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New R1200RT vs. ????


old_farmer

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Hello all. I'm turning 60 this year so I figure I should do something crazy to celebrate, like maybe get a new bike.

 

My current ride is a 99 R1100RT, that I have owned since new. It only has 24K miles, as during the early years that I owned it I lived in an urban area which was no fun for riding and I also had other distractions. Now I try to ride 3-4K/year, mostly on road trips. The 1100 has not been perfect (ABS unit died at about 10K, was replaced, rear pivot bearings have needed tightening, pinion seal leaks a manageable amount), but the ergos fit me well since I lowered the footpegs and got a Sargent seat, it looks good, and has never let me down.

 

I have been looking at Harleys (Street Glide in particular), mainly because I like them and they have good dealer support. My nearest H-D dealer is 35 miles away.

 

However, I still like the roundel, and I'm not sure how well a H-D goes with my Aerostich Hi-Viz. But the nearest BMW dealer is over 100 miles away, which means I do my own servicing.

 

Finally getting to the point - on the new BMW's what regular service requires a dealer (e.g. special $$$ tools required), and what can a reasonably competent home mechanic handle?

 

Thanks for any input you can provide...

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Dave .... sounds like you have a wonderful problem .... what new bike to buy :grin:

 

I too am 60 (the new 40 or so I hope) and my first BMW was a 1997 R1100RT. Have owned the 1100RT, 1150 GS, K1200LT, R1200RT and currently '12 R1200GSA and for 2 months a 2016 R1200RT. I am pretty loyal to BMW and none have ever let me down. I owned my R1150GA for 10 years and 36K miles and just sold my '06 R1200RT after owning it for 9 years and 36K. You 1100RT is a great bike and built like a tank. The new BMW's (IMHO) are great bikes but very different than your 1100. The new 1200's have way more power and a lot of features and technology. So it really depends on what you are looking for and what you prefer. I like that with the water-boxers that the maintenance has gotten easier and less frequent. You only need to do the valves every 12K and with synthetic oil I plan to run 3-4K between changes. I know a lot of guys run longer. They now have cruise control on RT's and GS's. The final drive is now simple (like yours) with real drain/fill plugs.

 

With retirement in the near future I wanted a new bike to travel on and was torn between a new RT or a Harley. I decided on the RT since they handle much better than a Harley and I realized I am just not a "Harley Guy". I have rented a Harley for the past 5 years and have logged well over 20K on the Harley Ultra Limited. Great bike and very comfortable .... but man in the slow stuff and in close quarter it is just a big fat bike. But on the open road they are real sweet and easy to travel and pack! It is really a matter of personal preference. I am also very lucky with a GREAT dealer 10 miles from my house. But honestly if I was within 100 or 200 miles of a dealer I would still go BMW. It is nice having a Harley dealer in every town when you are traveling. But like I said I am just not a Harley guy and like the BMW ownership experience.

 

Not sure this helps but hope so! Good luck with your search.

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Ride a new RT and you will see what you have been missing! MUCH easier to handle at low speeds, lower seat height, and maybe most important they seem to be the most reliable BMW since the Airheads.

 

Ride a new Harley, I don't know much about them but you are lucky in that most BMW and Harley dealers will allow test rides to an experienced rider.

 

Make your decision from there! I think you will be surprised at the new bikes of either brand.

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Tough choice indeed.

The newest Harley dressers are easier to ride.

They have made the primary and air cleaner narrower

so that the bike feels lower. The 107 has lots of

power from idle to red line.

The newer BMW's have changed as well.

Tough choice indeed.

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Appreciate the advice. Come spring, I probably should take a little road trip to one of my "nearest" BMW dealers (Barrington, IL = 120 mi, Iowa City, IA = 135 mi) and try one before I decide anything.

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Appreciate the advice. Come spring, I probably should take a little road trip to one of my "nearest" BMW dealers (Barrington, IL = 120 mi, Iowa City, IA = 135 mi) and try one before I decide anything.

 

Like most things there are trade offs to each and as stated earlier some are really a personal preference. Another option might be to consider say a 2010 or 2012 R1200RT. There are a lot of nice used models out there and coming from the 1100 RT you sill still see a LOT of improvements and added features.

 

However, there are still 2016's out at dealers and they are making some killer deals especially in January or February :-)

 

Good luck!

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In 2015 at 58 years young I had exactly the same question. What to buy after may wonderful years with a '99 R1100RT. I get to that later. Your choice selection is a bit apples and oranges. Both HD & BMW are very refined machines, but Harley offers a very different rider experience than the RT.

 

How do you ride? Easy pace touring and never have a thought of attacking corners at extra legal speeds, then the HD is a great choice. Want to pull a trailer, the torque of the HD will be a benefit. The HD might even come with a real long distance OEM saddle whereas BMW seems to care nothing for bum comfort on their R1200RT anymore. The R1200RTlc will tour with the best of them(with an aftermarket saddle), but still retains the ability to pretend you are hot stuff in the corners beyond most riders ability to stuff it into a corner and bend the horizon.

 

The difference between the HD and BMW is genetic for these two iconic companies. HD and BMW approach creating a motorcycle from opposite ends of the design process. The approach for HD is function follows form and BMW is form follows function. (I think the approach HD takes is actually the more challenging from an engineering perspective). HD wants to retain all that has made their bikes speak to people, the look, the sound and their community demands it. BMW seems to be set on turning the page...hell they even tried to kill off the flat twin at one time, until the blow back from their rider base set them straight.

 

At any HD event folks check out each others riders for all the shinny add-ons and purpose of these modification are often superfluous. At BMW events the folks first want to see your odometer, bug splatter is a good thing, and any added farkles better serve some purpose. All good either way you go.

 

As for maintenance I suspect there will be a growing number of can-bus bikes from all manufacturers on the market and the computers you need in your tool box to manage the brain will become more plentiful and less costly going forward. At least you can still do your own valve adjustments And I change oil at 1/2 of what the computer demands, so I take it in every other time for a code check and to cancel the service warning.

 

Hope that helps you sort out your choice.

 

Anyway I went for the R1200RTlc and love it. After 16 years the RT is a very different bike. In some ways its personality is more like a sport touring bike from Japan(meant in a good way). I still like to strafe the corners and found the 2015 handling to be awesome when blasting through the curves . In super slow speed turns it would even wheelie on a WFO exit (if the traction control is turned off). In every measure it is superior to the R1100RT...except two. I will always love the bodacious curvy body panels of the 1999 VS the Star Wars angular lines of the new RT and my Sargent Seat is on order!

 

 

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In 2015 at 58 years young I had exactly the same question. What to buy after may wonderful years with a '99 R1100RT. I get to that later. Your choice selection is a bit apples and oranges. Both HD & BMW are very refined machines, but Harley offers a very different rider experience than the RT.

 

How do you ride? Easy pace touring and never have a thought of attacking corners at extra legal speeds, then the HD is a great choice. Want to pull a trailer, the torque of the HD will be a benefit. The HD might even come with a real long distance OEM saddle whereas BMW seems to care nothing for bum comfort on their R1200RT anymore. The R1200RTlc will tour with the best of them(with an aftermarket saddle), but still retains the ability to pretend you are hot stuff in the corners beyond most riders ability to stuff it into a corner and bend the horizon.

 

The difference between the HD and BMW is genetic for these two iconic companies. HD and BMW approach creating a motorcycle from opposite ends of the design process. The approach for HD is function follows form and BMW is form follows function. (I think the approach HD takes is actually the more challenging from an engineering perspective). HD wants to retain all that has made their bikes speak to people, the look, the sound and their community demands it. BMW seems to be set on turning the page...hell they even tried to kill off the flat twin at one time, until the blow back from their rider base set them straight.

 

At any HD event folks check out each others riders for all the shinny add-ons and purpose of these modification are often superfluous. At BMW events the folks first want to see your odometer, bug splatter is a good thing, and any added farkles better serve some purpose. All good either way you go.

 

As for maintenance I suspect there will be a growing number of can-bus bikes from all manufacturers on the market and the computers you need in your tool box to manage the brain will become more plentiful and less costly going forward. At least you can still do your own valve adjustments And I change oil at 1/2 of what the computer demands, so I take it in every other time for a code check and to cancel the service warning.

 

Hope that helps you sort out your choice.

 

Anyway I went for the R1200RTlc and love it. After 16 years the RT is a very different bike. In some ways its personality is more like a sport touring bike from Japan(meant in a good way). I still like to strafe the corners and found the 2015 handling to be awesome when blasting through the curves . In super slow speed turns it would even wheelie on a WFO exit (if the traction control is turned off). In every measure it is superior to the R1100RT...except two. I will always love the bodacious curvy body panels of the 1999 VS the Star Wars angular lines of the new RT and my Sargent Seat is on order!

 

 

Well stated! The new Harley does handle surprisingly well ... for what it is. Not a RT for sure but I was shocked they year I put 6000 miles on the Ultra Limited in Colorado and New Mexico and over 3 of the taller passes in eastern CO. And yes the Harley seat is hard to beat. But I still preferred being a BMW guy and not Harley guy. And love the function over form vs form over function.... good analysis.

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"Road trips?"

Please elaborate.

Slab point A to B is a road trip.

Back roads to the mountains and technical roads, 1500 mile weekends is a "road trip."

Solo, 2up?

What speed do you cruise at?

What mods have you done to the R 1100?

What would you change you haven't?

 

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My road trips tend to be a few days in length running about 500 miles/day. It's solo riding, never a passenger. I prefer back roads but use the slab if I have no good option for short segments. I'm not a particularly fast rider, generally 5-10 over on backroads and near posted limits on the slab. Locally, it's just backroad riding as I live in a rural area. I like curvy roads but tend to have wide "chicken strips" because speeds enough to generate serious lean angles are really too fast for the visual lead (we have lots of deer around here).

 

Significant mods on current R1100RT: Sargent seat (standard height), Suburban machine lowered footpegs. I'm not into farkles.

 

What I would change on the R1100RT: Sargent seat could be a bit softer, with my 29 inch inseam, I would like to sit a little closer to the ground (but that would bend my knees more, causing other problems), better tire life

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Totally get you on the deer. Damn things make it well into the metro area here. Wisconsin may have as many deer as people.

 

Based on your stated riding preferences I was wondering if you would consider a Polaris product? They have done interesting things with their Indian and Victory lines over the last few years. I think many of their models beat HD on lean angle before metal bits touch the road.

 

Maybe the killer variable is access to local a dealer, but can't be any worse than BMW

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Just got a note from my local BMW dealer and the 2016 deals are getting even BETTER !! As I stated earlier there are quite a few RT's out at dealers. None in the warehouse but they are out there.

 

jan-feb.gif

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Interesting problem in making a choice I have a 2015 RT first BMW ever owned its the best bike all around I have ever owned had problem with throttle by wire twice finally fixed on second breakdown. Have had numerous Harleys Japanese bikes way back starting in 1966. I am 69 years old not a fast rider but do long trips. I have owned 3 Harley dressers 1974, 1997 and a 2009. each year there were huge improvements and I would bet the 2017 Harleys would be the best. Your choice of a street glide might be tough I think the seat is different the windshield is short not much protection. The best for your type of riding would be the road glide base model. I still own two Harleys a softail slim and a v-rod so have not given up on the brand. Try the beamer get one fully loaded and enjoy send me a private message if you like I will talk to you on the phone if you like

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Thanks for the great advice. Here's some more information.

 

My riding style is more touring than sport.

 

I'm 5'7", 29" inseam and am in decent shape for my age.

 

I prefer standard ergonomics but can't deal with much knee bend for any length of time. For example, I have sat on an FJR and I think that would have me in pain within 200 miles. My RT with original footpegs also caused issues for me when the seat was in a low position.

 

I have a few hard requirements: antilock brakes, shaft or belt drive, and tubeless tires.

 

I have decent basic mechanical abilities, but don't get into things like major rebuilds or anything requiring exotic tools. I can handle all the routine maintenance on my RT.

 

Bikes I have looked at so far:

 

H-D Street Glide: rented one for a day in 2014, tested a 2016 model. Nice highway bike. Ergonomics are kind of wonky compared to my RT, but I think I could adjust.

 

H-D Switchback: tested a 2016 model. Everything I need and nothing more. Kind of like a cushy version of the Sportster that I owned before the RT. But wind turbulence off the standard windshield was really bad; no deal without solving that.

 

H-D Electra Glide Ultra Low: way more bike than I need or want.

 

Victory: Salesman was trying to steer me to a Vision. Nearest dealer about 80 miles away.

 

Honda F6B: too dang big, but it sits nice, and it might be fun to have 6 cylinder locomotive. I might try one.

 

I'm thinking that I need to test a new RT, and maybe consider a look at a lowered GS. What other bikes should I be considering?

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I prefer the Road Glide to the Street/Electra Glide.

Better wind protection. With the lowers on, they are

just about perfect for colder weather.

Btw... I own a Switchback. That is my summer bike.

It has been discontinued.

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The deals on RT's are getting better and better. Just got an e-mail on this one

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/322383512970

 

The GS would be a great choice too and the lowered suspension does not reduce ANY leg room as they just shorten the suspension travel and if you are not planning any heavy duty off road stuff you would probably not even know it. The GSA is the best handling Bike I have owned. I love my RT's but the GS is the best on twisty roads. And they pack up like a pack mule.

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That's my nearest dealer - about 120 miles away. I think they have this one advertised as a "demo" on their website. If the weather was better I might go over and take a look...

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I might take a look at the Road Glide. I like the looks of the Street Glide, but if the RG functions better...

 

If you are going to consider the Road Glide you owe it to yourself to look at the Ultra Limited. Both are better long distance bikes than the Street Glide which has much less suspension travel and a seat that is not as all day comfy! In either case if you go the Harley route you REALLY REALLY should look at used since there are a ton of one and two year old Harleys with low miles. The market is flooded and they are a bargain!

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Since I owned and loved a 05 Road Glide I can say it is my favorite Harley. It is a traveler for sure. The fixed front fairing is what makes it so nice in going down the road. They have come a long way from that 88" motor though and have also worked the suspension a bit so a good bike is probably way better now. I am not sure what platform you have to go to to get the new water cooled on the Road Glide but I am sure it is a very expensive entry fee.

 

That said I would never go back to a Harley since the 07 LT and the 15 RT. Nothing compares in my mind to those two bikes.

 

IMHO for it's weight to power, carrying ability, and all the tech nothing beats a RT LC. Add that it is a boxer motor that you can work on yourself and do maintenance on like any other boxer a good deal for us poorer owners. Valve checks are simple. But you need to deal with Tupperware for checking coolant and changing air filter. I have had her naked so many times my girl is pretty jealous :-)

 

And when you price out a RT LC and a Harley with water cooling your eyes age going to bulge out on what that Harley costs.

 

But we ride what we like and each to whatever floats their boat. Enjoy your quest on finding "the" bike and have fun doing it. It is not often in my life where I am able to get a new bike so to me it was a thrilling experience checking out new bikes. I hope it is for you also.

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Couldn't agree more LAF. I've owned two Hex heads and a K1600 GTL and now a 16 Wethead. There is no doubt that the RTW does it all and does it the best of the previous bikes. I know the K bike was a super touring scoot but very heavy and difficult to work on.

 

GT

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No one else to satisfy but you. Enjoy your search.

Well, let's not forget the Misses in this decision, or in Harley speak, the Ol' Lady! :grin: Forewarned, there's very little chance of going back once introduced to the BarcaLounger. :read:

 

091316-Harley-Davidson-Ultra-Limited-16034.jpg

 

Pat

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TEWKS Check on that...kept my lady as far away from those seats as I could when shopping, or the decision would done.... and a land yacht class machine would be in my garage now instead of the RTW. Since she actually only rides less than 10% of the time, I was not going to have her involved in the decision.

 

It was a case of buy it and beg for forgiveness! Spent every last good boy credit for the RT and never regretted it.

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FYI that BMWCCA has extended its rebate program of $400 on R bikes. You must have been a member for at least one year but every little bit helps. Dealers are offering 3K plus discounts on 2016 leftovers.

 

As for this Harley deal, to each his own...

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Pretty simple .... Harley for comfort and RT for handling. The Harley is one big heavy motorcycle but like a Lincoln Town Car is comfy rolling down the road. The RT is a great touring bike with amazing handling and power. Pick your passion! Both do certain things well.

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It was a case of buy it and beg for forgiveness! Spent every last good boy credit for the RT and never regretted it.

 

Strictly solo mount here; wife has no interest in riding (probably lost interest after a few short rides on the back of my old Sportster)

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It was a case of buy it and beg for forgiveness! Spent every last good boy credit for the RT and never regretted it.

 

Strictly solo mount here; wife has no interest in riding (probably lost interest after a few short rides on the back of my old Sportster)

 

No offense, but who in their right mind wouldn't.... :P

 

Now put her in one of the comfortable pillions, with minimum exhaust sound, weather protection, heated seat, etc...

Brand new ball game.

:wave:

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It was a case of buy it and beg for forgiveness! Spent every last good boy credit for the RT and never regretted it.

 

Strictly solo mount here; wife has no interest in riding (probably lost interest after a few short rides on the back of my old Sportster)

 

No offense, but who in their right mind wouldn't.... :P

 

Now put her in one of the comfortable pillions, with minimum exhaust sound, weather protection, heated seat, etc...

Brand new ball game.

:wave:

 

What? And ruin your freedom?

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And the daddy of them all would be the Gold Wing. It handles, It is smooth, It is luxurious, It is quick. And is liquid smooth.

And weighs a ton :-)

 

The only history I have with the Wing is a ten minute test ride. No idea how I don't have one in the garage, it was that nice. :thumbsup: I think they only weigh half a ton though. :rofl:

 

 

Pat

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It was a case of buy it and beg for forgiveness! Spent every last good boy credit for the RT and never regretted it.

 

Strictly solo mount here; wife has no interest in riding (probably lost interest after a few short rides on the back of my old Sportster)

 

No offense, but who in their right mind wouldn't.... :P

 

Now put her in one of the comfortable pillions, with minimum exhaust sound, weather protection, heated seat, etc...

Brand new ball game.

:wave:

 

What? And ruin your freedom?

 

Taken in the best way possible. :grin:

 

But, some of us find the freedom to live our life in a manner we want that incorporates the most important person in their life in what they do.

YMMV

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So, I read $3,250 off on new 2016 RTs in a post earlier in this thread.

I thought that's about what it would take to clear 2016 inventory.

Nice deal..

If you can get your dealer to take off another grand on their end...that much better.

 

I did test ride a 2017 GSA and I thought the newly rejiggered transmission is noticeably improved over my departed 2014 RT and 2015 GS, but for those who don't notice or don't care...

A new, fairly loaded, 2016 RT for 18ish, that'd be smokin' good....

 

Edited by DMilan
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Ever heard of an FJR1300 ? You'll save yourself some grief and have money left over for goodies. Goes pretty good as well and smoooooth.

 

I considered that as well, but sat on one in the showroom and didn't like it all that well. It's more of a sporting posture than my RT, and that's not the direction that I want to go.

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Well, never mind about my Victory suggestion....Polaris just killed the brand, just leaving the nostalgia driven Indian for their motorcycle offers

 

If I was in the market for a Street Glide I'd consider the Magnum X-1 especially if they lopped off say, five or six, ok maybe seven grand from list. :thumbsup:

 

Edit

Wow, google is telling me I was right on the money. ;)

http://indianofpcb.com/Motorcycles-Victory-MAGNUM-2017-Panama-City-Beach-FL-1c44b7de-c707-4f67-98cd-a690016952a4

 

Pat

Edited by TEWKS
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Well, never mind about my Victory suggestion....Polaris just killed the brand, just leaving the nostalgia driven Indian for their motorcycle offers

 

Well, I'll be damned. Can't say I blame them.

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I think Winston Churchhill got it right.... It might be cheap today but when I wake up in the morning this bike will still be ugly as soap....or something like that :)

 

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This has indeed become a strange world in which I find myself. As in who in their right mind would ever consider buying an HD over a BMW? They are about as different as any critter I can think of. If HD was all there was in this world I would flat give up motorcycling and my back would thank me as well!! In fact if HD was all there ever was I would never have even started riding a MC in the first place. In over 40 years on two wheels, mostly BMW, I have never ridden a Hogley Ferguson and I figure I'm the better for it.

 

End of rant and I do feel better. BMW or Harley, jeez....I MEAN WTF???

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Different strokes for different folks and all.

 

If it has two wheels, be it a scooter up to a land yacht class touring bike, does it really matter if the machine makes you smile when riding it?

 

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