My new '07 GT, first impressions, GPZ1100 comparison - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 8 Old Sep 4th, 2007, 8:23 pm Thread Starter
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Location: Mountain View, CA, USA
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My new '07 GT, first impressions, GPZ1100 comparison

I recently (3 wks now) got a new '07 (White) K1200GT. Mine is loaded -- almost everything is there: ABS, ESA, RDC/TPC, ASC, OBC, Cruise, Xenon, Hot seats, Hot grips, Nav III, large topcase.

I'm upgrading from a '95 Kawasaki GPZ1100 with a bunch of touring accessories: Corbin seat, reworked shock, Givi bags, bar risers, Throttlemeister...

Over the long weekend I took my first long shakedown ride, from Silicon Valley over to Monterey then down the Pacific Coast Highway to Pismo Beach, then some 2-up trips around the area there, and finally back up CA 1 and home. It's got 1000 miles on it now, time for the first service.

Executive summary: the K1200GT kicked the GPZ1100's butt in almost every respect. It's more comfortable, more powerful, more responsive, faster stopping, more adjustable. I love it, the GPZ will have to go to make room. (Why almost? Well, the GPZ is red, and styled so it looks faster even when it's not.)

The suspension is fantastic. I worked pretty hard to tweak the GPZ to suit my 6'2", 240 lb body, and the GT just worked right from the floor. I wasn't sure about the ESA, but after putting some miles on different roads I love it. I kept the GPZ set up pretty firm, but even so the front end on the GT is noticeably less divey and being able to switch to "comfort" mode for the freeways was a nice luxury. I also loved switching the preload to 2-up without needing any tools.

The ABS and linked brakes are interesting. It seems I've picked up a bad habit of over-applying the rear brake, because the ABS kicked in a couple of times when I didn't expect it, or maybe that's just weight transfer forward. I've locked the GPZ rear wheel before in similar circumstances, and it was nice to not have to recover, I think the ABS feedback will help break me of this habit in a safer way.

As far as I know I haven't used/needed the ASC yet. People tell me it's not very subtle, so I guess it hasn't kicked in, and I wasn't really trying to engage it.

The cases are fine. The Givis are simpler and seem more rugged, but they hold about as much as the GT. The side cases are deceptive -- they look small but they're deep and I crammed a lot more in there than I expected. Same for the topcase, it looks like there's a lot of wasted space due to the double-shell design, at least compared to the Givis, but it held just as much.

We did some 2-up night time riding, and my wife was pretty happy with the heated seats. She says she can't see over my head quite as well as she could on the GPZ (my seat is in the tall position), but she was more comfortable. The xenon headlamp sure works at night.

I also love not having to hassle with chain lube. The GPZ actually has kind of a lot of play in the drive (the rubber cushions in the hub get loose over time), and I was actually expecting a tighter feel from the GT, but it was about the same -- no biggie, I'm used to it.

The Nav III is great. Expensive, but very useful. I don't have GPS systems in my cars because maps are pretty easy to use, but on a bike it's really nice to not have to hassle with refolding the map in the tank bag. (No tank bag! ...yet.) It was really nice to be able to take a quick look at roads up ahead and pick the interesting ones, detour around towns, etc. I wish it had batteries in it so I could have brought it inside with me to do some route planning. (It comes with a wall wart adapter, but I didn't bring it on this trip.) I also wish it was easier to transfer routes from e.g. google maps to the nav system. The software that comes with it (PC only) is pretty bad in comparison.

I also got a new helmet, the Dainese Airstream Course, with Bluetooth. It's a fine helmet, as quiet and comfortable as my old Shoei. The bluetooth worked fine with the nav and with my phone, but it doesn't get loud enough to hear with my earplugs in at speed. It resets to the default volume for each new 'connection', so while I can turn up the volume for a phone call, at the next call it's back to the default. This is especially annoying for the nav instructions, since each 'connection' is only a few seconds long, it's almost pointless to turn up the volume. Still at city speeds it's fine -- when I met up with my wife (she drove the car with our daughter) at a random deli in Monterey, the nav instructions were very useful, and it sure was handy to be able to call her without taking the helmet off. (I did pull over.) I blew through the batteries in both my phone and the helmet over the 4 day trip, so I ended up making the ride home with neither, and it wasn't much worse -- hearing the nav instructions isn't a necessity, the on screen text is fine.

I got the short/normal windscreen. Even though I'm tall, I test drove a couple of different options, including an aftermarket screen, and the shorter screen gave me the most options. With the screen all the way down my entire head is in the airflow, which is actually pretty quiet and nice a cool. I can put it up a little bit so the flow only hits part of my helmet and it gets a little quieter, or I can put it up all the way so my head is almost sucked forward to keep the rain off. It's not really any quieter with the screen up all the way, but the noise is different -- more of a lower rumble than the usual wind whistle. The helmet probably makes a LOT of difference here. With the taller and especially the aftermarket screens I didn't have the option of putting my whole head in the wind, and the aftermarket screen I tried (sorry, I don't remember the brand) seemed to generate a lot of turbulence so it was really noisy and made my head bounce around a lot. The stock screen makes a nice smooth flow which is nice and comfortable.

Does anyone have experience or recommendations for tool kits? The one that came with the bike is pretty ridiculous -- a couple of allen wrenches?! Pfft. I'm leaning towards getting the BMW supplemental tool kit and then adding a few other useful items of my own, but there's not a lot of room under the seat. Does it all fit? Any other suggestions? (I also kept a first aid kit under the GPZ seat that doesn't really fit anywhere convenient on the GT, I could repack it and put it in the fairing pocket I suppose, but I kind of like having that space for other little stuff. On this trip I just put it in the bags, but I'd like to have it with me even when the bags are off.)

Hey, thanks for listening, this turned out to be longer than I expected. I'm looking forward to more conversation here.
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post #2 of 8 Old Sep 5th, 2007, 12:17 pm
Join Date: Dec 2006
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What was the contract sales price for your bike? I have a 2006 1200RT that I am considering trading for a 1200GT (reasons why are unimportant to rehash here). Because I am a working stiff, the economics of such a trade (though likely not going to be pretty) can't be devastating or this whim will have the door shut on its face.
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post #3 of 8 Old Sep 5th, 2007, 7:29 pm
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Just sell it outright.. Don't trade. You'll do alot better.
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post #4 of 8 Old Sep 9th, 2007, 8:03 pm
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I'm interested in buying a gt. Do you have any regrets about the k1200gt??
I am coming off a honda st1300 and a road king.

Joe [email protected]
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post #5 of 8 Old Sep 11th, 2007, 3:17 pm Thread Starter
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No regrets

No regrets at all about the GT. Well, people at work are getting tired of how long it takes to get the smug smile off my face when I ride it in the morning, but I think that'll pass. :-)

The GPZ is still sitting in my garage, and I look at it and remember all the fun trips on it, and there are definitely some regrets there. I've had one for almost 10 years and have been all over California on it, done several long trips around Utah and Colorado, as well as taking it 3/4 of the way around France. It's actually my 3rd GPZ (first was totaled when a 17yr old in a Bronco tried to rush a left turn before she noticed the center divider and stopped broadside in my lane, second was totaled in France when a tourist on a cell phone didn't bother with a stop sign...)

Anyway, the 2nd half of the bill for my new GT came through recently (dealer let me put half on a credit card -- lots of bonus miles!) and I will admit to a little regret when I made that payment, but it passed quickly.

I'm looking around at aftermarket seats right now. I didn't find the stock seat all that bad, but so far the longest I've been on it is 4 hours.
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post #6 of 8 Old Sep 11th, 2007, 4:56 pm
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Let me know what seat you get I will be needing one I sold my harley on email and now I am taking your advise and going to get the k1200gt.
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post #7 of 8 Old Sep 11th, 2007, 10:46 pm
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Recent GT purchase

I too just bought my new GT - 2 weeks and 600 miles ago. I am coming off of a HD Dyna wide glide. That's a medium cruiser by HD standards. My observations are as follows:

GT is a marvel of engineering as compared to the HD. I have a little remorse thinking about how beautiful my HD looked all chromed out and tweaked but the argument for me was one of form over function. HD was high form and marginal function where the GT really exceed in both categories.

The one thing about the HD I loved was the seat. I could ride for hours without a butt break. (My back was a different story though.) I'm a little concerned about the GT seat because of all the things I have heard/read. For me so far, it has been ok. I am reluctant to replace the seat because the lines of the stock seat fit the bike so well. My first 1000 mile weekend is approaching, so I'll chime in about the seat after that.

I put a lexan windshield on my HD but the wind turblence was still pretty pronounced at highway speeds. The GT punches through the air at 85MPH with less turbulence that the HD had at 70MPH. A blessing that I will appreciate every time I enter an onramp. I love the adjustable windshield too. I'm a tall guy and still have a little wind on my forehead at high speeds, even with the shield all the way up. I am still experimenting with that and I assume that I'll just add the tall windshield if necessary.

The ESA is awesome and no gimmic. I love the ability to change the setting on the fly and do so often on unpredictable New England roads.

The driveline lash took a little getting used to. The gear ratio is so much closer then my old bike, that it took a little getting used to. It doesn't bother me much though and if I pay attention to smooth shifting, it disappers completley. The close ratio is a benefit in a sense that I cna get into 6th and just cruise at speeds anywhere from 45 mph to 145mph. I never hit 5th on the HD unless I was going 60MPH. This bike requires much less shifting if you're content just rolling along. If I want to ride it like a sport bike, I just kick it down a gear and roll on the throttle coming out of turns. The smooth, seemingly endless power is a joy.

The brakes are confidence inspiring. Something I wasn't used to with the HD at all. I have tried dozens of panic stops and have not come close a skid. Thinking back to my old bike, I just did not know what I was missing when it comes to stopping power. I have ridden sport bikes with more powerful brakes but they felt scary on my test rides. I felt like I could pull a face plant if I grabbed too much front. The GT offers stopping power without fear for me.

Power band is incredibly wide and smooth. It winds up from 55 to 100mph and beyond as smooth as can be. I've ridden other sport bikes that hit a power burst midway though the range that would really catch you by surprise if you weren't ready for it. I have felt nothing of that in the GT. Granted, I've only ridden it for 600 miles but I have not approached the top of the power curve, it just keeps pulling until I chicken out and get off the throttle. Anybody else find the top end on yours yet?

So far, I am totally satisfied. I have minor complaint with a vibration on the left grip at 3k rpm. I also felt a little hesitation last week but I assume both issues will be solved at my 600 mile service tomorrow. I'll keep posting things as I come upon them. Look forward to staing in touch with this group.

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post #8 of 8 Old Sep 12th, 2007, 2:07 am
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Originally Posted by TJD
Anybody else find the top end on yours yet?
Nope, not yet. The bike was still pulling hard when I ran out of clear road.

That was all on one 3-week trip across 9 states. Guess I should have ridden another 7 1/2 minutes to get over 100 hours saddle time.

Pacific NorthWet
'13 Dark Graphite Metallic K16GTLD, 24K miles
'09 Magnesium Beige Metallic K13GT, 63K miles
'03 Anthracite Metallic K12LTC, 66K miles
'02 Mauve Metallic K12LTC, 106K miles and sold
BMWLT#143, IBA# 366, MOA# 111996, SCMA# 24032

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Some people see the gas tank as half empty. Some see it as half full. All I care is that I know where the next tankful is coming from...
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