in one piece, so I figure, what the heck. Anyway, I've narrowed the search down to BMW touring bike, either the GS Adventure or the RT, and I was looking for some advice.

Are either of these two models suitable for a first timer? I'm thinking the RT is probably more comfortable on the highway than the GS - is this the case? I like the versatility of the GS, but I also want to be comfortable most of the time (I'm 6', 32" inseam). I have a cottage in the hills here near Ottawa, two kilometers up a rough and twisty gravel road. From my reading, I'm thinking the GS won't be a problem on this road, but am I asking for trouble if I get the RT? Thanks so much for any advice you can share....

Rob Gilbert
Ottawa, ON CANADA
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post #2 of 25 Old Jul 28th, 2008, 9:05 am
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Re: Newbie question

I actually think the GS is more comfortable, especially for a taller rider. I'm tall also. (6'5" 230) (More comfortable for highway and gravel.)
As far as just getting on a bike for the first time, and the GS being the right bike... I started a long time ago with a 90cc "dual purpose" Kawasaki, went to a 175, took several years off. When I started riding again I went with a honda 1100. I outgrew it in a year, but had bought it on ebay and sold it for what I had in it. Then I moved up.
I would say take a riders course first, then decide. However the GS is a pretty easy bike to handle. I've not spent much time on a RT..
Good Luck, it will change your life if you get into it.
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post #3 of 25 Old Jul 28th, 2008, 10:00 am
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Re: Newbie question

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob_99
Hi there. I'm planning on buying my first ever bike next spring. I've never ridden before, but I've arrived at my mid-life crisis in one piece, so I figure, what the heck. Anyway, I've narrowed the search down to BMW touring bike, either the GS Adventure or the RT, and I was looking for some advice.

Are either of these two models suitable for a first timer? I'm thinking the RT is probably more comfortable on the highway than the GS - is this the case? I like the versatility of the GS, but I also want to be comfortable most of the time (I'm 6', 32" inseam). I have a cottage in the hills here near Ottawa, two kilometers up a rough and twisty gravel road. From my reading, I'm thinking the GS won't be a problem on this road, but am I asking for trouble if I get the RT? Thanks so much for any advice you can share....

Rob Gilbert
Ottawa, ON CANADA
Welcome

First ever bike, a loaded question. I have a friend I told to buy a small 500cc bike to start with, get used to etc. Well he had to get a HD, picked one, paid over $25,000 for it, now he finds it is too big for him, too heavy for him, but, won't admit it. He has only riden a few times in the last 2 years, odometer may have 300km on it. So the lesson is , start small, maybe used for a first bike, and have fun!!!

Garry

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post #4 of 25 Old Jul 28th, 2008, 10:03 am Thread Starter
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Re: Newbie question

Many thanks Jeff - I'm leaning toward the GS.

Rob.
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post #5 of 25 Old Jul 28th, 2008, 10:04 am
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Re: Newbie question

I personally think the GS is a far better choice- mainly due to the 2 mile gravel road. Technically- internally- they are the same bike with the GS having a different suspension set up and lower gear ratios

But it has dual purpose tires etc. The RT is just not happy on loose surfaces. Having said that- do not confuse the GS with an off-road bike. It is just too big and too heavy. Suggest looking at some other bike if that is in your mind.

BUT before you do anything... go enroll in the MSF course. Might as well learn how to ride first.

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post #6 of 25 Old Jul 28th, 2008, 12:19 pm
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Re: Newbie question

I know too many folks who bought too big. The GS is a great bike and far easier to handle than it looks like it would be. However, for a first time rider, I would suggest you take a look at the G 650 X Country. 353 lbs wet and 33.1 seat height vs. 564 wet and 35.2 height for the GS. Like the prior poster said, I've seen too many new riders who for whatever reason start on a bike that is intimidating and they never get comfortable. I've ridden the G 650 and it has plenty of what you need for the ride you describe and will be a very friendly bike to learn on. At least take a look at it when you are at the dealer. I do not know your dealer so I can safely say this, but make your own decision, the dealer might indeed prefer to sell you a $17,000 (USD) GS over a $7,500 (USD) G 650.
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post #7 of 25 Old Jul 28th, 2008, 2:49 pm
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Re: Newbie question

Think about the following, in order:

1. Read the book, Proficient Motorcycling, by David L. Hough.
2. Take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF): Basic Rider Course (BRC)
3. Buy a used, small motorcycle first (around 250 cc, certainly no more than 500 cc). You should be able to resell it for close to what you paid for it.
4. Ride it for a while, several months minimum.
5. After all of the above, think about a larger bike. Consider another used, intermediate-size bike before that GS Adventure or RT.

P.S. Don't forget to budget for the safety gear that you will need: helmet, gloves, boots, jacket, pants, etc.
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post #8 of 25 Old Jul 28th, 2008, 3:24 pm
 
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Re: Newbie question

+1 Xmagna!
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post #9 of 25 Old Jul 28th, 2008, 4:45 pm
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Re: Newbie question

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob_99
Hi there. I'm planning on buying my first ever bike next spring. I've never ridden before, but I've arrived at my mid-life crisis in one piece, so I figure, what the heck. Anyway, I've narrowed the search down to BMW touring bike, either the GS Adventure or the RT, and I was looking for some advice.

Are either of these two models suitable for a first timer? I'm thinking the RT is probably more comfortable on the highway than the GS - is this the case? I like the versatility of the GS, but I also want to be comfortable most of the time (I'm 6', 32" inseam). I have a cottage in the hills here near Ottawa, two kilometers up a rough and twisty gravel road. From my reading, I'm thinking the GS won't be a problem on this road, but am I asking for trouble if I get the RT? Thanks so much for any advice you can share....

Rob Gilbert
Ottawa, ON CANADA
The GS would be my strong recommendation. Take the MSF course for sure.

Greg
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post #10 of 25 Old Jul 28th, 2008, 4:49 pm
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Re: Newbie question

We are all in agreement that the BRC is an absolute must as the first step.
There is a reason they teach that course on 250 cc bikes instead of 1200 cc GS or RT bikes.

For those of us who started riding years ago, it is easy to forget that bikes considered to be large when we started riding are considered small today. My first bike was a 1967 R 50 that I bought used in 1969 for $750.00. It was 500 cc and was considered a pretty big motorcycle. I think it made about 25 hp and had a max speed of about 60 mph which, as I recall now, it did not get to either willingly or quickly. Thus, when somone cautions against starting on a 1200 cc bike as a first ride, it is worthwhile remembering the context that bikes of 500 cc and even 250 cc just a few years ago were not necessarily the little guys on the block and no one to my knowledge was even thinking about something like a 1200 cc bike like the GS that produces over 100 hp or the RT that makes 110 hp. Even the R 69 S which was the fastest motorcycle in the world (Das Schnellste Motorrad Der Welt) at one point in the late 1960s only had 600 ccs and made just over 40 hp.


We all agree take the rider courses and then decide; but whether you buy new or used, my advise remains that both the GS and RT are too much bike for a new rider.

Good luck. Let us know what you decide.
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post #11 of 25 Old Jul 28th, 2008, 8:14 pm
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Re: Newbie question

I would start on a smaller bike. Maybe 500cc or so. Ride it for a year and trade up. You'll feel real bad when you drop that new BMW. I have a RT and am an experienced rider. It can be a handfull at low speeds due to the seat height (I'm 5'10"). But on the other hand it's your $ so what ever you do enjoy.
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post #12 of 25 Old Jul 28th, 2008, 9:35 pm
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Re: Newbie question

yup.. I'm thinking a nice second hand dirt bike made by the Japanese would fit the bill.

You might get a good deal as the winter arrives.. you might even be able to get some clear days to play in the snow...

Anyway, yeah, a 250 can fit the bill....so can a 1500cc... but, the key is learning the controls and a 250 can be more forgiving... Learn your limitations... Learn throttle and clutch control....and balance...

The reasons being, as you move up in the power and weight factors, you will find they require more attention to the "subtle" changes of these factors. To demonstrate this, try balancing a pencil, vertically on your hand... ... now, try balancing a sledge hammer with the head up in the air... yeah, pretty different experiences. That's sorta like what happens with bigger bikes like the LT or GS...

If there is a MC course you can take, do it... before you buy. You can then have fun for a small fee.... And it may help you decide what's best for you.

Just 'ride"!!!

...............
J.M.J...
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post #13 of 25 Old Jul 28th, 2008, 9:54 pm
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Re: Newbie question

Buy a cheap (used?) bike that you won't mind dropping a few times because you will. Be patient, Luke that new speeder bike can wait till you get some training and experience.

Just Go
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post #14 of 25 Old Jul 31st, 2008, 6:57 am Thread Starter
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Re: Newbie question

Ok, how about either the 650 GS or the 800 GS. I know smaller is better for a first timer, but I'm a big guy (6', 235, 32" inseam), and 45 years old, so my crazy days are behind me. I would use the bike to commute to work (20 miles round trip on the freeway), and occaisionally go to the cottage, which is at the end of a mile-long twisty dirt road. Thanks for any tips..

Rob Gilbert
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post #15 of 25 Old Jul 31st, 2008, 3:52 pm
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Re: Newbie question

Getting back into bikes after a long time, I started out on a 1997 BMW F650.

Plenty of power for one up, handled well, light and easy to manuever. I moved up to the Moto Guzzi after a 400 mile weekend trip two up. The F650 STILL had enough power to pull us around, over the hills, etc. Just no reserve power or passing power.

Settle for the better gas mileage and depreciation on an older, smaller bike and savor the thought of your luxury tour bike for a while longer.

Still Just Jerry

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post #16 of 25 Old Jul 31st, 2008, 4:23 pm
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Re: Newbie question

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob_99
Hi there. I'm planning on buying my first ever bike next spring. I've never ridden before, but I've arrived at my mid-life crisis in one piece, so I figure, what the heck. Anyway, I've narrowed the search down to BMW touring bike, either the GS Adventure or the RT, and I was looking for some advice.

Are either of these two models suitable for a first timer? I'm thinking the RT is probably more comfortable on the highway than the GS - is this the case? I like the versatility of the GS, but I also want to be comfortable most of the time (I'm 6', 32" inseam). I have a cottage in the hills here near Ottawa, two kilometers up a rough and twisty gravel road. From my reading, I'm thinking the GS won't be a problem on this road, but am I asking for trouble if I get the RT? Thanks so much for any advice you can share....

Rob Gilbert
Ottawa, ON CANADA
Frankly if you have never ridden before either of your choices for a "first " bike , the GS or RT is not a good idea. What you need is a small displacment multipurpose dirt bike. Keep up at your place and learn all your fundamentals.
But a used one even better and ride the crap out of it .

Buying a powerful and heavy first bike is just not a good idea in my view. Especially the two your mention. JMO others may vary.........

No matter where you go , there you are.
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post #17 of 25 Old Jul 31st, 2008, 5:22 pm
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Re: Newbie question

You are getting some good advice here and I urge you to listen to it.

Both the GS and the R-RT are too big and heavy for first bikes. It's not a matter of your size and strength. It's balance and coordination.

My suggestion would be to buy a used Suzuki 500 twin to learn on. Six-to-12 months down the line, get the BMW.
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post #18 of 25 Old Jul 31st, 2008, 11:38 pm
 
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Re: Newbie question

As some have said above, buy a 650cc or under to learn on, then move up. In addition, BMWs are a different breed and handle differently than most bikes. I started on a 50cc Honda.
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post #19 of 25 Old Aug 1st, 2008, 12:07 am
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Re: Newbie question

I agree with the general consensus here and I don't care how old you are or how tall you are. Take the course and build your way up the bike ladder. This isn't like buying a 1970 Dodge Charger with a 383 four barrel carbed engine as your first car. (BTW-what was your first car?) The Charger has four wheels and stays upright on its own. A 1200 cc bike is 500lbs (give or take) and if it goes over it takes you with it.

Take a look at the Thread about "First BMW" and see how most of us started out. Understand that we're not trying to keep you ostracized from some biker clique. Speaking for myself, a maybe some of the others here, I don't want your first experience to be a bad one.

Prior to 2000 I hadn't ridden for 29 years. I started with a Nighthawk 750cc and that was fine for me. 2 years later I bought an R1150RS and I can honestly say that I'm damned glad I started with the smaller bike.

Take care,
Chris

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post #20 of 25 Old Aug 1st, 2008, 8:41 am Thread Starter
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Re: Newbie question

Thank you. I was worried that the 650 wouldn't be powerful enough for my daily commute, but it sounds like that won't be a problem.

Rob.
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post #21 of 25 Old Aug 1st, 2008, 8:45 am Thread Starter
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Re: Newbie question

Thanks. I'm thinking seriously about the 650 (used, if I can find one)
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post #22 of 25 Old Aug 1st, 2008, 9:11 am
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Re: Newbie question

If I had to do it all over again, I would go KLR650 first. They are a cheap reliable bike and very cheap to service. New tires are also cheaper than one on most BMW's. Then when I feel cofident enough, purchase a more rode worthy bike, if you really want to suck down miles. I wouldn't have any problems riding my LT down rough gravel roads. Our lane is not soo nice. This is just my two cents, being the money cruncher I am.

Neil '00 K1200LT '08 KLR
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post #23 of 25 Old Aug 2nd, 2008, 5:47 am Thread Starter
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Re: Newbie question

Thanks Neil. How often, if you can generalize, do you have to change tires on a bike? Do you have to use the manufacturer's tires?

Rob.
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post #24 of 25 Old Aug 2nd, 2008, 6:16 am
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Re: Newbie question

Rob,
I teach the MSF, Basic Riders Course and teach it often. We tell all of our graduates, if they are successful in passing the course they are now qualified to ride a small motorcycle in an empty parking lot. The vast majority of new riders passing the BRC need continued parking lot practice as the majority of their concentration is still on the operation of the motorcycle and not the Buick that is about to occupy their space.

Depending on the rate at which you can perfect new motor skills even a 600 cc motorcycle could be a real handful for a novice rider. Do yourself and all of your loved ones a favor, take the course then decide how comfortable you are.

R1200RT
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post #25 of 25 Old Aug 2nd, 2008, 9:39 am
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Re: Newbie question

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob_99
Thanks Neil. How often, if you can generalize, do you have to change tires on a bike? Do you have to use the manufacturer's tires?

Rob.
Cheng Shin all the way on KLR. It has a set of road tires on now. Should last at least 10K miles I think.

LT had Avons on. Rear was toast at 5K, but ran it to 6K, I don't recommend it. I'm running Metzler rear now, since I got it cheap last year, with an Avon front. I wish they would make those dual compound Roadsmart tires for the LT. I do my own tire changing and throw BB's in tire or tube to balance them. Saves a lot of money and haven't seen any down sides to not balancing a tire.

Neil '00 K1200LT '08 KLR
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