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Old 09-22-2013, 09:29 PM   #31
KoolBreeze
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Originally Posted by FireDog45 View Post
I've been researching different bikes to replace my recently sold ST1100 and the R12 GS has been at the top of the list. The bad press these seem to get has me a little nervous and I wanted to get some feedback from the forum.

When I mention this choice to my riding friends I get responses like "if you love doing maintenance then go ahead", "I'm really concerned that your bike will break down during a trip", "aren't you worried about the (fill in the blank) conking out on you", "those are so unreliable/expensive/etc."

My budget is around $10k USD so MSRP is not considered as I'll be buying used. For this discussion I'm also considering the Tenere, Tiger 800XC and V Strom.

I'll be using it for commuting, day trips and extended trips. I won't be riding 2 up but would like to start camping from the bike at some point.

Are these fears overblown or do they have some merit?
newb here checking in. A couple people warned me about the boxer valve adjustment issue... and while it did make me concerned, I wasn't really worried having a bit of shade mech history. turned about pretty much unfounded. it takes but a very minimal amount of regular maintenance. sure it's every 6k... and is a chore I'd rather not bother with, but so are tire changes and those don't depend that much on the particular choice in bike. no chain... makes up for it. and FD concerns? well turns out it's very easy to change the fluid regularly also, and from what I understand that might be of benefit in thwarting failure. in fact the engine, transmission and fd oil changes and valve adjustment aren't really much of a bother. neither difficult nor time consuming. throw in the lack of water/radiator fluid and chain maintenance and it's really not bad at all.

I wouldn't mind stating a couple things that you might hear of...

- Final drive. (knock on wood) I believe it's not that high a rate of failure, and that regular oil change helps.

- fuel strip. yea... well if you buy a bike with optional computer, you'll more than likely experience this. imho surely not a deal breaker, I set my odometer regardless, even though BMW should kiss everyones ass on this instead of hoping everyone will ignore the issue, shut up and just buy a new bike.

- idk.. what else? surely must be something else that people would bitch about if a high rate of failure on a $20+ bike new with options. go figure on this. if a wee-strom cost "me" $9k new I might be more forgiving of issues than if it cost me $20k. just a thought.

btw there were numerous bikes I considered before picking mine up... to include the v-strom, wee-strom, tenere, f800gs, tiger... etc. I'm very pleased with my choice and have enjoyed the last 22,000 miles +

regardless of the valve adjustments and other maintenance.

this isn't to say I wouldn't have been just as happy if I had made the call and was riding a wee-strom. but something about my bike and engine has been growing on me. even the sound of the exhaust. sure at time it reminds me of a supped up singer sewing machine... but now there's something else to it. especially when heard riding through the redwoods in the middle of the night.
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:35 PM   #32
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and engine has been growing on me. even the sound of the exhaust. sure at time it reminds me of a supped up singer sewing machine... but now there's something else to it. especially when heard riding through the redwoods in the middle of the night.
What you hear...that's soul....

Something Japanese brands simply can not deliver..it will never break down..shift like butter..and be cheap to operate..but it will never have soul..

Them fuqin Germans know this.... bastards...
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Old 09-23-2013, 03:35 AM   #33
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my 2 cents

Just my opinion I think they are over hyped a and over priced that said possibly the best bike of all time so far (depends on what u in to)

I have an o6 gsa 60 thousand dirt and road km. I regularly do 600 plus km a ride longest in a day 1000 ish combination of dirt and tar solo and two up, I maintain it and fix it when I brake it.

It for me is the most addictive and challenging riding I have had in 20 years an adventure where I dream of where I might take it further down the track.

I hope to get at least 100 000 kms out of it dream of 150 000

Id suggest ride one if u can I remember the day I traded a 2011 zx10 for it and thought what the fuck have I done

ps I fall of it regularly
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:07 AM   #34
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The strange thing about BMWs is this. You either get a good one or a bad one. A good one will last hundred of thousands of miles with few or no issues and will become a lifelong companion. A bad one will cost you multi-thousands of dollars every 30K miles. There are certainly more good ones than bad ones, but there are quite a few bad ones out there. People who own good ones can't understand what all the fuss is about. People who own bad ones can't understand how anyone would pay a premium for such a pile of junk. These two groups go round and round on the internet, and will forever.

The GS concept is great, and a good one is an awesome bike, but BMW's quality control is shit. If you happen to get one where everything lines up correctly you're in luck. If you don't you're screwed.

Another weird thing wth the beemers. Every one feels, sounds, and rides different. Honda made a million CBR600RRs last year. With rare exception every bike felt, sounded and rode exactly the same. Every GS is just a little different from every other GS. Maybe that's the "character" thing people talk about.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:15 AM   #35
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FireDog, I bought my '04 GS secondhand with 70,000 km (43,000 miles) on it, in cosmetically good condition and paid a not-cheap price. Then discovered the cracked rear hub issue that effected early models, add $2k to the price. Now there's a gearbox oil leak.
Would I buy another one? In a millisecond! This big pig puts a grin on my dial. It feels RIGHT. It fits me. It fits my riding style. It fits the roads I ride.
My past includes several different Suzuki road bikes, and I have high respect for the V-Strom. It is a highly capable and easy to live with bike. But it just doesn't drive the muscles in my face.
Further back in my past was all Yamaha trail bikes, all remembered most fondly. But riding a Tenere just makes me think "Yuk, it feels just like a big old Yammie trail bike". Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but for me it just didn't light my fire.

So go ride one, or several. If your pulse rate steps up by 10 or 15 when you get on one, and the corners of your mouth start twitching, you know you're getting close.
And likewise the V Strom, Tenere and the Triumph.
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Old 09-23-2013, 06:35 AM   #36
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Interesting that the F800GS isn't in your list of alternatives as you include the Tiger 800XC... I have a 2012 F800GS and a 2014 R1200GS (which at 600 miles is too new to know its reliability). The F8 is a year and a half old and I've done 12,000 miles without any issues at all (other than a tank of bad fuel). I recently did 3000 miles around the Alps 2-up and fully loaded and it didn't skip a beat. Servicing in the UK (at a central London BMW dealership) is roughly half (£175/6k service) what Honda used to charge me (£300/£5k service) for my old 2008 Hornet which was a standard naked bike.

I've had two Hondas and two BMWs and I've only been left at the side of the road once due to a clutch malfunction on my second Honda. Other than that isolated incident they have all been models of reliability. BMWs do like to have their maintenance on schedule (whether by you or by your dealership) but give them this and they keep going forever. Although not a motorcycle, my mum drives a 1987 325e with nearly 400,000 miles on the clock and it has never required anything beyond regular maintenance.

Don't let the forums put you off, there are plenty of threads which put the problems into perspective... for every final drive, switch, bearing etc failure, thousands of people have no problems at all. Other manufacturers have issues also, even Goldwings and other reportedly reliable bikes (do a bit of googling).

There are virtually no truly terrible products on the market these days so take a few 1200s (or others) for a ride and buy the one which you like best. With your mechanical background you should be able to tell if you're riding a good/well cared for example.
The reason I included the Tiger 800 is because of that sweet triple! I had a chance to ride one of their 1050's and was smitten. I didn't include the F800 for no other reason than to keep the list a little shorter.

Your comment regarding your mum's cars brought back some fond (and not so fond) memories. I've had 3 Bimmers in the past: a 1968 2002, 1984 733i and an 88 325iX. Loved them all but the one lesson I learned was stay on top of the preventative maintenance or things will get very expensive quickly.

I got pretty good at doing valve adjustments, timing belt changes, fluid changes, etc. My gut tells me it would be no different with the GS. There's also a certain catharsis that goes with doing PM's. You get a chance to learn about the mechanics while saving some cash as well as the satisfaction of saying "I did that!" at the end.

I've learned to take the bitching on forums with a grain of salt. But another saying comes to mind while reading them; Where there's smoke there's fire. I'm just trying to find out how big that fire is.
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Old 09-23-2013, 06:39 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Not the Messiah View Post
FireDog, I bought my '04 GS secondhand with 70,000 km (43,000 miles) on it, in cosmetically good condition and paid a not-cheap price. Then discovered the cracked rear hub issue that effected early models, add $2k to the price. Now there's a gearbox oil leak.
Would I buy another one? In a millisecond! This big pig puts a grin on my dial. It feels RIGHT. It fits me. It fits my riding style. It fits the roads I ride.
My past includes several different Suzuki road bikes, and I have high respect for the V-Strom. It is a highly capable and easy to live with bike. But it just doesn't drive the muscles in my face.
Further back in my past was all Yamaha trail bikes, all remembered most fondly. But riding a Tenere just makes me think "Yuk, it feels just like a big old Yammie trail bike". Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but for me it just didn't light my fire.

So go ride one, or several. If your pulse rate steps up by 10 or 15 when you get on one, and the corners of your mouth start twitching, you know you're getting close.
And likewise the V Strom, Tenere and the Triumph.
Well said! That seems to be where I am right now. I see a boxer and I have to take a second, longer look. Not so much with other brands. The GS just seems to hit a chord that others don't and I don't know why...
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:59 AM   #38
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The r1200gs is the most reliable bike I ever had. Take the GSA. You will not regret it. Otherwise sell it and you get even years later a good price back.
+1

My 05 GS 1200 has 131k miles on it, it's my 6th bmw and by far the most reliable. I've had a few issues, some from thrashing it, some from normal wear and tear. Dunno why the hoopdie over FD's continues, I've never serviced any of mine over 300k plus miles and have only had minor leaks at worst.

I've bumped my service schedule to 10k miles for mobil1 chg and valve checks, not burning any and rarely needs adjustment.

If LD riding is your thing and you have the inseam, get the GSA. Myself, I like to get off and walk around every couple hundred miles so the GS works fine.
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:11 PM   #39
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The GSA is certainly on the list but finances will probably keep it off for right now. If I wait until spring though I would have the cash to make it work...

Just got done reading about the new V-Strom 1000 that's due anytime. It certainly sounds like something worth checking out.
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:32 PM   #40
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The GSA is certainly on the list but finances will probably keep it off for right now. If I wait until spring though I would have the cash to make it work...

Just got done reading about the new V-Strom 1000 that's due anytime. It certainly sounds like something worth checking out.
Sure, for a soulless bike. Looks like they took a little design influence from KTM and Ducati for the front headlight/beak area.
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:42 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by FireDog45 View Post
Well said! That seems to be where I am right now. I see a boxer and I have to take a second, longer look. Not so much with other brands. The GS just seems to hit a chord that others don't and I don't know why...
In my experience, most people who really want a GS and go with something else are never really happy with their decision. It isn't the money, or the maintenance (for most), it is that itch they didn't scratch that eventually brings them back to the GS.

Now, with that said, some people are never going to be happy, no matter what they buy, and a few get a bum deal.

Jim

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Old 09-23-2013, 12:59 PM   #42
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my opinion having logged little more than 10k on my used 07gsa in the last 6 months and being a former owner of many other bikes including about 100k combined on 2 vstroms (650 and 1k).

yes theres a fair bit of more cost effective adventure bikes out there, but you will spend some cash just to make them handle and brake close to what the gs does in stock shape, if its an ohlins equipped one that it will very difficult to match its handling performance.

after many debating over the subject I went for the gsa over other options for the ease of do it yourself service and being able to easily get a set of 17s for street carving duty.

re the soul part, I categorize it more as learning to ride the gs, they function differently that all bikes, they require a different rithym when being ridden aggressively to capitalize on its characteristics, id say im a seasoned rider that has owned many bikes, I had several regret issues the first couple of months but not anymore, I really like it now especially for carving the twisties witch around here are very bumpy and pothole ridden

last weekend I rode w a friend who frequents a sportsbike community that has backroad rides every weekend, im on their list but have yet to attend an actual ride, I was talking about him about maybe showing up for a ride, he says to me, dude you so need to come to a ride and lmk, id love to see theyre faces when u make nothing short of a mockery of them in the backroads

yes theres issues, but theres always issues, I had issues on my strom too......like someone already said I think theyre just over blown, in hindsight there a small % of bikes w real issues, theres a huge percentage of bmw riders that fly under the radar, they just ride and keep to themselves and stay off rethoric online whinning campaigns.

high end machines always have strict maintenance criteria, I don't understand whats all the fuzz from people.
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Old 09-23-2013, 03:23 PM   #43
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In my experience, most people who really want a GS and go with something else are never really happy with their decision. It isn't the money, or the maintenance (for most), it is that itch they didn't scratch that eventually brings them back to the GS.

Now, with that said, some people are never going to be happy, no matter what they buy, and a few get a bum deal.

Jim
That's pretty much what my wife said "You've always wanted a GS, I don't think you'll be satisfied with anything else".

It's because of that kind of stuff we've been married 25 years!

I have a few leads I'm checking into so a decision may be made by this weekend.
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Old 09-23-2013, 03:40 PM   #44
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In my experience, most people who really want a GS and go with something else are never really happy with their decision. It isn't the money, or the maintenance (for most), it is that itch they didn't scratch that eventually brings them back to the GS.
Jim
^^This..

Xactly why I said everyone should own one..if you have that..."lust"..you will ALWAYS wonder..
I wanted a GS since I can remember..first sight of one..one day in 2005 I had about $30K in receivables one day..stopped by the BMW dealer in Colorado Springs..my life has never been the same since... I don't regret for one second that day..but sometimes I have wanted to set the som bitch on fire...
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Old 09-23-2013, 03:45 PM   #45
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"You've always wanted a GS, I don't think you'll be satisfied with anything else".
Exactly what mine said. As it turns out, she was right...again.
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