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How do you put your GS to use?

  • It's a fantastic street bike that nearly never leaves the pavement.

  • I'm not afraid to take the occasional unpaved road, but not on purpose.

  • I will actually plan a ride that will use some groomed forest roads.

  • My GS is a real 50:50 bike that can spend as much time off the pavement as on.

  • Single tracks fear me and enduros bow down before me.

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Super Awesom Person
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The GS is the only bike I have so if I want to go someplace this is the bike I do it on. My dirt experience is with a 1974 Honda XL175 back in the 70's so the GS is a bit uncomfortable for me on the dirt but I like not turning around when I get to a dirt road. I do plan on taking the BMW 2 day off-road course in the next year or so so that should help.
 

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'18 R1200GS, '14 Honda Interceptor
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The GS is my first "adventure" bike. I'm coming from the sport bikes word, did a lot of trackdays, even taught track riding. Turning fifty I wanted a comfy ride for the wife and I, we always tour a few weeks in the summer and the Ninja1000 was getting a bit rough.

But I first started to look into GSs when came the road biased version of the 1200, I think it was in 2013 or so. And reviews of the 1250 kind sold me. I did some math and decided I could afford a new GS so I found a new 2020 over the winter and here am I.

But I'm looking a lot into getting off road... eventually. I was never afraid of a dirt road, even on sport bikes. I'm replacing the Bridgestone A41s for 100% road for the trip coming next month during our vacation but swapping tires is a quicky.

We'll see where the bike leads me.
I use mine (2018 GS) for pavement, gravel roads, and hard-packed dirt. With knobbies yes the big GS can do BDRs, and even gnarly single track. But it's not the best tool for that job. Luckily I also have room in the garage for a small and light dual-sport.
 

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Riding a 2009 R1200gs
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619 Posts
50/50, I have two sets of wheels (knobbies on spoke and street on mag). Long trip on road, commuting, daytrip, etc... Off road, from dirt road to GS Challenge. Not afraid to get the bike dirty or scratched, never wash it (just a quick rince to remove the mud), don't fix the scratches.

Getting around a beaver dam
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Enjoying a nice mud bath during an adventure race
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Probably not the ususal GS owner...
 

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Administrator
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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I think it's interesting that a little less than half of all respondents (~45%) don't intentionally take their GS off the pavement. It sort of reenforces the notion that I have that even amongst long distance touring bikes weight and size are a big factor. Otherwise, why not be on an RT or one of the K1600 variants? Over the last decade my long distance riding has evolved from a K1600GT to the 1200GS. My GT was a big comfortable and capable bike but I had to squint pretty hard at it to call it nimble. I have more fun on my GS using it in all the ways I used my GT because it's lighter, more nimble, and has better power to weight than the flagship tourers from BMW - and yet, can still very capably carry all my stuff for a multi-week ride that includes camping.

If you include those that only venture off down a groomed forest road, you're up to 80% of riders. Maybe it's no wonder why BMW is OK with the bike gaining some weight and technology instead of going the other way to a lighter, even more nimble flagship ADV bike.
 

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Premium Member
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How about an option for never plan to ride dirt?
Grew up on fast, nimble 230 lb. dirt bikes so trying is ride a 550 pound behemoth in the dirt has no appeal for me. My GS is my on-road touring rig, no intention of taking a new $25k bike and throwing it down in the dirt. Did a good deal of my touring on FJR1300s, superb bike but needed something more upright. Spent the last 4 years on a Tiger 1200, loved it but ready for something new so I'm giving BMW another chance. The RT has too much tupperware and is not attractive in any way(to me), and RS is nice but then I'm back to FJR posture. So, a GS it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
How about an option for never plan to ride dirt?
I think that's what the first choice in the survey is meant to capture.

No doubt about it that the mighty GS is an incredible bike for just about every category of use.
 
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Not a lot of offload country but I've found some gravel roads that are fun to cruise on. But for me, this bike is so effortlessly quick on the roads that I don't miss my old sport bike. I'm no longer a hair on fire, go to jail rider, but hustling on back farm roads is just a real pleasure on this bike. I've got an '18 1200 GS and the range of torque combined with the quick shifter is just a ton of fun for me while remaining comfortable and "stealthy" when the Highway Patrol is giving me the eye.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·

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When I bought the GS I had no intention of ever taking it "off road". I didn't want to have a bucket of push pins every time I wanted to do something to it. Had that with a couple of bikes. I did do some trail riding when I was younger. 175 and 250 are numbers that ring my off road bell. I am very happy with the GS as my sport touring, group riding get out for a quick ride after dinner bike.
 

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When I bought the GS I had no intention of ever taking it "off road". I didn't want to have a bucket of push pins every time I wanted to do something to it. Had that with a couple of bikes. I did do some trail riding when I was younger. 175 and 250 are numbers that ring my off road bell. I am very happy with the GS as my sport touring, group riding get out for a quick ride after dinner bike.
Same here.
 

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2011 R1200GSA - 2013 K1600GT - 2013 K1300S - 2008 K1200S
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I still have my K16GT for when I really need to get somewhere that's 1000s of miles away. I bought my GS to go places that bIke can't but still make the ride to the trailhead fun, comfortable, and safe. For me, the GS's on road capability is a means to accessing roads less traveled and unpaved. I do nearly all my riding solo so have to keep the off road experience relatively tame for safety. But I really appreciate the ability to backwoods camp in places fewer people travel. I guess it's the cowboy in me.
 

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I do nearly all my riding solo so have to keep the off road experience relatively tame for safety. But I really appreciate the ability to backwoods camp in places fewer people travel. I guess it's the cowboy in me.
I've had a couple of offs solo, fortunately the tabs on the Vario bag was the only casualty...and two incidents with broken bones on group rides...so yep safety is something to be mindful of for sure especially off pavement where mine all occurred.
 

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2011 R1200GSA - 2013 K1600GT - 2013 K1300S - 2008 K1200S
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I've had a couple of offs solo, fortunately the tabs on the Vario bag was the only casualty...and two incidents with broken bones on group rides...so yep safety is something to be mindful of for sure especially off pavement where mine all occurred.
The only real injuries I've had in 37 years of riding came from the race track (high siding at 90 is I'll advised, so is back flipping at 140). I know a bunch of people who left the track for the safer speeds and softer landings of dirt riding. Suffice to say, that didn't work out quite as they planned.

That's why I stick mostly to BDR type back roads if I can help it. The occasional navigational error does introduce a bit of chance though. Maps don't always reflect the "nature" of any given trail and I've found myself in the "what the hell am I doing here" position several times.

I usually get through it by trying to imagine what the authorities would tell my wife when they found my body. "I'm sorry mam, your husband was....er...making a big effort....uhm...in difficult terrain and well...I'm sure he was a great guy". Which my wife would immediately interpret as, "Your dumbass husband was over reaching in terrain he had no business being in and the law of averages finally caught up".
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
It's a different kind of risk. On track days it's the other riders that are likely to hurt you. Some organizers are not very good at policing the knuckleheads who think they are Marquez. Dirt bikes, ahhh....as they say, "the hurt is in the dirt." But these are usually all self inflicted anywhere but on the MX track (in which case, see remarks about track days).

I just don't heal as fast (or completely) like I used to so the days of my big hits on the dirt bike or sliding around on the track are in the rear view mirror. I'm riding as fast as I want to go just keeping up with my 16 year old daughter :)
 

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Living in a northern Vermont town with just one paved road - and in a county where 90% of the roads are unpaved - the GS was the logical choice. I switched to the GSA when I got into cross-country rides after a nearly empty tank forced me to camp at a closed gas station in Ontario till it reopened Monday morning. Lesson learned: Just because the GPS says there's a gas station ahead doesn't mean it will be open on a Sunday evening!

It's an extremely capable and surprisingly nimble touring machine and - unlike the RT or K bikes - so incredibly ugly I don't worry about scratches and light damage.
 

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Bobmanz
2018 R1200GSA
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32 Posts
I bought my 2013 GSA oilhead for the sole purpose of riding it to Prudhoe Bay and back from MD. And while I loved the big bike for the upper 90% asphalt riding of the trip, the Dalton and various stretches of the Trans-Canada which seemed often under repair made, me seriously wish I was on a lighter bike. Same can be said for my Trans-Labrador ride. And while I'm not at all adverse to dumping the bike (except for those few times when it lands directly on my ankle(s) resulting in fractures), it's just such a beast to pick up, especially when riding solo, in the middle of nowhere. Yes, I've watched all the vids of 100 lb ladies picking up 1200s etc., but I still struggle, so much so I've actually considered those packable "hoists" such as the Dustrider or Motobikejack (which are quiet pricey considering all they are is a heavy duty ratchet mounted to a segmented bar). That said, I ticked off "some groomed forest roads", but would love feeling more confident picking up the bike when it inevitably lands on its side.
 
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