Why a GS 1200 ? - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
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    Hi Guys. Its a bit of a puzzle to me, or more like phenomena that in N Ireland my bike - 2017 f800gt stands out as a rarity against the floods of GS 1200, 1250 and earlier models of these GS style and very expensive bikes.
    What i dont understand, go on guys tell me !!! , is why they so popular. I know many riders of them .NON of them ride these GS over rough terrain. In fact i guarantee 999 out of a 1000 of them have never left a A class or even B class road. So why buy these off road looking bikes. Some will say the easy riding postion. Good point, but other more sporty BMW models are comfy too.

    I love the look of the f800gt and st bikes. However there is a good camaraderie over hear
    Between all the bmw riders. I even get fed up nodding my head as each one passes to indicate hi ya.

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    Honestly, I think it’s partly due to great BMW marketing, starting with the Long Way Down series. The 12x0 GS has become an icon of Adventure motorcycling.

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    Yeah, I often wondered what happened to the guy that made the final decision not to give them the KTM’s that they wanted.
    He said there was no way they would make it. I bet he & KTM regretted that decision.
    When they asked BMW, they said sure we’ll sponsor you. Have Fun.
    The rest is history.
    07 F800 ST 

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    I think it has to do with camaraderie. Whenever I see a picture of a GS, it is usually with the rider and about six guys pulling his GS out of a river or something where it should never have been. Without a GS, he'd never meet people like that.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
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    The GS has long been BMW’s best selling bike globally. Regardless of how owners actually ride them, it’s a highly capable motorbike and deservedly popular.

    I have a Porsche sports.car and have never taken it over 75 mph (not that I could, legally). Still, I enjoy it just the same as those GS riders who never venture off the tarmac, Also, in seven years of ownership, I’ve never taken my F800GT over 5000 rpm. Just because you can doesn’t imply that you should or that you’re less of a person if you don’t.
    2013 BMW F800GT | 2015 BMW R1200RT | 2014 Honda CB1100 DLX 

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    There is no question it’s a great bike. However, there is definitely a lifestyle and image component to the marketing. Owning a 1200gs makes you feel like an ADVrider. KTM missed the boat big time with Long Way Round/Down.
    Last edited by Kb-f700gs; 2 Weeks Ago at 10:41 AM.

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    One of the big advantages of the GS and other adventure bikes, is the suspension. Some of the worst roads I've seen in my travels, are right here in the Puget Sound area. I'd seriously consider an adventure bike next, just for the suspension.

    Another thought that I'm sure goes through others minds, is simply what happens if I drop it. With the F800GT, you're going to mess up a lot of plastic. With any kind of GS, one of the top items on the farkle list is crash bars.

    There's other advantages too, like the ability to sit up high and see over the traffic.

    I made a bit of fun with my earlier post, but in all seriousness, buying an "adventure" bike means I can take it anywhere. I own a Subaru Outback, and that idea sits in the back of my mind. I'd like to take it on some back forest roads...but just haven't. And I'm sure GS owners feel the same way.

    Chris
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    Apparently the long way round bikes experienced quite a few reliability issues, although it was quite a tough test. I can't help feeling that the F800 series GS's would have handled the trip better, had they existed at the time. If your chain snaps, simply and quickly replace. If the drive shaft malfunctions, you're stuck. Nothing against the big GS, in fact I've heard that for road use they are excellent. The F8GT is better looking in my opinion and quite unusual with its single swing arm and belt drive. A few years ago, a group of us were stopped in France by the Gendarmes. The other guys on GSs and Suzuki V-Stroms were fined for exceeding the speed limit. The only thing the police wanted from me was a chat about whether I liked my "unusual" bike and how I rated the belt drive. A few of them spent several minutes examining the GT and marvelling at its strange and unique configuration.
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    it has always been clear to me that BMW, at least with the oil-heads and beyond, was jumping into the SUV market that is now a major market for automobile manufacturers - since it is tough to design a motorcycle pickup truck. I have ridden the big GS and was impressed with its comfort, suspension and handling, but I sure wouldn't want to take it on a single-track trail, especially without a group of friends riding along with me to lift it up if it fell over. I don't think "road-hugging" weight is what you really need while riding off-road.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Right Hand Drive View Post
    Apparently the long way round bikes experienced quite a few reliability issues, although it was quite a tough test. I can't help feeling that the F800 series GS's would have handled the trip better, had they existed at the time. If your chain snaps, simply and quickly replace. If the drive shaft malfunctions, you're stuck. Nothing against the big GS, in fact I've heard that for road use they are excellent. The F8GT is better looking in my opinion and quite unusual with its single swing arm and belt drive. A few years ago, a group of us were stopped in France by the Gendarmes. The other guys on GSs and Suzuki V-Stroms were fined for exceeding the speed limit. The only thing the police wanted from me was a chat about whether I liked my "unusual" bike and how I rated the belt drive. A few of them spent several minutes examining the GT and marvelling at its strange and unique configuration.
    The 800gs would clearly be much easier to manage in the dirt, but would not provide the comfort and cargo capacity they needed for the 20K mile trip. At one point in Long Way Round the cameraman’s 1200gs broke down and they bought him a cheap/small Russian bike to ride through Mongolia. He absolutely loved it in the dirt.

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    provide the comfort and cargo capacity they needed for the 20K mile trip.
    No question that the larger GS's are well designed travel machines and the people who I know that have them, mostly ride them on pavement or gravel roads. The advantage I've seen is that they are capable of carrying a ton of gear. As a rule the owners are older and they want to take as many comforts along as they can, ie; larger tents, larger air mattress, chair, pots/pans, coffee pot, etc.. Even fully loaded they are able to easily and comfortably cruz at 75 down any stretch of road. It's just like my 800GT and a guy on a FJR or Goldwing. Around the campground they are "ruffing it" a whole lot less than I. But, I can pick mine up alone and I'm packed up and down the road way before them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Right Hand Drive View Post
    Apparently the long way round bikes experienced quite a few reliability issues...
    I remember reading on the MOA forum of a GS rider from Texas who was on a three-week trip to Alaska and back. In the boonies of Alaska, his final drive failed. No warning. Parts were not in the state. And the two motorcycle shops in the area said that even with the parts, they didn't have the tools.

    Quote Originally Posted by XR1000 View Post
    ...Even fully loaded they are able to easily and comfortably cruz at 75 down any stretch of road...
    I'm not surprised. I've had cars with smaller engines and a third of the horsepower.

    Chris
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    i am considering one as my next bike, if i like the ride. As mentioned above, it's the bikes equivalent to the SUV of the car world. The can do anything vehicle. Mostly where i live (not far form London) they are/were used by a lot of people for commuting into town, and you see a good chunk of them with 100k+ miles on.

    My Old Man had one and loved it, did plenty of miles and touring on it no issues. I would probably go for an older one, with less tech to go wrong.
    BMW F800ST, 2010, Black, Fuzeblock, Sat Nav, BMW Tank Bag, Givi Touring Screen, Spotlights, 50K Miles 

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    DJ123 if you are considering a big GS can I suggest also considering a Yamaha Super Tenere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RidaMile View Post
    DJ123 if you are considering a big GS can I suggest also considering a Yamaha Super Tenere.
    Already did! My old man got one after the GS. I love the Engine and the ride, but found it quite top heavy. I know they are a bit chunky at about 250KG, add any luggage on to it and its up there.
    BMW F800ST, 2010, Black, Fuzeblock, Sat Nav, BMW Tank Bag, Givi Touring Screen, Spotlights, 50K Miles 

  23. #16
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    I just feel trying to take a 500+ lb. bike off road is asking for trouble. As someone else as said, just because you can do it..........
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  24. #17
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    I think the question is why people buy a GS12X0 when they won't take it off-road.

    Chris
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daboo View Post
    I think the question is why people buy a GS12X0 when they won't take it off-road.

    Chris
    Why do people buy an SUV when they don't need the additional space over a compact car? (Safety when ramming a smaller vehicle, perhaps? )
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by crna59 View Post
    I just feel trying to take a 500+ lb. bike off road is asking for trouble. As someone else as said, just because you can do it..........
    I wasn't suggesting taking the S10 off-road. The thread seems more about the GS being popular despite it not being taken off-road as Daboo iterated.

    I rode my S10 over about 600 miles of dirt roads last weekend with another 600 miles of quiet back roads thrown in. The big advantage of those bikes for me is the ability to point the nose of the bike up any road that catches your eye and doing that can lead to interesting and scenic routes that most (most) average riders would not take their road bike along.

    If I were looking for an off-road bike or rather just looking to ride a bike off-road regularly, I'd pick something lighter than the S10. And lighter than an R1250GS, too.

  27. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daboo View Post
    I think the question is why people buy a GS12X0 when they won't take it off-road.

    Chris
    Mercedes G series, Toyota Land Cruiser, Range Rover, Land Rover Defender & Discovery . . . all very popular cars that get driven exclusively on the road, depsite the car having very good off road capability.

    The GS is the Motorcycle equivalent. Yes it can do that, if you want to. But it's the adaptability of the bike with the accessories, dealer support, forum support that goes with it.
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  28. #21
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    The 1200 are really not that much heavier then a new 850GS,,. Some folks do ride em pretty hard, I think it takes a physical condition skill and stamina that I don't have,,.
    I recently met a guy (a bike mechanic for a large bike rental company)x(free labor wholesale parts),,. He was telling me he had just got rid of his loaded 1200GS because he couldn't justify the cost of ownership,,. He was a young 6ft-4 guy and said that he used the bike pretty aggressively off road jumping it on occasion,,. He had put heavy duty everything plus custom suspension because the OEM wasn't performing well enough for him, apparently he was going through all kinds of tires and repair parts at a rate that he couldn't tolerate it any longer,,.

    I always thought that the reason BMW rates poorly on maintenance comparisons is because of all the warranty work on there big GS's which are one of the leading selling bikes in the world,,. If your going to run them hard, it might pay to have an extended warranty on them?

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    I think you can get an extended warranty for them, but probably there's a cap on that to a number of years.

    I went to a Touratech Weekend in Wales, and you see Nick Plumb doing all sorts on his GS with all the Touratech upgraded parts - suspension is a key one for it. It's the same place they do the BMW off road school in the UK, but i didn't partake in that.

    They are a big bike, and components will wear out if you're using it at that level, no different to any other in its class i guess.
    BMW F800ST, 2010, Black, Fuzeblock, Sat Nav, BMW Tank Bag, Givi Touring Screen, Spotlights, 50K Miles 

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  31. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ123 View Post
    Mercedes G series, Toyota Land Cruiser, Range Rover, Land Rover Defender & Discovery . . . all very popular cars that get driven exclusively on the road, depsite the car having very good off road capability.

    The GS is the Motorcycle equivalent. Yes it can do that, if you want to. But it's the adaptability of the bike with the accessories, dealer support, forum support that goes with it.
    And nobody mention the nicely painted sportsbikes in every dealership, the 1000cc ones capable of 185mph, like you're gonna need that. Mmmm, better put on an Akra can to save a few pounds and help holding 170+ on the grocery run.

    Just about every bike is better at being a bike than just about every rider is at being a rider (even in their dreams). But lets all just rejoice in the availability of any bike the rider chooses to help them live their own dreams out there on the road. Or the dirt. Or the track.

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  33. #24
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    Motorcycle
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    It is a good motorcycle no doubt. A "safe" decision that checks the lifestyle and image box. Good handling and capabilities plus the image makes for a marketing jugernaught. Interesting how the F800GT is a fine bike (I still don't like the engine) but handles and goes very well but was a sales flop (sorry everyone on here). I'm not looking for an adventure bike so never interested me, always thought they were too heavy and too tall. Cant get past the "what happens when if falls over". IMO they are good bikes that are very good on road, particularly as Daboo said on rough roads and for the ordinary rider are good on dirt roads and two tracks. I also look at the Goldwing and say nice bike goes and handles well but too big and heavy. Still like the way the F800GT would drop into a corner so easily and smoothly - I didn't appreciate that until I test rode a Ducati Diaval - LOL almost went off roading pulling out of the dealership. The road went left but the bike went straight, I had to think and then wrestle the bike into turning. All my previous bikes were 600cc sport bikes. If a demo day came up don't think I would even ride one - not knocking them just my personal preference. There is an Indian demo day next week and I'm going to go ride one just to see, FTR or Scout is on the top of my list but need to take out a Challenger. The only cruiser I've ridden was a Honda Rebel 250 at motorcycle school.

    I'm wondering about BMWs dealer network. They seem to have some very strong dealerships but have talked to several folks across the country that had less than flattering things to say about their dealership and some who had

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