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Old 12-21-2012, 02:02 PM   #16
Mr Head
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Hey! I'll have you know I've been to Starbucks in several states.

Originally Posted by Jim Moore View Post
Consider a standard GS too. They're plenty big and a shitload lighter. GSAs are mainly for posers. The "I'm going to Alaska! Umm ... next year. Maybe" crowd.
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:33 PM   #17
Jim Moore
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Originally Posted by Mr Head View Post
Hey! I'll have you know I've been to Starbucks in several states.
AND you lived to tell the tale, apparently. Kudos to you, sir.

Hey OP, what do you do over there? I flew AV-8s back in ... uhhh ... in the previous millenium.
Jim Moore
Jax, FL

Pay the lady, PirateJohn, you thieving piece of garbage.
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:38 PM   #18
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Now about the bike. Between the GS(A) and the KTM, it depends on the riding you intend to do. While both are very capable all around bikes, The BMW is more comfortable and better over long distances on the road. The KTM is a better dirt bike.

Edit: The GS is very easy to maintain. As other's have said give the regular GS a look. I was looking at both and went for the lighter weight of the GS. In my opinion the only practical advantage of the GSA is the extended range unless you are really going to do some serious off road bashing.
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:55 PM   #19
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BMW is a great machine in both the GS model and the GSA. These bikes just go and go and can take a beating. Super easy to fix and maintain and parts are easy to come by. Huge aftermarket of products as well.

I ride mine every day as a comuter 300 miles a week and it is super comfy. Couple of little mods and I am heading off into boonies for 3-4 days.

Originally Posted by Jim Moore View Post
Consider a standard GS too. They're plenty big and a shitload lighter. GSAs are mainly for posers. The "I'm going to Alaska! Umm ... next year. Maybe" crowd.
Don't let comments like this sway you ... my GSA has done 2 LAB2V rides and enough single track to keep the thumper guys looking over their shoulder.
Life is an adventure that requires the correct equipment

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Old 12-21-2012, 02:57 PM   #20
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You probably won't be dissappointed in any of the choices. That being said, I've never ridden a KTM or a Tenere.

One thing to keep in mind is maintenance and if you have all 3 dealers in your immediate area. If a dealer servicing one of the bikes isn't close to you, then I would definitely take that into consideration. Having someone close by is just handy.

In my estimation, the BMW has proven itself. They are the standard by which the other bikes are measured. The KTM has some gremlins from what I've seen and read. That being said, if you're into offroad riding, that might be the way to go. I don't know much about the Tenere's. To me, they're a bit new. I bought a newly designed Yamaha WR450F and wished I had waited a few years for them to fix a few issues with it.

I went from a 2004 FLSTFI to a R1200GS. When I test rode the BMW for the first time I remember thinking to myself "where has this bike been my whole life????" It was quite a change, and I still love the bike. It's light years ahead of the harley I owned.

I chose a GSA because of the gas tank size. It's remarkable to me that I can go the same distance on my GSA as my truck before a fill-up. It's one less thing to concern yourself with and I'm already programmed to start looking for gas after a certain amount of riding, either in my truck or on my bike.

With stock tires, I've done some trail riding on the big GSA. It does surprisingly well. It feels very well balanced to me, but it is a big heavy bike. I did some sand also. I lost front wheel traction a few times in that environment.

At 6'4", I would think the taller GSA would suit you. It's considered tall by some, but at 6' it doesn't bother me at all. The dirt bikes I have sit taller. Whenever I've ridden those for awhile and get back on the GS, it feels squat to me.

I've run into quite a few guys that have transitioned from Harley to BMW. More than you probably imagine. I spoke to a local dealer and he guessed that most of his sales fell into that category.

Whatevery you choose, it'll be a fun ride! Good luck!

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Old 12-21-2012, 03:27 PM   #21
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Don't know how much dirt riding experience you have?

But if you are starting out without much experience, then weight of the bike is the biggest thing. The singles will be a lot easier to learn on, and even easier to pick up. I'd advise you to get the single. And find those small country roads rather than inhabit multilane mindless transport corridors that will disappear when 'beam me up Scotty' becomes available

The KTM (or Husky etc) has better suspension than the Yam (or Suzi, Honda for that matter). However the KTM will be more maintenance that the Yam (etc). Don't worry about power output, you'll use what you have and have fun with it. Suspension on dirt is where you get safety and speed.

Welcome to the dirty side


The photos and old ride reports I've seen of Afghanistan are really good and make me want to go ride there. Fortunately there are quite a few other places with similar qualities to go see, ride and experience. Get home safe.

Warin screwed with this post 12-21-2012 at 03:36 PM
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:28 PM   #22
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I am 6' 5" and 205lbs. I bought a new 2013 GSA a few weeks ago myself after riding a RTP as a daily commuter. On the street in comparision the GSA feels like a mountain bike with a rocket attached. I didn't test the tenere or the KTM, but I think my wallet may have been happier with KTM. The Japanese always seem to make tiny bikes. I would have been just as happy on a KTM 990. But, the goofy gas tank and color would take a little while to get used to. The GSA fits tall people perfect. The torque is awesome. The gas tank is big holding 7.8 gallons. My only complaint with BMW's GSA is the price and the windshield. Also, the plastic gas cap annoys me after using an aluminum one for so long.
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:45 PM   #23
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USMCSHEPHERD, I reckon bike choice is easy, doesn't really matter, just make it home intact buy the bike and see a big big chunk of the USA. Stay safe ride safe.
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:52 PM   #24
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Adventure Riding in Helmand

Master Guns,

You're right, Afghanistan is/could be a great place for riding. You really should avoid getting any of the bikes that you mentioned. What you really want is riding by your Camp/FOB/PB/COP everyday:

That's right, an Iranian made 125cc Izmaray, complete with bubble wrap bling. Just go roll up a few sh*t heads, confonscate one of their bikes, and throw it in your quadcon with all of the COC gear you're going to be shipping home in a month or so.

So, who are you with? Where are you at? I'm guessing that if you are on a 12 month deployment you're stuck at LNK. Or maybe Deleram?

I was in a simliar situation as you last year at this time; getting ready to come back and wondering what kind of bike to get. I also have a Harley for what it's worth.

I really can't help you with your choice. I've ridden a BMW 1200 GSA, but that's about as far as my knowledge goes. If I had a choice (and the money) I would go for the KTM.

I was with 3/7 in Sangin. You were probably just arriving in country as I was leaving. I just got back in April. Went on Terminal in June and promptly started riding my Harley around the states. In October I jumped on my Honda and headed south of the border. I'm using all of my deployment money to fund a trip from Oregon to Ushuaia, Argentina on my bike. I'm currently writing this from a bar in Medellin, Colombia. I opted for a used XR650L. It's a great bike for Central/South America, but not very good on an American style freeway.

Good luck over there.

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Old 12-21-2012, 05:03 PM   #25
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Thanks again

Thanks again to all the great responses. I will probably be using this largely as a daily commuter; at least until I am retired. I have hopes of making it back out west and possibly to Alaska with other motorcycle enthusiast someday. So, for the near term I don't think that I'll likely be doing a significant amount of off road work, other than those occasional runs down a forest trail to access more remote places to camp once in a while. I also will probably be solo the majority of the time with the occasional ride with the wife or one of the kids. It sounds like the GSA would probably give me the most room overall, especially considering any long hauls in the saddle.

One of the most encouraging things several folks have said is the simplicity of maintenance on the BMWs as well as the availability of parts....that in itself is a plus. Being in the military and not yet settled in one area (nor knowing where that is likely to be anyway) dealer support is a concern. I know most big cities have BMW and usually KTM, but the more out of the way places usually only have the Japanese bikes and Harley's (which was a reason I rode Harley's). But if the maintenance on the BMWs isn't as big of a concern and some of its easily done on my own or with experienced help from other GS rider's than that certainly tips the scales toward the BMW I think.
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:46 PM   #26
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Greetings from Kandahar I've got a 1200 GSA that I got in 09 while on another tour in Iraq. Love the bike and flog it in the woods all the time. It is heavy but handles it well. I got it because it's the biggest bike I liked, I'm 6'9" and was about 230, have lost a bit of weight over here. When loaded it a pig off road and if you are new at the off pavement will be a hand full.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:30 PM   #27
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Lots of great choices,

But after 30 years of riding BMW's (airhead, kbikes, and oil heads to include an 1100GS) I think the Japanese are presenting better, less expensive, lower maintenance choices.

I had an '03 VStrom, '08 FJR and now a '12 Super Tenere, enjoying them much more than anything I've ridden in the past. No need to upgrade suspensions, seats, etc. like I did on many BMW's. That said, I still have an older BMW in the garage. Japanese dealers are on every corner. BMW dealers, not so much. When I had a final drive failure, cheapest option was rent a uhaul and drag it home 700 miles. That's make you a fan of chains (out with the GS, in with the VStrom). I quickly discovered chains have come a long way - in 50K miles on my VStrom, I only put on one set of chains and sprockets.

Recommendation: shop used. For any of your choices, there are good selections of used, low mileage bikes - many with a lot of extras - just take you time to shop around. And if it's not local, use it as an excuse to fly and ride.
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:37 PM   #28
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I agree with many here. I bought my GS on the way back from Baghdad moons ago...I was in the same situation you were in, shopping from a deployment.

Based on what you say, yes, a GSA may work best for you (though I like the GS more 'cause I'm short). I love the KTM but it is a more dedicated machine, meaning it's more like a sportbike on a dirtbike suspension, fast and very offroad capable.

Definitely check the used market constantly.
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:12 PM   #29
Mr B
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Semper Fi bros..... No marine here but I love what you do!!!!
Be safe!!

As far as bikes, I ride a F800GS but am planning I. Getting a GSA once I return from my next deployment. , contract work In Baghdad.
The F800 is nice and I have had mine almost 4 years, but I really want the added HP and stability if the 1200. I agree thatitneeds a bigger front wheel and I might tie the bulley and get a set of Woodies Wheels (21/18) as I am sure thatwill make the bike much better in th dirt!
Good luck and be safe!!!!
"For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return."

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Old 12-21-2012, 10:46 PM   #30
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The used option is certainly one I am willing to consider especially with the GSs, as there aren't any Tenere's out there used. I've found a couple nice used GS/GSA's but wonder if I'm not getting myself into bigger trouble when it comes to parts on the bike starting to fail (so new Tenere is $13k, new GSA $21k, while there are some well equipped used GSAs out there for $10-12K but they have mileage on them). Thoughts?

What is to many miles for these GS/GSAs? What are the mileage marks for concerns (15k, 30k, 50k etc). I understand and expect that a lot has to do with the way the bike was cared for and how it was ridden, but in general?
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