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usmcshepherd 12-21-2012 11:13 AM

Looking for Help From Afghanistan
Hello from the center of no-where; Helmand Province, Afghanistan!

For all your die-hard adventure tour riders...this would be an incredible country to traverse if you could avoid the IEDs and getting shot (scenery is beautiful, remote and challenging).

That said, I'm a US Marine, currently stationed here and am looking for some assistance on choosing my first dual-sport adventure bike. I've owned three Harley's and am done with them. Anyway, I want to get into a different style of riding and love the places you folks go on your adventure bikes. That said, I have three months left of a twelves month deployment and would like to either purchase a bike before I get home (so its waiting for me) or at least have my choices narrowed down so I can ride a couple and make my choice when I get home in March.

That said, I've narrowed my choice down to the BMWR1200GSA, Yamaha Tenere and KTM 990 Adventure. I've read numerous reviews and watched endless videos, but haven't connected with a live source to ask the specific questions I am concerned with (or at least think I should be). I want to use this bike to commute to work during the week, and then be able to travel on (this could be a combination of interstate, backroads, and dirt). This will also be my first bike of its kind (if that matters). I'm also not a super young guy (41 yrs old) so I am not looking to try to be crazy with the bike on or off road. One of my biggest questions revolves around maintenance and accessibility to maintenance, which I would think the Tenere would have the edge. Anyway, I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Semper Fi

Wallowa 12-21-2012 11:18 AM

Thanks !
First thanks for your service and I mean that. Next as you narrow down your choices and get advice from folks with real experience, feel free to PM me [I will include my email address if you do] for my first-person experience with my '07 GSA out here in Eastern Oregon/Idaho/Nevada. For reference I ride mostly if not always off road and at the tender age of 70 I am just hitting my stride ..... :D. I ride conservatively because I ride solo and in the boonies, so my bike is prep'd for getting me home.

Take care and thanks again for standing at the gate.


Slippy Chips 12-21-2012 11:26 AM

First, Thank you for your service! Know we are all proud of you for your ongoing service. You guys rock!

Second, You will probably get a little bit more biased info on this thread. I have owned a Yamaha before and it was a great bike. As you know all bikes have pros and cons. I've had my BMW for a year and love it! I carry pictures of it around in my wallet when I can't ride it (right next to the pictures of my two 2 year olds). I am not a speed demon, nor am I a knarly adventurer dude, but the bike does whatever I ask of it and I always feel like there's much more it could handle. If I had to use it as a daily commuter I'd be perfectly comfortable with that.

I am a mechanical idiot. Having said that even I am able to do most of the maintenance on my bike. Jim Von Baden has a DVD that helps, and I have some friends who feel pitty on me and are able to help with the rest. BMW's are not cheap, so being able to do your own maintenance is important (at least some of it).

Best of luck!

Izzy3 12-21-2012 11:31 AM

All are good choices
Semper Fi Devil Dog! Old Army geezer here. As a freakish sized rider the GSA is perfect for me. I've also done the Harley thing while deployed. While they are handy, they are not nearly as much fun as the GSA. What's more, most of the farkles actually are functional.

The GSA handles superslab and secondaries just fine, the giant tank act much like a fairing. I've done some dirt roads on it and it doesn't particularly like loose sand, but it could just be my candy-cane riding style.

I've got a great BMW dealer local to me, just south of Q-town, but wrenching them yourself is not too tough. The GSA is fun, carries lots of gear, can go almost twice as far on a tank of gas as my HD riding buddies, is much more fun to ride (handles well), and is a hell of a lot faster than the HD. :evil I know you said you won't get wild, but you will have to hooligan ride a little once you get used to it.

That being said, all the bikes are good choices, and you can throw in the Triumph Tiger for consideration. A guy at work has one and it is a nice bike too. He loves it.

Keep your head down and the dust out of your ears.:nod

LaurelPerryOnLand 12-21-2012 11:32 AM

Second..."thanks for your service".

You may want to consider using the BMW Military Sales Program through which to purchase your bike.

As I understand, you can get a US-import approved R1200GSA through them...ride it over there and be guaranteed to IMPORT it back into the US...without ANY import hassles...and continue to ride in the US!

Click on Military Sales.

Do you qualify to participate in the BMW Military?
Any Military/DOD member qualifies to use BMW Military Sales when:

Permanently stationed in Germany (PCS)
Deployed to Germany
TDY/TAD (to Germany for just one day)

Can you somehow swing the 3rd option?

Otherwise, Kaiserslautern might be able to suggest another route for your particular situation.

Good luck and 'welcome home'...albeit early.

usmcshepherd 12-21-2012 12:06 PM

Thank you to everyone who responded so quickly. The GSA is certainly in the running and I'm sure will be one I ride when I get back. I know a little about the military sales, but I am not stationed in Germany nor going to be stopping there anytime soon. I also wasn't sure I wanted to get another brand new bike, as this is my first introduction to this I was leaning on trying to find a nice used bike. I'm certainly glad to hear that these are something I could work on. I am not a mech either, but given a little instruction I can turn a wrench or two. I'm glad to hear from other Harley riders that they find their GSAs equally or even more fun...that's encouraging. I am tall as well...I stack up around 6'4" so I certainly need something that I can ride and not look like I'm too big for. I also really like the idea of the huge gas tank and the extended range that gives me with the GSA model...I will probably be doing the majority of my riding on the slab, but want the option to be able to venture back down trails to be able to camp away from folks. Well thanks again and thanks for your support of our military forces.

Gale B.T. 12-21-2012 12:09 PM

This real ole jarhead to you now serving, cannot THANK you enough so be safe and we are here to help you any way we can.

I have forwarded your original question to a much younger Marine doing an awesome trip. So I am sure he will offer his point of view.

I have both , BMW RT for many roads and also KTM 640 ADV for all the other roads. Lots to consider before laying out great wads of $$ so pick all our brains as much as you wish.

gale, Semper Fi

2712 12-21-2012 12:09 PM

ok now im curious... Service? what kind of service?:D

Ride4Coffee 12-21-2012 12:24 PM

2 cents
Currently on an R1200GS and loving every minute. It's got a fair share of farkles to add visibility and sustain long rides (1100+ on weekends). I can carry all of my gear in the side cases or mounted bags. Plus, when HomeCINC rides with me, she's very comfortable.

I'm sure you've googled the BMW military sales programs and I can vouch that they're worth your time, having used it for cars before.

Head down, sights forward. Even Bill Murray woke up from Groundhog Day. If you redeploy to MD, first round's on me.

Mr Head 12-21-2012 12:28 PM

Personally I'd pick the 990 KTM. Having ridden my 1150 for a while I'm over the odd sized wheels and over-priced bits. I like the power of the 1200's, but the seats are garbage for offroad work. for me anyway.

Plus I just like the sound of the v-twin better. And that 21" front makes it look like I know what I'm doing.

If I can afford to do it, I plan on making the switch when it comes time to replace my 1150. Then I'll probably be looking more for a single than the 990. But, that 990 calls me.

biometrics 12-21-2012 12:47 PM

God's Speed and Safe Journey Home!
God Bless you, and all those serving with you... :clap:clap:clap

Merry Christmas!

--From a Crusty old retired U.S. Army Sergeant...

chopperdoc60 12-21-2012 01:04 PM

Be safe!
Thanks for your service my brother. I had the (dis) pleasure of a tour in Jalalabad and a tour to Kandahar. There were some fantastic roads in the mountains and I would love to take my bike back there one day and ride between Bagram and the Khyber pass then up towards Feyezabad through the Konar and Kamdesh valleys, that would be awesome!

If we could get the a**holes to stop blowing everything up, The Stan would be an awesome adventure rider haven. They could host a great tourist trade, if they wanted to.

I am partial to my BMW, but I don't think you could go wrong with any of your choices.

Keep your head down! Come to Germany, and the bier is on me! Just don't come to Landshtul!

Wallowa 12-21-2012 01:32 PM

Email Sent
Email sent with some of my musings about my '07GSA.

Jim Moore 12-21-2012 01:34 PM

Consider a standard GS too. They're plenty big and a shitload lighter. GSAs are mainly for posers. The "I'm going to Alaska! Umm ... next year. Maybe" crowd.

def 12-21-2012 01:43 PM


Will you do your own maintenance? Do you have a favorite?

Let us know.

Thanks for all you do to keep us free.


USN Retired

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