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Questions about the GT


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Hey folks,


I have an RT and love the bike. Unfortunately I have one of those that eats input shaft splines every 30,000 miles. I am seriously thinking about a GT as an alternative.


Are there any systemic weaknesses like the input shafts on the RT in the GT?


Are there other things you might have experienced that I should be aware of and consider?

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The current GT shares the same design as your RT that can lead to spline failures...not sure if it happens more or less often though....other than that the GR and RS are bullet proof.

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The K series bikes don't seem to suffer the same degree of spline problems as the R series. Proably due to the smaller and more frequent power pulses offered by the 4 cylinder engine.


If you can handle the riding position, I prefer the KRS to the KGT. Only slightly less weather protection and a far superior riding position for control. It is very different from the RRT and will require a possible long period of adjustment for you. I prefer the more forward riding position and even at 63, the higher footpegs just seem to suit me. I certainly prefer the lower windscreen as it greatly reduced the turbulance caused by the larger, higher screen on the GT.


I have gone back to a big 4 after years of twins and find it quite pleasing to ride. I went with a Honda Blackbird cause I love the looks of the bike and the fit and finish is just perfect. If I were in the market for a stable mate for the RT, I would consider something like an R1100S or a VFR. Both bikes offer a more sporting aspect to the riding yet are perfectly usable for 1000 mile days should the urge strike you. Either bike is also available on the used market a some pretty steep discounts over retail. Heck, you can pick up a 2000 VFR for 5000 or so. EFI, linked brakes but done in a way that is not at all obtrusive, great suspension and available factory or aftermarke luggage abounds.

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What about maintenance on the GT? I am so used to my RT now (and do it all myself) that I am curious as to what the GT requires (tools intervals time etc).

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The currently available K-GT (2003-2004 in the US) is a wonderful bike, and is quite different from an R-RT. I could not believe the difference in power in the K vs my R1100 when I test rode the K, and I was hooked quickly.


With that said, however, I still like my R-RT very much as there are a lot of differences between the 2 bikes. As heavy as an R-RT is, I definitely find it more flickable than the K-GT, most likely due to its shorter wheel base. Both bikes are rock solid on the highway at speed, with the K being a little smoother. Don't know your height, but if you are even somewhat "inseam challenged short" then the K-GT will feel good to you as it has a narrower seat than the stock seat on the R-RT. If you are "inseam challenged long" then it might be a little more work to get the K-GT to feel right to you. Even with the seat in the high position and the footpegs lowered (they have high and low positions using the stock mechanicals), the K-GT cockpit is a little tight (I am 6'4"). And with the footpegs lowered you get to scraping the peg (or the toe of your boot) pretty quickly on the K. I wanted the additional weather protection and more upright seating position (to be more like the R-RT), so I opted for the K-GT over the K-RS. Then I also added a higher/wider windscreen and barbacks, so it is more upright and protected yet. Not quite at the level of the R-RT yet, but close.


And gotta love that electronic cruise control on the K bikes for those longer trips! It was wonderful to have on my Christmas ride down to LA and back.


I think that the reliability of the K bikes is very good, and I have never had an issue with mine (since I bought it used last October). Note that these have a high muffler, so the left-side luggage is significantly reduced in volume. I have seen some bikes where the owner revised the muffler to a low mount, and then fabbed up some bracket revisions to a full size left bag from another model BMW. Wasn't pretty on the inside (which no one normally saw), but seemed reasonable and functional. And if you do your own work it seems to me that the tupperware on the K bikes is a little more difficult to remove than that on my 2000 R-RT. Maybe the newer RT's are tougher too, or maybe I just don't have enough experience with K removal yet, but it just seems more complex to me so far.


Tough choice for you - 2 Really great bikes to choose from!



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What about maintenance on the GT? I am so used to my RT now (and do it all myself) that I am curious as to what the GT requires (tools intervals time etc).
Current K-bike weaknesses relate to the driveline, mostly the aft end. All sealed off areas of all are much more prone to leakage than any other make. As well, driveline bearings have many more failures than other makes. Most likely to fail, as it did for me, is the Crown Wheel Bearing in the final drive.


The powered brake system will provide mre failures than you'd get with any other manufacturer's non-powered system. Duh. However, that semms to me to be in the single digit percentage range.


ABS system failures are more common than that, but they seem to allowed continued but degraded operation. Still I don't think 10% of the bikes esperience them.


Cruise control issues arise in a substantial number of bikes. Again, degraded operation remains.



As for maintenance, the K-bikes doen't need a lot of it, and to me, far less than called for by BMW. I change all the oils at 6000 mile intervals, and the plugs and air filter at 12,000. The valves go at least 48,000 miles and I had mine checked at 600 and then 24,000.


The valve adjustment is involving, and requires buckets from the factory, but no specificly required special tools. The procedure is detailed with pictures on the Web, and if the worker is prepared, shouldn't take more than 4 hours, or possibly five.


I don't mess with the valves. In fact I don't "work on the bike" at all. It takes so much personal time to do the Annual service that I'd reather have the dealer do that, right along with getting a full check out of the bike. The ABS gets flushed, an I have the coolant flushed and changed. It's opwened up, so I have TB sysnc checked (it's only the idle screws), and if time for the valve check, that's done too.


I originally planned to have ALL the "wheel bearings" replaced at 60,000 miles. Unfortunately, 60k arrived while I was on a trip -- and the CWB failed. So... Based on personal experience, I'd replace ALL the "wheel bearings" at 48,000 miles if I bought another BMW (Which would only be a K-bike). A bearing failure, not only invokes the replacement cost, but if not caught in time, about $600 for other borken parts. So, early replacement makes sense to me.


None of the "work" is beyond someone who commonly, and proplerly, does a 12,000 mile service for an RT.


But really... Honestly... A K-bike is something to buy, ride, and enjoy. It's a modern design motorcycle, and doesn't need, nor does it respond to, being fiddled with.


Failres do occur. And, do so more frequently than I admire. And too, "interfacing" with the vast majority of BMW dealers, and the corporation, is about the worst experience I can imagine. Thankfully, with the K-bkes, the owner is less subject to that than with an R-bike.


Best wishes.

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Good to know...hopefully they have addressed "some" of the more common issues in the new model, but then again that often leads to new issues- as one part is strengthened the next weakest one takes up the cause....


I will have to take a long hard look at the GT when it arrives...any ideas when it is expected?

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I just realized that you are talking about the new,just released 2006 K1200GT that is an off-shoot of the K1200s, is this correct?

If so you might want to look over at www.k-bikes.com

It's a good site that is mostly K bike specific.

Bruce C

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