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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I'm a semi-new rider... took up motorcycling last year at the tender age of 46, found a stock Kawasaki Ninja 500 (EX500) with 3000 miles on it, and proceeded to put 3500 miles over it in the course of one season. I'm also a car guy, and several of my Porsche buddies are big into BMW's (K1100RS, R90, R1200GS), and I've been exposed to their passion for BMWs.

So I'm at a local dealer and they have a R1200RT-P that they took in trade on another bike. It's an ex-CHP bike with 87K miles on it (a lot more than 7500!) and a much larger engine. It looks like it might be fun, but I'm not sure whether this is too big of a step up from my first bike.

Does anyone think this be a wise choice? Does anyone think it would be a disaster? Should I stick with the 500 until I get more experience? I'd appreciate any constructive feedback I can get. Thanks!

Ken
 

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Hey zymurgist, I am a brewer too. Thus my handle "hopz"... just sayn'

You have put 3500 miles on the learner bike... In my opinion you have gotten about all you are going to get from it. Question: Did you take any rider's course such as the MSF or Rider's Edge, or get any competent Rider Coach input, or did you just figure it out yourself?

No value judgment, just asking. The R1200RT-P is a good bike. Many of us ride the RT and the P version is frequently encountered. It is basically the same as the RT version but may (and probably) does have some modifications to the equipment list and maybe even the elecronics set-up. None of this is bad, it is just different. You may want to remove the P stuff for weight if nothing else.

The mileage is high for the age but of course for a well maintained BMW RT it is not likely to be an issue. If there is a known maintenance record, like maybe the dealer is the servicing dealer, then this is good to know. At this age and mileage it ought to have the shocks changed at least at 30k and likely again at 60k miles. If the dealer does not know or will not say... that is another flag. If the rest of the history unknown then my doubt level goes up again. FYI new shocks are going to run you $1500 and up.

You did not say what year the RT-P is and it makes a small but perhaps an interesting difference. The '05/06 had servo assisted brakes (think power brakes) that some do not care for. I have them and think they are excellent. In about '07/08 there was a new configuration for the final drive that increases the ease of service on the final drive. That is also a nice thing.

As for the bike being too much for you... I suggest it is not necessarily an issue. You did not mention your size/height but some new guys who are on the smaller side find the BMW tall... no matter the model. The power and speed are not a problem.

I am not large, in fact rather short on the inseam but I have been riding for decades and have multi-thousands of miles on many different kinds and configuration of bikes. The RT was tall for me... for a few days, but I figured it out quickly and have not had any issues.

The RT-P is a good candidate especially if you are a mechanical sort of guy. If you are not machine-involved, and if you just want to ride with your buddies then I might have some reservations. On the other hand it might be a great and economical way to get into heavy weight motorcycles. You might give it a try and if you like the concept of a big bike, then ride it for a while then sell it for an update. I can also add that RT-P bikes come around regularly and good bikes with far fewer miles and more gentle history are not difficult to find. If the price is a true reflection of its age/miles it might be well worth it. If there is not a significant discount involved... like several thousand then maybe less interest is justified.

BMW's on the East Coast are numerous and the market is fairly easy to determine. Double check it if you find you are interested in the P bike. In other words... shop it carefully. If you want another opinion on the price send me a PM and I will connect you with a guy at a dealership I know in your neck of the woods.

The bike may be ideal for some guys. For those who like immersion into the world of BMW, who are not afraid of doing their own maintenance, who like to tour or travel long distances in comfort, who are not into the "sport" angle (as in crotch rocket) but who like to go quietly at preposterous speeds, etc. If this is not you... maybe something else will fit better.

If it is you then you may have found a jewel but like I said... get to know the market before you leap. Make sure you are getting the (significant) discount you need for a bike of that mileage.

I am brewing my summer's Lawnmower beer tomorrow... just sayn'.

Enjoy and if you have follow up questions, feel free to ask.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
hopz said:
Hey zymurgist, I am a brewer too. Thus my handle "hopz"... just sayn'
Thanks for the detailed reply, hopz.

You have put 3500 miles on the learner bike... In my opinion you have gotten about all you are going to get from it. Question: Did you take any rider's course such as the MSF or Rider's Edge, or get any competent Rider Coach input, or did you just figure it out yourself?
I took the MSF Basic Rider I course before I started shopping for my bike. Trained on a GZ250. I try to practice some quick stops whevever I can as well, since I feel I may have gotten a little rusty over the winter.

The mileage is high for the age but of course for a well maintained BMW RT it is not likely to be an issue. If there is a known maintenance record, like maybe the dealer is the servicing dealer, then this is good to know. At this age and mileage it ought to have the shocks changed at least at 30k and likely again at 60k miles. If the dealer does not know or will not say... that is another flag. If the rest of the history unknown then my doubt level goes up again. FYI new shocks are going to run you $1500 and up.
Sticker shock, lol. I've been in the Porsche world for over 10 years now, though, so I'm not easily surprised when parts seem to be comprised of crushed $100 bills. This bike is at the local Big 4 dealer, so you don't see many BMW's come through there. First one I've ever seen there. Like I said, it came in as a trade. Plus I live in Maryland and the bike came from California, so I don't know what the service history is. Good point there.

As for the bike being too much for you... I suggest it is not necessarily an issue. You did not mention your size/height but some new guys who are on the smaller side find the BMW tall... no matter the model. The power and speed are not a problem.
I'm 6'1" and over 200 pounds. Probably borderline for the 500 but a good fit for the RT-P IMO. I sat on it but haven't asked to take a test ride. I was actually at the dealer dropping off my Ninja for a new rear tire when I saw the BMW there. (They also had a gorgeous VFR1200F, but it was 1 year old and a LOT higher priced. ;) )

The RT-P is a good candidate especially if you are a mechanical sort of guy. If you are not machine-involved, and if you just want to ride with your buddies then I might have some reservations. On the other hand it might be a great and economical way to get into heavy weight motorcycles.
I'm definitely mechanically inclined. I have owned a 1977 Corvette since 1991 and I spent a 3 year stretch doing a complete mechanical refresh (only 9000 miles since the rebuild); served as a wrench for a friend's Porsche 914 as well as my own 911; and I have a friend's late '70s Yamaha 750 triple in my garage awaiting my attention. (That one hasn't been run in at least 10-15 years though.) I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty, although I prefer to be riding than wrenching when possible.

BMW's on the East Coast are numerous and the market is fairly easy to determine. Double check it if you find you are interested in the P bike. In other words... shop it carefully. If you want another opinion on the price send me a PM and I will connect you with a guy at a dealership I know in your neck of the woods.
Where would be a good place to shop for comparables? I don't see BMWs on Craigslist (where I found the 500). Also have a friend who hangs out at Battley Cycles in Gaithersburg a lot, and I've spent some time in the BMW showroom there.

They are asking $4000 for this bike, BTW.

The bike may be ideal for some guys. For those who like immersion into the world of BMW, who are not afraid of doing their own maintenance, who like to tour or travel long distances in comfort, who are not into the "sport" angle (as in crotch rocket) but who like to go quietly at preposterous speeds, etc. If this is not you... maybe something else will fit better.
Probably a close fit. I'm not into the preposterous speeds, but I come from a sports car background, and just like when I drive, when I ride I like to find a country road with some curves and hills. I wouldn't be happy driving a Buick, and cruisers don't hold a lot of interest for me at this point. I was in a car accident years ago and injured my neck, so riding in the sportbike position with my head kinked back isn't going to work for me either. One reason for going to a heavier bike for me is highway riding. The 500 feels like a toy at 70+ mph on the interstate, especially when I'm anywhere near a large truck. Love it on back roads, but riding on the freeway is more of a chore than a pleasure.

I am brewing my summer's Lawnmower beer tomorrow... just sayn'.
Nice! I haven't made beer in at least 6 months (long distance relationship distracted me), but I have 20 gallons of orchard-fresh cider aging in the kitchen now.
 

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Didn't see the year, but a 1200RTP with 87K is a good buy at $4000, ASSUMING that it is in good condition, had no major accidents, etc. CHP generally holds onto their motors until about 100K.

I prefer the 1150RTP over the 1200RTP, but only because it has the System cases (which carry more and are easy to use as luggage).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I went back to the dealer today. Turns out this is a 2004 R1150RT-P, not a R1200RT-P. The bags do look fairly generously sized. Service history is unknown. :(

Given the model year/type, mileage, and lack of service history, is $4000 a reasonable price?
 

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The R1150RT, even in authority... (P) configuration was a well-respected bike.

The 1150's were heavier than the 1200's, less power, and fewer elecronic wizardy-things. If it has single spark plugs you will probably find an irritating surge at steady speeds. If it has dual plugs... (2 in each cylinder) it will will mostly have the surge ameliorated.

Many BMW guys/gals think the 1150 was the prettiest RT made. I think they are nice myself.

If they are "asking" $4k, and it is it an offer- not a final price. I might suggest asking them to check the shocks- that is the biggest and most costly thing. If those are the original shocks- front and rear, you have a certain/incipient issue to deal with. If they are not original ask what brand they are. Ohlins are good... anything else is not as well known. (with apologies to Wiburs/Works etc.)

If the final price is in the range of $3.5 or less and they throw in a 30 day guarantee- front to back, It might be worth considering... of course only after you have shopped other dealers, Craigslist, BMW forums of all flavors etc. Chances are they will go $3.5 but not any warranty. If this is the case insist on an extended test ride- like for the day, or at least an afternoon. Take notes- ask them to deal with any small issues... walk away from any big ones.

The bike will certainly have a lot of great riding left in it. Being a Porsche kinda guy (me too for years),,, you will be sensitive to all sorts of things like shocks and engine sounds etc.

There is a very high probability that the bike will run like a top and you will be happy, but if you move the budget to $6/7k you will be solidly in the range of an R1200RT with less than 35k miles... interesting dilemma.

If you are uncertain about the idea of being a motorcyclist then the 1150 rises some, but if you are sure you are IN... then I vote go for a few thousand more and move on up.

Just my PERSONAL opinion. No judgments being lightly tossed around.

still have not brewed- next week for certain, since I will want to take the keg to the BMW gathering... join us in Torrey, UT May 20-21-22.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm looking at this bike as a kind of a supersized trainer. As long as it's mecahnically sound, the patina is fine. If I decide I want something nicer down the road, that's always a possibility. Being somewhat new to the world of motorcycling, I want to sample the buffet.

And of course my Harley riding friends will roll their eyes once again... :rolleyes:
 

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At $4K for an '04 RTP, you want to check the following:

TIRES -- if they are nearing the end of their service life, you want Michelin Pilot Road 3 to replace them.

WINDSCREEN -- it should be in good shape, relatively clear and operate without binding or twisting as you extend and retract it.

DAMAGE HISTORY -- there will be some, but if it isn't too extensive, you're good.

LEAKS -- there shouldn't be ANY.

ALIGNMENT -- it should ride straight. Have the dealer slowly ride it away from you a couple of hundred feet (preferably on a straight line painted on the ground), then turn around and ride back at more normal speed, while you watch where the tires contact the ground. There should be no "track creep."

MISSING PARTS -- other than cop lights and siren speaker, there shouldn't be anything missing.

EVERYTHING SHOULD WORK.

If it is in good shape in all of these checks, it is worth $3500 - $4000.
 

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zymurgist said:
And of course my Harley riding friends will roll their eyes once again.
Just tell them you want to see your motorcycle riding home in front of pickup trucks, not in the back of one.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The plot thickens... one of the BMW riders on my favorite Porsche board provided this interesting bit of information:

make sure the trans is ok. I have seen a lot of police bikes in the shop with blown transmissions. In my area probably 10-12 bikes at the shop with the transmissions out of them. The police service their bikes religiously, but they are also very aggressive riders. I would probably waive off for a privately owned bike at that price unless they warranty out the transmission for another 20k.
Good point, especially considering that a warranty is extremely unlikely, given that the dealer that has the BMW does not sell or service BMWs... So how would I verify that the transmission is OK?
 

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earlier models, especially in the 1150 series had a higher incidence of clutch/transmission input shaft seals etc difficulties, but the suggestion is still relevant.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Dealer will do $4000 out the door. with tax, title, etc. this equates to a $3600 private sale price. Going to test ride tomorrow, work and weather permitting.
 
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