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RE: GS questions


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I've been an RT rider for 20 years.  Will continue to be an RT rider.....but if you were going to buy a GS or GSA to add to the fleet, what would you buy?  What would be must have's and nice to have's?


My riding style in 99.9% street.  The occasional beach ride in sand would be nice. For dirt, I ride my Penton.  My rides are generally 250 to 500 miles single day.  Average ride is in the country (paved) and about 250 miles.  99.9% is in daylight with night only by poor planning on my part.  I ride with a couple of folks who have pretty new GS's and seems like they are always stopping for gas when I still have way over 100 miles left on my RT.  I'm concerned about that, but also concerned a GSA might be too big.


Weather protection is pretty important here in SE Texas as afternoon rain showers are common.  I don't plan to ride in rain, but it happens often.  If I were to add a bike I would expect 5-6000 miles a year in addition to RT miles.


I'm 6 feet even and about 190 lbs.  I don't want to buy new but would buy 1-3 year old.  Almost certainly would have to be of the water generation.  Recently retired now with time to ride.  I'm in good shape and good stamina





Thanks for you thoughts.

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Have owned Camhead and Wethead RT’s as well as Wethead GSA (low).  Similar riding as you’ve described and see no reason to not get a used GSA.  The small sacrifice in weather protection (better than GS BTW) is more than offset by the range (you really don’t feel much difference with full tank) and with the standard protection offered on the GSA tip overs in sand are not consequential like they would likely be on the RT. Buddy and I rode our GSA’s to Alaska over a month’s time and really can’t imagine doing it with anything but a GSA. Buy one and the RT will languish in the garage. 

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I would say if there's no doubt the RT is staying, a GS would be my pick. Lighter & more air flow are the two main differences that make owning the two Bavarian beauties justifiable.

(If you need justification, some don't :grin:)

Me, I'm getting to where one BMW might make more sense to own, so, a GSA would mix a little RT & GS IYKWIM.

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I own both a '16 RT and a '18 GS and just a few months ago swapped my '12 GSA for my GS.    It really is a personal decision like most motorcycle decisions but while I loved my '12 GSA I really prefer the GS.  As noted above it is lighter and for me handles a bit better.   It is also easier to get up on the center stand when full loaded.  In addition while the GS has a tad bit less leg room I am 6'3" tall and find the ergonomics to be really good.   But again that is my perspective.  Best would be to go sit on and ride both and see which one floats your boat. 


Range on the GS is less than the GSA but should be close to that of an RT.  (the only think I miss about my '12 GSA is that monster nearly 9 gallon tank ... although I never used it all up it was just nice knowing that at 200 miles I still had close to another 200 if needed)     I can run 300 miles on my RT and so far have gotten just over 250 miles on the GS but have not pushed it.   Wind protection is a bit less on the GS than the RT but not that much less than the GSA.   The real advantage of the GSA seems to be all the "stuff" you get .... upper and lower crash bars,  Adventure Bag mounts, etc.   But for the difference in price you should be able to outfit the GS exactly how you want it.   And if you wait a month or 2 there should be some good end of season deals on 2019's.   I saved about $6000 off list on my 2018. 


Good luck! 

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If you decide on a GS, get some brand of "touring" windshield. I have a Puig which is great, but there are other good options as well. The GSA has a bigger OEM windshield which is most likely sufficient.

The other thing you may want to do is to add handguard extensions (I went with Givi) as this improves cold weather comfort.

Most people find that setting the seat to high in front and low in back is the most comfortable.

I have done multiple 600 mile days and find the GS more comfortable than my hexhead RT was. YMMV

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Is range determinant in the decision?

If not, GS.

If yes, no brainer.

You can find a preowned bike with the right farkles, esp if you're willing to fly/ride.

But, if there are some epic trips on the horizon, get the GSA.

You'll be flad you did and resale easy, IMO.

Best wishes.

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Thanks guys....I'm in Texas so airflow is important.  I love my wethead RT and will be keeping it.  The GS or GSA will be an addition to the toy list.  I'm leaning towards GS based on above comments but am concerned about range.  Not that I can't stop and fuel...I just don't like to do that until ~250-275 miles.  Sounds like that is the only real downside to the GS.  With aftermarket shields, cases, hand guards, etc it will probably do all I need it to do.


I will go ride/test both to be sure and wait for EOY.  Spoke wheels or??

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You won't be running 75-80 and get 250+ miles on the GS. At least not without dipping hard into the reserve. I too like the range the RT and GSA have. Just something I want.....


You mentioned riding the beach. Like Surfside.....Well, I have done that on the V Stroms. My advice is don't try it. Being particular about your bike, I can not see you happy after the bike takes a sand nap. And there are few places that the bike will take a nap quicker than in sand. Dirt roads and such, have at it!

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1 hour ago, Skywagon said:



I will go ride/test both to be sure and wait for EOY.  Spoke wheels or??


Evening Skywagon   


Depends-- alloy are easier to clean but spokes are LOT stronger/forgiving in off-road conditions (but a pain to keep clean). Plus if you want to look the GS adventure type rider  than spokes it MUST be as alloy are not serious off-road wheels.

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Spend the extra or negotiate hard for the aluminum panniers. The plastic Varios are ok but they plug up with dust and do not like to adjust when that happens. 


Edit...if the choice is a regular GS. You're halfway there with the GSA so a no-brainer.

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I had a 2006 1200RT, and I now have a 2015 GSA (factory-lowered).  If you are concerned about range, the GSA's tank is 50% larger than that on a GS (30L vs. 20L).  That's a big difference.  That's the primary reason I chose the GSA over the GS, when I moved from the RT in 2015.  I ride almost exclusively on pavement, but it's nice to venture onto gravel/dirt roads without thinking much about it.  


EDIT:  as for the spoked wheels, I don't find them hard to keep clean at all, but maybe that's because my version of clean is not someone else's.  I just use a wash mitt dunked in a pail of soapy water, then rinse with a hose.  They look fine to me.  I don't spend any more time on them than I did with my RT's cast wheels, in fact, I probably spend less time.

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So couple of follow up thoughts .... Range on my 2016 RT is easy 275 and I know 300 is very doable.   So far range on my 2018 GS is easy 250 and the little computer guy tells me at 250 I still have more miles left.  The GS consistently get 50 MPG.   But if range is really an issue or concern then you'll have to go GSA but that is probably the only real comparative negative with the GS. 


Wheels?   All of my GS's ('02 1150, '12 GSA and '18 GS ) have had spokes simply because that is what was on the bike I wanted at the dealer.   I am extremely anal and OCD and while the spokes take a tad more work to keep spotless they are not as bad as a I suspected.  They are stainless so if you keep up with them they will sparkle.  The cast wheels are easier but I think the spokes look better and am told are a plus at resale time. 


As noted by others some things you would want to consider are taller shield (on both but on GSA you can get by with just one of those clamp on extensions , crash bars or cylinder guards (on GS)  and hand guard extensions (on both GS and GSA)  Oh and on either get the windshield stabilizer. (Ztechnik makes a nice one) 


And of course side cases.  That is really a personal preference.  I have had both and they both have their benefits. 



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An interesting topic.  The GS is lighter, but the GSA has more fuel.  The '16 GSA Low/Low in the garage does better on fuel at 70+ than the Super Tenere, but worse at <60 speeds.  Still, easy 275-300 mile range from the 7.9 Gal tank.  The wife likes it, (her bike), for several reasons, including the range and ergos.  She's 150lbs, so if she can handle the weight of the GSA, I'm sure you would have no issues.  It's not a dirt bike, but you have the Penton for that kind of fun.


For your 99.9% street riding with some desired beach or light duty off pavement riding and the stated desire to keep the RT, have you considered a mid size bike?  You probably give up range, but at the end of the day is stopping for gas once during the day really that big a deal?  Or even twice?


I have no idea of your preferences and what style attracts you.  The 410 lb wet weight of a Ducati Scrabler, (for example), is far under the weight of the GSA and would likely do well on light off pavement terrain.  The F700/800GS or F800GSA is another alternative to consider at ~500 lbs.  There are a host of other standard configuration bikes in that weight class.  Yes, you're giving up weather protection.  But you're not riding hard on the interstate either.  Gear choices can mitigate much of the lack of weather protection for day rides and traveling the miles each day on a trip that you have suggested you do.


You can run off pavement or 50/50 tires and ride a GS/A over very rough terrain.  The amount of skill and work to do so goes up compared to a lighter bike.  But then, you could ride the RT over many gravel roads and sand too, with the accepted caveat that a drop would be more costly than on a bike with crash bars.  Explore the options and see what excites you or fits your needs.

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