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I had a chance to ride the new R1200 GS, so I hopped on the V-Strom and rode down to the dealer so I’d get a nice fresh comparison. I'd have to say I'm impressed with many aspects of the Beemer’s latest big adventure tourer. Why? It's like riding a Japanese bike in many respects. Seating is very upright. Bars are higher than the Strom, but the seat to peg is less and the pegs are further back. I like the seat, nice and firm, and in the low position I'm flat footed. CG seemed a bit lower for the GS, but the Strom had a full tank when I rode in and the GS only about a quarter, so that may not be an accurate impression. Controls are all light. Don't like the hydraulic clutch, takes up right at the bottom of lever travel. First surprise - finally a tranny that works. I dropped it into first and not earth-shaking clunk. Older oilheads would register on the USGS seismograph in Menlo Park when shifted... Actually, I wasn't even sure I was in gear. Hated the servo-assist on the brakes at low speed. Fine once you're going faster than a walk. Under way the bike seemingly turns into a UJM... The counterbalancer takes the big rumbly vibes and turns them in to little sharp ones. No rock when you blip the throttle, but it feels like my buddy’s four cylinder FJR. The tranny reinforces that, shifting easily and quietly into all gears except neutral. Underway the bike is light and nimble. The Telever really soaks up bad pavement. They engineered a bit more dive into the front end than earlier GSs I’ve ridden. Fine by me. Getting underway, I was struck with the lack of torque. Until you get to 5k or so it's pretty flat, particularly compared to the Strom. At higher RPM it ran very well, but I’d guess the Suzuki still faster. It did run seamlessly, no surge or stall, as plagued some recent Beemers. I didn’t try any dirt as the waiver I signed said I was responsible for any damage. I think the power brakes would really suck at low speed offroad. But the GS did very well in the limited time I had it. I got up to about 100 and with the adjustable screen (all the way up...) protected pretty well. Some buffeting at the top of my helmet at that speed, but it moderated as when I slowed to an indicated 80 and wasn’t really bothersome. I stopped and lowered the screen. This just buffeted more. No real twisties, but it handled some big sweepers well. Nits? The instruments are easy to see, but bounce around some. They’re rubber mounted in a little pod and jiggle over bumps. It really sounds like a sewing machine. I like the sound of the V-Strom, even with the stock pipes it sounds like a motorcycle. Someone will do well selling aftermarket mufflers for the GS.
Some of my issues I’m sure relate to the newness of the bike. It had only 300 miles on the odo. All in all though the R12GS is a very competent, comfortable motorcycle. Would I buy one? No, unless I can get on the bandwagon early enough to turn a grand or so profit by selling it right away. Is it better than the Strom? No, and certainly not $5.5K better. Like any motorcycle purchase, you need to look at how the bike works, and how it works for you.
 
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Interesting report on your R1200GS ride. I just read the Rider Magazine test report in the May issue. They state that even at low speeds "it pulls like an ox with little shifting required", but you got the impression that it didn't have much torque at low speed. Maybe they didn't jump off of a V-Strom right before riding the Beemer.

The funny thing is that from the Rider mag report, I really thought I'd like the R1200GS. From your report, I'd pass - even if I had the 15K plus to spend on one. I'm not interested in a twin that doesn't feel like a twin. I'm not interested in a motorcycle that doesn't sound like a motorcycle either.
And I still think that BMW's servo-assisted brakes are an answer to a question that nobody asked.

On the plus side, a BMW suspension does soak up rough pavement better than anything else I've ever ridden. And it's a shaft drive. I hate chain drive. You can explain to me all day long why a chain is better for this and that - but it don't matter - I'd rather not have one on my motorcycle.

Thanks for sharing your ride impressions with us.
 
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Pauljo said:
...You can explain to me all day long why a chain is better for this and that - but it don't matter - I'd rather not have one on my motorcycle.
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:twisted: I'll tell ya what -- I won't explain the merits of chains, and you don't have to explain the merits of shaft drive. That way, neither of us will be corrupted! :D
 
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texbridge said:
I'll tell ya what -- I won't explain the merits of chains, and you don't have to explain the merits of shaft drive. That way, neither of us will be corrupted! :D
Aw, too late. I'm already corrupted. I've got that V-Strom with the yucky chain drive thingy in my garage. :?

But it is Yellow, sounds nice with the Remus cannisters, has plenty of power, feels like a V-Twin - and it didn't cost $15K.

And I'll confess, I'd love to have a new Triumph Thunderbird Sport parked right next to it. See, a lot of the bikes I like do have chains.

But I still hate chain drive... Can't change that. 8)
 
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I've only had one shafty -- my old Yamaha XS11. Well, it wasn't old at the time. :cry: I have to admit I liked the shaft drive a lot. I even drained the gear oil from the shaft and rode it 400 miles before realizing I hadn't put new oil in :oops: I put another 50K miles on that bike with no problems.
I had a lot of respect for Yam after that episode.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
I had 5 Japanese shaft drives (1 Yamaha, 2 Hondas, 2 Kawasakis)
and one used BMW R65 shafty. No problems - and I put plenty of miles on several of those bikes. The only shaft drive I'm aware of that requires regular maintenance and has been somewhat prone to failure is the BMW paralever arrangement - which requires periodic spline lubrication, and still wears out eventually (but you'd probably go through four chain and sprocket sets in the same timeframe).

Prior to my '03 V-Strom, my last chain drive was a 1983 Suzuki. When I bought my V-Strom, the sales manager and the service manager both laid the spiel on me (modern O-ring chain drives are so good blah, blah, blah). Actually, I heard exactly the same spiel back in '83...

Well, we will see how this O-ring wonder does with minimal maintenance. I am not going to install a chain oiler, and I am not going to spend a lot of time cleaning it and lubing it and talking nicely to it. I'd rather spend that time riding. If it wears out 1500 miles sooner than if I had fussed with it, I'm OK with that I guess.
 
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Thanks for the report!

I test rode the 1200GS a couple weeks ago. It really is superb and should be for $7000 more (in Seattle). Is it $7000 better? No.

I was impressed with the Beemer's suspension, but after having my 'Strom's stock fork springs replaced with Progressive Suspension's newly available springs for the 'Strom along with thicker fork oil, I'd be hard pressed to tell which bike is better in that regard and that mod was less than $250 including labor and sales tax.

I have to admit, the Beemer's engine is light years better than the 1150GS, but is it better then the 'Stroms? I wouldn't even put them in the same class. The 'Strom's v-twin feels more powerful and even with stock pipes, the 'Strom's engine is music to my ears, heart and soul.

As for the chain, it's not been that big of a deal and the 'Strom is the first bike I've had in 10 years with a chain. I just carry a can of HondaLube's chain oil (it's a SUPERB product) in one of the Givi side cases, and once a week after riding the bike for 30 minutes or so, I just pop it up on the center stand, spin the rear tire, spray it down and let it sit for an hour or two. The Honda product has close to nonexistant fling and I REALLY hate bloody chain fling! It was highly recommended by a buddy who's a serious sportbike nut (he has 11 bikes less than four years old) and he said it was the only product he's found that did the job well without making a huge mess.

I have a Scottoiler sitting on my workbench that I've been meaning to install, but for now the Honda product is convenient enough that I'm in no hurry until I get the bike ready to do a LONG tour later this summer.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the tip about the Honda chain lube, Woofy. I'm ready for a new can o' lube and will give it a try.
Speaking of chain lube -- I've been using a little device called a "Z-Chain Oiler" for a couple of years now. Very handy. When I'm on the road, I just snap the thing on my chain, attach the can of lube, spray for a few seconds and then push the bike about twenty feet and it's done. No overspray. Anybody else use one of these? 20K miles on my ZRX1200R and the chain and sprockets still "look" new. Mind you, looks can be deceiving lol!
 
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texbridge said:
Thanks for the tip about the Honda chain lube, Woofy. I'm ready for a new can o' lube and will give it a try.
Speaking of chain lube -- I've been using a little device called a "Z-Chain Oiler" for a couple of years now. Very handy. When I'm on the road, I just snap the thing on my chain, attach the can of lube, spray for a few seconds and then push the bike about twenty feet and it's done. No overspray. Anybody else use one of these? 20K miles on my ZRX1200R and the chain and sprockets still "look" new. Mind you, looks can be deceiving lol!
Hmmm....never heard of it. Where did you get it??? It sounds like something I want to pick up...
 
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Woofy said:
Hmmm....never heard of it. Where did you get it??? It sounds like something I want to pick up...
I'm definitely going to try the Honda chain lube. The Suzuki brand stuff I've been using does fling off really bad, even if you let it sit overnight.

That Z-Chain Oiler is elusive. I tried several web searches and got lots of hits for "Pit Posse", who I've used before. But when I go to their website the device isn't listed anywhere. I couldn't find anyone that currently lists it.

I did find an interesting chain alignment tool at several sites. Price variance between them was about 1 dollar.

http://store.azmusa.com/motprochaina.html
 
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Well that's freaking depressing. :(
I just tried the same searches and came up with zilch. :x
I'm sure I got the thing from Dennis Kirk. It is [or was] made by Finish Line. They are [or were?] a big player in the bicycle business, with a few motorcycle thingys. It was also sold by Whitehorse Press, but they don't seem to list it either.
The last time I looked at Road Rider in San Jose, they had a couple hanging on the wall near the chemicals. I'll check on Saturday, and if I find them, I'll buy up the whole lot. Aarrgghh. And to think, this product was one of the major reasons I'd started liking chains again! :evil:
 
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texbridge said:
Aarrgghh. And to think, this product was one of the major reasons I'd started liking chains again! :evil:
Whew! Close call!! Now that this gadget has disappeared, I don't have to start liking chains.. :wink:

Has anyone tried this alignment tool thingy?
http://store.azmusa.com/motprochaina.html

It seems like it might be easier to use than either the tape measure or lazer level methods, and I'm definitely leery of those swingarm tick marks at this point.
 
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Sorry Paul, I don't have that one. If I did buy it, they'd probably discontinue it. :lol: I agree, tho, it seems like it might be a good way to align your bike....
 

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I drove a friend's of mine GS a couple of times. Had a wee than. It felt weak. VERY weak. Up until 6000 rpm, no power surge, sth you could feel on the wee at about 4500-6000 rpm. The brakes were great, seat was great, geometry a bit slower than the strom, but still good, suspension a bit soft, tranny good on the go , but stationary not very informative, paralever felt good, but what remained as an overall memory, was the lack of power. Six months ago, I got a Vee , and again drove the GS. The lack of power feels terrible now and would under no circumstance buy one. Even if smb gave me one, I would sell it and buy a strom.
 

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the gs1200 is a great bike on paper.
in real life, it's probably better to own a wee, and i'm sure the vee is much better than the gs.

however, if the gs's brakes are as good as what i experienced on the k1200gt, i'd trade my wee for it, especially if it gave me the power of the vee.

uh, wait a minute, no! i'll keep my wee, and maybe buy a used k1200gt once the wee is paid for. then i'll have the best of both worlds.

nice review. it's good to get impressions from someone who can compare the beemer to something they know.
 

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I drove a GS while I owned a FZ1S, which had Sumitomo monoblock 4 piston calipers and high pressure tubes. Comparing brakes , they were equal. Very informative, very strong , very trustworthy. The FZ brakes were also on R1, so you can imagine they're good...To sum up, the GS had very similar feeling while braking. Strong , and safe.
I would not dare compare the lack of power of the GS with the maddening R1 motor , the FZ had...
 

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Sorry Paul, I don't have that one. If I did buy it, they'd probably discontinue it. :lol: I agree, tho, it seems like it might be a good way to align your bike....
FYI- This thread is 6 years old.
 

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Well, since this old thread has been revived, I'll add some comments since I used to have a Wee and now ride an '08 GS.

Someone mentioned that they thought the GS seemed less powerful than a Wee. That's far from true, although the GS does feel gentler at low RPMs, with none of the snatchyness of the Wee. I think the fine throttle control, which is useful on slippery roads or just going slow in parking lots, can give the impression of less power, but turn up the throttle and it definately out acellerates a Wee. This is particularly true when fully loaded for an extended trip. Maybe you drove an 1150 GS? It had alot less power than the ones shipping now. I've never been on Vee, but from what I've read it is probably similar to slightly slower than the 105 HP GS that was for sale in '08 and 09, especially roll-on in top gear. The '10 is expected to have more HP.

The servo brakes mentioned by the OP have been gone since '07, and the new ones are far better than the Wee's. The suspension allows far better control than the Wee's under hard braking too. Someone mentioned that the suspension on the GS was soft compared to a Wee. That depends entirely on how it has been set up. It has a much larger range of adjustment than the Wee, which enables it to handle much better when fully loaded. In fact, handling with a full load was the main reason I looked at the GS in the first place. I was happy with my Wee aside from that.

The Wee is a great bike, especially for the price, but don't think for a moment that it's better than a GS. In fact, aside from a slightly better tank range I can't think of a single thing it did better than the GS, and there are quite a few the GS does better than the Wee. I don't mean to trash the Wee. I loved it when I had it, and if I couldn't afford a GS I would still have it, but you do get something for the money you pay for the GS. It's a matter of personal choice if what you get is worth it to you.
 

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I guess what Avocet says is true cause I see the GS my friend drives while I'm on my Vee, and it goes equally fast and good while driving fast. So maybe , it was my lack of expertise on the GS that made me not to drive appropriately , and therefore think of it as weak. Also, I did not rev it above 6000rpm, so did not see much of its power, which , as my friend told me, comes above that. BUT ...we are talking about a 1200cc engine here. It should have out-torqued the Vee in less rpm. On paper, the torque is more than the Vee, in much less rpm!! While driving it , you feel nada. On a vee , the power surge comes good a little less than 4000rpm and above. Shouldn't it be better, or at least similar on the GS?? Isn't it a shame to have a 1200cc engine (and 15000 worth on-off bike...) that shows its teeth above 6000rpm with the red in the tacho so close after? So , what does a GS do when it wants to go really fast on a twisty road? Always keep above 6000rpm??while on a Vee (with 200 less cc) one can go really fast just keeping it above 3500rpm??
And maybe it was just my impression , and I'm wrong. Maybe there is much torque and the thing goes fast while you just don't feel it. But...isn't that also a shame???........
 

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Well, since this old thread has been revived, I'll add some comments since I used to have a Wee and now ride an '08 GS.

In fact, aside from a slightly better tank range I can't think of a single thing it did better than the GS
I ride with a bud that has an '07GS and I carry a BMW tow rope. That should give you a clue as to what the Wee does better.:thumbup:
 
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