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Old 03-02-2013, 09:11 AM   #49
Mr. Motivated
Stobie's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2002
Location: Stanley, NC
Oddometer: 1,873
Originally Posted by It'sNotTheBike View Post
I'd rather have a KTM 950 Super Enduro, but then I like bikes with good suspension
and lots of power. I also like bikes with chain drive so I don't ever need to deal
with a catastrophic final drive failure. Instead I just buy new a chain and sprockets
and keep riding. If you like to ride in a sporty manner and not just cruise, you owe it to
yourself to try a KTM with an LC8 engine. It is one of the greatest motorcycle engines
ever made, and it is remarkable for its light weight, its power characteristics, and its
compactness, all of which make bikes with the LC8 huge fun to ride.

I test rode a BMW 1200 GS and it was the most disappointing bike I have ever ridden. It's
quite heavy ( I believe the BMW claim for weight is inaccurate and that scales will verify this )
the suspension felt like a Buick, the brakes were over-assisted, the switchgear layout was
crazy and illogical, and it just felt ponderous. I think the people who own these
things are victims of mass hypnosis or maybe it is a situation similar to the old tale
of "The Emperor's New Clothes" where many people agree about something that is
not even true because they want to be part of the "in crowd".

The BMW is a heavy road bike which pretends to have off road capabilities but
pretend IS the correct word. It's no more suited to any real off road riding than
a Cadillac Escalade is to racing the Dakar Rally. Again, it is a road bike
with styling which pretends it can go off road. As long as you are comfortable
with that reality it might be a great bike for you. But I prefer never to ride one
of the piggish things again. By the way, back in the day I owned a BMW R90S
and rode it many miles, so I do have some experience with BMW. I had to laugh
when I shifted the 1200 GS and its transmission clunked nearly as badly as the
transmission in my R90S, which was built over three decades earlier. WTF, BMW,
why can't you build a transmission that doesn't feel like a Gravely mower blade
drive selector ?
My experience was so different.

I rode my 950SE of 4+ years to a demo day at the euro-bike dealer in Charlotte, and demoed an R1200GS. I have never been so immediately comfortable on a bike. It wasn't ponderous, or sluggish, or clunky. I was completely adjusted to it before I shifted to third gear the first time. Good, useful power; good, nimble yet stable handling; very comfortable.

I think the difference between our experiences shows me how test rides are really limited in their usefulness. If you can't spend enough time with the bike to set it up for yourself, you can't even make an educated guess about how well it will work for you. Sag, handlebar angle, control positions, throttle free play, etc. Also, the GS I rode had 10,000 miles on it. I suspect that the previous owner must have been close to my size, and had the suspension and ergos sorted for himself, so the setup of that bike must have been really close to meeting my tastes. On the same demo day, I rode a 1200 Multistrada, and it handled like a bus, which is totally wrong. The rear shock must have been set up for a 150-pounder.

Several weeks later, I demoed a Super Tenere. I didn't get on with it as quickly as with the GS, but the longer I rode it, the more I liked it. I would buy a Super Ten if I could. It only had 25 miles on it when I threw a leg over, and wasn't set up for me at all, which probably explained some of the adjustment time, but I could tell that I would enjoy that bike; and would buy it over the GS for lots of reasons.

I do agree with your opinion on the GS in that it is a street bike. It's a sport-touring bike that fits tall people, as are most of the big trailies.

Before getting any further off-track, to the OP: the Super Tenere is proving to be pretty much bullet-proof, and they are reaching your price range on the used market. One listed on the FM within the last two weeks at $9500.00. The Wee-Strom can do the job, but I've ridden them, and find them a little too un-interesting; although completely competent and even confidence-inspiring.

The KTM LC8's are solid, reliable bikes as long as you deal with the issues, which are well-known and manageable; but unless you need the off-road prowess, or unless the character of that bike just speaks to you, the routine scheduled maintenance is just too time-consuming.

Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.

-Albert Einstein
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