Which one, GS or GSA? - BMW R1200GS Forum : R1200 GS Forums
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 25-Sep-2019, 03:48 PM (867) Thread Starter
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Which one, GS or GSA?

OK, so I'm a long time motorcyclist and I recently purchased a K1600B. Really nice bike and the motor is phenomenal, but after taking it on a long trip to the Rockies, I just did not enjoy it as much as I thought i would.

Short of it is, a friend recently purchased a R1205GSA and he was on the same trip, we swapped bikes for an afternoon and I was like Wow, this thing is nice! It rides great, handles great and just felt great. I never liked the looks of the GS bikes, but I did enjoy riding the 1250 GSA in the Rockies.

Anyway, I was looking at a GS at he dealer today and I know it has been sitting on the sales floor for at least a couple of months if not longer and I know they have incentive to move it. However, My buddy is telling me I really should consider the GSA. He test rode both a GS and the GSA before purchasing his and said the GSA rides a bit better and just felt more stable to him, plus it has all the additional features over the GS. So my question for those that own a GS or GSA and particularly those that have experience on both: GS or GSA and why?
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 25-Sep-2019, 05:06 PM (921)
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I found myself in the same situation. I was seriously considering the GS and add hardware for cases, crash bars and some additional lighting and as I was working up the price tag I came to realize that buying the GSA would end up costing me about the same or a bit less than an equipped GS but I'll also get a slightly taller bike which was an advantage as I'm 6'5" and a couple other differences I thought worthwhile so a GSA came home with me. Extra tank volume is nice as well, appreciating that much more than anticipated! All I've changed so far is the seat and added an MRA screen extender . . .
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 25-Sep-2019, 06:35 PM (982)
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Ride both then decide. That's what I did and bought the GSA. I also had a 2015 GSA so sort of knew what to expect. What I noticed was at highway speeds the GSA had better wind protection and just felt more stable. I also like the new black cases BMW offers up for the GSA.
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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 26-Sep-2019, 05:21 AM (431)
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That's a frequently asked question. Everyone has an opinion but in the end it comes down to what's important to you. My first BMW was a GS. By the time I finished equipping it (luggage, crash bars, aux lights, etc) it cost more than if I'd bought a GSA...but it was completely customized. At that point in my life individualism was a thing.

My needs and attitude changed when I started riding long distance. First strike was when I found myself running on fumes on the north shore of Lake Superior on a Sunday evening when all the gas stations were closed. Ended up camping next to a pump waiting for them to open in the morning. Second strike was riding through two days of cold rain while noticing how much better protected my riding buddy was on his GSA. I traded up that year.

I personally don't notice much difference in the ride. The GSA has more suspension travel, but neither is a single track machine and the GS handled every dirt road and bit of mangled pavement just fine. Some complain about the extra weight of fuel in the GSA tank, but honestly I never felt it. Some say the GS is more flickable, but for me, moving to the GSA it felt the same.

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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 26-Sep-2019, 06:24 AM (475)
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I was put off by the looks of the GSA also, but as soon as I mounted up and rode a mile I was hooked. If you are considering doing any touring, the bigger tank is a plus for extra mileage and wind and rain protection. The bike looks huge until you put it into 1st and let the clutch out, after that it feels like the great bike it is!
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 26-Sep-2019, 06:39 AM (485)
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For me the deciding factors were, the extra lights, the full crash bars, and most importantly the bigger fuel tank. Do I always need that kind of range? No but it is sure nice to have!!

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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 26-Sep-2019, 08:22 AM (557)
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I have had them both and settled with the GSA for the range, wind protection, and ride.
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 26-Sep-2019, 09:03 AM (585)
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I've had two K1600GT's and went to the GS to get a lighter bike. I didn't pick a GSA because I didn't like how wide the tank is and how the right side bag sticks out. Turns out some aftermarket bags don't. Well my GS is awesome on the curvy roads where I mostly ride however I sure could use another .8 of a gallon. It just doesn't have enough. It's the only bike I've ever owned where my legs are cold so yea the wind protection isn't as good. I do like the windshield of the GS over the GSA (I'm 6ft) It's not much smaller it just doesn't have the wings at the top and it doesn't flap around. The suspension on the GSA has more options. I didn't know the GSA can lower or rise on command. If I had to do it all over again I would pick the GSA. The seat sucks so plan on replacing that and perhaps a wider windshield and of course bags. Take your time getting bags. Overall I'm very happy I switched from a 1600 but I do miss the central locking. Oh.. I screwed up and got the wire wheels. I don't know if all GSA's come with wire wheels or not but they sure are a pain to clean. Also make sure you get an alarm as mine didn't have one and I didn't know it.

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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 26-Sep-2019, 11:25 AM (684)
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GS vs. GSA

I actually have one of each sitting in my garage. Don't know if it's fair to compare a loaded 2014 GS with a 2018 GSA loaded but they are different bikes.

I, like you, at first was seconding guessing my GSA purchase, I thought it was really BIG in the tank area. So much second guessing I was going to ride it and if I didn't like it sell it. I'd keep the GS. Well as noted by someone earlier once you throw your leg over and let the clutch out - wow, just wow. Both bikes are great. The rides are very similar yet very different.

I think the GSA has a shorter wheelbase ? Maybe the fork angle is a little steeper ? The GSA is more "twitchy" would be a good description. Maybe due to it being more dirt oriented ? No matter it has the same low center of gravity and smooth handling we all have come to love.

The GS feels longer and smoother on the hwy, yeah, not as much wind protection from a narrower tank design but still rock solid.

The best advice I've seen here is ride them both. I'm guessing once you finish riding them both you will know your answer !! GL.

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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 26-Sep-2019, 01:33 PM (773) Thread Starter
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Thanks gentlemen, I appreciate all the input. I'm not planning on single track so either the GS or GSA would be fine, i own a 2005 KDX200 for that and wood riding.

I just wanted some different opinions on which way to go and how well rounded each machine is. I think where I'm at in life at this time, I'm ready for a GS or GSA as my primary bike. The more I read your inputs and different articles on both bikes I can't help but lean towards the GSA. I'm scheduled to ride both a GS and a GSA Saturday morning so I will let you know what I end up with.

Thanks again.
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