130 miles on a saturday morning -- first impressions - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 25 Old May 6th, 2006, 7:23 pm Thread Starter
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130 miles on a saturday morning -- first impressions

Wanted to get a jump on the rain that was predicted for the day and spend some time with a few of my dealer's customers talking about the new K1200GT. I had a chance to do 130 miles on the many Farm to Market roads here in North Central Texas.

I'm following the run in schedule that BMW recommends, keeping the RPMs below 7000 and varying the RPMs and trying out different gears. Here are my initial impressions:

First, this motorcycle beats the previous generation RS/GT in nearly every class. Power, handling, suspension, ergonomics, bells & whistles, and functionality. The only place where I would say the old RS/GT still wins is styling and the feel of the stock seat. This is the bike I think BMW meant to make in 1998, but just hadn't quite figured it out yet.

Power: Gobs of it. I was asked to compare it to the K1200S. It's not the same at all. In fact, I think it feels more like a K1200R than the K1200S in terms of the power delivery (more torque at the expense of a few ponies).

Handling: Oh man oh man! This bike out handles the previous generation RS/GT is so many categories. Given equal riders on a very technical course (i.e., twisty with hills and sweepers), the new GT would leave the old RS/GT in the dust. The new GT is EFFORTLESS when making high speed turns. You provide input, and the bike just goes there.

Suspension: The handling characteristics are all about the Hossack-Lever suspension. I refuse to call it the Duo-Lever, because if it weren't for the foresight of a brilliant designer -- Norman Hossack. The ESA component of the overall suspension package really makes this bike. I spent some time taking a particular route, changing the ESA settings, and re-riding the route. I find that with my fat ass, the two-up/sport setting works best for me. I could probably go with the one-up with luggage/sport setting, but I'll stick with the two-up/sport setting for most brisk rides. Moving between the comfort and sport settings seemed to be the best for me. Comfort when traversing distances between fun roads. Sport for the fun roads. I did hit a tight corner in comfort mode and caught me a little off guard. Just enough of a pucker to get a hint of vinyl in the back of my throat. I turned around and did the same route in the sport mode, and all I can say is WOW!!! It's really that much of a difference.

More Notes on the Suspension: Some people have observed the lack of "feedback" with the Hossack-Lever suspension. But I think it's just a matter of getting used to it. When in sport mode, on a washboarded corner, I felt enough feedback to keep me confident through the turn. In comfort mode, you definitely have a lack of feedback. In addition, the rubber mounted grip assembly seems to also mask some of the feedback. Again, I think it's just a matter of getting used to it rather than considering it a deficiency.

Ergonomics: Great. I took delivery of the bike with the bars in the highest position. Feels just like the RT, not quite as tall as the LT. But comfortable. I moved between the middle and lowest settings. For me (being 6'3"), I will pick the middle setting. The setting of the bars makes a BIG difference in terms of how well the windshield protects you from the wind and buffeting. In the high position, I found the windshield quite INADEQUATE. However, drop into the middle and low settings, and it was much better. I feel that 3rd-party windshield makers will fix this problem. When has BMW made a decent windshield?

Ergonomics Continued: Also, the seat has a high and low setting. I didn't realize I was in the low setting for more than half of the ride, and I didn't notice. When I finally moved the seat up, it did feel better, and would make a long distance ride much more enjoyable. Speaking of the seat, it's too hard for my tastes. I am sure Sargent or someone else will have a seat coming out soon. That's the problem with seats. Some people will love them (like the stock seat on my LT) and others will hate them. The other guy who took delivery of his GT on Friday said he loves his seat, and he has 100 miles on me. The GT seat, to me, is too hard. I like firm, but I felt like I was sitting on the Ducati Multistrada's seat.

More Notes on the Ergonomics: READ YOUR OWNERS MANUAL IN REGARDS TO THE HANDLEBAR ADJUSTMENT -- IT WILL SAVE YOU TIME. It's so simple, you'll slap your head like the old "I coulda had a V-8" commercials. After my "duh" moment after adjusting them the first time, it takes about 1 minute to adjust the bars to whatever of the 6 possible positions available.

Bells & Whistles: The cruise control works just like the LT, RS/GT, and RT. Seamless and just works. Holds speed very well, even on hills in 6th gear. The electric windshield is great; however, I think how well it protects depends on how tall you are and where you have the bars set. ESA - AWESOME - need I say more? The computer and display provides you more information than you ever wanted to know. I find that the MPG and miles to empty screens the most useful for me.

Functionality: Aside from the bells & whistles, there are some really nice functional aspects of the K1200GT. The bags are perfect. The fit is nice, it's very difficult to install them improperly, and the locking/release mechanism is how the System Cases should have been for years. As I said before, the seat height adjustment is quite ingenious. Simple and effective. Between the windshield and the dash is a airfoil that helps provide effective airflow to the rider. Adjusting the windshield also adjusts the flow or air through the airfoil. The last functional element, while small, is a big help. The valve stems for the tires point to the side. Unlike in previous years, you either suffered through it, or installed side pointing valve stems. It's nice of BMW to think about the little details.

Again, my only complaints about the next-generation K1200GT is the styling and the seat comfort. In every other way, this bike outclasses it's predecessor and several other BMW bikes. I believe you will see many K1200LT, K1200RS/GT, and R1200RT owners moving to the K1200GT. I also believe that you will see many non-BMW riders look at the K1200GT as the entry into the line of BMW touring bikes. While I will get used to the looks over time, this bike has already sold me. The power delivery, features, suspension, handling, and functionality is second to no other motorcycle, BMW or otherwise.


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post #2 of 25 Old May 6th, 2006, 7:38 pm
 
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Thanks Jeffe!

Sounds like an awesome machine - now if it'll just quit raining down there....
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post #3 of 25 Old May 6th, 2006, 8:04 pm
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I just had a call today for a seat from a local NEW GT rider.

THANK YOU Paine Weber!

err, BMW!


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post #4 of 25 Old May 6th, 2006, 8:49 pm
 
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What i can't figure out is I think I like a hard seat but this seat makes my ass go numb. I've used Corbin's, and Russel daylong and liked them both but I just cant figure out what i don't like about the seat. I never like a stock seat so I'll be looking for something maybe more of a platform? That's the only fault on the bike for me. Got the big top case and went two up last night. The bike has so much torque. Big top case holds two helmets no problem. I'll only use it for two up.
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post #5 of 25 Old May 6th, 2006, 9:54 pm
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As I posted in another thread, I rode the GT today and liked it. It's nowhere near as complete a review as eljeffe gave us, but I wanted to share my impressions. One thing I couldn't understand was the lack of a radio. If we're going to be seeing LT/RT riders switching over to the GT, I would think they'd miss the tunes when touring. On the twisties one's concentration must be on the road, but on flat highway it can get a little quiet. Did I simply miss something, or is there truly no way to put in a radio/CD?

Joe
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post #6 of 25 Old May 7th, 2006, 2:06 pm
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Heck Joe, they gotta save something for the next LT. Seriously, either BMW or some third party will have something soon, you can bet on it!

Brett

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post #7 of 25 Old May 7th, 2006, 5:18 pm
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Just get an iPod or Satellite Radio and an intercom or just plain helmet speakers. Simple enough, unless you want to listen while sitting in the garage.

Thanks for the review, Jeff. Or should I say damn you. The styling doesn't bother me, and I figure a custom seat is mandatory. I wonder how it rates for passenger comfort (for that 40% two-up), and where you can fit a fuel cell (for the remaining 60%).

Ken
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post #8 of 25 Old May 7th, 2006, 7:46 pm
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Wink Congrats!

Congrats on the new ride!

One thing, 18Gs for an entry level bike? Yeesh ;-)

My friend has a 2004 or 2005 GT. Coming over from the HD crowd, he was amazed by the amount of torque that bike has. To hear that the new GT has even more is getting my heart racing. I may have to take the 58 mile ride to my local stealer for test ride.

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post #9 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 2:01 am
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Thumbs up Love The New Ride; But Oh That Seat!

Took delivery on Saturday, early afternoon. Only have 275 miles on to this point, but this is the machine I've always wanted from BMW. Somewhat perplexed by the comment about it being top heavy; maybe the memories of the LT are still too fresh, but I didn't feel that at all.

Ditto on all the comments about the handling and power. Did I mention the handling? Two up on CO 67, curves posted for 30, 60 no problem.

But that seat. I am SO relieved some of you mentioned it so I know it's not me. Just feels hard and strangely shaped. I'll be using an Airhawk until I can replace it with a custom seat.

All in all, a fab ride!

The Touring Professor

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post #10 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 2:39 am
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Hey there Prof, how about some passenger impressions? Wind turbulence, comfort, etc.

Ken
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'09 Magnesium Beige Metallic K13GT, 63K miles
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post #11 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 10:52 am
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Passenger Feedback

I was actually surprised. Her feedback went something like this:

1) "you'd better be careful or you won't have a license very long"
2) "This bike rocks"
3) "This rear seat is comfortable. When you were doing 60 for long periods I felt like it would be easy to fall asleep" (she's done this on the LT). She especially found the back rest on the large topcase perfectly positioned for her back. She also found the rear seat heater well up to the task.

I asked her to compare the GT against the LT and my FJR; and was shocked.

She found the GT smoother and quieter than BOTH bikes (expected this versus the FJR, not the LT). Her general impression was that the FJR felt like it had more raw power, but that the GT felt more powerful at speed in a 'silkier' sort of way (I ran in Comfort mode, 2 helmet setting on the ESA all day). Her impression of the engine was that it was the smoothest she had ever experienced on any bike (she rides her own bike as well as periodically riding 2 up with me) - and I mean BY FAR. She also felt the pegs were better placed for her than the FJR. She also felt like the two of us had more space (roominess) than on the LT - another surprise. Maybe it's because I had a bakup backrest on the LT, but I have to agree - I usually never felt her against my back while riding.

If this is the general response we can expect from our SOs, then I have to believe this bike will cannibalize a lot of LT sales.

As usual, just MHO, and YMMV.

The Touring Professor

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2004 Honda Rune
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post #12 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 11:00 am
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Btw

Just read ElJeffe's report.

Ditto on the seat. Ron, you out there?

Ditto also on the complete absence of engine heat.

Although I only have 275 on mine (leaving for a spin shortly), the onboard computer indicates that to this point I have averaged 49.5 mph (I know, I'm a conservative rider / wuss; but it's all been back road / canyon riding), with an indicated 52.4 mpg!

The Touring Professor

2012 Victory Cross Country Tour
2007 Honda Gold Wing
2004 Honda Rune
1999 H-D Dyna-Glide Conv.
1996 Porsche 993 Turbo
1991 Acura NSX

Gone But Not Forgotten:

2006 K1200GT
2005 Triumph Rocket
2001 K1200LT
2002 K1200LT
2003 Hayabusa
2002 1800 VTX
1999 HD Sportster
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post #13 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 11:13 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TouringProf
Took delivery on Saturday, early afternoon. Only have 275 miles on to this point, but this is the machine I've always wanted from BMW. Somewhat perplexed by the comment about it being top heavy; maybe the memories of the LT are still too fresh, but I didn't feel that at all.

Ditto on all the comments about the handling and power. Did I mention the handling? Two up on CO 67, curves posted for 30, 60 no problem.

But that seat. I am SO relieved some of you mentioned it so I know it's not me. Just feels hard and strangely shaped. I'll be using an Airhawk until I can replace it with a custom seat.

All in all, a fab ride!
Prof, could you give us a quick comparison between the FJR and GT? Paying attention in the back of the class...
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post #14 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 11:16 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TouringProf
--------------------
If this is the general response we can expect from our SOs, then I have to believe this bike will cannibalize a lot of LT sales.---------------.
Of course we have to wait and see what BMW has up their sleeve for the new LT. Maybe a lot of what you see on the GT is going to be applied to a new LT, then maybe a lot of us will be wanting a new LT, and future GT sales may be cannibalized!

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post #15 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 12:08 pm Thread Starter
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I think the topheavy thing is coming more from the RS/GT guys than anyone else. That was one of the things David Scott told me when we got up to the lodge yesterday. He said it felt topheavy. He's a RS rider, so I can understand his point of view. As an LT rider (or should I say ex-LT rider), this bike is so light in comparison (think about LT MINUS 240 pounds) that it's a complete joy.

I've been asked a few times about who I think will be buying the new K1200GT. Here are my thoughts:

1. LT riders who are primarily one-up riders and never have a passenger (or just a couple times a year)
2. RT riders who think the boxer is just too anemic for their tastes
3. S riders who couldn't wait for the GT to show up
4. previous generation RS/GT riders who want to move up
5. FJR riders who are tired of cooking their nads
6. Other motorcyclists who are ready for touring, but don't "feel old enough" for the LT or GoldWing

Note: #6 is not a slam on us, it's just what people say when I'm talking to them about touring on the LT. It's a perception from people who just don't get the K1200LT experience. Trust me, there are so many who "don't get it".

BTW, here's a quick take on what the new GT is missing: An integrated radio, but at BMW prices, I'm not sure that's a bad thing.


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post #16 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 1:13 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljeffe
I think the topheavy thing is coming more from the RS/GT guys than anyone else. That was one of the things David Scott told me when we got up to the lodge yesterday. He said it felt topheavy. He's a RS rider, so I can understand his point of view. As an LT rider (or should I say ex-LT rider), this bike is so light in comparison (think about LT MINUS 240 pounds) that it's a complete joy.

I've been asked a few times about who I think will be buying the new K1200GT. Here are my thoughts:

1. LT riders who are primarily one-up riders and never have a passenger (or just a couple times a year)
2. RT riders who think the boxer is just too anemic for their tastes
3. S riders who couldn't wait for the GT to show up
4. previous generation RS/GT riders who want to move up
5. FJR riders who are tired of cooking their nads
6. Other motorcyclists who are ready for touring, but don't "feel old enough" for the LT or GoldWing

Note: #6 is not a slam on us, it's just what people say when I'm talking to them about touring on the LT. It's a perception from people who just don't get the K1200LT experience. Trust me, there are so many who "don't get it".

BTW, here's a quick take on what the new GT is missing: An integrated radio, but at BMW prices, I'm not sure that's a bad thing.
You sure have my curiosity up. I'm beginning to fall into that #1 spot above since Sweetpea has really gotten into riding her Burgman. I guess I'll go for a test ride one of these days. Thanks for the report.

Blessings!
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post #17 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 2:18 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
Of course we have to wait and see what BMW has up their sleeve for the new LT. Maybe a lot of what you see on the GT is going to be applied to a new LT, then maybe a lot of us will be wanting a new LT, and future GT sales may be cannibalized!
Going back to my spies (er, I mean reliable sources), the next-gen LT will be based on the S engine (contrary to what BMWRA OTL says). It will have fixed mount sidecases and integrated trunk. I keep hearing things like, "remember the first artist concept drawings of the LT" and "100 pounds lighter" whenever someone tries to give me a visual of the new LT. We should find out more this fall at Intermot; otherwise, it will be another year.


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post #18 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 3:56 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemoto
What i can't figure out is I think I like a hard seat but this seat makes my ass go numb. I've used Corbin's, and Russel daylong and liked them both but I just cant figure out what i don't like about the seat. I never like a stock seat so I'll be looking for something maybe more of a platform? That's the only fault on the bike for me. Got the big top case and went two up last night. The bike has so much torque. Big top case holds two helmets no problem. I'll only use it for two up.
The seat is a bit perplexing. I rode about 150 miles and it's the only thing I couldn't figure out. It wasn't necessarily uncomfortable, since my skinny butt didn't go numb nor did it get the hot/monkey butt, but I couldn't find where to sit. At times I would move my butt [back] towards the pillion on the hump/thicker area and at times I kept sliding into the tank. I think it's an ideal platform for Ron's Kontour seat but am gonna wait a bit.

John
Jacksonville, FL (USA)
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post #19 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 6:04 pm
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Thanks for the passenger feedback. Might be time for a test ride.

Ken
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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post #20 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 6:08 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpalamaro
The seat is a bit perplexing. I rode about 150 miles and it's the only thing I couldn't figure out. It wasn't necessarily uncomfortable, since my skinny butt didn't go numb nor did it get the hot/monkey butt, but I couldn't find where to sit. At times I would move my butt [back] towards the pillion on the hump/thicker area and at times I kept sliding into the tank. I think it's an ideal platform for Ron's Kontour seat but am gonna wait a bit.
Not having seen, nor ridden this bike, the R1200GS has a wierd seat too.
Most people put the front on high and the rear on low, and it seems to feel right. Maybe you could give that a shot and see how she feels

James Ranks
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post #21 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 7:01 pm
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FJR to GT?

I've been asked to compare the FJR to the GT. Also, I noted:

"I've been asked a few times about who I think will be buying the new K1200GT. Here are my thoughts:

1. LT riders who are primarily one-up riders and never have a passenger (or just a couple times a year)

That's me.

5. FJR riders who are tired of cooking their nads

Not so sure about this one. First, the 06 FJR had the heat issue engineered out by Yamaha. Second, unlike the ST 1300 (which IMHO had more heat and no solution), the pre 06 FJR has a well-publicized heat solution. About $25.00 and 2 hours of labor (equivalent to the time it took me to install the j-pegs on the LT the first time) completely eliminated the heat issue. Once I added bags and changed the airflow, I found my Rocket putting out more heat than my modified FJR.

The GT is a clearly superior ride to the FJR. Smoother, ESA, better fit and finish, more amenities. HOWEVER, the FJR is a terrific Sport Tourer, has torque and grunt more like the S than the GT, and is a well engineered bike. With the K1200GT set up with all available options other than the alarm system, and with my FJR set up with a Cee Bailey screen, bag liners included, highway pegs (can't figure out how the GT will ever have a place for these), and a GIVI topcase, you can basically have 2 FJRs for the price on one GT. (I'm not counting in the cost of the Sargent seat on my FJR, because there is no way I won't be putting a custom seat on the GT, so I consider that cost a wash).

Additionally, the extended third party warranty available thru my dealer was more than the Yamaha-backed warranty, and the Yamaha program was for twice the length of time. For $1200.00, I also got 3 years of unlimited maintenance on the FJR, versus pay as you go on the GT, and standard BMW prices. I honestly don't see a huge migration from the FJR to the GT on the basis of these price points.

Just MHO, and YMMV.

The Touring Professor

2012 Victory Cross Country Tour
2007 Honda Gold Wing
2004 Honda Rune
1999 H-D Dyna-Glide Conv.
1996 Porsche 993 Turbo
1991 Acura NSX

Gone But Not Forgotten:

2006 K1200GT
2005 Triumph Rocket
2001 K1200LT
2002 K1200LT
2003 Hayabusa
2002 1800 VTX
1999 HD Sportster
1988 HD Softail Custom
1975 Yamaha 100cc
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post #22 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 10:19 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TouringProf
Just read ElJeffe's report.

Ditto on the seat. Ron, you out there?

Ditto also on the complete absence of engine heat.

Although I only have 275 on mine (leaving for a spin shortly), the onboard computer indicates that to this point I have averaged 49.5 mph (I know, I'm a conservative rider / wuss; but it's all been back road / canyon riding), with an indicated 52.4 mpg!
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post #23 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 10:38 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljeffe
Wanted to get a jump on the rain that was predicted for the day and spend some time with a few of my dealer's customers talking about the new K1200GT. I had a chance to do 130 miles on the many Farm to Market roads here in North Central Texas.

First, this motorcycle beats the previous generation RS/GT in nearly every class. Power, handling, suspension, ergonomics, bells & whistles, and functionality. The only place where I would say the old RS/GT still wins is styling and the feel of the stock seat.

Dawmn! you like it <g>

told ya you would, how about posting this to the IBMWR list

Tom

Tom

'07 GS Adv (mine), '06 GS <(My brides)
(the only bmw's in the stable)
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post #24 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 10:42 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljeffe
I think the topheavy thing is coming more from the RS/GT guys than anyone else. That was one of the things David Scott told me when we got up to the lodge yesterday. He said it felt topheavy. He's a RS rider, so I can understand his point of view. As an LT rider (or should I say ex-LT rider), this bike is so light in comparison (think about LT MINUS 240 pounds) that it's a complete joy.

I've been asked a few times about who I think will be buying the new K1200GT. Here are my thoughts:

1. LT riders who are primarily one-up riders and never have a passenger (or just a couple times a year)
2. RT riders who think the boxer is just too anemic for their tastes
3. S riders who couldn't wait for the GT to show up
4. previous generation RS/GT riders who want to move up
5. FJR riders who are tired of cooking their nads
6. Other motorcyclists who are ready for touring, but don't "feel old enough" for the LT or GoldWing

Note: #6 is not a slam on us, it's just what people say when I'm talking to them about touring on the LT. It's a perception from people who just don't get the K1200LT experience. Trust me, there are so many who "don't get it".

BTW, here's a quick take on what the new GT is missing: An integrated radio, but at BMW prices, I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

you do know your killing me right!

I want a GT so much, but yet I was forced to break in a new R1200Gs this weekend (ok I was asked if i would scuff up the tires a bit on a new 6 mile GS, <g>) he twisted my arm some but I caved and rode it anyhow.

anyhow I think I am going to cave and buy the GS next, it will be perfect for up here and traveling out west and hitting all those ghost towns in the sky in CO. still not sure If I am going to do the GSA it does add some weight to the bike, BTW how do like the 900+ watt alternator on the GT <grin>

YA BUM!

Tom

Tom

'07 GS Adv (mine), '06 GS <(My brides)
(the only bmw's in the stable)
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post #25 of 25 Old May 8th, 2006, 10:50 pm
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MCN, K1200GT, June 06, P20, Dave Searle, First Impressions, form the BMW South Africa Press introduction. Also a picture of the high-tech alloy chassis.
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