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I am currently considering/shopping for a 2008 K1200GT, but I am also looking at a 2008 Yamaha FJR1300A...This being a BMW forum...why should I choose the K1200GT over the FJR? Also, are there any major issues I should be aware of while shopping for my pre-owned K1200GT. And finally, is there a passenger seat back (that isn't integrated into a trunk) avalible for the K1200GT.
 

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I would suggest riding both and getting a feel for yourself what the differences are. I have and I think the GT is the better bike, but again, as you point out, this is a GT forum so the opinions will sway that way. As for passenger backrests, check Corbin and Bakup. There may be others.
 

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Here's one tip I just used: Once you've found a 2008 GT you like, and have inspected it, get the VIN and give it to the Finance and Insurance person at your BMW dealer. They can plug it into their system and tell you if there are any outstanding service/warranty campaigns on that VIN/bike.
 

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NS1788 said:
I am currently considering/shopping for a 2008 K1200GT, but I am also looking at a 2008 Yamaha FJR1300A...This being a BMW forum...why should I choose the K1200GT over the FJR? Also, are there any major issues I should be aware of while shopping for my pre-owned K1200GT. And finally, is there a passenger seat back (that isn't integrated into a trunk) avalible for the K1200GT.
The FJR was third on my list, behind the BMW R1200RT and the K1200GT that I bought.

I chose the K1200GT for many reasons - presumed longevity and robustness of BMW bikes, plus the many factory features including cruise control, TPM, and much more.

Here in Southern California, there is no way to test ride an FJR. The dealers simply expect you to sit on the bike in the showroom and decide from there. No test rides on Japanese-brand motorcycles, except maybe at the motorcycle show. (Yamaha usually brings there Star cruisers, but no FJR.)
 

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My personal opinion is that the GT is the better bike for the following reasons. Electonically adjustable suspension, Duo-lever front suspension, Cruise, heated seats & grips and better wind protection, fuel range, ground clearance and it will not cook your legs.

Have a through inspection done on the GT, and don't look back.
 

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I know a few folks who have owned the FJR, and I've noticed they never own a second one. Usually FJR owners replace their rides with either the Connie or go to the GT. ABS is a must, as is heated grips and cruise.
 

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PM Ken Meese, his handle is "meese". He will be riding the 1300GT in the Iron Butt Rally this year and has already won a few of the rides so far. He will have a lot of input to offer about them. Or do a search for his posts. I think he wrote a good review, but it might have been on the 1300
 

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The FJR is a good bike, but really doesn't compare to the GT, however, Honda's ST1300 comes close.

If money is not an option, the GT is the way to go for sport touring. Just an all-round better bike. Also almost 2x the price.
 

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ironbuttwannabe said:
PM Ken Meese, his handle is "meese". He will be riding the 1300GT in the Iron Butt Rally this year and has already won a few of the rides so far. He will have a lot of input to offer about them. Or do a search for his posts. I think he wrote a good review, but it might have been on the 1300
I know Ken, and hope that he and his 2007 K1200GT do well in the IBR next week. He has won the the last four major rallies that he entered this year, which is probably unprecedented. I own a 2007 K1200GT, too. I haven't ridden any rallies, but I enjoy Iron Butt rides. I really like my K1200GT, and wouldn't trade it for an FJR. That said, let's look at the Yamaha/BMW record at the last Iron Butt Rally (2007):

Finishers:
BMW: 24 (60%)
(4 K1200GT, 4 K1200LT, 4 R1200RT, 3 R1150RT, 3 R1200GSA, 1 F650GS, 1 K1200RS, 1 K75C, 1 R1100RS, 1 R1150GS, 1 R1150GSA)

Yamaha: 11 (79%)
(all FJR1300)

DNFs (Did Not Finish):
BMW: 16 (40%)
(4 R1200RT/RTP, 2 K1200GT, 2 K1200LT, 2 R1200GSA, 1 K1100LT, 1 K1200RS, 1 R1100RT, 1 R1150GSA, 1 R1200GS,

Yamaha: 3 (21%)
(all FJR1300)

I don't want to jump to conclusions about the differences in the numbers, but they are obviously significant. There were four BMW final drive failures - 10% of the BMW entrants.

Source: http://www.ironbuttrally.com/IBR/2007.cfm?DocID=45
(See the section labelled "The Tarnished Blue and White Roundel". Rally results are near the bottom of the page.)
 

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Yeah, I'm here. Just finishing up some last minute prep so I can get on the road and head east. :)

As far as I can tell, the original poster never claimed he was looking for a bike to do Iron Butt rides. Although these bikes are obviously capable of such, that really is a small subset of the already small motorcycling demographic. Yet we do push bikes to their design limits (and way beyond), so it does have some relevance here.

And yes, I've passed quite a few FJRs in my time. (Uh, I mean ridden. Yeah, that's what I meant. :)) And I've written up my thoughts several times, too. I've tried to be neutral and fair, but y'all know what I'm riding so that kind of gives it away. :)

So here's my thoughts:

Both the FJR and the GT are supremely competent mile munchers that maintain a lot of sporty character. Both have monster motors coupled to great suspension and brakes (although some give the Beemer the nod on the last two). Both carry good sized factory bags, and both have well-developed rider communities with tons of farkles available.

The FJR has a more sporty seating position. It is a good, solid mount with typically Japanese reliability, although some riders complain of excessive heat. The FJR simply does what it was designed for, very well.

The GT has a slightly more relaxed riding position, although still quite sporty, and no heat problems whatsoever. I find that the Duolever/Paralever suspension gives a solid ride regardless of road conditions. This bike just soaks up whatever you throw at it. It also has tones of factory options like ESA, ASC, TPM, and the best factory cruise control in the business, all of which simply aren't available on other brands.

Beemers also have a level of engineering quality that I just don't see on other bikes. For example, I've see several FJRs with broken rear sub frame castings, typically from overloading the rear rack (rated for something silly like 10-20 lbs). I've also severely overloaded my GT's rack, carrying 50-70 lbs and never had a problem, because the GT's rear rack is mounted solidly to a welded frame piece.

Having said all that, Beemers do have an intrinsic problem with final drive failures. I've had several fail myself, but then again, I'm hardly the typical rider. They say it's getting better, but it is still something to be concerned about. In fact, I'm actually carrying a spare final drive and the associated tools on the Iron Butt Rally this month. I hate to do it, but I figure it's a kind of insurance.

What the choice boils down to then is your preference for riding position, your balance of overall cost versus cool gadgets, and your tolerance for known issues with these bikes. The FJR always wins out on cost/value, but is that really the highest priority? I tend to keep my bikes for 100K miles or more, so I'm not too worried about initial cost versus resale value.

The best analogy then is this: Would you rather buy a Camaro for a decent price and blast around town, or would you rather pony up the cash for a 5-Series BMW and blast around while playing with all the buttons, controls, and gadgets? Either one is a valid choice and in the end, it's your money and your ride, not mine. :)
 

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This topic as come up a number of times. Since I was exactly in the same boat, I will put in my nickle.

I'm not particularly a brand loyalist (although I shy away from things I've been burned on admittedly). I've liked many bikes I've owned, and still have a few of them in the garage. The ones that are there now are Japanese, sport oriented bikes. I have a Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki.

I have never owned a BMW, but I will admit some prior respect for them.

My "touring" bike was a Honda 1990 CBR 1000F. It is a great bike, but is getting old, and I thought it was time to move into the modern world.

There was no rush, and I literally spend years test riding, renting (domestic and overseas) and oogling in showrooms.

I test rode (via BMW invite in the mail, how cool!) the K1200S model when it first came out. That ride put the new K bikes "on the list". In some ways the K1200S was the second coming of my CBR 1000F. Liked it a lot.

I rode all my Japanese contenders, except for the new Connie, as it's passenger accommodations were just too sport-bike like. A simple sit in the showroom pretty much cinched that one.

I had extensively ridden the ST (old and new models) as rentals and extended test rides. Also, the FJR as an extended test ride. I had an extended rental of a K1200GT.

The FJR was definitely second on the list. But the riding experience of the GT (particularly two-up) is just superior. As a left-over model (2008), I could afford the GT, so I went for it. I got an extended warranty to ease my complexity discomfort (compared to my relatively simple antiques).

I don't love the expense and complexity. And I think some other aspects are only "ok". But to ride, it is the best, hands down. It is truly a combination of sport bike and touring bike. I have not regretted the purchase.
 
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