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  #1  
Old 12-02-2016, 03:26 PM
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texanater texanater is offline
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Recent BMW convert with a few questions

I've always been a fan of the American style motorcycles and really didn't much like the European aesthetics. A career in the military has left my lower back a bit of a mess. I learned the BMW style touring bike with your feet underneath you was ideal for lower back issues. So out of desperation to maintain my love of motorcycling I bought a 20 year old BMW police bike to see how it feels. Its AMAZING, its paradigm shifting, its given me a new lease on life!!! I thought I was going to have to give up motorcycling and BMW saved me! I haven't even had a wince of back pain! Funny thing happened, now that I've been on one for a while, I am really digging the looks. It is really growing on me. So much so that I may actually prefer the styling to the American style.

So the bike I have now is a 1998 1100 RTP. Its a fine bike and will suit me fine for the short term. They guy I bought it from just liked to buy older bikes and work on them, so he replaced everything you are supposed to replace like the break lines and tuned up everything that needs to be tuned up. So it runs like a champ, but it is almost 20 years old and has 60K miles on it.

I'm retiring in a few years and that is a perfect opportunity to buy a newer or even new bike. I am not particularly handy and not much of a mechanic. I don't mind changing fluids or easy to get to things like suspension, but I don't want mess with the motor or transmission etc... I wish I were handy but I am not. I really don't want to rely on a 20 year old motorcycle and my mechanic skills.

I probably average less than 100 miles a week on the motorcycle. I use it primarily to get to work and back, less than 20 miles a day so I need something maneuverable and small. BUT I also want to be able to take long road trips with my wife so I need something big and comfortable with lots of power. Sigh... From the reading that I've done, it sounds like the K1200 would have been perfect for me but it appears they no longer make it.

I know the answer to a lot of my questions will be to test drive, but I am also curious about collective knowledge of people who have more history with BMW.

So to my questions:
-Do I even need to look for a new bike. Is the R1100 RTP enough bike for long haul trips?
-If I keep the 1100RTP can I even find a good mechanic that will work on a 20+year old bike. I know a lot of shops avoid the older bikes.
-Is a 20 year old 1100RTP reliable enough for cross country trips, like I said it runs like a champ ... now.
If I need to get a new bike
-Is the R1200 big/powerful/comfy enough for two person long hauls?
-Is the K1600 too much bike for bopping around and getting to work?
-What other things should I consider that a BMW noob may not be aware of?

Either way, I am really glad I got this bike because I am absolutely in love with it.

Thanks all for your thoughts!

Nate
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  #2  
Old 12-02-2016, 04:15 PM
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Re: Recent BMW convert with a few questions

Welcome to the site and thank you for your service!

60,000 miles on a well maintained "R" bike is not alot. There are a lot of "Oilhead" forums out there,https://www.google.com/search?q=r120...=oilhead+forum.

Yet if you find the bike comfortable, and it suits your needs, I'd say ride it and enjoy it. The more modern BMW's are faster, and more technologically advanced, but more complicated too. The new R1200RT would be something that I'd look at if I was considering a new bike. I think you'd find the K1600 too heavy. But why not go to a nearby dealer and take a few test rides, you may surprise yourself.
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Old 12-02-2016, 04:18 PM
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Re: Recent BMW convert with a few questions

Lots of questions, but I'll keep it simple....

IMHO a 20 year old bike is past it's prime for "dependable" long distance touring... Keep the 1100 for weekend rides or short runs, but keep it...

For the needs you have I would look no further than the new R1200RT... It'll have some of the traits your current bike has so it'll feel familiar from day one... The engineering however is light years ahead.. Go test ride one and I think that'll be all you need... My 2 doubloons..
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Old 12-02-2016, 05:04 PM
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Re: Recent BMW convert with a few questions

Pirate is onto something. Your not going to get a whole lot of money for the old 1100, even though it is a runner. Keeping in mind you won't be doing most of the maintenance (you can do the fluid changes and I bet a bit more), the wife will be going along on longer rides, and you like the RT, I suggest you check out the new or newer RT's, Anything from 2010 and newer are great bikes. I pick that year because the bikes shifted from tappet valve adjustment to shims. The shim valve adjustment bikes hold their setting much longer. And I bet you will become ace at checking that yourself if you wanted to fiddle with it in the winter. If it needs adjustment, button it up and take it to the dealer for them to mess with the shim changing. Most of the time it does not need adjustment. Maintenance at the dealer is relatively easy (read not to expensive compared to a K series). The new ones, last two or so years are a bit smaller in body and 21mm lower seat, grips and pegs which I think is a very good deal. I personally would try to keep it somewhat simple by not getting the key less system. That is just me, but there have been some heartburn incidents. The newer RT's will amaze you in how good they handle. And, if you have a top box on the back the wife will have something to lean against, the bikes are passenger friendly. Did I mention relatively lite too. The weather protection is superior on the RT, there is no comparison with other bikes. You get heated grips, heated seats and you will only need a lite jacket down to the mid 50's.
Most fellows here are k bike riders and they are great but not particularly passenger friendly, not a great commuter and are the most expensive to maintain of all the BMW's.
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Old 12-02-2016, 09:14 PM
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Re: Recent BMW convert with a few questions

I ride an '02 RT with almost 70K on the clock - all ridden by me. As you can see from my sig line I also ride a K bike and a Ducati. The K12 is closing in on 30K miles, the Duc just reached the 10K mark.

I maintain my bikes by the book and as of the time I write this I would not hesitate taking the RT on a cross country trip, PERIOD. My longest day on the bike was 830 miles and that's on a stock seat. It's taken me through 9+ hours of rain between Ft. Worth and Baton Rouge. It's taken me over the Continental Divide through sleet and snow. It's taken me from Nevada to Colorado in 100 degree heat - all without fail.

I love this bike.

'Nuff said.

Ride safe and have fun, post often so we know you're okay!
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Old 12-02-2016, 09:15 PM
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Re: Recent BMW convert with a few questions

Nate:

Welcome to the site. All the new BMW'so are going to be far better machines than your current bike.

Which bike is best for you - only you can answer that. If you have a dealer that will let you test ride several bikes for more than a couple of miles - like for an hour I would go that route.
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Old 12-03-2016, 08:50 AM
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Re: Recent BMW convert with a few questions

Welcome Nate!
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  #8  
Old 12-03-2016, 09:13 AM
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Re: Recent BMW convert with a few questions

[quote=Beech] The weather protection is superior on the RT, there is no comparison with other bikes. You get heated grips, heated seats and you will only need a lite jacket down to the mid 50's.

In Houston mid 50's is about as cool as it ever gets!
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  #9  
Old 12-03-2016, 09:31 AM
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Re: Recent BMW convert with a few questions

Thanks all, very helpful info!

It sounds like most of you are pointing me in the R1200 direction. We (my wife and I) have been out on the 1100 and it was fine but somewhat underpowered. Its well powered for just me but I could see shifting a lot on long hauls with 2 of us. The 1200 is bigger of course and as you say better engineered. Its encouraging to hear that I may not need the K1600. The expense and size are not ideal for me.

Are the features on the R1200 the same as the bigger brother? I hate to admit it but I am really becoming a sucker for gadgets and technology. I used to not even want automatic windows and locks on my car, but now I need the nave and back up camera etc...

Also, I (seemingly anyway) read a lot more K enthusiasts than R enthusiasts. I've read a lot of comments like "I would never go back to the twin." I suspect this is a can of worms kind of question but a Swiftian "large side of the egg vs small side" kind of debate? What would I be giving up going with the R if anything? I've read the Rs whine more at the top end and you may need to shift more often. I've also read (as is stated in this thread too) that the Rs are much easier and cheaper to maintain. Anything else? What justifies a comment like "I would never go back to an R."

Thanks!

Nate
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  #10  
Old 12-03-2016, 09:49 AM
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Re: Recent BMW convert with a few questions

The new R1200 line, RS, RT, have all the technological gizmos you might want. The biggest difference between the R and K line is horsepower. The offset to that is that the R line is lighter.

I've stuck with my '02 K1200RS since new, as it has all the features that suit my riding style, the one feature that I wouldn't buy a sport touring bike without however is electronic cruise control, like you and power windows, don't know how I got by without it before.

However, as my '02 RS is 625 lb wet weight, that is starting to give me pause as I roll it around the garage and driveway. The thought of a bike that weighs or 50 to 75lbs less (RS model) is intriguing.

Also, for me, having ridden several K1200S and K1300S models, I find the inline 4 cyclinder motors inherently buzzy with vibration. The twin vibrates but at a lower frequency that I don't find intrusive.
The six cylinder is smoother.

Maintenance on any BMW bike by a dealer is going to be pricey. Adjusting two cylinders worth of vales is going to be cheaper than 4 or 6 cylinders.

A few test rides ought to help you make up your mind, but my suggestion is a close look at the R1200RT. Good luck.
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Old 10-03-2017, 04:00 AM
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Re: Recent BMW convert with a few questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by texanater

I probably average less than 100 miles a week on the motorcycle. I use it primarily to get to work and back, less than 20 miles a day so I need something maneuverable and small. BUT I also want to be able to take long road trips with my wife so I need something big and comfortable with lots of power. Sigh... From the reading that I've done, it sounds like the K1200 would have been perfect for me but it appears they no longer make it.

I know the answer to a lot of my questions will be to test drive, but I am also curious about collective knowledge of people who have more history with BMW.

So to my questions:
-Do I even need to look for a new bike. Is the R1100 RTP enough bike for long haul trips?
-If I keep the 1100RTP can I even find a good mechanic that will work on a 20+year old bike. I know a lot of shops avoid the older bikes.
-Is a 20 year old 1100RTP reliable enough for cross country trips, like I said it runs like a champ ... now.
If I need to get a new bike
-Is the R1200 big/powerful/comfy enough for two person long hauls?
-Is the K1600 too much bike for bopping around and getting to work?
-What other things should I consider that a BMW noob may not be aware of?

Either way, I am really glad I got this bike because I am absolutely in love with it.

Thanks all for your thoughts!

Nate
Welcome to the group Nate! May you continue to enjoy countless miles in complete comfort!

I concur with the comments made by others, the only way you will find something that you like is to take a few for a test ride and a decent run at that, allowing a good hour to get the feel of the bike to know if it suits you. Most of these machines can go for days without making you feel as though your spine has fallen out along the way. It's all down to ergonomics and what your body does to you when you ride them.

I ride a K1300S and for me it is the perfect fit, matches my arm and leg length and the seat for my backside is quite comfortable, especially on the 1000+km runs. My only gripe is the throttle. On long boring highway riding my arms and wrists feel as though they've been forcibly removed and put on back to front. My shoulders tend to cop a lot of the pain and pins and needles can be interesting when they are travelling up and down with the undulations in the tarmac. This is mainly because it is a sports bike first and foremost with touring capabilities Try to ride with your knees tucked in against the tank, not forcibly but with just enough pressure without pain, BUT invest in a cruise control or throttle control. There are many on the market to suit whatever bike you end up with Check out Pirates Lair for stuff to suit your new bike

Good luck with your choices and you'll have a ball and your wife will be comfortable on the back

Grenville
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Old 10-03-2017, 07:08 AM
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Re: Recent BMW convert with a few questions

another bike you should consider is a K1300GT all the amenities of the RT and lots more power. good deals on used models to be had since the K16 came out also. Go take some test rides.
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Old 10-03-2017, 09:20 AM
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Re: Recent BMW convert with a few questions

Welcome aboard Nate!

Test ride, test ride, test ride... the dealer can help you there. I'd ride some newer model RT's since you're already riding one & familiar with that model. I'd test ride a K bike too just for comparison. Unless you're set on a brand new bike & once you've decided on what you want to ride as an upgrade, it might be worthwhile considering a used bike. With a little patience, you will most likely find a lower mileage model that's priced right that will fit your needs. Just a thought.

I happen to know an i-BMW member who lives in FTW that would make you a good deal on a lower mileage K1200RS... and he's got 3 to choose from! Any of them would make for a fine 2 up sport touring machine. 2 of the 3 have been recently serviced & have new rubber on them.
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Old 10-03-2017, 09:27 AM
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Re: Recent BMW convert with a few questions

Go light... I've learned it's a lot more pleasant.... I would have to consider the R1200RS....if I was buying new.... I do like the K12/13S but never owned one....did own a K1200GT 03 inline model....65k trouble free miles and 0 valve adjustments....smooth fast and comfortable......also had a 02 K1200LT.big,heavy,and comfortable....my first after my Harley's.... I had no idea a motorcycle could handle and stop so well...and fast...got my first ticket on the LT the second week I owned it... I now ride a 99 R1100S two up,it weighs about 500lbs. I like it more than any bike I've owned.... We ride back roads and do no more than 300 to 400 miles a day...lots of good deals on used bikes with service records out there.... no one mention a GS...
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Old 10-03-2017, 09:29 AM
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Re: Recent BMW convert with a few questions

Welcome to I-BMW.

Best site there is!

Craig has covered the topic pretty well so I don't think that there's much to add.

Keep us posted on your progress.

Cheers
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