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Old 11-04-2012, 02:15 PM   #1
GypsyWriter OP
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Question Better hack: GS or GSA?

Alright, so in a perfect world where one had access to either a 1200GS or a 1200GSA, which would be the best for a hack? I've heard the GSA's transmission is torquier and of course it has a bigger tank, but is it necessarily a better option than the GS? I've got a DMC rig on order to be built and the Dude and I have been going over the pros and cons of either option. I've seen both sorts in pics but is one more suited than the other?
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Old 11-04-2012, 02:27 PM   #2
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In the begining I thought the GSA may have been better only due the a higher clearence. I have since changed out the stock
GS shocks for custom made and have no issues. Fuel/Range is not an issue either since I carry extra fuel. Stock tank range without additional fuel is about 175 miles.

Claude at CSM did a magnificent job in building the rig - LOVE IT!



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Old 11-04-2012, 03:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyWriter View Post
Alright, so in a perfect world where one had access to either a 1200GS or a 1200GSA, which would be the best for a hack?
"Best" is pretty subjective. The slightly lower 1st gear of a GSA would be better for starting up a hill with a heavy load. I've seen pix of your dog...NOT that heavy!
Jay responded to one of my posts (I think in your GS or Ural thread) that the only time he wished for a lower gear was 2-up and towing a tent trailer.

IMO (and I'm no expert) the lower center of gravity of a standard GS should corner better/faster.
IF you're doing the car tire conversion, you can get a smaller diameter of tire that will reduce your starting effort as well. There is also a lower geared final drive that can be installed for just under $1000 (call Al @ BMW of Fresno to order Max BMW's 3.0 FD gears)
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Old 11-04-2012, 03:08 PM   #4
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My hack was originally mated to a GS. I was perfectly happy with it till we went over the Great Lakes and out west. Gas in some of those smallish towns was not so plentiful on a Sunday or after 6PM. And while I carried extra in a couple of Rotopax containers, using them in the torrential rains we were caught it would not have been fun. I've since turned the GS into a dirt road dream machine with just two wheels...and mated the hack up to a GSA. Now I'm extremely happy! Having a range of 300+ miles gives me considerable peace of mind.

So I guess my answer would depend on how you intend to use the rig. If I did only short trips here in New England I probably would have stayed with the GS. But my vacation style morphed into haulin ass to far away places
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:29 PM   #5
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Gypsy, you've basically summed it up there. The GSA has a better gearbox for hacking and a bigger tank. It has a little more ground clearance and longer suspension travel, which might be a plus when in the backcountry or a minus when on 2-lane twisties. Of course, if you are going to go aftermarket on the shocks, that evens the playing field since you can order up whatever you want for either tug.

BTW, I just stumbled on this pic of a set of Trax panniers and I immediately thought of you. Notice that the right side is thinner. But, of course, it's the hinges I'm talking about.



These would make a worthy replacement for your Micatechs. Currently for sale in the PNW Flea Market.
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:15 PM   #6
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In the 1150 family the gsa is clearly got an advantage as Drone pointed out gas and gears,but the ABSi is possibly a drawback, I would have liked a GSsport a non abs lowered geared GS but they are hard to find.If you do most of your own work as I do the 11** series bikes are easy and parts are reasonable, since I enjoy investigating things one of the later R1100gs's may have served me better lower geared,easier to remove abs.DB
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:27 PM   #7
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I bought my 1200 GSA specifically to use as a tug.

I can think of more reasons to have a GSA as a tug than I can to not have one as a tug. Has anyone heard of a reason NOT to use a GSA instead of a GS?

As far as shocks and car tire conversions, you should do that for both the GS and GSA.

The lower geared FD can be obtained at ANY BMW dealer, it is a standard BMW part, support your local dealer.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:34 PM   #8
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We have done numerous projects with both models. Yes, th epower gear is aplus for most as is th elarger tank on the GSA. Other than that it is a toss up. As far as handling due to the higher stance of the GSA it is not really an issue if setup properly and with the use of an antiswaybar. The swaybar will improve handling on either bike with a sidecar attached. In fact we typically will not do a dual sport type outfit without adding a swaybar. Hannigan has th esame policy. The High center of gravity does not do anyone any favors on hard surfaces, including dirt roads and such. If going into really rough terrain it is easy to deactivate the swaybar if desired although few actually do so.
Bottom line is that either the standard GS or the GSA will do very well as a sidecar outfit.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:34 PM   #9
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KHJPHOTO: Wow, what a gorgeous bike!! I like every CSM rig I see but unfortunately Claude is on the opposite side of the US. I'm excited to see what Jay at DMC comes up with, I'll be heading up there probably around the beginning of 2013.

JustKip: Al at Fresno BMW is definitely a great go-to guy, very nice to know there's an alternate transmission option. Still, the idea of being able to haul more fuel on top of what you carry with you, in that larger tank is tempting, especially since I want to venture far off the beaten track...

Boondox: You sound like I hope to become! That was exactly what we were thinking too.

DRONE: So cool to see you in this thread, always appreciate your input. I hadn't even considered two different size bags, that might be a viable option if I want to keep the Micatechs! The more I think about it though, the more I like the idea of top loaders. I hate to give up the Micatechs, and that thought more than most is making me think about getting another bike for the sidecar rig. (why yes, I do believe I'm an addict, but at least I'm in good company here right?)

davebig: I'm looking more into the current 1200s but do like the idea of simple, especially as I hope someday this can be a RTW rig. No telling where life will take me but I want to do this "right" the first time, whatever that means.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I bought my 1200 GSA specifically to use as a tug.

I can think of more reasons to have a GSA as a tug than I can to not have one as a tug. Has anyone heard of a reason NOT to use a GSA instead of a GS?
Cost. Paying extra for things like crash bars and spoked wheels that aren't really needed on a hack. I love my GSA, but the GS is also a great tug if it meets your needs.
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:16 PM   #11
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JustKip: Al at Fresno BMW is definitely a great go-to guy, very nice to know there's an alternate transmission option. Still, the idea of being able to haul more fuel on top of what you carry with you, in that larger tank is tempting, especially since I want to venture far off the beaten track...
Carrying 3 1/3 gallons more IN the tank is a huge plus for the GSA, and the only one that can't be easily overcome with aftermarket. Yeah, you can carry extra fuel elsewhere, but then you're not carrying other stuff there, and you have to pour the fuel when you need it, rather than it already being in the tank.
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:44 AM   #12
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I just replaced the 08 GSA tranny in my rig w/ a standard GS one. I couldn't source an enduro tranny at a reasonable price. This used one was very reasonable ($1250) considering a new one was $3500+. Plus it was low miles (~9k).

Once I get it buttoned up, I'll let you guys know if there's a significant difference.

The larger GSA fuel tank is nice to have. The adjustable suspension is alright but the rig does handle better on a lower setting.
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:35 AM   #13
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I bought my GS Sport new in 2003 when they first came out and I love it as a tug. The Sport has the standard GS 1 through 5 and the lower Adventure 6th gear so I think it is perfect for pulling the hack. I have done a lot of off road miles with and without the sidecar and with 100,000 miles on the bike now I think I can safely say I like it. I do not and have not seen the need for any lower gearing on the bike and with all of the off road riding I do on it I think 100,000 miles on the bike with the factory clutch still pulling strong should say something about setup.

As far as fuel capacity I carry an extra 5 gallons of fuel with the cargo tub and the only times I have needed it were when I was doing the Trans Labrador. I had to put one can in between Churchill Falls and Happy Valley-Goose Bay because I spent some time goofing off on side roads and running down to Muskrat Falls and then I used both cans between Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Cartwright on phase III because that is a long ride through nowhere. Personally I would also rather carry the weight of the extra 5 gallons of fuel low and on the outside of the hack than up high in the tank of the bike.

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Old 11-05-2012, 09:10 AM   #14
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Like Boondox said
Paying extra for wire wheels, knobbly tires, doesn't make sense IMO.
Tourtech makes a aftermarket tank to fit a GS that will give the same capability of a GSA

GypsyWriter is your going to talk to Jay at DMC they have an gas tank that they can put on the sidecar



This was taken yesterday 27deg

A plain jane GS with ABS,Enduro ESA, on-board computer(with/oil level warning, heated grips, automotive tire on pusher and tug.

I don't use panniers unless I'm touring
Save your money and go with a GS
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:36 AM   #15
Melrone
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I'm in the 1150 crowd with aGSA/Ural.I've lowered it some.Done some other mods to make me happy.I bought my rig already built.I get decent milage noproblems with the gearing.I like it alot the only complaint I've had is:
Blowing final drives(2nd one) and support from the builder.Who lives onyour side of the country( no names mention).My advice is make sure who ever builds yours Knows what they are doing and they are goor to there custmers...Good luck
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