I had an 1150. Rode the 12GS. Did not like the front end on the 12, in comparison. Just couldn't keep the front end planted, never got that comfy feeling from the front.
Did a test for a mag, comparing the HP2 and the SE. Once I figured out the shock, that HP2 railed offroad, lots of fun. I'd own one. Over an SE.
But I knew what I planned to do with my next bike, and I didn't see the HP2 come up in my thinking for that. Time has shown that I made the right choice: GSA.
I'm not a little guy, and I raced for a number of years, those two things gave me an advantage compared to many riders when it comes to off road. I single track this bike (minus the bags), and run it all over hell's half acre. Has 160 on the clock now, so it gets used. I have a nicely set up 350 in the garage for playing in the woods, but the truth be known, it rarely gets ridden. When I go out to the garage, 99% of the time I hop on the GSA.
Why it over the regular 12? The weight. Yes, the weight. Most of the extra weight on a GSA is on the front end, and that difference made it plant, and I could turn on it the way I wanted. I'm front end dominant, as my tire wear proves to me: I have to change tires as a set, most times because the front tire is finished. Got a few rear tires with life still on them kicking around, if you ever need one.
By my estimate, I conclude that my circumstances are not common. Because of this, I rarely, if ever, recommend a GSA to anyone. Truth be known, most times I recommend a 650 Strom if folks are more street oriented, a 950 if they're dirt guys. Or a KLR if their budget is tight.
Of the three, I wouldn't own the regular GS.
The new one? When i wear out this bike in a couple of years, so far, the front runner for replacement is the sooper-ten. If they make it with a bigger tank. Or the new waterhead, if they adventurize it, and it pans out better than my hexhead GSA.
South hombre, the setting sun to the right until we are out gas, cash or goddamn snow.