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Discussion Starter #1
To make a long story short, I purchased a K1600B not long ago thinking that my riding buddy and I where ready to start riding touring bikes. He then purchases a new 1250 GSA right before we take off on a trip to ride the Rockies. We swapped bikes one afternoon and I was thoroughly impressed with the GSA, motor, handling, weight, easy to ride. Anyway, after riding his bike I realized how much more I enjoyed the GSA over the B. I'm having regrets of purchasing the B and wishing I had a GS.

Don't get me wrong I really like the B but i'm not sure i'm as ready for it as I thought and I would like to do some off road onto some Forrest access roads and such. I owned an R1200RS and liked it but never really fell for he boxer motor. The new 1250 though is so much smoother operating at all rpm and is a peach, particularly in the GS.

Luckily I picked up the B used and at a very fair price, so now I'm literally thinking of trading it on a 1250GS, not sure I'll go with a GSA. Any input from those that own both or had owned a GS and now ride a K1600?

I'm trying to talk myself off of the ledge, but I just can't stop thinking about how wonderful the GSA was in the twisties and how much fun it would have been to go off road with my buddy when he went exploring. :confused:
 

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Personal opinion here.

For us mere mortals... The GS/A bikes are too big and heavy for anything but graveled forest service roads. If your off road exploring is going to be more single track and jeep trails, your going to want a bike that weighs half what a GS/A does.

My two happiest days with my GSA was the day I bought it and the day I traded it in for an S1000XR. Which BTW is also a bike that with the right tires could also be used for those same forest service roads.
 

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The GS/A isn't the best selling bike in that class for no reason. If you enjoy riding 1 up and having the ability to go on fire roads, two tracks etc and stay off road more than on road, the GS/A might be the bike for you. There's no comparing the K16 bikes with the GS/A bikes, two completely separate missions and they don't ever intersect.
If you think that bike is for you, go trade for one.
 

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I agree with @Darbinco on the XR. IF I decided I wanted to ride forest service roads (lots of them here) etc, I’d get an XR. I like the buzz/sound/feel of a four over the tractor motor. If you like the boxer, then go for it, they sell a lot of GS here. It’s just not my cup of tea.

Full disclosure: I own a 1000R, so I’m biased. :)
 

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@OKBMW, I’m not shocked the GSA handled well for you on road. If the B’s not really for you, no need to hold onto it. VERY different bike.

The GSA rides better ON road than the base GS, IMO. And while the 1200 DID feel like a tractor motor to me (and a tractor with too much vibration, at that), the 1250 is a revelation in power and smoothness, as you state. If you prefer the touring look and just like the lighter weight and want something more nimble, at least ride the R1250RT. We just bought one for my wife. It’s often forgotten, but if you like the 1250 engine, it’s a near-sportbike nimble, easy-handling, lighter-weight touring option.
@Darbinco and @maybeinoregon are right about the XR being gravel (or dry and well-maintained dirt road) capable, though. Much longer suspension travel than I expected; like a jacked-up 1000RR with upright ergos. By 2021, I’ve now decided I’ll replace my Yam with either the XR or GSA as a second bike, so even if XR/GSA SOUNDS like an odd cross-shop, it isn’t on some levels. I wouldn’t want to ride the GSA anywhere I wouldn’t ride the XR with the right tires, unless I had to. I know it’s capable in the hands of an expert, but it’s way too big to act like a dual-sport or dirt bike for an average rider.

Give the XR a test ride at least, and know if your fanny is anywhere near my size, you can get rid of the sportbike seat on the XR, and have several options for replacement. You can also get rid of the stickers on the XR, if they look a bit boy-racer to you. I’m 52 next week, and every single guy I’ve seen on an XR has been older than me, so that has to tell you something good about the bike. I never would have test-ridden it if not for the guys here, and that I met at dealers while they were waiting for service, and the MOA (maybe Darryl will chime in), and it’s an awesome machine.

GSA will pack mule a little more, has longer fuel range, more TQ down low, and for some tasks, will be easier to work on yourself. GSA will also be much cheaper on insurance, most likely. Most insurers treat the XR the same as a liter sportbike, and the engine IS just that. More right-hand self-control is required with the XR.

I’m no expert on either, obviously, since I don’t one either, but posted only because I’ve at least ridden the bikes, and have done the research and decision-making process on both, as I like to plan out purchases far in advance, and hopefully, at least some of the stuff I thought was relevant will help you out. Best of luck on whatever you decide, and be sure to post and tell us what you did!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the input guys, I guess I should have given a bit more back ground on myself. I owned a 2015 R1200RS and it was a phenomenal bike, just did not like the boxer motor in that specific bike (actually think the S1000R motor in the RS would be a great combo). That's why I'm able to compare the 1200 to the 1250 motor, the 1250 is no longer "tractor" like in feel and sound. I have rode a GS in the past, test rode one prior to purchasing the R1200RS, and it was nice but to industrial feeling a the time. I would consider the new RS but I have back issues (at the ripe ole age of 54) and I prefer to be more upright these days. One reason I purchased the B, thought it would be more comfortable for me (not so much). I have also owned a 2016 S1000R so i'm very familiar with the XR1000 motor, loved that bike but can only maintain so many in the garage. So when I rode my buddies GSA I thought wow! this is so smooth and refined all the way around compared to the 2015 GS I rode. So the boxer thing, it did not feel or sound right in the RS, but the 1250 definitely feels and sounds right in the GSA. I was leaning towards the XR but the reality of it is that the GS is a better off road bike and that's part of what I want to explore in life at this time in my life. I am a dirt bike rider (KDX200 in the garage) so I am familiar with the nuances of riding in the dirt.

I guess I was looking from someone who has owned some different bikes in the past and now owns a GS or GSA to share their thoughts on how well it works as an all around bike, commuting, touring, twisties and some occasional off-road. I've reduce the amount of bikes in the garage and am looking to consolidate, so to speak.

I believe the GS or GSA will fit the bill, going to test ride a GS I was eye-balling at the dealer Saturday and my buddy with his GSA is coming along so I can switch bikes with him and do a direct comparison.
 

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I own them Both the K1600GTLe and the R1200GSA the GSA is a great Bike comfortable and fun to ride.


If I had to choose one based on my riding style it would be the GSA but with that said if I was riding several hundred miles it would not be on a GSA. The K1600 is far superior on the highway and at speed.


My 2 cents u need them both.
 

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Have the GTL and recently test-rode the GSA1250 and like you, was blown away. Helluva motor! Smooth and sweet power just where you want it.


Can't (for the moment) afford both, but it also depends on where and how you travel. The GTL will eat up miles quickly and easily on paved roads and the superslab. But if you want to do that and also explore some gravel or dirt roads, then you need the GSA.



Where I live, Ohio, there's not as much chance to go exploring anyplace close, so for now, the GTL stays. Next year or after another book or two, time to re-evaluate my choices.
 

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That's why I'm able to compare the 1200 to the 1250 motor, the 1250 is no longer "tractor" like in feel and sound..... ...

I would consider the new RS but I have back issues (at the ripe ole age of 54) and I prefer to be more upright these days.

So when I rode my buddies GSA I thought wow! this is so smooth and refined all the way around compared to the 2015 GS I rode. So the boxer thing, it did not feel or sound right in the RS, but the 1250 definitely feels and sounds right in the GSA. I was leaning towards the XR but the reality of it is that the GS is a better off road bike and that's part of what I want to explore in life at this time in my life. I am a dirt bike rider (KDX200 in the garage) so I am familiar with the nuances of riding in the dirt.

I guess I was looking from someone who has owned some different bikes in the past and now owns a GS or GSA to share their thoughts on how well it works as an all around bike, commuting, touring, twisties and some occasional off-road. I've reduce the amount of bikes in the garage and am looking to consolidate, so to speak.

I believe the GS or GSA will fit the bill, going to test ride a GS I was eye-balling at the dealer Saturday and my buddy with his GSA is coming along so I can switch bikes with him and do a direct comparison.
I agree with your assessment of the 1200 versus the 1250. I could never pull the trigger on the 1200 but the 1250 was a game changer.

The GS will do everything you need. The GSA adds fuel range but I consistently get over 45mpg on the 1250 and lover the flickability of the GS over the GSA. The XR is great but the GS is the better all around bike. It is all day comfortable and one of the most versatile bikes available.

Take the GS and the GSA for a test ride and pick the one that works best for you.


Good luck!!
 

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I know what you mean. I’ve had two k1600 bikes and really liked them both but..... I just ordered a new R1250RS! I’ve also had three RT1200s one a wet head. The K bike is probably the best touring bike ever made but it is heavy and I wanted something a bit lighter. The RS is a rocket that handles great and for an old fart weight is everything.
 

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Looking forward to your initial impressions. Did you sell the K, or just added the RS to your stable?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Test rode a GS and a GSA and a K1600GT

So I scheduled a test ride at the local BMW dealer yesterday to test ride a 2019 R1250GS and then took it out with a friend who has a 2019 R1250GSA. We put about 27 miles on both bikes switching back and fourth mainly doing highway speeds so as to compare quality of ride and wind protection. Made sure and traveled behind some semis and passed them at various speeds, mainly 70 - 85 mph. have already ridden the GSA in the Rockies and am very familiar with how well it handles, so I was on the GS when we did some curved on and off ramps for comparison, seemed to handle as well if not better than the GSA. I mainly wanted to know if the wind protection was that much better, since the extra fuel/range is not of interest to me.

Well it turned out that I could not tell much difference when it came to wind protection and ride quality between the two was barely discernible. So for me (i'm 5'-9" and short in the torso) the GS "Premium" won out. It just felt better to me and ended up being cheaper than the GSA after accessorizing the way I wanted it. The bike the dealer was trying to sell me was the Black Exclusive and it was decked out and loaded with just about every accessory BMW makes for a GS. They did offer me a good deal on it but it still was more than a GSA. I ended up purchasing a demo bike they had at a discount and accessorized the way I wanted it. Saved quite a few thousand bucks by doing this and I'm installing all the accessories.

Gotta say I knew the GS was their best seller and their most expensive bike, but man by the time you add the packages and all the accessories it's becomes on the verge of excessively over priced. I had to think hard about it, but after riding one, it's hard to argue with how well it performs all the way around. It's not the best looking bike, but it definitely ticks all the boxes off for me and then some. I guess you can say it's the Jeep wrangler of the motorcycle world. Not a whole lot to it but id does what it does well and it is in demand, so it demands a premium price.

Regarding my 2018 K1600B, thought it would make a great travel/distance bike and thought that my friend was going to get a K1600GT. I ended up purchasing the B before he went to get his and he ended up walking away with the GSA. I was like what the heck? He said it was more comfortable to him and ticked all the boxes. I was like whatever and I thought to myself, not a very attractive bike. So then we go to Colorado to ride the Rockies and I was not particularly happy with the buffeting of the bike at highways speeds, especially when you come up on semis or any large vehicle. At times it feels like the bike is going to go into a tank-slapper and is bit scary when accelerating to pass. I was a bit taken back by this and wondered how I did not notice this on the test ride. Anyway, I said something to my friend and he said lets swap. We did and I was immediately smitten with the GSA. He also confirmed the K1600B is not as stable at highway speeds as one would expect it to be. I also was able to take out a K1600GT to compare to the B when I test rode the GS and GSA, and to my dismay the GT is completely stable and does not exhibit any of the buffeting the B does at highway speeds, especially when approaching and passing semis. When BMW changed the rear of the K1600 to make a Bagger and likely changed the geometry of the bike compared to the GT, it seems they messed up the aerodynamics of the bike.

So in short that is what prompted me to switch to the GS. After riding my friends in the Rockies and test riding the GS yesterday and now riding it to work today (catching up on paper work in the office), I am just amazed at how nimble the GS is and at the same time how stable it is on the highway no matter how fast your going. Not very attractive bike but a heck of one!!!
 

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R bikes and their tractor motors. No way.
Have you tried a 1250 shift-cam yet? - I was a tad cynical, as I felt the boxer was nearing the peak of it's development with the 1200LC but if you care to try the 1250, I think you will find it has moved the game forward more than one might expect.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Have you tried a 1250 shift-cam yet? - I was a tad cynical, as I felt the boxer was nearing the peak of it's development with the 1200LC but if you care to try the 1250, I think you will find it has moved the game forward more than one might expect.
Squibb is right, I owned a 2016 R1200RS before the GS1250 and the 1250 provides a much smoother more linear power delivery from idle on up. Doesn't quite sound as much as a tractor as the 1200 either. The 1250 motor in the GS makes passing on the highway easy peasy. The K1600 has to be down shifted to come close to the roll-on acceleration of the GS. With the GS just open the throttle and you're around the cager in no time, it's very impressive.
 

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I also was able to take out a K1600GT to compare to the B when I test rode the GS and GSA, and to my dismay the GT is completely stable and does not exhibit any of the buffeting the B does at highway speeds, especially when approaching and passing semis. When BMW changed the rear of the K1600 to make a Bagger and likely changed the geometry of the bike compared to the GT, it seems they messed up the aerodynamics of the bike.

So in short that is what prompted me to switch to the GS. After riding my friends in the Rockies and test riding the GS yesterday and now riding it to work today (catching up on paper work in the office), I am just amazed at how nimble the GS is and at the same time how stable it is on the highway no matter how fast your going. Not very attractive bike but a heck of one!!!
So...why not the GT?
 

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Have you tried a 1250 shift-cam yet? - I was a tad cynical, as I felt the boxer was nearing the peak of it's development with the 1200LC but if you care to try the 1250, I think you will find it has moved the game forward more than one might expect.
Squibb is right, I owned a 2016 R1200RS before the GS1250 and the 1250 provides a much smoother more linear power delivery from idle on up. Doesn't quite sound as much as a tractor as the 1200 either. The 1250 motor in the GS makes passing on the highway easy peasy. The K1600 has to be down shifted to come close to the roll-on acceleration of the GS. With the GS just open the throttle and you're around the cager in no time, it's very impressive.
While I’ve become a big fan of the 1250, a Bren Stage 2 tune in a K16GT changes that scenario about which bike passes easier, gear for gear.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So...why not the GT?
Just found that I liked the GS better, I'm not riding two-up and for when the opportunity comes along I can do a little exploring off road. I just found that I enjoy riding the GS more.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
While I’ve become a big fan of the 1250, a Bren Stage 2 tune in a K16GT changes that scenario about which bike passes easier, gear for gear.
I had the Bren stage 2 and I believe the GS will still out pull the 1600 in roll-on, the amount torque available from the 1250 is phenomenal.
 
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