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Old 10-06-2012, 08:11 PM   #1
Snowy OP
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Potential new owner - what's the "skinny"?

G'day Cobbers,

Having been through F800GS ownership and the subsequent brand "bipolarism" that results, I'm looking at the R1200GS-A as an addition to the stable.

I spend a lot of time 2 up on fire trails on the F8, and with the suspension maxxed out in terms of spring rates, crappy Ohlins shock, and a couple of revalves, I have reached the conclusion that I will have to completely redesign the bike to get it to do what I want. Having spent thousands (at least $2400 on suspension so far) and with the looming expectation that it will take at least that much again to "improve" things (a relative term in this instance) and still end up with uninspiring performance, I went and rode a R1200GS-A with my wife on the back.

Initial impressions are that it is a far superior 2 up machine, and for around town and touring there is no real downside that I can see to owning one. It performs 2 up much like my F800 does solo. That alone has sold me on one. I originally rode the 1200 and didn't like the bulk and weight of it. After nearly 50,000kms on the F800 on road, off road, 4x4 tracks and firetrails 2 up, it really isn't an issue any more. It felt more like an F800on steroids than the weighty behemoth I remember.

Has anyone had experience 2 up on dirt with the F8 and the GS-A?

What are the potential problems with a new R1200GS-A? CANBUS faults I take it? That's a given, and as much as they pissed me off, the F8's issues were relatively minor. Mainly the gear position sensor getting moisture in it and causing gremlins.

Are the dreaded shaft drive failures as bad as my Triumph gloating (gloating is the term I use instead of owning in defining Triumph ownership - most would be wearing Union Jack underwear) friends would have me believe? I haven't seen large numbers, but they seem to get a mention on most forums. I've seen photos (been sent photos by Triumph gloaters) of GSA final drives on fire, final drives snapped in half, and final drives with large cracks and oil leakage. Is it common, and are there known fixes?

I figure at least the R1200GS-A is built to carry the weight, where the F800 is clearly not. Fully loaded with me, camping gear and wife, my F800 comes in at nearly 450kgs. A GS-A with the same load would be around 480kg.

Remember, once you get above 250kgs combined, dirt riding capability is all relative. At least the GS-A is built/sprung for it. I figure if I can pilot the F800 along on trail bike type tracks 2 up, I should be able to do the same with the GSA.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:19 PM   #2
jeepdude65
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Sounds to me like you already made up your mind about the GSA. Just go get it and never look back. I did it and my wife and I love the bike.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:30 PM   #3
Snowy OP
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The KTM 990 Adventure is still in the picture. I just wont commit until KTM will let me ride one.

They don't have a demo bike locally, and don't seem interested in arranging for one. The salesman tells me it's far better than a GSA, but then he has to scurry off and find a brochure to tell me how much fuel it holds (I already knew the answer, I just wanted to test him).

I intend to keep the F800 for solo riding, and for lighweight back trail 2 up work. But the eventual winner of my love will be used for faster harder touring and back roads work carrying all the gear and wifey. The F800 just doesn't do this well. It's a fun back roads tourer lightly loaded. It's a chore with a load.

Friends that have ridden both the KTM and the BMW tell me that if I ride the 990 solo I'll buy it, but my wife will hate it. They say that once I ride the BMW with wifey on the back I'll pick it. That's almost what's happened so far.

The 990 would have to be inspiring 2 up to swing me. It's definitely a better off road solo bike. I just don't do much of that with the current BMW. I have 2 DR 650s for that. One trail version, one Adventure version.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:01 PM   #4
JustKip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowy View Post
What are the potential problems with a new R1200GS-A? CANBUS faults I take it? That's a given, and as much as they pissed me off, the F8's issues were relatively minor. Mainly the gear position sensor getting moisture in it and causing gremlins.

Are the dreaded shaft drive failures as bad as my Triumph gloating (gloating is the term I use instead of owning in defining Triumph ownership - most would be wearing Union Jack underwear) friends would have me believe? I haven't seen large numbers, but they seem to get a mention on most forums. I've seen photos (been sent photos by Triumph gloaters) of GSA final drives on fire, final drives snapped in half, and final drives with large cracks and oil leakage. Is it common, and are there known fixes?
I suspect you've seen the ONE photo of each problem that keeps getting recirculated. It's really not very common, and I haven't heard of any on newer bikes.
I guess some people have had CANBUS issues, but I haven't in the 5 years I've had mine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowy View Post
I figure at least the R1200GS-A is built to carry the weight, where the F800 is clearly not. Fully loaded with me, camping gear and wife, my F800 comes in at nearly 450kgs. A GS-A with the same load would be around 480kg.

Remember, once you get above 250kgs combined, dirt riding capability is all relative. At least the GS-A is built/sprung for it. I figure if I can pilot the F800 along on trail bike type tracks 2 up, I should be able to do the same with the GSA.
Even with the extra weight, the suspension of the GSA will soak up the bumps better and you'll feel more confident...as long as you keep moving. You'll feel that weight when you stop, and if you are "inseam challenged" you'll want to plan your stops where there's acceptable footing.

Re; KTM 990 Adventure. The bike IS a serious giggle! And it's best suited to solo hooliganism, but I've also seen 2-up RTW travelers on them. It's worth a look, but I think your friends are right and your wife WILL hate it. She'll also hate the stock seat on the GSA after the first few miles each time she rides.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowy View Post
Blah blah blah blah...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowy View Post
Friends that have ridden both the KTM and the BMW tell me that if I ride the 990 solo I'll buy it, but my wife will hate it. They say that once I ride the BMW with wifey on the back I'll pick it. That's almost what's happened so far.
Yes.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:12 PM   #6
EJ_92606
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowy View Post
The KTM 990 Adventure is still in the picture. I just wont commit until KTM will let me ride one.

They don't have a demo bike locally, and don't seem interested in arranging for one. The salesman tells me it's far better than a GSA, but then he has to scurry off and find a brochure to tell me how much fuel it holds (I already knew the answer, I just wanted to test him).

I intend to keep the F800 for solo riding, and for lighweight back trail 2 up work. But the eventual winner of my love will be used for faster harder touring and back roads work carrying all the gear and wifey. The F800 just doesn't do this well. It's a fun back roads tourer lightly loaded. It's a chore with a load.

Friends that have ridden both the KTM and the BMW tell me that if I ride the 990 solo I'll buy it, but my wife will hate it. They say that once I ride the BMW with wifey on the back I'll pick it. That's almost what's happened so far.

The 990 would have to be inspiring 2 up to swing me. It's definitely a better off road solo bike. I just don't do much of that with the current BMW. I have 2 DR 650s for that. One trail version, one Adventure version.
990 150 mile range, nuff said.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:50 PM   #7
Snowy OP
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150 miles?

Is that "spirited" riding or "just riding along"?

What sort of fuel figures are the GSA's returning?
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:30 AM   #8
TimothyCaseTimothy
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I'm getting about 44 miles per gallon, mostly road...not too shabby methinks...
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:41 AM   #9
Ken Fritz
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Question another bike to consider

I don't know where you are, but try a Honda Varadero or their new cross tourer if you can get hands on one. I ride an 1150GS two up all over N America and I recently bought a used Varadero in Ireland for riding Europe. After about 3000 miles (two-up) in rain, sun, wind and fog on really lousy roads (sometimes barely a road - many were dirt tracks), super highways, Pyrenees twisties, small villages and huge cities, I can honestly say it's an amazing bike in many ways and it's a great 2 up bike. No wind buffetting below 100mph, either. Less expensive than a BMW, too, and it got 42-44mpg even at a steady 85-90 mph 2 hour run two-up with big loaded Hepco & Becker bags and terrible cross wind.
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:41 PM   #10
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I don't think he's going to spring for the Honda.
re fuyel mileage, for me the 44mpg would probably be my all-time high.
Lots of high 30's and low 40's.
But always have cases on and never all highway. Rare to have a passenger.
I think you'll do fine with the big GS.
Jim
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:30 PM   #11
JustKip
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Fuel Range?

990 Adventure = typically close to 200 miles

GS Adventure = over 300 miles


Honda Varadero?
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