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Questions on the 12RT versus the 12GS


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I have an '05 12GS and am considering trading it in on an '07 or '08 12RT (the K12GT is tantalizing, but I just don't think I need to go there!). I'm just considering a change and I'm pondering the RT. Offhand I like the larger RT fuel tank and the fact that the servos will be gone. The biggest chunk of my riding is a 60 mile round trip commute to work (when I can) on urban highways. But I do a number 300-600 mile day and/or weekend trips over the course of a year, too. I average around 12,000 miles per year 99% of which is on paved roads. I did test ride the 12RT once for a few miles when I was tired of the buffeting on the 12GS (which I cured with an Aeroflow). My biggest memory of the 12RT was that the mirrors were in an odd place, but I sense that is something one just gets used to.


Anyway, for those of you that have owned or extensively ridden the two, what do you find to be the main differences in the ride? What are your preferences? Did you find the 12RT to be buzzier than the 12GS (another thing I've read)? Etc...?


I've also got some questions involving the specs (from the BMW web site) that I'm hoping some of you may be able to answer. Forgive me, but other than the simplist things like changing fluids, bulbs, etc..., I've never made myself become much of a wrench.


- The "Primary Drive" is a different on the two bikes. What does that mean?


- The "Front Travel" and "Rear Travel" are different, too, with the GS's being several inches longer than the RT's. What does that mean?


- I had read somewhere that the gear ratios were different (ie., lower RPM's for the RT at highway speeds), but the specs I see at the BMW website say they are identical. Did that change, or did I read wrong?


Thanks for taking the time.

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The Primay Drive is the inital gear reduction inside the engine before the flywheel. This gear reduction is very slightly smaller on the GS for some reason than on the RT motor. You'll also notice that the RT motor is higher compression and makes more peak horsepwoer. The GS makes a little more power at low RPM's.


The final drive on the GS has shorter gearing as well. THis makes it easier to ride at low speeds wihtout needing to use the clutch and gives better accelration in lower gears. The trade off is higher RPM's at freeway speeds and possible lower fuel economy.


The actual transmission and gear ratios are identical on ALL R1200 bikes. The final drive housing and design is the same on all R1200 bikes and the GT.


The suspension travel is longer on the GS for better control over large bumps that you encounter off road. THe RT is more likely to bottom out the suspension on large bumps. The GS also has more ground clearance for getting over obstacles. The RT's suspenson travel is typical (about 5") for a street motorcycle. The is the most travel that is typically needed for street use and the engineers have desided it's optimal for keeping the roll center low, weight lower, and shock is smaller and more compact.


Hopefully that helps.


I only test rode a GS a few miles, but I didn't notice much difference in vibration. The biggest difference was wind management and protection, it's lower, the seat is wider and more comfortable and the passenger seat is much better. You get larger luggage standard, cruise control, power wind screen, and brighter headlights.... and of course the giant gas tank. 250+ miles is no problem. 300+ is possible.


You will give up off road capability. You can ride the RT on well groomed trails and gravel roads at lower speeds, ut it bottoms out easily, the street oriented tires are more suseptable to damage, there's no skid plate and lots of platics to damage in a fall. The wheelbase is shorter and less stable when sliding around. Rock damamge doesn't seem to be a problem. The rocks and dust are well managed by the fendors and lowers.


Ultimately I choose the RT mostly for passenger comfort, and long distance riding comfort on pavement.

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A year ago I was in exactly the same position as you -- selling my 05 GS and looking at: an RT, GT, or GSA. I did extensive test rides of the RT & GT and decided on an 07 RT. I also rode another hexhead GS on an Edelweis tour this summer, which refreshed my comparison of the 2 bikes.

They are both wonderful machines. Street handling and acceleration is comparable for my limited ability. I find that the RT is easier to ride at slower speeds such as those used to demo the "box" exercise in MSF classes (others may disagree). The RT is easier to manuever around the garage, put on centerstand, but involves more time to remove panels for servicing. The big advantage to the RT includes cruise control, heated seats, electric wind screen. and superior weather protection. I am considering install of a short screen for the summer months and upgraded shocks.

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I traded my '05 GS for an '07 RT in August. I'd done 23K miles on the GS and prior to that 60K on an 1100GS. I was prompted to change following a move which meant 250 motorway miles to visit friends. Whilst I loved the GS I found it tiring for long mileages at highish speed (80-90 mph). I also fancied a change.


Initially, the RT feels like a big barge compared to the GS. However, while big it is well balanced and I find it easier to ride at low speed. It is definitely more comfortable, especially over distance. You can tune the buffeting out by adjusting the screen and stuff like cruise control and heated seats just add to the comfort. I get 5-10 mpg more though I use higher octane petrol (98 RON recommended in UK). The headlights are brilliant where the GS lights were merely adequate at best. The RT is definitely less buzzy at speed.


The downside. The GS was brilliant on back roads, and the

RT can't compete here. It does handle very well though. The GS would - I imagine - be better in hot weather as you'll get more fresh air hitting you. I haven't experienced the RT in hot weather yet. The British "summer" was horrible this year and seemed to consist of 3 months of rain!


The RT is an excellent bike. It feels a bit more civilsed and grown up than the GS. I have no regrets. Take the leap.



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I've owned both and currently ride an RT all day as my 'works bike'.

The RTs one of the finest bikes of its type, I've ridden. I think it's got the edge on the GS, but then it costs more anyway.

I find the RT motor slightly smoother than the GS, although, I can't imagine why it should be. Perhaps the extra mass absorbs the vibes.

Don't forget however, if you want the extra power/performance that the RT offers, you have to put the more expensive, higher octane fuel in the tank.

My advice, if you don't need the semi off road suitability of the GS, go for the RT.

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It all comes down to what you like more than what type of riding you do. I had an 05GS and since I do all long distance riding, the RT is a better fit.


I also found the GS not my choice for a dirt bike. Too big and heavy. When I ride in the dirt, I ride fast and hard and feel better riding my DRZ.


My humble 2 cents.


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As a commuter bike and occasional long distance bike, the GS is superior IMHO. As a long distance and occasional commuter bike, the RT wins. Just depends upon what your priorities are.

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The Primay Drive is the inital gear reduction inside the engine before the flywheel.
??? There is no internal driveline gear reduction in a boxer engine. The flywheel bolts directly to the crankshaft.
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