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ESokoloff

Cam or Wet Head?

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ESokoloff

My 03 RT is getting to the age/miles that I'm concidering an update/upgrade.

I've narrowed my sights to either a cam or used wet head GSA.

 

Price of admission is a concern so that favors a cam head that has low miles & pleanty of extras.

 

What are the advantages & disadvantages of each?

 

My wife & I had a 2003 KGT that pulled off the line quite nicely two up whereas the 2003 RT struggled.

I'm hoping with the extra HP, torque, & lower gearing either model GSA would work well.

 

What are the best luggage options?

Can only BMW cases be keyed to the ignition key?

 

What are some must have accessories?

 

Any issues with a particular year?

 

Any & all (constructive) advice appreciated.

 

:lurk:

 

 

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mickeym3

When they went wet they picked up quite a bit of usable grunt and they are very refined compared to prior years. I went from a 2011 Camhead RT to a 2014 RT and power and smoothness were definitely noticeable (~10% feel meter), only your bank account will determine if it's enough. My 15 GSA was a better fit for me but at the sacrifice of some weather protection. You can pick up brand new 16 RT's for 18,500 but if you want to stay well below that then a 2011 Camhead RT is your best bet; only gremlin could be switchgear if it hasn't already been straightened out. If you think you're going to do some off road then a GSA is a heck of a bike; particularly if you don't think you'll ever have to pick it up while loaded with gear. For accessories I think the wonder wheel/Nav V (with VI coming in March) integration is really a nice feature. Shift Pro (sorry, Wethead only) is nice, as is hill start, keyless ride and central locking (RT only) as little extras.

 

Also, if you're leaning toward GSA's then venture over to advrider.com Somebody is ALWAYS selling some very nice examples, but expect to pay about what a new 16 RT goes for to get any wethead example.

 

On GSA's only the BMW alum panniers and top box can be keyed to the bike but since they are made by Touratech others can vouch if others can be keyed as well. On RT's the BMW top box can be keyed to the bike as well, used examples (one in classifieds right now) can be found pretty easy.

 

JMHO

Edited by mickeym3

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JR356

Think you would be happy with either choice.

 

As stated above,the camhead gained HP,the WC that much more.

Some right side heat issues on the WC GSA,not present on the WC GS or the camhead.

Several options for bags that fit the stock WC GSA racks,but none keyed to bike besides BMW.

The updated ESA on the WC bikes is great.

As delivered in US,most WC GSA come fully optioned,minus bags and they seem well set up,as delivered.not many changes needed.

Even the windscreen and saddles seem to be pretty good as delivered.

Get the NAV V or soon available NAV VI,the integration into the bike makes it a must have on the WC bikes.

 

My 14 WC GSA has been great,intend to keep it for a long time.

 

JR356

 

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ESokoloff
When they went wet they picked up quite a bit of usable grunt and they are very refined compared to prior years. I went from a 2011 Camhead RT to a 2014 RT and power and smoothness were definitely noticeable (~10% feel meter), only your bank account will determine if it's enough. My 15 GSA was a better fit for me but at the sacrifice of some weather protection. You can pick up brand new 16 RT's for 18,500 but if you want to stay well below that then a 2011 Camhead RT is your best bet; only gremlin could be switchgear if it hasn't already been straightened out. If you think you're going to do some off road then a GSA is a heck of a bike; particularly if you don't think you'll ever have to pick it up while loaded with gear. For accessories I think the wonder wheel/Nav V (with VI coming in March) integration is really a nice feature. Shift Pro (sorry, Wethead only) is nice, as is hill start, keyless ride and central locking (RT only) as little extras.

 

Also, if you're leaning toward GSA's then venture over to advrider.com Somebody is ALWAYS selling some very nice examples, but expect to pay about what a new 16 RT goes for to get any wethead example.

 

On GSA's only the BMW alum panniers and top box can be keyed to the bike but since they are made by Touratech others can vouch if others can be keyed as well. On RT's the BMW top box can be keyed to the bike as well, used examples (one in classifieds right now) can be found pretty easy.

 

JMHO

 

So the switch gear might be an issue?

How about the fuel strip? Had that issue been resolved?

Compression went up a bit on the WC (12:1 to 12.5:1).

 

 

From what I've noticed, GS models command a higher resale then other models.

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ESokoloff
Either model year will have no problem pulling two up, loaded. (the bike) :grin:

 

There's about a ten thousand dollar savings if the right deal can be found. A quick search came up with this 2011 with acceptable mileage.

 

https://www.cycletrader.com/listing/2011-BMW-R-1200-GS-ADVENTURE-120332915

 

 

 

 

 

Pat

Found a nice one on this coast.

https://www.cycletrader.com/listing/2012-BMW-R-1200-GS-ADVENTURE-120799619

The guy got the bike & outfitted it for a "bucket list" ride to Alaska with a few of his budy's.

 

I'm just not yet ready to pull the trigger tho.

Hopefully there are more like this one out there.

 

As far as pulling, a four cylinder makes power twice as often as a two cylinder so I have to think that makes a big difference.

 

 

 

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ESokoloff
Think you would be happy with either choice.

 

As stated above,the camhead gained HP,the WC that much more.

Some right side heat issues on the WC GSA,not present on the WC GS or the camhead.

Several options for bags that fit the stock WC GSA racks,but none keyed to bike besides BMW.

The updated ESA on the WC bikes is great.

As delivered in US,most WC GSA come fully optioned,minus bags and they seem well set up,as delivered.not many changes needed.

Even the windscreen and saddles seem to be pretty good as delivered.

Get the NAV V or soon available NAV VI,the integration into the bike makes it a must have on the WC bikes.

 

My 14 WC GSA has been great,intend to keep it for a long time.

 

JR356

 

Well I've had my RT for 14 years & have put 136k on it (had a few other bikes during this time as well).

 

A wet head sounds appealing but at the same time unappealing due to the increased complexity (water & increased electronics).

 

Might just hang onto what I have & wait for more used WC to come to market.

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tallman

Eric,

Wish I could help wrt 2up on those bikes.

Haven't done, no need.

Just sold my '03 GT, and yes, for 2 up it is excellent.

Could walk away from earlier RT/Gs bikes even 2up, until technical roads.

For me, the issues would focus on weather protection needs, pillion buffeting, maintenance, and if you were going off roadish.

All the newer bikes are pretty good, IMO.

For me. a separate key for bags wasn't an issue w/GIVI topcase, sometimes I think I'd rather not have keys the same, many resons and a second key not a bigiie to me. One reason was that if you left/dropped/lost etc a luggage key the bike would still be safe from starting by finder of lost key.

There is a big dif between the GS and GSA as I'm sure you know.

GS totally out of picture?

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ESokoloff

Hi Tim

 

Two up capability isn't a primary factor but if my RT replacement has sufficient punch, it just might save me from having to get another bike should my wife decide to ride with me again.

 

Like you, we had a 03GT.

Nicknamed it Bat because it kinda resembled one from the front & it went like a Bat out of Heii.

 

The brick GT was a very capable stead but I felt the RT was a better choice for a single/only bike.

 

As far as how it handled in the tight twisties....

It would do it quite well but with more effort then the RT.

 

The non Adventure has a smaller tank then my 03 RT so I see that as taking a step backwards.

Also I'm assuming that the larger tank will offer better weather protection (albeit marginal).

Also the extra gards on the Adventure offer easy mounting points for auxiliary lights or what nots.

 

Not sure I would take it off road much due to its mass.

I once had a Honda XL650 & it was a pig off-road (as compared to my Suzuki RM250).

That was a looong time ago.

 

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Skywagon

Go to a dealer and test the new RT and ask the salesperson to ride on the back with you. Set the suspension. That will give you the idea of whether it has the grunt or not you need. You might be surprised. I don't ride 2 up with the wife unit, but had to give a fellow rider a lift when his bike broke down. I would guess his weight at 160lbs or so and mine is around 200. The bike was more than capable of handling it. I set it for 2up luggage and the suspension was plenty as well.

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tallman

Eric, the range of the GS is well over 200 miles, usually enough. but, YMMV.

A demo would be good, as suggested. The GSA is a great bike, but it is a lot when the tank is full, again, YMMV.

It definitely has more weather protection and comes set up differently than the Gs, but the GS doesn't lack especially as a solo ride. So many around here can attest to that.

Good predicament to be in.

Any folks you know with the newer bikes?

Otherwise, only your own demo saddle time will provide what you need to know.

Good luck.

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TEWKS

If there's a preference for an inline engine, How about the Explorer? I test rode one a while back and it was enjoyable. More road bike than not but, as you know, all the big adventure bikes lean that way.

 

Wrong coast again but...

 

https://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/mcy/5982444711.html

 

00b0b_jniJFNgkVK5_600x450.jpg

 

Pat

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TEWKS

A visit over to ADV talked me out of talking you into a Triumph. :grin: Not sure which year Explorers were having engine issues (assumed it was sorted) but this is out of a 2013.

 

792e820fc6e56db8262babf6dbc0c1de.jpg

 

Pat

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ESokoloff
Go to a dealer and test the new RT and ask the salesperson to ride on the back with you. Set the suspension. That will give you the idea of whether it has the grunt or not you need. You might be surprised. I don't ride 2 up with the wife unit, but had to give a fellow rider a lift when his bike broke down. I would guess his weight at 160lbs or so and mine is around 200. The bike was more than capable of handling it. I set it for 2up luggage and the suspension was plenty as well.

 

It's my understanding that the GS final drive is geared lower then an RT so not a true test.

 

I'm not going to test ride a waterhead because I'm afraid what it would do to my pocket book :dopeslap:

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ESokoloff
Eric, the range of the GS is well over 200 miles, usually enough. but, YMMV.

A demo would be good, as suggested. The GSA is a great bike, but it is a lot when the tank is full, again, YMMV.

It definitely has more weather protection and comes set up differently than the Gs, but the GS doesn't lack especially as a solo ride. So many around here can attest to that.

Good predicament to be in.

Any folks you know with the newer bikes?

Otherwise, only your own demo saddle time will provide what you need to know.

Good luck.

Well I typically get 250+ per tank with 305 as a personal best but with great effort.

Don't want to get a smaller tank.

From what I remember, the hex/cam head took 50# off the motor (compared to an oil head).

The wet heads gained 20# over a hex/cam head.

I'm assuming either one will be at or below the weight of a 1150RT.

 

I rode a neighbors hexhead RT & didn't notice a huge difference

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ESokoloff
A visit over to ADV talked me out of talking you into a Triumph. :grin: Not sure which year Explorers were having engine issues (assumed it was sorted) but this is out of a 2013.

 

792e820fc6e56db8262babf6dbc0c1de.jpg

 

Pat

 

OUCH!!!!

 

Think I'll just stick to a boxer.

The design offers more protection (weather, crash, & apparently wallet).

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TEWKS

What's not to like there. :thumbsup: Didn't check the book but I'd feel better at $13,000. Use the 2011 2012 (lie :grin:) in Florida @ $11,900 as a negotiating tool. ;)

 

The extra crash protection and especially, the highway pegs by Adventure Design is a great addition. It's very nice to stretch out on the longer rides.

 

My 12 reg GS hasn't had any switchgear issues and no fuel strip in this GSA AFAIK, float.

 

Pat

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ESokoloff
Did you see the '09 Dennis linked to in CROTD thread?

http://seattle.craigslist.org/est/mcy/5984324370.html

Looks like a good bike for a good price.

 

Tim, I'm looking for a GSA's not an RT & specifically Hex vs Wet head.

Never did like the lines of the last style RT.

I like the current version of the RT but want to stay away from painted bags as well as have a truck like theme that the GS(A) offers.

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ESokoloff
What's not to like there. :thumbsup: Didn't check the book but I'd feel better at $13,000. Use the 2011 2012 (lie :grin:) in Florida @ $11,900 as a negotiating tool. ;)

 

The extra crash protection and especially, the highway pegs by Adventure Design is a great addition. It's very nice to stretch out on the longer rides.

 

My 12 reg GS hasn't had any switchgear issues and no fuel strip in this GSA AFAIK, float.

 

Pat

 

Well I already told him I wouldn't haggle on the price and to keep in touch.

Who knows, if it doesn't sell perhaps he will lower the asking price & I'll be ready to take the plunge.

 

It is a nice total package.

 

Good to learn that BMW abandoned the strips & hopefully got the switch gear figured out.

 

 

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