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Jharpphoto

GS vs RT

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Jharpphoto

I've had several iterations of my beloved RT.  Currently I ride a 2011 RT and couldn't be happier with it.  It does everything I ask with aplomb.  Lately however I've had an itch for a newer GS 1250.    I mostly do day trips but occasionally do longer rides.  The majority of my riding is commuting however so my bike needs to serve multiple purposes.   I guess my question is am I crazy?  What would I miss about my RT?  What will I love/hate about the GS?  Just spit balling here but curious about those that have experience on both steeds?  I'm going to attempt to post this on the GS forum as well to see how the answers differ.  Thanks in advance for your feedback.  

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Rougarou

I've had my RT since 2010 and put over 130k on it.  Long trips and mainly as a commuter (currently 100 mile round trip).  Purchased the '19 GSA in October and it's got nearly 8k on it.

 

Ummm,....the RT, it gets ridden once or twice every couple of weeks.

 

What you'll miss, maybe, maybe not, the electric windscreen and maybe the overall wind protection.  The side and top case take a bit of adjusting as their not as roomy, but I'm good with that.  Also, if you do get one, lock the front clasp on both of the side cases........if'n you don't, and you forget to latch it, the wind just may fly it open and slightly bend the rear clasp/latch,.....I dunno, but this may happen to you,.......twice.

 

The bike is really a comfortable ride.

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AZgman

I had 2 RTs, a 2003 1150 and a 2007 1200. Loved them. As I got older, I started to get shoulder pain during longer rides (>300 miles). I now have a 2017 GS (lowered) and no more shoulder pain! I ride exclusively on the road. I changed 3 things on my GS to "improve" it for road only riding mode. 

 

1) Swapped the stock windscreen for a Vtechnik one (medium size)

2) Added handguard extensions (Givi)

3) Went to the Pirelli Scorpion II tire

 

Love, love, love this bike!

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TEWKS

Any fire road exploration desire? If you answer yes then it's a GS. If you could image an RT that feels like it just finished a one year boot camp program, then it's a GS. If you want to be the baddest mofo in the local Starbuck's parking lot, then it's a GS! :grin: Seriously, both are nice rides but, the versatility of the GS is hard to beat. Test ride? :dontknow:

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Jharpphoto

my neighbor has an '18 GS that I ogle often. He's offered to let me take it for a spin but I've yet to take him up on it.  Looks like that would be a good idea.

 

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RandyShields

There is a reason that there are more GSs showing up now at board gatherings than RTs.  The RT is an exceptional bike, but more on the touring side of the spectrum.  Smooth, stable and good weather protection.

 

The GS is more on the sport side.  It is much lighter and more nimble.  In twisties with two equal riders, the GS wins easily.  And you can load it up with the right luggage set up.

 

I was hardcore into the RT (an 1150) and resisted the urge to consider a GS for a long time as I saw the migration occurring.  Finally, I broke down and rode Right Spin's on a trip to AL after his frequent urgings.  That was it; time for a GS.  (See the red 2005 in my avatar.)  Then after moving to a K1600 a few years later, and not being able to keep up in the mountains, I came back to the fold with a wethead GS.  Fantastic engine and even more nimble than the first one.  It is just so enjoyable to ride.

 

You might want to look up a 5-7 year old comparo on sport tourers on Motorcycle Consumer News (if you can find it online).  They did their normally through job of comparing several leading models of the day.  Then, the article ended with a teaser about the follow-up article in the next issue.  Well, what they ultimately concluded in the next article was that the 1200 GS, acting as the carry-all mule bike for the sport touring test, was actually their favorite sport tourer!  Every one of the testers wanted to ride it and not the subject bikes.  Pretty amazing.

 

Good luck on your evaluation process.

 

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Skywagon

GS weight  per BMW 549 RT 615

GS Fuel 5.3 RT 6.6gallons

 

I love the GS, but the challenge for me has been fuel and protection.  I've ridden the new ones and man I like it.  I ride with a couple of guys on GS's and they start looking for fuel around 180-190 miles.  Most of the time that's ok but sometimes its just a PIA.  The extra 50-60 miles on the RT suits my riding pattern better.

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TEWKS

The GS...A takes care of the fuel range and offers weather protection a little closer to an RT. David, I know you know but, just feeling a little chatty. :rofl:

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LBump

GSA fuel capacity 7.9gal  

Weight is about 30lbs. more than the GS.

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Hosstage

I looked at a GSA at the show this winter, that tank is huge, looks top heavy. It approaches Boss Hoss dimensions at 11 gallons.

I might consider a GS if I didn't need 5 more inches in my inseam even after lowering it. The damn seat comes up to my nips.

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Rougarou
45 minutes ago, Hosstage said:

I looked at a GSA at the show this winter, that tank is huge, looks top heavy. It approaches Boss Hoss dimensions at 11 gallons.

I might consider a GS if I didn't need 5 more inches in my inseam even after lowering it. The damn seat comes up to my nips.

 

Might ye be reminded of this little lady:

 

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mickeym3

Have a 30 inch inseam and could flatfoot my GSA with low suspension. And you know what they say about a boxer’s weight, soon as you get moving it seems to vanish and that’s even full of fuel. 

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Hosstage

Well, I'm kind of partial to the RT, it fits my riding style better, I spent 10 days with one in Europe, and I was smitten. My knees weren't real happy, but I could live with it. It is now on my short list when it comes time for another bike, also the reason I joined this forum.

And, that girl can ride!

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TEWKS
On April 6, 2020 at 9:46 AM, Jharpphoto said:

my neighbor has an '18 GS that I ogle often. He's offered to let me take it for a spin but I've yet to take him up on it.  Looks like that would be a good idea.

 

 

Just a thought if you do demo your neighbor's GS and he has 50/50 or more dirt biased tires mounted. You may say to yourself, self, WTF are these guys talking about? This thing rides like crap! :old: Tires can change the gs's personality dramatically depending on its intended use.

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Rougarou
1 hour ago, TEWKS said:

 

Just a thought if you do demo your neighbor's GS and he has 50/50 or more dirt biased tires mounted. You may say to yourself, self, WTF are these guys talking about? This thing rides like crap! :old: Tires can change the gs's personality dramatically depending on its intended use.

 

Hint, don't test ride, just buy if'n you know you want it based on what the bike is capable of.  Not a one street bike I have purchased did I test ride.

 

R1200RT-First time I sat on it was when it arrived in my garage

Honda Shadow-First time I sat on it was when I rode it home from the dealership for the wife

HP4-First time I sat on it was when I off loaded it from the trailer at my house

GSA-I sat on it at the dealership, but didn't ride it until I got it home and rode to work the next day.

 

:18:I'm different that way, comfort is subjective, ergonomics you can adjust/adapt to. 

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TEWKS

Funny, I test rode almost all of my potential bike purchases, not my Ducati though. Limited supply at the time, bla bla bla. :whistle: Anyway, I pulled away from the dealership and immediately started to sweat. (not kidding) I was like, holy crap what did you just do? :classic_wacko: It was rude and crude compared to my RS at the time. Now, as corny as it may sound, that bike has become the bike love of my life. :classic_love: I doubt I'll ever sell it. :dontknow:

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Jharpphoto

Thanks for all the great replies and insight. I’m really digging into the research and seeing lots of cool videos and reviews. I think my wife would divorce me if I got another bike.

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TEWKS
8 hours ago, Jharpphoto said:

I think my wife would divorce me if I got another bike.

 

Hey, it's another bike we're talking here.  How do you guys "really" get along, anyway? :dontknow: :rofl:

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Rougarou
9 hours ago, Jharpphoto said:

Thanks for all the great replies and insight. I’m really digging into the research and seeing lots of cool videos and reviews. I think my wife would divorce me if I got another bike.

 

There's plenty of women in the world!!

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taylor1

Richard , I'm guessing your wife doesn't read  your posts  :4315:

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scout6

Had three older RTs, and a 2015GS before my newest 2019GS.  I really liked all of the bikes.  Got the GS for a few reasons (shorter gas legs was not one of them).  I like the fact that this thing is meant to be tipped over (with the right guards).  The bike is light, handles great, and is a blast to drive.  Found that I really do not miss the body work, but do miss the power windscreen.  Other than that, don't miss a thing.  I waited for the GS to come out with cruise before buying for highway slogs.  I also wanted a factory lowered, as I am not long of leg.  So, love the GS, but only did off roading with another one at the Motorcycle Relief Project.  Learned a lot, and found that the more off road tires do just fine on the pavement.

 

20150718_072614.jpg

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Rougarou
11 hours ago, taylor1 said:

Richard , I'm guessing your wife doesn't read  your posts  :4315:

 

We're extremely open and bluntly honest with each other:19: She's heard me reference that line before.......it's all in jest, but is it really;)

 

 

 

 

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Dave_in_TX
On 4/6/2020 at 12:36 PM, RandyShields said:

The GS is more on the sport side.  It is much lighter and more nimble.  In twisties with two equal riders, the GS wins easily.

 

My money is on the RT in the twisties.

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Dave_in_TX

I currently own a 2014 GS that I've put over 120k miles on. Previously, I had a 2017 and 2011 RT which I put a combined 250k miles on. The weather protection on the RT is definitely better but the GS is better in that regard than I expected. I've added Wunderlich wind deflectors that help considerably in that regard. In spite of what some others have said, I miss the RT's better wind protection when riding at highway speeds for extended periods on really hot days. When temps are in the double digits, too much hot air flowing at you just makes you hotter. A mesh jacket behind the RT's fairing has worked better under those conditions than any combination of textile jacket and strategically opened vents.

 

As for handling, I found the RT to be better in the curves than the GS, although a GS can come close when fitted with the right tires. That big 19 inch front wheel on the GS takes a lot more effort to turn that isn't completely compensated for by the wider handlebars.

 

What mostly I prefer about the GS are its ergonomics. I'm short but the GS gets seems to fit me better for long trips. I suspect that it may be the wider bars but the RT would give aches in the shoulder blade area that the GS does not. The GS does have the advantage of having off pavement ability but my miles have been almost all on pavement.

 

Either one is great for eating up miles.

 

For anyone not planning to off pavement riding and considering an RT or GS, I would recommend also considering the RS. It has better wind protection than the GS but not quite as much as the RT. I sate on an RS at the Sargent booth at the MOA rally in Salt Lake that was fitted with bar risers and their seat and found it very comfortable. The ergos felt almost RT like.

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Hosstage
On 4/6/2020 at 2:32 PM, Rougarou said:

 

Might ye be reminded of this little lady:

 

 

The more I thought about this, while this girl can ride a big bike well, I don't see her riding in traffic, especially stop and go. I don't think the practice of sliding off the side of the bike to hold it up with one leg would play well on the street. Would it even be legal to ride that way? Two up, no way!

So while I applaud her skills, her technique won't work for me.

RT it is.

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twistyguy
On 4/6/2020 at 3:32 PM, Rougarou said:

 

Might ye be reminded of this little lady:

 

She was the boss of the GS until she crashed on the NEBDR and cracked a valve cover!  Luckily they found a beer can, cut out a patch of aluminum and JB Welded over the crack and they were able to get out of the woods.  I do tip my hat to her though--gutsy rider.

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Rougarou
On 4/18/2020 at 1:02 PM, Hosstage said:

 

The more I thought about this, while this girl can ride a big bike well, I don't see her riding in traffic, especially stop and go. I don't think the practice of sliding off the side of the bike to hold it up with one leg would play well on the street. Would it even be legal to ride that way? Two up, no way!

So while I applaud her skills, her technique won't work for me.

RT it is.

 

What about this guy (only three inches taller than her), I doubt he got it just for the trails:

 

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Hosstage

That's great, but he never stopped at a light in traffic. I'm not saying I can't ride a tall GS, I'm just saying I'm not sure I can ride it smoothly in stop and go situations. Especially two up. He was pretty funny though! Nice John Wayne technique.

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Rougarou
50 minutes ago, Hosstage said:

That's great, but he never stopped at a light in traffic. I'm not saying I can't ride a tall GS, I'm just saying I'm not sure I can ride it smoothly in stop and go situations. Especially two up. He was pretty funny though! Nice John Wayne technique.

 

I got a low GSA and I'm nowhere near flat footing the bike (and that's with the bike and seat in lowest setting), most times, it's toes down only, or for long lights, left foot flat, right foot on peg.   The same goes for the RT, never been able to flat foot it either.

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dduelin

Flat footing is overrated.

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Rougarou
37 minutes ago, dduelin said:

Flat footing is overrated.

 

Yep.

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Hosstage
47 minutes ago, Rougarou said:

 

Yep.

 

I have to admit, being inseam challenged, it is rare that I flatfoot a bike, motorized or other.

Fine, maybe I'll take a GS for a test ride. But I really like the RT!

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Rougarou
5 minutes ago, Hosstage said:

 

I have to admit, being inseam challenged, it is rare that I flatfoot a bike, motorized or other.

Fine, maybe I'll take a GS for a test ride. But I really like the RT!

 

Ya, I'm telling ya, my first ride was the day after I got mine home and the RT has been like the stepchild in the corner since.  The GS is, I think, a much better riding bike.

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Warren Dean
2 hours ago, dduelin said:

Flat footing is overrated.

 

Not everyone is a trials rider....LOL   :)

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Hosstage
2 hours ago, Rougarou said:

 

Yep.

 

I have to admit, being inseam challenged, it is rare that I flatfoot a bike, motorized or other.

Fine, maybe I'll take a GS for a test ride. But I really like the RT!

 

Alright, I'll come clean.  Um, well, ahh shoot, I'll just say it.

The GS is ugly. I mean, "Who would wear this hat? But it looks good on you" ugly. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I mean, it looks good on you...

Whew, I feel better now. So, yeah, RT. (Not a great beauty either, but, I can deal with it. At least the bags match the bike!)

 

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Rougarou
8 hours ago, Hosstage said:

 

I have to admit, being inseam challenged, it is rare that I flatfoot a bike, motorized or other.

Fine, maybe I'll take a GS for a test ride. But I really like the RT!

 

Alright, I'll come clean.  Um, well, ahh shoot, I'll just say it.

The GS is ugly. I mean, "Who would wear this hat? But it looks good on you" ugly. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I mean, it looks good on you...

Whew, I feel better now. So, yeah, RT. (Not a great beauty either, but, I can deal with it. At least the bags match the bike!)

 

 

My bags are color coordinated along with the wheels.  Olive drab (I don't care what color BMW says it is), goes well with black :18:  The silver bags would have clashed severely.  C'mon, it's a fashion show,

 

 

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RandyShields
8 hours ago, Hosstage said:

Alright, I'll come clean.  Um, well, ahh shoot, I'll just say it.

The GS is ugly. I mean, "Who would wear this hat? But it looks good on you" ugly. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I mean, it looks good on you...

Whew, I feel better now. So, yeah, RT. (Not a great beauty either, but, I can deal with it. At least the bags match the bike!)

When I had my RT, I used to give my GS friends all kinds of grief for the same reason.  Now that I have made the switch, not so much.  Agree that the RT is still way better looking (particularly the 1100s/1150s), but man, what a difference in the riding experience on the GS.  

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BamaJohn

Randy:  would you mind sharing what percentage of on-road vs off-road riding you do?  just curious...I love both the GS and RT.

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Warren Dean
On 4/12/2020 at 5:54 PM, scout6 said:

 

 

20150718_072614.jpg

 

 

THAT is the proper way to park a GS...  :4322::4322::4322:

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Hosstage
1 hour ago, Warren Dean said:

 

 

THAT is the proper way to park a GS...  :4322::4322::4322:

It hurt me to see a bike that way, then realized, nah, it's supposed to be like that!

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scout6

I was staying at an Air Force base with Army stickers and plate.  I am choosing to think that the wind knocked her over.  Small mark on crash bar, small scrape on bag.  Otherwise, no serious damage.

Quote

 

 

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RandyShields
6 hours ago, BamaJohn said:

Randy:  would you mind sharing what percentage of on-road vs off-road riding you do?  just curious...I love both the GS and RT.

John, I have now had two GSs since the 1150 RT, as well as a K1600GT that I still have.  Total percentage of time for off road on the GSs has always been very small: 10-20% up until a few years ago.  After the initial Michelin Anakees, the bikes have run basically TKC 70s, great 70-30 tires.  But for the last year or two, I've only done maybe an occasional  gravel or fire road connector here and there.  Since I mainly now only ride on road, in the fall, I put pure road tires on the GS (Michelin Pilot Road 4 Trails).  More informative perhaps, when I got back from my 9000 mile cross country trip last summer, I remarked to some friends that, while I love the engine and weather protection of my K1600GT, if I had to do it over again, I would have ridden the GS.  Plenty of protection, very capable to go cross country, and just more fun to ride.

 

Randy

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BamaJohn
2 hours ago, RandyShields said:

John, I have now had two GSs since the 1150 RT, as well as a K1600GT that I still have.  Total percentage of time for off road on the GSs has always been very small: 10-20% up until a few years ago.  After the initial Michelin Anakees, the bikes have run basically TKC 70s, great 70-30 tires.  But for the last year or two, I've only done maybe an occasional  gravel or fire road connector here and there.  Since I mainly now only ride on road, in the fall, I put pure road tires on the GS (Michelin Pilot Road 4 Trails).  More informative perhaps, when I got back from my 9000 mile cross country trip last summer, I remarked to some friends that, while I love the engine and weather protection of my K1600GT, if I had to do it over again, I would have ridden the GS.  Plenty of protection, very capable to go cross country, and just more fun to ride.

 

Randy

Thanks for the generous reply Randy...I'd love to hear more about the 9000 mile trip.  Thought I was big boy, doing 6000 miles on a trip, but I was a mere amateur!  

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RandyShields
2 minutes ago, BamaJohn said:

Thanks for the generous reply Randy...I'd love to hear more about the 9000 mile trip.  Thought I was big boy, doing 6000 miles on a trip, but I was a mere amateur!  

My Westward Ho ride tale is here -- you can read the details of each day in Ride Tales!

 

https://www.bmwsporttouring.com/topic/92077-westward-ho-torrey-and-beyond/

 

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BamaJohn

Good stuff Randy!  Awakened memories of many places I've ridden.  Lived in Denver area 6 years and rode much of area you rode; worked in Natchez some; need more riding time in your area.  

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