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Old 08-24-2014, 10:56 AM   #1
Ostion OP
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Location: Long Beach, CA
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I want to talk to u, who went GS1150 to GS1200

I know, hundredth thread on it.
I have an '04, fully loaded with Ohlins, Sargent, Remus, Pias, etc.
I love the bike but I can't get over the weight/tractor factor. I have read and read, to confirm the GS1200 fully addressed these issues. I am looking for a '08 or newer to enjoy the later upgrades to engine etc. I know this is very personal but I could use some opinions from you who have gone in that same direction. Thanks.
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Old 08-24-2014, 11:16 AM   #2
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I don't know if my opinion will matter, since I never owned a 1200, but here goes. I used to work at a BMW dealer, and I was able to borrow bikes. Up until then, I'd never ridden a GS. I had quite a bit of seat time on an RT, and a few K bikes, but never a GS. I borrowed a 1200 GS and the wife and I both really liked it. Liked it a lot. When I decided to sell my Duc 1098 to buy a more practical everyday type bike, the GS was on my short list. My one detractor was that the 1200GS was a little too electronic for my taste. Seemed like during my time at the dealer, I saw a lot of little issues that required the bike to but plugged in by a tech. It's very important to me that any bike I own I can work on. I'm a former tech, and I have the tools and skills to preform ANY service task.

So, I settled on the 1150GS. It seems to have about 90% of what makes the 1200 great, but is just a tad less gadgety. It's not quite as powerful, but neither one is what I'm going to ride when I want speed. It's a tad more "tractor" like as you put it, but neither one is what I'll jump on if I want serious off road potential. And I like the more funky "road warrior" look of the 1150. Less refined. I like to say it's ugly, in a good way.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean all this to detract from the 1200. It's a great all around bike, and probably technically "better" than the the 1150. If I had a dealer real close to me, and I had the budget or desire to have them do all my work, I'd probably get the 1200 and not look back.

I guess what I'm saying is, to me either bike is a compromise. I picked the one that works best for me, which may not be the one that works best for you. Either way, you'll get a great bike.
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Old 08-24-2014, 11:26 AM   #3
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the 1200 pre 2010 are just as easy to work on as the 1150. and the kind of electronics the 1200 brings aren't that complicated to bring some serious problems with it. I mean nothing electronic wise can be worse than the servo unit failing and after 2007/08 you don't have that unit anymore. I'd be more worried about a bad final drive unit than about electronics. If in a couple of years I can ad a rig to my 1150 and still can afford another bike I'd be more than happy to own a 1200GSA hexhead/camhead.
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Old 08-24-2014, 11:42 AM   #4
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I had an 02 R1150R and an 08 R1200GS and (I know the RR is not a GS, but close) I really liked them both. They were a lot alike, but the 1200 had more power. The "character" of them pretty much felt the same. I don't think you can go wrong with either choice, if you find a clean well maintained version of either, jump on it. The 1150 will be less money, also. BTW, I never had any problems with either bike. The RR had about 32000 miles on it when I sold and I traded the GS with about 15000 miles on it. Riding a GSAW now and hope I have as good a relationship with it that I had with the two earlier models.
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Old 08-24-2014, 11:57 AM   #5
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Location: Atlanta, GA
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I had an 03 GSA and went to an 08 GSA. When I was riding the 08 home I was thinking what's the difference, why did I buy this, but my 03 was getting older and was going to need some repairs. The throttle cables were stiff and the fuel strip was acting up and I wanted something new.

I have 36K on the 08 and she is my baby. It just needed to be broken in. She took me from Atlanta to Dead Horse, AK and back. My FD was bad after the AK trip. It could have been the mud (getting past the seal), the roads combined with the full load and high speeds on the way home. $2k and I have a new FD with the new brake flange and vent plus new brake pads.
My buddy has an 07, went on the same trip and his FD is okay so far. He didn't go to Dead Horse, stopped at Arctic Circle. He says I accelerate a lot harder than he does.

I wouldn't factor the FD into the decision unless maybe the bike you buy has high mileage and hasn't been replaced. But check the flange for cracks. A new brake flange is $250.

If you sell the 04 take all your upgrades off and sell it stock. My 03 had $1500 worth of Wilbers and no one thought they were worth a cent more in asking price. I bet the parts will sell within a week on the Flea Market here.

08 and newer is a good choice. You won't be disappointed.

I had both bikes for a few months while the 03 sold. The steering geometry between the two is a little different. The 08 feels more solid. It is hard for me to describe the differences but if you were able to ride one then the other you would see what I mean.

I have had no electrical problems except the fuel strip. It was covered by the warranty and that new one gets 2 years coverage plus there is a thread here stating the coverage is extended to 12 years.

There always seems to be guys who buy a bike load it up with goodies then have no time to ride so the sell them with little miles.

Good luck hope this helps.
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Old 08-24-2014, 05:00 PM   #6
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Thank you for sharing your opinions. You all have touched issues I am very familiar with. Just the fact that you have to inquire about something newer, being better than the old, gives you a good idea of what a great machine the 1150 was, is. Like so many others decisions, I will have to wait to test on my own and throw in all the things that play a part, not necessarily all based on lbs and hp.
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Old 08-26-2014, 07:22 PM   #7
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I did, new is nice, I have an 08. Its nimble and more fin to ride and does all the same stuff.
The Road is Life
Jack Kerouac
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:34 AM   #8
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Other way

I went from a 2012 GSA to a 2004 GSA, and wouldn't go back. I recently did an hour and a half demo ride on the new LC GS and certainly wouldn't swap my bike for it. The LC GSA is over $30,000 CDN out the door, plus farkles. My bike is COMPLETELY set up for off road, and long distance, and is less than half the price.

Yes the new one is lighter, quicker, and more powerful. The reality is mine can go just about anywhere the new one can, and is easier to fix, and if it falls over less expensive stuff breaks. Toronto has a "newest, latest, most expensive" fascination so the 1150GSA is pretty rare. The new GS is a dime a dozen and anyone with a big pocket book can get one. Try and find an 1150GSA for sale!!!! One or two might come up a year in Ontario.....
'04 BMW R1150GS Adventure
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:50 AM   #9
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I currently own both an 1150GS and a 1200GSA. Both are great motorcycles and my favorite is whichever I am riding at the moment. I got the itch for a new one and bought the camhead 1200GSA to keep the miles off my 1150GS because I want to keep that one around for a long time. The 1200 is so much more plasticky (if that's a word) and won't hold up to the ravages of sun/time/wear like the the 1150.
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Old 08-27-2014, 08:08 AM   #10
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As SK says, you've got to remove a lot of plastic on the 1200s to get to the motorcycle.
The woods is closing in on me...I need a D6.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:52 PM   #11
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Location: San Diego
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Cliffnote version: 1150 -> 1200 -> 1150

I had a 2004 1150 GSA, black/yellow, and it was a great bike for about five years. I sold it when I was going through a riding slump. Knew I would regret selling it, but did it anyway.

Fast forward another year or so, and I'm missing my bike. I finally decide that the 2009 red 1200 GSA looks pretty slick, and the 2010s were out, so I got a really good deal on it. I had combined the purchase with some business I had on the other side of the country, so picked up the bike and made a road trip out of it. During that time, I realized that while I liked some things about the bike (engine, tranny), there were a lot of other things about it that I missed (road stability, general handling, appearance, etc). It's all subjective, but I just didn't feel as connected to the bike, or as connected to the road. I kept it another couple of years, but was never in love with the bike. I sold it without regret.

Fast forward another little while, and I'm missing my old 1150 GSA more than ever. I look around a bit, but never really hit what I want. Finally, I see someone online selling their 2006 1150 GSA SE, and decide that's the one. Again, I traveled about 1000 miles to get it, but as soon as I sat on it, and rode it around the block, I knew it was what I was missing.

Opinions are like assholes, and it's a good thing they make so many different bikes for different people. For me personally, the 1150 GSA was the pinnicle of the brand. Beautiful, functional design. If there is a better do everything bike, I don't know what it is. I sampled the 1200 life, and just wasn't for me. It was easy for me to get sucked into the differences with the engine initially, without realizing the other nuances of the bike that I didn't like. You can get used to anything, and for sure, if you really like the later 1200s, I think it is a more evolved bike. It's just not the direction I would go. If for some reason, I move away from the 1150 again, it will likely be another brand.
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Old 08-27-2014, 06:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ostion View Post
...I can't get over the weight/tractor factor...
I always thought "tractor" was a positive attribute, as in the 1150's torque? Are you saying you don't like that?
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Old 08-27-2014, 06:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Ostion View Post
I know, hundredth thread on it.
I am looking for a '08 or newer to enjoy the later upgrades to engine etc.
Originally Posted by spagthorpe View Post
Cliffnote version: 1150 -> 1200 -> 1150

Opinions are like assholes, and it's a good thing they make so many different bikes for different people. For me personally, the 1150 GSA was the pinnicle of the brand. Beautiful, functional design. If there is a better do everything bike, I don't know what it is.
^^^^ THIS

After wanting one for two years, 5 minutes into my first ride on mine
I knew it was the one for me. Still feel that way 4 years later.

If you don't feel that way about yours then maybe a change it
what you need.

IMO unless you can swing the jump to the WC, don't do it.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:43 PM   #14
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Ok I am one who had/has an 04 1150GSA but longed for the 1200. THe finances allowed me to acquire an 08 GSA with all options (save traction control)
The two bikes are similar but quite different. The 1150 is rugged and I feel invincible on it. It is heavier and slower, the 1200 feels lighter and faster. Both are pigs when put on a scale.
The 1150 is the bike that feels like a pair of well worn in boots (comfortable and sure footed but will not set any speed records running with them) The 1200 is lighter and spins up better, has a lot more creature comforts (sort of like a refined automobile with attitude)

If I had a time machine I might still have both, different bikes for different rides

Yes the 1200 is smoother and more refined but I still like the feel of an old chevy PU going down a dirt road
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:06 PM   #15
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I went from an 04' 1150GS to a 10' 1200GSA just recently. The 04' had 86k when I sold it, about 20k of those mine, and I have only put about 1500 on the 10' which now has about 21.5k on it.

The r1150gs was having problems at a rate that I didn't want to fix them. The fuel tank gauge stopped functioning, the rear brake started consuming rotors and the inside pad even after a light rebuild by me, and about 100 miles from home in the middle of nowhere the battery gave out and started steaming and I wasn't sure if it was the battery or the bike that was the problem. At 86k the OEM suspension was shot. Plus those Servo brakes, they just aren't my thing.

I am fairly adept at working on vehicles, I maintain my higher mileage E46 M3 which is intensive very well, but it got to the point where I didn't trust the old 1150 with how often, far, and intense I was riding it. Plus I was lusting over the 2010+ GSA's.

I sold the r1150gs for cheap and started my search. I must say the 1150gs when I trusted it was a great bike. It was comfortable, mechanical, and would go about anywhere I pointed it with a nice set of heidenaus mounted. It was stock besides some huge PIAA lights mounted on it, and it was ugly as all hell, but I thought it had a simple beauty to it. The engine was boring until you figured out how to really work it, and all of the problems it had probably weren't huge.

The 10' GSA has been a dream so far. As others have said, much more nimble and responsive engine. My criteria was an adventure model and 2010+ for that new motor. I personally noticed a very significant diffrent between the SOHC and DOHC motor and knew I would regret the SOHC. I am a big guy, 6'3 and 225 so throwing around a r1150gs or 12gsa isn't a big deal so I wanted the bigger GSA which I find more attractive and for the extra range. It was hard to find one local, and with lower miles. I found an Iron Butt garage queen type that had near a grand in touratech supplies and oem panniers for a great price and havent looked back since.

Both bike are a PITA to take apart, plastic or not. The 12gsa is not any worse than the 1150, plus it doesnt have the damn servo brakes. However, the 1200's are significantly more expensive. I don't wanna go back yet though, I think the r1200gsa is much improved a better bike than the r1150gs, but in no way regret the 1150gs as a stepping stone into the GS world, and if its your first GS i can't imagine you would either, plus you will save some cash, even with a clean example.

well that was a lot. IMO, r1200gsa>r1150gs no questions but do you want to afford it.
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