I had gone from hexhead to wethead, and I can tell you that you will never miss your camhead at all! The only experience that I have with a camhead is having rented one for 10 days to ride around the highlands, Scotland.
I had a camhead RT for about 3 months until it got rearended and totaled. Then I had a wethead RT, then a wethead GSA, now have a shiftcam GSA. When I get a pre-camhead 1200 RT as a loaner from my dealer, it's night and day. I love the engine and transmission, powerful, no flat spots in the powerband, smooth shifting, shift assist works like a charm.
But I'm not a fan of the shiftcam GS TFT dash at all. The wethead RT has analog speed and tach like the wethead GSA but it has a small TFT that uses a handlebar button to navigate through its menus. I found that took too much of my attention away from the road to find information I was looking for, and I quickly warmed to the simplicity of the wethead GS semi-analog cluster - which is reminiscent of the camhead RT gages. The full TFT dash on the shiftcam GSA shows digital speed - nope, prefer analog. Old GS instrument cluster actually displayed more data at once (8 items) than the TFT (7) although you can toggle through menus to see almost as much as before, much like on the wethead RT. Weirdly, you can't show both fuel gage and odometer at the same time. The capability to switch between KPH and MPH exists but BMW has locked it out for the NA market - why? They eliminated the Trip A function (resets to zero after 8 hours), which I used frequently. The ability to have the TFT display directions from a route on my phone is no replacement for a standalone Nav or even a mounted cellphone.
Based on that, my thought is that if you're holding off for a redesigned RT with the shiftcam engine instead of what they're offering now (basically a 2014 wethead with a shiftcam and a few styling tweaks), you may find yourself disappointed. The current dash is already more complicated than the one you're used to, and the next one may be more so.
I had a '99 1100RT, then a 2001 1150 RT, then an '05 1200 RT, now a '17 1200 RT. I haven't tried shift-cam yet.
Looking back, I think the '99 was a flawed machine....surging, easy to overheat, poor headlight...the worst riding seat I've ever seen. I put 66,000 miles on mine, but I changed the seat, the windscreen, added driving lights, tweaked the motor..and it still wasn't really right. Oh...add the Amal throttle bodies that leaked and resisted tune ups and the rickety cable system controlling these throttles. It was still an addictive bike...and the leaking output bearing that took out my clutch.
The 2001 solved the headlight problem and it didn't surge. (I had the dual plug version) The seat still was lousy. I bought 2 different ones for it. I bought 3 different windscreens for it. The servo brake system was beyond annoying. No real fix for that, so I sold it when the first 1200 RT came out in '04.
I bought Ohlins shocks for my '99 and was very happy to have the Ohlins guy in the Nashville area rebuild them and then install the parts needed to get them to work on my '01 for a very reasonable fee. Wonderful on both bikes.
I picked a grey '05 right off the first truck, still in the crate when they were shipped in to the dealer. They assembled it and I rode it 100,000 miles. It was a great bike. It had cruise control. The engine didn't need constant tuning. It didn't surge. The bike handled better than the 1150. It had a seat that didn't cripple your naughty bits, but I bought a Sargent for it anyway and a couple good windscreens for it. The throttle bodies were great. You could do a valve adjustment the same old way as the older bikes (and 02 series BMW 4 cyl cars), but unlike the older bikes, you didn't have to fool with the throttle bodies.
After break-in, I had the dealer set my throttle bodies. After that, I did all the oil changes and valve adjustments. I have a very careful process that gets clearances the same on both sides of the bike. If you do this, the throttle bodies don't need any adjustment. The bike runs smooth and nice....like, every time. I think I might have had the dealer set the throttle bodies one more time, but that's all....and it didn't seem to really change the bike much.
I got Wilbers shocks for the '05 right away because I felt the stock ones were unbalanced. The front didn't damp right and the rear had too strong a spring. Rebound had to be set full stiff for it to make any sense at all. I bought them from the USA dealer on the East Coast. They were too stiff and never really were as good as the Ohlins until I had them rebuilt at about 30,000 miles. I had Beemerworks do them and they were spectacular after that. Those guys do nice work.
This '17 was a leftover I got in Spring of '18. It's pretty wonderful out of the box. The motor is smooth and has loads of power and torque. The controls are better. It took a bit of hard study to finally figure out the stereo with my bluetooth system, but I got it going and now love it. I put an Aeroflow "Tall" windscreen on it. Perfect. I just spent 4 days on this bike. 98% pure joy. The rest waiting for stoplights.
I haven't done much service to it. Just an engine oil & filter changes and a rear end oil change. Air filter next. I had the brake fluid done at the dealer last year.
This bike has ESA. Shock and spring rates feel right to me in "normal", not comfort and not sport. Set for 1 rider if you have 1 rider, rider and luggage if you have a rider and the rear bags on. I haven't had a passenger on this bike yet, but I'm sure it's appropriate too. I've heard these shocks wear out quickly. So far, so good for me.
Anyway, they're great. As much as I loved my '05, I have to say, these wetheads are better in many ways. If I were on a budget, I'd get another '05 up to the gear heads. Never had any trouble with it and had a lot of great times on it. If I were on a bit less of a budget, I'd get a used '17 or '18.
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