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Old 08-03-2012, 02:00 PM   #1
YBDRTY OP
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R1200GS vs. K1600GTL

I currently ride a KTM 950 Adventure (I love it! - sorry GS riders). My wife loves to ride pillion (something we did a lot of before we had youngins). We are soon to be emty-nesters and she is itchin' to hit the road with me again. However, the Katoom just isn't a great bike for two-up touring. So, we are considering our options and I would like to get the opinions of other two-up riders, especially those who ride as passengers on a GS. I am trying to decide between a new R1200GS or a new K1600GTL. I think the GS would be a far better two-up bike than my KTM. We like to camp and the GS with a set of panniers seems to have far better capacity for hauling camping gear for two than the K-bike. Hauling gear on the K-bike seems to be limited to what you can fit inside the luggage cases so we would likely have to leave the camping stuff at home and motel it. Two-up touring on a dual-sport bike such as the GS may have some advantages as I enjoy the road less travelled and I'm sure she would gain the same appreciation. However, her comfort as a passenger on long rides is the most important factor which is what attracts me to the K-bike. I also am impressed with the performance, handling, styling, technology and comfort of the big K-bike. If we decide to go with the K-bike, I would keep my KTM for solo dual-sport adventures. If we go with the GS, the KTM would go up for sale and I would be sad to see her go as we have riden all over the Lower 48, Canada & Alaska together. What are your thoughts?
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Old 08-03-2012, 02:13 PM   #2
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I've owned both, each bike shines in its own way. Happy wife = happy life.. get her on the back of both bikes and try them out and see which one she prefers. The pillion accommodations on the K16 are more spacious and more comfortable.. Comparing a boxer twin to an inline 6, is another matter all together..

p.s. I just came back from a ride thru northern california and my riding buddy was on his K16GTL riding 2 up.. (he also has a GSA).. we took some backroad "shortcut" and ended up on a dirt / gravel road for about 3 hours... when we finally arrived at the pacific coast and pavement, I thought my buddy would be pissed. He wasn't.. He was amazed how well the bike handled 2 up on broken pavement / gravel... this isn't to say a GTL is a GS replacement.. and as my buddy has done, each bike has its mission and purpose.
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Old 08-03-2012, 03:17 PM   #3
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I have both.
My wife thinks the GS is almost as comfotable as the GTL but both have aftermarket seats.The GS has a Russell but the GTL was done by a local shop.
Her only complaints for the GS are the wind noise and the height getting on and off it.( I put adventure shocks on and had the seat built up 2 in,)
We took a 9 day trip to California last year on the GS and loved almost every minute of it.
I think if we just had one bike it would be the GS with the mods we have made.(cruise,seat,shocks etc)

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Old 08-03-2012, 04:03 PM   #4
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Well, I have the predecessor of the K16: K1200LT. My wife tolerates riding in the easy rear chair of the LT. I am not going to go as far as saying that she likes it... She humors me.

Her riding on the GS is not even in the picture. (Of course, the GS is my solo preference).

Bottom line, if you value your wife's company, it behooves you to try both bikes if possible. But, I would say that the LT-style bike wins hands down for the pillion.

The LT is no slouch in the fun department. I just came back in, after taking it to work today and yet again I was reminded about its agility. It is a competent machine for sporty outings as well - though it requires rider competence at low speeds, due to its hefty weight.

My understanding is that the K16 is even more capable and less of a riding sofa. Definitely worth checking into.
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Old 08-03-2012, 04:51 PM   #5
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I was chasing a GT through some twisties a few months ago, on the back roads west of where I live (Wyangala Dam, Woodstock, Darbys Falls for those who know). I was two-up but pillion was good (horsewoman) - up the hills the GT got away from me big time. Down the hills and under brakes I could keep up with him into the corners but out it was a different story - all that torque (I reckon he was not trying though...)

Very impressed with that K1600, far more flickable than what it looks - if I had to do a lot of highway cruising it would be top on my list. However the best parts of Oz start where the tar stops so for me the GSA is it.

Until I get a bigger garage...

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Old 08-03-2012, 05:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slade2 View Post
I have both.
My wife thinks the GS is almost as comfotable as the GTL but both have aftermarket seats.The GS has a Russell but the GTL was done by a local shop.
Her only complaints for the GS are the wind noise and the height getting on and off it.( I put adventure shocks on and had the seat built up 2 in,)
We took a 9 day trip to California last year on the GS and loved almost every minute of it.
I think if we just had one bike it would be the GS with the mods we have made.(cruise,seat,shocks etc)

Slade
Hey, could you or someone explain how you built up the seat? Don't mean to sidebar the discussion, but I'm a crappy googler and couldn't find anything. I've got a sergeant and would love if it was a couple inches higher.
Thx.
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:49 PM   #7
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Just tested the K1600 with the Wife.

It is an unbelieveable ride. I can't imagine any motorcycle coming close to it, two up, and on the highway. It is by far the best BMW MC made for 2 up, and highway only IMO.
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Old 08-06-2012, 11:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YBDRTY View Post
I currently ride a KTM 950 Adventure (I love it! - sorry GS riders). My wife loves to ride pillion (something we did a lot of before we had youngins). We are soon to be emty-nesters and she is itchin' to hit the road with me again. However, the Katoom just isn't a great bike for two-up touring. So, we are considering our options and I would like to get the opinions of other two-up riders, especially those who ride as passengers on a GS. I am trying to decide between a new R1200GS or a new K1600GTL. I think the GS would be a far better two-up bike than my KTM. We like to camp and the GS with a set of panniers seems to have far better capacity for hauling camping gear for two than the K-bike. Hauling gear on the K-bike seems to be limited to what you can fit inside the luggage cases so we would likely have to leave the camping stuff at home and motel it. Two-up touring on a dual-sport bike such as the GS may have some advantages as I enjoy the road less travelled and I'm sure she would gain the same appreciation. However, her comfort as a passenger on long rides is the most important factor which is what attracts me to the K-bike. I also am impressed with the performance, handling, styling, technology and comfort of the big K-bike. If we decide to go with the K-bike, I would keep my KTM for solo dual-sport adventures. If we go with the GS, the KTM would go up for sale and I would be sad to see her go as we have riden all over the Lower 48, Canada & Alaska together. What are your thoughts?
I own both bikes, the question you need to ask yourself and your wife is what kind of riding you are going to do. I love the GS for the fact that it doesn't matter what road conditions you come across you can have confidience in the bike to get you where you want to go eg, dirt, tar,mud etc. For two up it seems to have enough room and the carrying ability is great.
My wife prefers the K1600gtl. If you are going to keep on the black stuff buy a GTL. The ease they travel down the road is unbelievable. Two up they are great. We traveled 1550km two up in one day. Alice to Darwin. If i did that on the GS two up my wife would kill me. Can't compare bikes for the long haul traveling.
GTL - Road
GS - Everything else. Rememmber life doesn't start untill you leave the tar.
What ever you choose you will enjoy the experience. Once you buy one you won't ever go back. It is a life changing experience. You will find it will get in the blood, bought my first GS in 2004. Last of the R1150gs. 25 year anaversery model. I will always have a GS as it gives me so much freedom. I also have HP2 Enduro as a race bike and HP2 sport tri colour.
The one thing that i can say is that the backup service from BMW is serperb. No complaints.
Live the dream. Buy the best.
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:47 AM   #9
Conrad
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Traded my 2008 R1200 GS last September for a new K1600 GT....and, got rid of the GT in January....and, am now back on a new 2012 R1200 GS.

The GT bristles with power and is quite flickable given its heft.....but, the psychology of being stuck on asphalt reminded me of my true love. The power was nice......
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:16 AM   #10
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Part of my bike buying decision is I have to have one bike that is comfortable for 2-up. Last fall I traded my '04 RT for a new GS. Plenty of room & comfort for my wife on the back.
Since then I had the opportunity to ride a friends new GTL and I am happy I never considered one. Nice bike but I'd much rather have the versatility of the GS.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:48 AM   #11
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I'm waiting for BMW to put the K1600 engine in a GS. Probably a long wait.
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:56 AM   #12
slade2
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Originally Posted by DGraham View Post
Hey, could you or someone explain how you built up the seat? Don't mean to sidebar the discussion, but I'm a crappy googler and couldn't find anything. I've got a sergeant and would love if it was a couple inches higher.
Thx.
I sent one seat to Russel to have it built up with extra foam and the other i had a local upholstery guy add more foam and a jell insert.
Much prefer the Russel daylong saddle.

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Old 08-07-2012, 01:49 PM   #13
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Last winter I picked between an RT and a GTL. Went with the RT for it's better wind management and more involving ride. Ditched the RT 4 months later because, among other things, it bored me. Riding a GS/A now, and wouldn't trade it for anything.

I've logged maybe 5 hours on a GTL, both solo and 2-up. The GTL is a very fast bike, but it's about as engaging to ride as a Toyota Camry. It'll dance, but it damn sure isn't happy to do it. It rides like a much bigger, heavier bike than it is. To me, it felt like navigating an aircraft carrier doing slow-speed parking lot rodeo stuff. All things being equal, I could toss a 900 pound Harley Ultra around better through the cones than I could the GTL. On fast, winding roads, I felt way too disconnected from the contact patches. Forget carrying any sort of speed through technical switchbacks, there's just not enough feedback.

Given equally talented riders, an RT will leave a GTL on a winding road, and a GS/A will leave the RT. The only place you'll have a performance advantage with the GTL will be on a straight road.

The wife utterly hated the backseat of the GTL. Horrible wind management (which is fixable with a windshield), and a top box that flops around over bumps. The seat is really wide, so short women will be reminded of their yearly pelvic exam. For reference, she rode on the back of the GS/A from Md to Cortez, Colorado and back in 11 days with zero complaints.

Bluntly, I was not at all impressed with the bike. It's a styling and technology exercise, and that's about it. It might be comfortable for all-day slab hauling, but so is a Goldwing, and a Harley Ultra will handle that task for less money and with far more style.
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Old 08-08-2012, 04:54 AM   #14
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I own a 2005 R1200GS and its an absolutely marvelous bike. I am not an off-road specialist and hence this bike mostly stays on tarmac and easily handles the occasional bad, horrible, potholed roads or small gravel stertches. At 6ft tall, it suits me perfectly and my wife at 5ft is very happy on the back. Coming to the seat- BOTH of us were not happy with it on a 600km day and I went with Russell Day Long saddle....Expensive, but probably the best $$ i spent on my bike. Its simply outstanding.

Coming to the GTL, I rented one in Vermont (from motovermont.com) for our North East US trip and I came mighty impressed with this bike. (Ride report on my website: http://www.rideforpassion.com/touring_usa2012_00.html )
The GTL is probably one of the finest bikes I have ever ridden. Inspite of its Luxury tourer tag, I consider it a luxo-sport-tourer thats really fast! I was particularly impressed with its handling on tight, twisty backroads especially fully loaded. There is so much of torque, you can use it like an automatic transmission car! I dont care about the Camry tag! Some complain about the seat but personally for me, I found this the first good stock seat ever from Bavaria. Wife was also happy with the pillion seat esp since she sits a tad higher than the GS (since the rider seat on the GTL is lower). And unlike some complaints I have seen on the backrest on topcase hindering the pillion's elbow, she did not have any issues (probably being small built). And I loved the multi-controller menu button and multifunction display on the screen- although it looks complicated its very simple to operate.

My only gripe on the GTL - The Topcase should have had a simple unloading mechanism like the 1200RT (twist key, pull lever and remove the case) whereas on the GTL instead of twisting thru all your belongings the round lever at the bottom inside the case and then opening the seat to disconnect the cable connector from under the seat etc. Definitely not suitable for daily use on multi week rides- So you have to use a topcase liner. Also for me at 6ft tall, the ergonomics are fine, but the knee bend angle is a little more acute than on a 1200RT due to the lower seat on the GTL. For the pillion- the heated seat for pillion on Position -1 is almost useless, so you have to keep it on high for tangible results when it gets really cold. As for the GTLs saddlebags/topcase package, since we have rented the 1200RT on our other trips, we think the RT cases can carry more stuff due to their inherent design.

Bottomline- the GS(A) & GTL are 2 different machines with 2 different personalities, but both are extremely comfortable touring rigs esp 2-up. Just depends on what suits you better.
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:15 AM   #15
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After multi experience, I recommend to put the R1200 GS Adventure as the middle solution in play!
Comfort for the ride especially with ESA, also for the pillion. If needed buy a comfort seat and put an extension MRA X screen on top of the GSA std windshield. You will love "all" road interstates aswell as twisties. Condition of asfalt not important, you can load anything, easy to move around and park. If needed leave the road and enjoy nature. Yes the GT/GTL has more power but then again is 110 not enough? I did the trade GT to GSA lost some horse power but also a lot of weight!
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