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Any R1200ST owners migrate to GS or RT?


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Could any current or former owners of an R1200ST that have migrated to either an R1200GS or R1200RT comment on why you went the way you did? I'm also really only interested in GS/RT comparisons as I've narrowed to these 2. I'm not interested in any of the K-bikes.


My concerns:

- For the last several years, I've gone on 2 roughly week-long trips a year covering anywhere from 1500-3500 miles on the street either camping or renting nightly. Due to my "gee that road looks twisty" GPS routing I do encounter some gravel roads that Garmin doesn't know about and don't shy away from them with the ST and street tires (unless it's like 20 miles of non-stop).


- RT has same sized side cases as ST, GS has many more options for aftermarket ones that are various sizes. GS/ST look fine with or without cases, RT not so much.


- I do my own oil/valves on the ST, this seems easier on the GS than RT due to less bodywork. If for whatever reason I used more dealer servicing, do they charge more for the same work on an RT than a GS?


- The GS seems to have less weather protection than the ST and obviously a lot less than the RT. Sometimes I end up riding in the pouring rain on a trip and I get completely soaked, s-happens. I'm actually somewhat afraid the RT might be too hot in summer temps with full gear or the GS a lot colder in the winter.


- Weight: The GS is roughly the same weight as the ST, the RT is ~70 lbs heavier. I could pick the ST up off it's side with no problems and I don't imagine having a problem with either GS or RT. Part of this is gas tank. I like that the RT has bigger gas tank vs GS. The GS tank is actually a little smaller than ST(which is 5.5) but not sure it's really that much of a deal breaker. I'm usually ready to get off the bike for a break before I hit empty.


-Handling: I've seen videos of both GS/RT being tossed around so maybe this really is moot. I like that the RT uses the same size tires as the ST (which are standard sportbike sizes) and it's just some mental thing in my head that I'm resisting going to a bike with "less rubber", the GS. I really like cornering, it's my favorite part about riding and love heading off to the mountains when I go on trips so this really is very important to me. I believe it was a 2010 GS demo I took out and I scraped the peg on a turn that didn't really seem *that* tight. It really took me by surprise. My friend that worked at the dealer was saying you just need to ride the GS a little differently but it's just as fun and capable as anything else.


- Off-roadability of GS: Going somewhat hand in hand with handling, I like that the GS could do some fairly decent off-roading but then you need fairly decent tires. I don't know how I'd feel about riding around on dual-sport tires 100% of the time since I love riding twisties. The side effect of that is it might tone me down a little. I make it a personal point to ride well on the street and stay within the confines of my own lanes but I do feel I ride a little more aggressively than I should currently. I know the GS is not a "dirt bike" and there aren't that many places near me to ride legally off-road so I'm not sure how much this plus of the GS matters. I could buy a cheap, old dirt-bike to satisfy that bug and have it be hundreds of lbs lighter and easier to ride with dedicated dirt tires...


- RT gizmos, I'd looove to have cruise control as I'm a CC whore in my car, but I've ridden probably close to 100K miles on motorcycles and I've lived without it. On the newer ones I'm not that fond of the spinny iDrive-esque controller thing on the left bar. I took a K1600GTL out for a demo and it was ridiculous to change the zoom level on the integrated GPS and going through some of the other menus to turn heated things on/off seems like way too much work/distraction.


- Ergonomically, I know both the GS and RT are a lot more upright and comfortable than the ST but I manage on my long trips.


Is ESA really worth it? I know it's been around for a while now and I know a lot of people like it and I'm sure I'd enjoy being able to go soft/sport so easily. I also know of people that were happy to remove the system+weight and either install conventional shocks or (I think?) the Works ones that graft the ESA adjusters onto their bodies. I have the base level Wilburs (no remote preload or high/low speed compression adjustment) front and rear on my ST and think it handles pretty good. On various test rides I've taken on ESA BMWs there's something to be said about enabling comfort mode on the highway.


I'm definitely leaning toward the GS, but I'm honestly open about both. I've ridden a couple GS demos and I've never taken out an RT. My wife who very occasionally rides pillion can't take much more than 3 hours on the back of the ST to her knees/butt and she liked the back end of the GS better than my ST. I'm sure she'd love the RT even more but that's not going to be a primary factor.

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Your points are exactly why I own both. (although I have the tiny GS, not the 1200). Best of both worlds.


I will say I can take the GS anywhere I can the RT, but the reverse isn't true, at least realistically.

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John Bentall

OK - you have got the "HEAD" bit over with - very comprehensively I would add.


Now what does your HEART say? :)




Just been on a three-day touring weekend with the local BMW Dealer. Equal numbers of riders/pillions on GS and RT.

+ a mix of K1600's.


Oh - and 1 guy is probably going to trade his K1600GT back to a 1200GS or GSA.

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Come on guys...you're supposed to tell me what to do here :dopeslap:. Owning two isn't really an option for me. I'm a one bike guy.

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I didn't come to the GS from an ST but from a similar bike the R1100S. You are correct, the ST is more fun in the twisties but the GS is better everywhere else. On the S because of the lack of wind protection I could never do over a 600 mile day while I have do a few 900+ days on the GS going across country.

Another reason for switching was that I started doing more 2 up riding. My wife loves it that we have the ability to take those dirt national forrest roads. We have seen some incredible scenery that way.

As for your concerns about the dual sport tires, I run the Metzler Tourances and have only found their limits while doing track days. They are more than adequate even for the tight twisty roads here in the SE.

If I had to have to have only one bike it would be the GS hands down.

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You can set a GS up w/plenty of weather protection.

But, some have more issues with buffeting than the RT.

How tall are you?

GS can tote a load, more than RT.

Wide bars on GS takes a different approach than the S/ST/RS bikes.


The RT can be warmer in hot weather.

The GS has easier access to service, but, skid plates and bars can

add to time.

GS is much more versatile.

GSA has phenomenal range if that is an issue.


GS is the Swiss Army knife of mc's.

Hard to go wrong with one.

The RT is a different cocoon to ride in which some want.

I fit on a GS, don't really on an RT (shin buster/too upright) so if I had to choose it would be the GS all day.

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Paul Mihalka

I had a R1100RT for many years/miles, now I have the R1200GS, already many years/miles. A great advantage of the GS over the RT is that if the bike happens to fall over, it is not two to three thousand dollars of Tupperware getting damaged. That advantage is very important to me! :dopeslap:

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Bah. If you started to drop a motorcycle, the Earth is under obligation to reject it. You've earned that!


One bike? GS if you are tall enough, though you should question that if you put a premium on having the smaller front tire and a suspension that won't wallow when really pressed in the twisties.

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I've had all three and an 1150GS Adventure. I loved my GSs and RT way more than my ST. I think the comfort thing played a roll. I just bought my latest GS. I had a choice between the GS and the RT. I chose the GS simply because I moved to Nevada from Oregon. The RT is just too weather tight for the desert for me. But I will miss that when it gets cold. It is a trade off. I rode in New England in the summer a few years ago on my 1150GS. I think I would have died in the humidity with the RT.


I never noticed a big weight differences on the GS vs RT. GS is taller so it actually seemed heavier to me because the balance is taller.


I've never had handling problems on the GSs or RTs. Both of their appearances belies their handling.


I always do my own work so I can't comment on dealer charges.


There seem to be two kinds of GS riders, those who think their bikes are superfine dirt bikes and treat them as such and those who go on the occasional light trail/rutted dirt road. I like to think I keep the GS in its limitations.


I miss the cruise control on the RT. But I suppose I can get a throttlemeister or kaoko when I feel so inclined. I also miss the electric windscreen. I suppose this winter I will miss my toasty buttocks from the fancy seat.


I deliberately ordered my RT and searched out my GS without ESA. I had and have ohlins on both and they were and are fantastic.


Since the GS is BMW's most popular bike there is a lot of aftermarket stuff available for it.


This is a hard choice that I had to make just last week and I wish you luck. You can't go wrong with either one.

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Thanks for all the input. I do appreciate it. Since I was kinda leaning GS in the first place and no one really gave me a good reason not to, I think that's what I'll shoot for.


On a side note, I'm not complaining at all but I *love* [sarcasm] how my ST is worth more than double as an insurance loss than a trade. I bought it 2 years old with 3,200 miles for $8200 out the door (friend working at dealer helped). Geico is offering me $10,800 minus deductible...with 56K miles and 5 years older. WTF?! Will make a nice down payment on a new (to me) bike.



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Missouri Bob

Two years ago, I traded a 2005 ST for a (lowered) 2008 GS. Mostly, the ST's peg position was making my old knees unhappy. I have plenty of room on the GS. Turns out. I prefer its bars, too.


Handling. I have never in 42 years of riding been on a bike that inspired more confidence. Although the bike came with BMW's Vario panniers, I almost never have them mounted. I even remove the pillion seat. The point being, less weight probably helps handling, and most of the GSs I see are carrying significantly more weight than necessary.


For me, the GS is pretty close to perfect.



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Currently ride an 05 1200ST, love it even two up, solo 600 mile days are my norm. Rented a 1200RT in Spain last year - for 2 up riding I think that's a hard bike to beat - wife loved the heated seats when it got chilly, plenty of storage space, great low end torque and amazing handling for a bigger bike.


Good luck with your decision - personally I'd be leaning towards the Rt, but maybe that's because I have a 650Dakar to play off road with ;)

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Congrats on the new ride!


Now head over to www.advrider.com and look at the Equipment and GSspot sections.

You have a lot of reading ahead of you!


Live with the bike awhile,before making changes.

Like many BMW's,the seat may be your first change.



2005 GS

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