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In south Africa, just like most parts of the world, 1 out of every 5 bikes sold is a GS. Based on a few factors: it's popularity, me being 50, hearing the guys over a braai saying "once you ride a GS, you will never ride anything else", etc, I decided it is time to test ride these bikes. I also hear the expression, if you want 1 bike to do it all, nothing beats the GS.
My current k1600 GTL option 719 cost 320k south African Rands and a GS or GSA with panniers, engine guards, and a slip on Akro cost 380k rands. Huge money for bike in South Africa and much more than the GTL. So for me, I cannot afford to have both bikes.
The dealer had 4 models taken out for me to ride, 1250 gs hp with standard suspension, 1250 gsa hp, 1250 gs with low suspension and a 1200 gs (2018 model).
I took each bike out for at least a half ride. spent the better part of 4 hours riding all the bikes.
The biggest disappoint for me was the vibration I felt on the seat, and the quickshifter in gears 1-3. Lots of reviewers rave about how smooth the GS is, but I am sorry, it was far from smooth in my experience. From take of, to about 60kph, lots of vibration on the seat. The quickshifter is the worst I have experienced on any bike, after 3rd gear, it is workable, and that's both upshift and downshift. The other quirk I had was how much the rear view mirrors where "in my face", no electric screen, no heated seats, and having all the cables and wiring so visible.
On the upside, I did find the lesser weight a bonus and found the bike "easy" to ride and flick around.
After my 5 hours of "adventure" riding, it felt like heaven riding my k back home, and thought to myself, I will just keep the k a little bit longer. The bike has so much more features, rides smooth as butter, and imo looks the part.
I guess to most, the GS is the best thing in the world, to me, it is not worth the money they command.
Maybe at a later stage, while still holding on to my k, is to buy a few years old, 850gs, at a much lower price.
Thought I would just share my experience with the GS.

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Complaining about wind and weather exposure on a GS is like moving to Iceland and bitching about the cold weather. :D
I'm working towards a GS to replace the crashed K16, maybe someday i'll revisit k16-land. I loved it while it lasted but it now sleeps with the fishes, fortunately me for i'm still here to tell about it.

I hope my experiences with the GS will be as positive as they were with the k16 but that remains to be seen.
There have been many who commented after coming from a non-bmw that the k16 was clunky, awkward and made noises that caused the new rider to question if it was working right or not.
 

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I have a K1600GT and a R1200GSA. They are completely different and why I like each for what it does. What vibration there is in the GSA is nothing compared to the twins I rode years ago. I actually like the GSA vibrations as it is the way the bike talks to me and tells me when to shift. The K is so smooth I often hit the rev limiter as there is no sense of when to shift other than the exhaust note which I don't hear due to ear plugs. I agree the GSA quick shift is clunky in gears 1-3 which is why I don't use it in those gears. Downshifting with it is pretty good as long as the RPM stays north of 4K and you close the throttle completely. Full disclosure, I am one of the, " if I could have only one bike it would be the GSA" guys. I rode a GS from Alexandria, Egypt to the southern most tip of Africa this year, a K1600 would never have been able to do that trip.
 

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If you're not already there, check out the R1200GS forum:

https://www.r1200gs.info

I'm GrayBeard on that forum.

I personally think the GS and GSA are awesome touring bikes. Certainly not as comfortable for the pillion but for solo touring it's an awesome place to start. Why do I say "place to start?" Because of the myriad of aftermarket stuff you have available to make your ride exactly like you'll best enjoy it.

My advice for people showing in the GS aisle of the BMW store is to spend some time looking around at all the aftermarket options before you pull the trigger. That's especially true for luggage. There's so many great hard case options that are better, IMO, than the BMW vario cases.

That's another reason why I bought a GS instead of a GSA. I wanted to make my own custom choices for a number of the things that come standard on the GSA and the only thing I gave up was the massive gas tank. While we'd all like to think we're going to travel around the world and need that 8 gallons of gas, the truth is that the 5 g tank on the GS is fine for everything but the trek across Mongolia. Even with my very heavy throttle hand, I consistently get over 200 mile range and I'm ready to get off the bike and stretch my legs by then anyway.
 
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If I had to choose just 1 Bike I would own the R1250 GSA HP.
This from someone who owns all the Bikes you are considering think about it.
 

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After I smashed my second GT I rode what I think was a 750GS to a hotel 80 miles away while she rode on the back of a 1600. The overall lightness and feel of that bike intrigued me. After a test ride I bought the 1200GS. The wind management is not as good and I miss the central locking but I sure like the bike. A Sargent seat fixed one problem and handle bar weights fixed another. The TFT display is just crazy good and I won't own another bike without it. I get that it's not the bike for some but after 7 years on a GT the GS is just what I needed. I'm now planning my trip to Dead-horse Alaska next year, a trip I never would have considered on the GT.
 

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I'm loving my K16GT, but thinking about my next BMW a couple years away.

The OP described my experience test-riding the R1200, but to me the power, smoothness and quick-shifter on the R1250GS was a revelation. I preferred the GSA on-road, surprisingly, as the suspension felt like it handled bumps better with my fat butt. The extra travel may have helped for a heavy guy, but the slightly longer wheelbase over the base GS I think may have helped, too. I don't think anyone who isn't riding across Burma needs 7 gallons, but for those of us who just hate gassing up, even if we have to stop, it's a nice extra.

To my amazement, even for a 90% pavement-only GS, I preferred the GSA. That said, the saddle is too narrow for long-haul work, and the hand-crank windscreen knob is a joke (yes, I know the reasons for it, supposedly, but I'm not going to ride my bike through endless sand, and I'll bet very few are).

I like the idea of the S1000XR, too, though, and may get an old-man seat for one of those, and put some gravel/fire road tires on it.

But I won't make up my mind between the two until ready to buy, no doubt. Just like the resale of GSA over GS, and either over the K16s, the GS is cheaper on insurance than the K16, too, or at least it was with my local TN company. And I know the OP didn't have the S1000XR on his radar, but it's the same on insurance cost as a S1000RR with many companies. And they don't hold their value nearly as well as a GS, either.

And one last preference thing: I still prefer the analog speedo and tach on the 1250RT and K1600s. The 2019 computer screen on the GS/A is way cool, but I'd like to have a slightly smaller one of those below an analog speedo and tach.
 

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Pitts, I didn’t know that you are GreyBeard on the R1200GS forum. Good to know! I am the owner of both a K1600GT and an R1250GS and am Las on that forum. There is no question that these bikes serve different purposes and do so better than any other bikes in their respective classes and/or that are designed for their same respective purposes. There can be no legitimate apples to apples comparison of these two excellent motorcycles. However, if forced to compare, the winner for me would be the GS.
While I love my GT, if I could own only one motorcycle, I would own the GS. Putting aside such considerations as weight, fuel efficiency, ease of maintenance, slow speed maneuverability, the GS can do everything that the GT can, albeit not as smoothly and, in some situations, not as comfortably. On the other hand, although the GS may not have all of the smoothness and comfort of the GT, the differences are not great while the GS can do so much more and go so many more places than the GT can, and in some Instances can do what the GT can more efficiently and better than the GT.
Perhaps, because my GS replaced my R1200R with almost 100,000 miles on its odo so that I have grown accustomed to the characteristics of the boxer engine, I have not found the GS to suffer from bothersome vibrations. I agree that the pro assist in the first three gears is less than ideal, but I am so used to use of clutch and throttle when changing gears that that lack of perfection is not of concern to me. I didn’t buy this bike to be shielded from the wind. There are aftermarket adds that will improve on the GS’ wind protection for those who do desire such protection. Frankly, if protection from the elements, wind included, was my paramount consideration in choosing a motorcycle to own, I would have chosen a number of bikes over the GT that satisfy that consideration better.
 

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I'm loving my K16GT, but thinking about my next BMW a couple years away.

The OP described my experience test-riding the R1200, but to me the power, smoothness and quick-shifter on the R1250GS was a revelation. I preferred the GSA on-road, surprisingly, as the suspension felt like it handled bumps better with my fat butt. The extra travel may have helped for a heavy guy, but the slightly longer wheelbase over the base GS I think may have helped, too. I don't think anyone who isn't riding across Burma needs 7 gallons, but for those of us who just hate gassing up, even if we have to stop, it's a nice extra.

To my amazement, even for a 90% pavement-only GS, I preferred the GSA. That said, the saddle is too narrow for long-haul work, and the hand-crank windscreen knob is a joke (yes, I know the reasons for it, supposedly, but I'm not going to ride my bike through endless sand, and I'll bet very few are).

I like the idea of the S1000XR, too, though, and may get an old-man seat for one of those, and put some gravel/fire road tires on it.

But I won't make up my mind between the two until ready to buy, no doubt. Just like the resale of GSA over GS, and either over the K16s, the GS is cheaper on insurance than the K16, too, or at least it was with my local TN company. And I know the OP didn't have the S1000XR on his radar, but it's the same on insurance cost as a S1000RR with many companies. And they don't hold their value nearly as well as a GS, either.

And one last preference thing: I still prefer the analog speedo and tach on the 1250RT and K1600s. The 2019 computer screen on the GS/A is way cool, but I'd like to have a slightly smaller one of those below an analog speedo and tach.
I'm gonna be that guy.. As nice as beemers are KTM is picking up the slack and their newest 790 ADV R is a **** of a contender for ADV touring use. Good range, good creature comforts for solo use, and great offroad cred too. Fully loaded it's selling for 13k new.
 

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I'm gonna be that guy.. As nice as beemers are KTM is picking up the slack and their newest 790 ADV R is a **** of a contender for ADV touring use. Good range, good creature comforts for solo use, and great offroad cred too. Fully loaded it's selling for 13k new.
No problem. Lots of KTM fans here, and several people prefer the Super Duke GT to the S1000XR, too. Interestingly, I haven’t seen many folks here who prefer the big KTM adv bike to the GS. Maybe that’s because the KTM adv bikes seem to be more hard-core and off-road biased, except for maybe the BMW F850GS.
 
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No problem. Lots of KTM fans here, and several people prefer the Super Duke GT to the S1000XR, too. Interestingly, I haven’t seen many folks here who prefer the big KTM adv bike to the GS. Maybe that’s because the KTM adv bikes seem to be more hard-core and off-road biased, except for maybe the BMW F850GS.
I used to ride with someone that had a 1290SA and believe me when I say that 160 hp is intoxicating in that bike. He enjoyed spanking us GS guys every chance he got and had his very well sorted for hard off-road use as well. On the spec sheet and on the road, the KTM wins. Off-road and in the heart and soul, the GS wins. I know, that's really subjective and you'd think the KTM would be a better weapon off-road but the low CG of the GS is much more preferable for me. I can ride my GS almost like a trials bike in tight gnarly terrain and I think I'd have more difficulty doing that on the KTM even with the 21" front. Maybe it's just what I'm used to...
 

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I'm gonna be that guy.. As nice as beemers are KTM is picking up the slack and their newest 790 ADV R is a **** of a contender for ADV touring use. Good range, good creature comforts for solo use, and great offroad cred too. Fully loaded it's selling for 13k new.
Before you do, consider taking a long hard look at the Yamaha 700 Tenere arriving next year. I had both on my list but scratched the KTM due to a fair amount of teething pains and lacking Yamaha reliability longer term. Performance numbers suggest they are very close and the Yamaha will be quite a bit cheaper as well. That 700 engine is a peach.
 

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Before you do, consider taking a long hard look at the Yamaha 700 Tenere arriving next year. I had both on my list but scratched the KTM due to a fair amount of teething pains and lacking Yamaha reliability longer term. Performance numbers suggest they are very close and the Yamaha will be quite a bit cheaper as well. That 700 engine is a peach.
Yup i'm watching for that too. Since i'm on the subject, KTM just (today-ish) announced it's 390 ADV. :)
 

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Sure it isn't...
Well, the S1000XR has been objectively measured as a LOT faster than even the new 1260 Multistrada. So tell us exactly where the Multi beats it. I'm sure it's a lot better bike for what some particular people want/need for a particular purpose, but give us some specifics.
 
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