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Discussion Starter #1
Put a deposit down today on a Triple Black GSA.

Some background.....

I test rode a GSA last summer when I was considering adding a third bike. Long story short, I haven't had that much fun on a motorcycle since I was a teenager. The GSA's ride is spectacular, the handling with those wide bars is stellar, and it just squirts from corner to corner like no one's business. But I was skeptical about using it as a long-distance tourer. At the time, I was doing my distance work with a Harley Ultra Limited, and it was my opinion that the GSA wouldn't come close to measuring up as far as rider and passenger comfort. In my mind, I wanted to transition away from the big Harley, as it was top-notch on the highway, but serious work in the corners. We decided to wait on the addition of Bike #3 and buy a house instead.

Then came the wreck, which blessed me with a broken knee, a shattered wrist, and a broken hand. The Harley was totaled, and I had a nice insurance check to replace it with. I looked back at the GSA and the K16GTL. The K16 has a lot of nice features, but it's about as exciting to pilot (to me) as a Camry. The wife hated the backseat too. I seriously lusted after the GSA, but was talked into the RT on several forums (and by my salesman) as a better alternative for 2-up highway cruising. I liked the look of the RT, and I loved the Tri-color.

I've put nearly 5,000 miles on it over the last 3 months, and here's what I've come up with. I like it, I don't love it. It's a good bike.....A really good bike, but it doesn't move me. I could live with that, but it's also just not comfortable on long trips. The slight forward angle puts too much stress on my mangled wrist and back. I rode around 700 miles between Saturday and Sunday, all highway, little bit through the PA mountains. It was an enjoyable ride, but both days (350 miles each) I was ready to get off the bike, and I'd been squirming for hours. This is with a peg lowering kit, highway pegs, a Sargent seat, and an Airhawk. I'm riding from Maryland to western Colorado in 34 days. I plan on getting out there in 3 days, which means I have to average roughly 650 miles a day. It ain't happening on the RT.

I briefly considered trading it in for another Harley, but I'm loathe to take that retrograde step. There is no better motorcycle in the world for eating up highway miles 2-up than a Harley Touring bike. Not the 'Wing, not the K16, not the Multi, and not the RT. For all other kinds of riding, the RT is simply fantastic. The wind and weather protection is unreal. It's just not comfortable for me, and we're just not jelling on any real level.

I test rode a GSA yesterday, and fell in love with it all over again. Yes, there's more wind noise. Yes, it lacks cruise control. But the position is more upright and natural for me, and that will more than make up for the wind.

I'm glad I tried the RT. Had I initially bought the GSA, I would have been wondering what I was missing. It's a good bike, just not for me.
 

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At least you're OK.

I have an RT and recently got a GS as well. I know what you mean about riding the GSA. I love my RT but I cannot stop thinking about my GS. The most fun I have ever had on a bike.
Ken
 

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^^^

OP, you're pretty spot on. I feel about the same way you do, at this very moment. I've only had my RT for about three weeks, but I didn't think I would have to lean so much into the RT, with my privates cramming into the gas tank, but I do. The stock seat just down-right suxs! The stock windshield is average at best, in protecting me from the elements.

I've not ridden the bike much, due to long work hours and rainy weekends of late, but I'll give it another go, b/4 I make any decisions (new seat/new windshield/lowering pegs/bar risers). Perhaps I've ridden touring H-Ds for too long, and just need to learn how to ride a Beemer. As many posters on this board have noted, riding a Beemer is an art form... Time should convert me, b/c frankly, I'm quite passionate about the Beemer, I just need to learn how to grow (adjust my riding style) with it .

The only observations/experiences I have to add is that although I agree with you that the H-D Touring Bikes are phenominal long distance touring bikes to eat up miles on the highway, the fact that the engine heats up like an oven when sitting at a traffic light, made the experience a little uncomfortable for me. The excess weight of my SG (built out as an Ultra), was beginning to annoy me. This is coming from a guy who is 5'-11", 220#, and an avid gym rat. As such, my annoyance is not for the lack of strength to hold up a 900+ pound M/C, its annoying to ride a 900+ pound convection oven on wheels, that lacks any sort of meaningful acceleration... The other annoyance was that I always felt that the SG would blow up when accelerating hard, not to mention the lack of acceleration post 4500 rpms....

My '10 H-D SG will be traded in on a new sports car that I just ordered this past Monday. The heat emanating from the V-Twin (103"), and the annoyances listed supra, were just too much to bear.

Forum members, pls, this e-mail is not intended to bash H-D, as I've owned six brand new H-Ds in the past twelve years... In the end, the big touring rigs are just not for me.
A Road King w/a 110" SE engine w/cams, without fairing lowers (to reduce some of that heat generated by that big V-Twin) will be my next H-D. Great compromise...

Cheers all,

BB
 

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Discussion Starter #4
You won't ever hear me slam any brand or model of bike. I don't need to lower myself to that.

I really like the Boxer motor. I'd go as far as to say that I'll always own at least one, just like I'll always own a Harley. The Boxer, other than the sound, has a lot of the same characteristics as the Harley motors. The feel, the character, and the the power delivery are all similar. What isn't similar, as you mentioned, is the heat (though a decent tune will remove most of that). Such is the benefit of sticking the cylinder heads out in the wind.

A replacement windshield like a Cee Bailey's with a recurve makes a substantial difference in wind noise. The rider's geometry is a bit tougher. I got the SM peg lowering kit, which makes for a more comfortable knee angle, but I end up scraping the pegs or my boots in anything approaching a fast corner. I didn't try bar risers, and they might have helped a bit, but literally when I sit on a GSA, I feel "right".

If I were 5'10" tall with a shorter inseam, the RT would be the perfect bike for me. At my size, and with my physical limitations due to the wreck, it's just not working for me.
 

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05Train said:
It's just not comfortable for me, and we're just not jelling on any real level.
There's your answer. Follow your heart (and arse). I have the RT (07). I rarely do just one day rides. Most of my rides are a minimum of 4 days. A couple of years ago, I took it to Alaska and back from California. My buddy went on his GSA. At the end of the day I could have kept going, no problem and we did very very long days. He was OK but said that he definitely missed the better protection from the RT provides and of course the cruise control.

But in the long run none of that matters, if the bike does not fit you. I am 5'10" with a 30" inseam. It took a bit of time to get the right set up for me on the bike. I lowered the pegs, raised the handle bars, put on a Cee Baileys bigger and wider screen, and had a Russell Day Long seat and and backrest built for me.

Even after you get the GS you may find that you are going to have to tweak it to get it set for you. Have fun with it!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Should pick up the GS/A this weekend.

I put the stock seat and windshield back on the bike today, and holy crow, I'd forgotten how bad they were. Big props for both the Sargent seat and the Cee Bailey's +2 windscreen.
 

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05Train said:
Should pick up the GS/A this weekend.

I put the stock seat and windshield back on the bike today, and holy crow, I'd forgotten how bad they were. Big props for both the Sargent seat and the Cee Bailey's +2 windscreen.
05Train,

So...what is the plan for the RT now that you will be picking up the GSA? Just curious.
 

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05Train said:
If I were 5'10" tall with a shorter inseam, the RT would be the perfect bike for me. At my size, and with my physical limitations due to the wreck, it's just not working for me.
I felt that way about the Ultra. It's made for someone under 6' tall, really 5'8-5'10. The GSA is a great bike for tall people. I would have bought one, as I too felt it fit perfectly, but the wife said she'd never get on it. Oh well, so the RT it was. The thing is, the RT grew on me. I felt the same way the first year and then this year, I had been off for a while due to neck surgery and after a couple first rides back, it was like magic. The bike does everything so well.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ponch said:
I felt that way about the Ultra. It's made for someone under 6' tall, really 5'8-5'10. The GSA is a great bike for tall people. I would have bought one, as I too felt it fit perfectly, but the wife said she'd never get on it. Oh well, so the RT it was. The thing is, the RT grew on me. I felt the same way the first year and then this year, I had been off for a while due to neck surgery and after a couple first rides back, it was like magic. The bike does everything so well.
With a swap to taller bars, I couldn't disagree more about the Ultra.

On the trip last weekend, I found I was constantly looking at the clock and the mileage, and figuring when I'd get to stop again. It was fun in the mountain sweepers (except for the damn pegs dragging all the time), but it just doesn't do it for me.

I hope the next owner likes it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Done did it.

Thanks for all the help guys!

 

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05Train said:
With a swap to taller bars, I couldn't disagree more about the Ultra.

On the trip last weekend, I found I was constantly looking at the clock and the mileage, and figuring when I'd get to stop again. It was fun in the mountain sweepers (except for the damn pegs dragging all the time), but it just doesn't do it for me.

I hope the next owner likes it.
Are you 6'5, 300lbs with size 14 boots? I was cramped on the Ultra and the floor boards were small. With the poorly designed shift gear, my left foot felt like it was sliding off the floor board. Taller bars won't help the Ultra for me. The bike is made for smaller people. As far as the GSA, I can get the balls of my feet on the ground with it on the center stand. It's a great bike for me...
 

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05Train said:
Done did it.

Thanks for all the help guys!

Just in time for Mother's day! What did mama get? :D
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ponch said:
Are you 6'5, 300lbs with size 14 boots? I was cramped on the Ultra and the floor boards were small. With the poorly designed shift gear, my left foot felt like it was sliding off the floor board. Taller bars won't help the Ultra for me. The bike is made for smaller people. As far as the GSA, I can get the balls of my feet on the ground with it on the center stand. It's a great bike for me...
No, I'm not 80 pounds overweight.

I do ride with a guy who's 6'6", 260 pounds who's got both a Road King and an Ultra who's fine with a bar change and a set of $40 floorboard spacers though.
 

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05Train said:
No, I'm not 80 pounds overweight.

I do ride with a guy who's 6'6", 260 pounds who's got both a Road King and an Ultra who's fine with a bar change and a set of $40 floorboard spacers though.
I am not 80lbs overweight too. My LBM is around 210.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ponch said:
I am not 80lbs overweight too. My LBM is around 210.
If you say so. Your issue is with your size, not the bike.
 

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Train, glad you got the bike you will be happy with. I know the RT wasn't really working for you, so now you get a new start... Pretty bike!
I've always had a real soft spot for the GS but couldn't bring myself to buy one as the Mrs rides with me about 50% of the time. The RT is just set up better for 2up in my opinion, but I damn sure wouldn't mind having a GS. Keep us posted as to how you get on with her.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Teach said:
Train, glad you got the bike you will be happy with. I know the RT wasn't really working for you, so now you get a new start... Pretty bike!
I've always had a real soft spot for the GS but couldn't bring myself to buy one as the Mrs rides with me about 50% of the time. The RT is just set up better for 2up in my opinion, but I damn sure wouldn't mind having a GS. Keep us posted as to how you get on with her.
Thanks man.


I've put 600 miles on it since Saturday afternoon. Gotta say, for my height, this is a much more comfortable bike than the RT. The lower final drive ratio lets this beast storm out of the corners harder, though aerodynamics start catching up to it over about 70. The only real negative has been the seat, which is widely regarded as a reminder of how cruel the Germans can be, I'm replacing it with a Touratech "High" LDC seat.

The wide bars and ride height make for effortless cornering. Combine those things with the lower final drive, and this sucker will own just about anything on a winding road.

Wife hasn't ridden on the back yet, though she did do the demo ride with me last July. The daughter prefers the backseat, even with the awful stock seat, to that of the RT. We leave for Colorado in 3 weeks, and I can't wait.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Update time. I've had the bike for 6 weeks and put 7,500 miles on it. All but about 1,500 of those miles were with a passenger, 4,000 or so of those miles were with the bike loaded to the gills.

Hell yes, it works as a touring platform. After our trip (5,400 miles in 11 days), I was sore. Sorer than I'd ever been after a long trip on the Harley (Ultra Limited). To be fair though, I'm not in the riding shape this year that I was prior to the wreck. We also rode tank-to-tank quite a bit, which makes for much longer stretches in the saddle than we're used to (the Harley would go around 190 miles per tank at highway speeds versus 340 miles for the pig). Had I spent more time on the elliptical before we left, and had we stopped every 2-1/2 hours or so, I don't think there would have been an appreciable difference.

A lot of the credit for that goes to the Touratech bar risers and LDC "High" seat. The basic riding position is sound, but the risers sit me up a tad straighter, and the seat's far firmer and better contoured (while maintaining the stock height). I've got a pair of highway pegs coming, and that should help with changing seating positions and keeping blood circulating.

We got caught in a couple of pop-up thunderstorms, and the stock windshield with the TT spoiler, in concert with the HUGE tank, did a great job of shielding me from the rain. No, not as well as either the Harley or the RT, but the payoff to that was far better airflow when it got hot. At 108 degrees, I was far more comfortable than I would have been on either the Harley or the RT, and there was no engine heat transmitted to my wife or I. In fact, the only heat from the bike I ever felt was on the bottoms of my feet from the catalytic converter.

The big test though was the riding once we got to Colorado. Yes, we did a bit of off-pavement riding, and that was awesome not having to worry about breaking the bike in the event of a spill. But the real eye-opener was how the thing ripped in the mountains. Even on Tourances, it exceeded what either the RT or the Ultra could do. With all that available suspension travel, you'll run out of tire before you run out of lean angle. The lower final drive ratio means that this sucker comes out of corners far harder than the RT, and the wider bars mean that corner entry is sharp and simple. The brakes are simply heroic, and the stock ESA works surprisingly well. Hypothetically speaking (of course) triple-digit speeds on the Million Dollar Highway were (errr....would be) easily maintained. With a real set of tires, this bike could really be a lot of fun.

The gas mileage is reasonable; mid to upper 30s at highway speeds, damn near 50 just tooling around. It holds a ton of stuff. It rides phenomenally well (far smoother than either the RT or the Ultra, even with Ohlins shocks). In short, this is a fantastic bike.

The only thing I really missed from the other two bikes was proper cruise control. The Kaoko throttle lock helps, but when you're spending 16 hours on the slab in a day, it ain't the same.

So yeah, great bike, no regrets about trading in the RT.
 
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