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Old Yesterday, 10:43 AM   #1
mach1mustang351 OP
Studly Adventurer
Joined: May 2014
Location: Alaska
Oddometer: 572
First GS Advise

Hey Everyone,

I am seeking advise from some experts. Just a little about my situation. My favorite kind of riding involves lots of miles daily and I like to camp so I carry gear. I have a 2007 V Strom 650. It has been a solid bike (minus a couple weird broken part issues). I have been bitten by the BMW bug and for the last year or so I have been deciding how to make that happen. Reading on the subject almost makes that worse because of the mix of real advise, haters and perceptions out there. I am not in a financial situation just yet were I can go down to the local dealer and just point to the one I want. I have been looking at used an some of the used 1200gs are demanding near new prices and buying a high mileage example is a financial output with some unknown in there.

I guess the basics of the help today is I have found a couple good 1150 examples, with reasonable mileage (in the 20-30k range). I like the idea of a little simpler maintenance of the 1150 vs the 1200s but having not had the opportunity to ride on for a extended period, do ya'll think a 1150GS (2000-2002 range) is a significant upgrade in touring ability, quality, fun factor etc versus a 2007 VStrom? Any help appreciated.
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Old Yesterday, 11:16 AM   #2
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Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Haines, AK/Santa Fe, NM
Oddometer: 124
Only my opinion but I'd look for the cure to your "bite"

I've not had the pleasure of piloting a Vstrom but don't suspect you'd be gaining a huge amount by going up to a used 1150. You will likely get other opinions based on where you put this. Maybe a little more comfortable over longer/higher speed highway travel, maybe carry a bit more gear, maybe a little more punch (maybe not) but I'm not real sure what all else other than certainly a more butch look to your ride.

My wife and I have 2 GS's, an 800 and a 1200, and we split our time between New Mexico and Alaska. I've found that keeping them up in AK to be on the spendy side, but keep in mind that I'm also well over a day away from a licensed shop down in Southeast. All that we ever ended up really using them for are long trips out of state too. For what its worth, we're storing the polycylindrical BMW's down south for the summer and have downsized and simplified to 650 thumpers for this summer's romp back in AK. I'm looking forward to both much simpler maintenance and repairs as well as having a more nimble bike for some of the more desirable motorcycle trips (Dempster/McCarthy/Dalton).

For me, the larger touring bikes are better suited for our down south travels. The frequency and severity of breakdowns experienced has done nothing but confirm my belief that they may not be the best choice for the last frontier.

Like I mentioned, only my opinion though.
My other bike is a kayak.
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Old Yesterday, 11:19 AM   #3
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: UT
Oddometer: 107
I say go for it! I have both (a Weestrom, and GS's), and can tell you that the BMW is far better on the road (more room, more power, more comfort) than the DL! The 1150's are great bikes, and MUCH easier to work on than the Wee (Just did my valve clearances on the Wee...on the BMW it's really a 30 minute affair!), and there are excellent write-ups to get you through most anything that could go wrong with it, and maintenance is actually pretty cheap for these bikes. I believe the most complaints are in regard to the FD's on the pre '97 1100 Series, by the time the 1150's came out most everything had been fixed. Of course the internet gives everyone a place to shout there problems, but there are plenty of us happy owners whom never have been stranded or let down by their bikes..the key is maintenance!
My '04 has 127K happy miles on it, and I wouldn't hesitate to take it anywhere!
Not my monkeys, Not my circus!
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Old Yesterday, 12:07 PM   #4
Joined: May 2011
Oddometer: 9
I have owned following bmw GS models. (and like 15 other bikes)

r1150gsa another

no problems but to small to tour

no problems ran like a champ. very well built.

r1150gsa two of them

bouth of them faild shaft drive. With baering replacement
some electrical problems the worst being that the abs pump "hangs" and the only way to turn it of was to pull the battery leads! Insanley bad problem for an adventure bike.

r1200gs (2004 first gen)

Warped front discs 3 times in a row within 10.000kms!!!! still no way to fix this

Failed fuelpump

Failed microswitches to the brakes so I had no ABS for allmost a year and i changed battery 2 times and allot of things before finding the fault...

Allot lighter than the others but this is since everything is plastic where it is metal on the r1150gsa. So It´s feels like allot worse build quality!

I still own the r1200gs and with my mods:
Sargent seat
Full race remus exhaust with no cat
K&N filter
Givi air flow screan for touring and a low supermotard like screan for day to day

I love it when i works like it should (sorry to say not to often) but HATE it when it does not.

The bike I was most happy with and would buy again is the r1150gs adventure. Amazing bike, I put öhlins shock on mine and full remus race/K&N/boosterplug.

BUT!!! after riding the r1200gs and touring it could never go back to the earlyer bikes. The power and lower weight is just such a differance. I allso have stunt bikes and can wheely the r1200gs up to like 150km/h no problem that feeling is hard to beat.

BUT2!!! Be prepared and ready to accept ALLOT! of electrical and strange problems. BMW makes great technology but crap quality!

I have allso owned 4! Honda Africa twins. And toured over 150.000km´s on them! They are for me the true adventure bike. I had to allot of work on them allso to make them 100% reliable but there where like 4-5 things you had to change and upgrade for a low cost and then they where GOLD!

So my advice is if you want to ride tarmac buy the r1150gsa or the r1200gs. For hardcore adventure buy tha honda africa twin. I had one after my last r1150gsa and only bought another bmw after crashing it otherwise I would be riding my honda. It had all the mods possible and was amazing. Not the same power as the GS but toured great, was able to run in sand and no problem to wheely allthough people think you cant =)
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Old Yesterday, 01:22 PM   #5
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Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Haines, AK/Santa Fe, NM
Oddometer: 124
We'd probably all be riding Africa twins

If Honda saw fit enough to sell them in North America. I know I'm not alone in longing for the middle weight Honda dual sports. There's some new offerings sort of in that size category over here but from the looks of them, they are more street oriented.
My other bike is a kayak.
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Old Yesterday, 03:28 PM   #6
mach1mustang351 OP
Studly Adventurer
Joined: May 2014
Location: Alaska
Oddometer: 572
I guess usage should be specified too. I primarily ride on the street but I do venture onto gravel and dirt. No hardcore single track or anything but that does happen. The fact I am hearing that the GS is likely a better road bike than the V Strom is appealing.
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Old Yesterday, 03:34 PM   #7
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Joined: Feb 2005
Location: Alexandria, VA
Oddometer: 53,377
First piece of advice, do not buy Demo1's old bikes!

Seriously, I would go for a 2007+ R1200GS. The prices are getting reasonable, the little issues have been addressed and the bikes are lights, faster, and more comfortable than earlier bikes. Take your time and you will find one worth a bit more. Don't sweat the miles if the bike was well taken care of, these bikes will easily handle 100K miles and many more. I sold my last bike at 128K miles and it looked and ran as new!

The usual cautions apply. Look for a clean bike with no obvious damage or leaks, ride it and observe the bike for odd sounds and vibrations (these bikes vibe naturally at around 4200 RPM, and make some ticking noises naturally), and just get a feel for them.

If you are not sure, hit the dealer and ride an R1100/1150 and an R1200 and judge for yourself.
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Old Yesterday, 03:48 PM   #8
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Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Westchester NY
Oddometer: 955
My 1150 was bulletproof, dirt naps and all without damage. A bit underpowered, but a v-comfortable ride even so.

My 1200 has plenty of go, and plenty of stop, and looks loads better than the 1150, it is a damn fine bike. Given the choice between the 1150 and the 1200, I'd pick the..........very bike I have right now.

Ride both if you can, buy as much bike as you can afford, never sell it.
2014 BMW R1200GS-W

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Old Yesterday, 04:02 PM   #9
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Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Johnson City, TN
Oddometer: 19
I stepped up from a KLR and never looked back. Once the ergonomics are set up to your needs, the GS is a great highway bike.
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Old Yesterday, 04:54 PM   #10
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Joined: May 2006
Location: Waco, Texas USA
Oddometer: 1,218
i went from a DRZ to a ZRX 1100 to a 2004 GSA. Still have the DRZ.
After a few trips on the GS I hop on the DRZ and it feels a light as a mountain bike.

I really thought the 650 strom was lighter than 490.

I'll probably get a wee one of these days just to satisfy my interest.

Same with the older tigers. 955FI triple what's not to like about that.

20-30k is low mileage for any 1100/1150...
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Old Yesterday, 06:35 PM   #11
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Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Port of the Gasparilla
Oddometer: 1,161
Originally Posted by mach1mustang351 View Post
... I like the idea of a little simpler maintenance of the 1150 vs the 1200s but having not had the opportunity to ride on for a extended period, do ya'll think a 1150GS (2000-2002 range) is a significant upgrade in touring ability, quality, fun factor etc versus a 2007 VStrom? Any help appreciated. Vstrom personal experience...

But I've owned 3 1150GS's, an 800GS, and a 1200GS Adv. My advice is go with whichever is the most affordable. I'm back on an 1150 after an 8 year hiatus because I always regretted selling my first one.

Each GS had a personality. Each was fun at the time. Each covered thousands of miles with me. Since you have no GS experience, you can't go wrong. Whether it will have issues, or not, is not very predictable so use due diligence when shopping and go for it.
The Adventure Continues
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Old Yesterday, 09:52 PM   #12
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Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Costa Rica - Nicaragua
Oddometer: 91
I had a DL1000 and I was happy.. Until I rode a 1200gs in a parking lot... 3-5 minutes were enough time to convince me, smooth, great brakes, great acceleration, and the GS felt easier to maneuver.. If you haven't rode one, do it, feel it. You won't regret it.

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Not Penny's boat
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Old Yesterday, 10:17 PM   #13
Joined: Jul 2014
Oddometer: 46
Well, l'm happy !

Bought an '04 GS Adv last year for about what l had in a KLR. Wow night and day, never rode the KLR again. Even though it was 10 yrs old, it had low milage and was well maintained. It does everything l ask of it ... and does it well.
2004 BMW R1150GS Adventure - Brunnhilde
"Where ever you go, there you are"
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Old Yesterday, 10:52 PM   #14
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Jackson
Oddometer: 62
Owned 2 BMW F800GS Models 2010 & 2012 both bikes were fun and took me where I wanted to go. Here are the issues I had with both of them..

2010 - Electrical Failure, would not start in Napa on the way back from Northern California to Alaska. Ended up being an issue with the battery connection. Fixed it myself... Power was less than what was needed... Thought about getting the 1200GSA many times on this ride... Sold it... Then bought another 800GS, don't ask why! I still can't figure it out...

2012 - No issues, ran like a champ... but was still lacking power...

Now I own a 2015 1200GSA and could not be happier.. wish I would have not wasted the money on the 800's and just went with what was right from the start...

Hope this helps...
2015 BMW 1200GSA.....I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car..
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Old Today, 12:59 PM   #15
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Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Bagdad...Kentucky
Oddometer: 112

I recently bought my first R1200GSA. Looked at new but decided to shop for a good used bike. I found a 2008 R1200GSA with all the right farkles for less than half of what a 2015 would have cost me.

This is after looking at and riding nearly a dozen used GSA's. I wanted ESA, and ABS and many of the bikes I looked at didn't have it. Some were showing signs of being ridden hard and put up wet with dents, dings and scrapes all over. But the asking price was about the same as a nice GSA.

I wanted a bike that I didn't have to spend $2k on to outfit with panniers, engine guards, better seat, and so on. I shopped until I found one that was fully equipped with all the stuff I wanted. It had good tires, recent service, and rebuilt FD from local BMW shop.

I found out the model year changes and decided a 2008 or 2009 was what I wanted. 2006-07 are the same, 2008-09 are the same, 2010-2013GSA are same. They have 100hp, 105hp, and 110hp respectively.

Stock windshield is taller starting in 2008. 2006-2009 has adjustable valve tappets(easy).

Difference between my really clean, not beat up 2008GSA and beat up 2008GSA with worn tires=$500. Asking price range for 2007-2009 GSA, all with at least good panniers and better seats $10k to about $12.5k or so. Mileage range was 30k to 60k. Standard GS in same years with panniers was about $2k cheaper. They're about 2" lower seat height too. And of course a bit lighter.

Price Range varies with factory options and accessories. Mileage will affect price too. New shop installed FD is spendy($1800 quoted to me) but can be rebuilt if done before it goes to pieces. If the main seal is leaking but FD is still working, it is $500-$600 bucks according to service papers I got with my bike. Some never fail even on bikes with 150,000 miles on them. Others dont make it to 40,000. Mine was rebuilt when it started to leak at 55k. Quiet as a mouse now with no leaks.

I've put about 2500 miles on mine in about five weeks and love it! I also have a Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Limited. The 900 pound Harley makes the 600 pound Beemer feel like a bicycle. I dont ride single track, just crappy gravel, and dirt roads.

Departing for Alaska July 10 2015 on the GSA. Unlike the Harley it aint got no chrome or shiney paint to mess up. I've got a photo on "pics,pics,pics".

Take your time shopping and you should be okay.

"Life is a lot like racing, you're either a participant or a spectator"-Steve McQueen
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