I just sold my 08 RT, it had about 24k miles on it. I have an 09 Wee with about 3500 miles on it, and put 400ish miles on a rental Wee before I bought mine. I don't know that I'm 'informed', but I am 'experienced', mostly with the RT. I've never ridden an LT. I rode a GS when I bought my RT, but had zero off road intentions so I went with the RT. Most of my RT comments apply to the GS as well.
My observations on RT vs Wee...
* Purchase Price
An RT is going to be near 20k. Mine was just under 21k. Yes, they start much lower than that but it can be difficult to find one without all the options. A Wee is nearly a third of that, coming in around 7k depending on ABS.
My RT with Progressive was $425 annual, with State Farm, $280. The Wee with Progressive was quoted at $850, State Farm $260. Likely not a big deal, but you might check if money is a factor.
Using MCN values, an 07 ABS Wee (7499 MSRP) is worth 5105, 68% of it's original value, an 07 RT (~19k MSRP) is worth 11755, 62% of it's original value.
Wee, 1yr unlimited miles, RT, 3 yrs, 36k miles.
The RT has 6k mi service intervals. My actual costs for dealer service were $342 @ 600 mi, $249 @ 6k, $334 @ 12k, $268 @ 18k, and $639 @ 24k.
I don't have comparable numbers for the Wee, as I'm doing most of the service myself. Both bikes are very user maintainable for the most part. The BMW requires the dealer computer for reading and resetting codes as well as bleeding ABS brakes. There is an after market solution, I don't know if it will handle the brake bleed. The Wee from 07 on needs the dealer computer for doing a Throttle Body Sync, my local dealer quotes $90 to do it.
In the summer time it can take as much as 4-6 weeks to get a routine service appointment at my local BMW dealer. The local Suzuki dealer seems to be days out most of the time.
If you service your Wee by the book you'll clean and lube your chain diligently every 600 miles. The BMW shaft drive needs lube changes every 12k, other than that no maintenance is required.
OEM Brake Pads are nearly $300 for front and rear on the BMW. I went through my first set in 12k, was getting close to due at 24k. The Wee is about half that.
I replaced tires on the RT at about every 6k. They were pretty much toast at that time. The rear would be approaching wear bars, the front would be cupped very badly. I tried three different brands, the 6k experience is typical. I see Wee owners at 6k, some at 12k, some beyond.
I typically got high 40s for fuel mileage on the RT. I typically get low 50s on the Wee, it burns regular.
* Aftermarket support
You can spend a lot of money on farkles for the RT/GS and/or the Wee. All of them have great support from many vendors.
* Dealer Network
There are five BMW dealers in Oregon, seventeen Suzuki Dealers. There are major parts of the US that are very sparse from a BMW dealer perspective.
* Riding in Town
For me, this a hands down win for the Wee. It's lighter, feels *much* lighter, and is *much* easier to maneuver at low and slow speeds. The RT has a very tall first gear which can be challenging at times. The dry clutch on the RT was more difficult for me to smoothly operate than the Wee clutch.
* Riding in the Twisties
Again, for me it's the Wee, but I'll emphasize that most of my twisties are <60mph and I'm on the conservative side. I have just as much fun on the Wee, but it seems to be less effort. I also find the power on the Wee to be more useable.
* Riding on the slab, or riding more than 60mph
This goes to the RT. It has superior wind protection and more power. It will cruise comfortably all day at 85mph and likely beyond.
* Riding two up
This goes to the RT, it has more room and more power. I weight 300 lbs, my pillion is about 150. Add the gear and that's a lot to haul around. The Vee would be better than the Wee from a power perspective, but not as roomy as the RT. I have an HD Electra Glide we use for two up, my Wee is 100% solo. The HD suits us, it's very comfortable, and an easy ride, which is what I'm looking for two up.
The RT brakes are incredible. The Wee not so much. :-)
The RT suspension is better, the Wee can be improved with aftermarket parts, but it will not every be as good as the RT.
I find the Wee engine to be smoother, more predictable, and more useable than the RT. The power that the RT can produce when necessary makes freeway speed passing and steep climbs easier. Vibration is more pronounced for me on the RT.
Every motorcyclist has a friend that knows a friend that had a bad BMW experience, or so it seems. I hear a lot more about BMW issues than I do about V-Strom issues. I'm not convinced there is a huge difference. I suspect BMW owners have high expectations, and as a result make a bigger deal out of any little thing.
* Finally :-)
I think you need two bikes. A wee for the commute and *fun* solo riding, and something else for the two up touring. You can tour the country quite nicely two up on an RT, LT, Gold Wing, HD, FJR, ST1300, etc. If you and your pillion aren't large, then a Vee might be a good all around choice.
I'd also encourage you to ride as many as you can. Ideally for a weekend, and as close to back to back as you can. Then decide what you like. And from a touring perspective, spend a weekend on an HD touring model and a Gold Wing. You might be surprised what works for *you*.
2009 R1200GS Adventure
2009 Wee ABS (for sale)