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Discussion Starter #1
G'Day, Ya'll!
I'm a new member from California, 63 years old, 6'6" tall, long legs, been riding moderately (less than 1,000 miles per year) for decades.
I've had all kinds of bikes, from a 1947 Indian to various Harleys, Hondas, Kawasakis (took my riding test on a KZ1300), etc. to a 2006 Ducati Multistrada, the most comfortable bike I've ever ridden.
Because I feel cramped on most bikes, I've decided to give the R1200GS a try. I'm on a budget, which leads me to asking for advice here.
I have picked two bikes as final candidates. Both are original owner bikes, with complete service history from new. Both are in very good, babied condition. Both are California bikes, within driving range. Both have side and top cases/

1) 2005 R1200GS, 57,700 miles, spoke wheels, $5,000
2) 2008 R1200GS, 49,000 miles, spoke wheels, $5,500

I understand that the 2005 has the Servor brakes, and the 2008 doesn't have them anymore. All things being equal, which one would you choose and why?

Thank you for your input.
 

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2008 IMO is worth the extra $500. ABS can be rebuilt on those, not on the servos which require bypass or replacement.

I have a 34" inseam and find the GS to be ok but prefer when my seat is in high position with a bead mat to give as much legroom as possible. Ironically legroom is much better on my DR650 that has the peg lowered.
 

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Wouldnt a GSA be better for him?
Isn't the seat to peg distance the same?

The GSA is taller suspension wise but IMO when shopping for an older bikes more personal preference on GS vs GSA.
 

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The price difference would have to be greater to justify picking the 2005. I have a 2009, same as the 2008, and it’s a great bike with some improvements over the early models. I do
like the looks of the earlier bikes but the ABS issue would make me only consider them if it’s a real bargain.
 

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Isn't the seat to peg distance the same?

The GSA is taller suspension wise but IMO when shopping for an older bikes more personal preference on GS vs GSA.
And the GSA being a bit bulkier would not look dwarfed under him, also has a taller suspension and is slightly higher.......
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'd love a GSA, but they are very hard to find, and even more so in my price range. I found an R1150GS Adventure with 6,475 miles in Texas, and that would be an option as well, but now I'd have to compare an R1150GSA to an R1200GS.

R1150GSA in Texas
 

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Isn't the seat to peg distance the same?

The GSA is taller suspension wise but IMO when shopping for an older bikes more personal preference on GS vs GSA.
Nope the GSA seat is also taller.

To the OP. Either bikes is good. The 05 as mentioned has servo assist brakes which work amazingly well. They do take a bit more maintenance that is easy enough to do if you are mechanically inclined. You'll need to buy or make a funnel for the servo unit and remvoe the tank to access the ABS/servo unit. After the 1st time this can be easily done in under an hour from the time you undo the 1st body fastener until you are putting the tools away. The proble arrises if the servo pump fails it most likely cannot be rebuilt(depending onth efailure)so tyou are left with 4options

1. If the electric motors fail they can be rebuilt or new brushes put in them. This is a lot of the time what happens
2. If its a not the electric motors you have to source a good used or buy new from BMW for $3,000, yes $3,000
3. Sell the bike at a discount or part it
4. Bypass the ABS/servo unit worth $6 in parts and in an afternoon and have amazing non-ABS brakes.

The 08 does not have servo/abs brakes so this is not a concern.

I have bough 5 GS's this year

2005 GS servo brake
2006 GS servo brake, failed did the bypass
2006 R1200GSA servo brake
2009 GS non-servo brake
2009 GSA non-servo brake

As you can see I have no issue buy servo or non-servo braked bikes working or not. It all comes down to the cost of the bike.

While neither bike is priced unreasonably on the East coast there would be wiggle room in both with more on the 2005 becasue its older, has more miles and has servo brakes.

Either bike I'd try to get $500 or more off and be happy if I got $200 or $300 off. YMMV
 

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Discussion Starter #10
While neither bike is priced unreasonably on the East coast there would be wiggle room in both with more on the 2005 becasue its older, has more miles and has servo brakes.

Either bike I'd try to get $500 or more off and be happy if I got $200 or $300 off. YMMV
Thank you!
I omitted in my original post that the 2005 is advertised at $5,000, and the 2008 is advertised at $6,500. I offered $5,000 and the seller counter-offered $5,500, which I feel is fair. It's quite possible that I would be able to buy the 2005 bike for $4,500, give or take. Still, the lack of the Servobrake seems to be worth a few hundred bucks more.

In addition, I should mention that I'm not a fan of electronics. I like simplicity. The 2008 bike has, according to the window sticker:
  • Integral ABS II
  • Cross Spoke Wheels, and
  • Equipment Package 1
 

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Trust me I'm the worlds biggest Luddite. A speedo and two trip meter is all I really need on a bike. This doesn't sway me from the servo brakes because if they fail the bypass is super easy, cheap and done in an afternoon and the bike is dumbed down even further. The non-servo ABS you'll need to spend hundreds of dollars and be down for a couple weeks until its fixed. This is if the postman doesn't lose the package then you are up shit creek with no paddle.

The servo brakes are basically "power brakes" as the servo unit boost the brake pressure to the caliper.
 

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Well said. ABS II can be fixed by ModuleMasters but is a winter job that I wouldn't want to pay a technician to do, several hrs of labor to get to it and then bleed them (plus $250 for a rebuild). Make sure the postal insurance covers a eBay replacement unit should they lose it.

Short version...when you get the bike change the brake fluid (then do it every two years) to keep the ABS unit going.
 

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Servo brakes I flush yearly or every 10,000 miles. But that me. Maintenance can certainly be stretched out longer but it easy enough to do so I do it more frequently.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You guys are killing me!
Every buyer's guide suggests to steer clear of the 2004 to 2007 Servo bikes, and now you are telling me that the later, ABS II bikes are an even more expensive to fix?
 

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You guys are killing me!
Every buyer's guide suggests to steer clear of the 2004 to 2007 Servo bikes, and now you are telling me that the later, ABS II bikes are an even more expensive to fix?
Depends on who's paying the labor. I do not consider myself a mechanic and swapped out the ABS on my 07 GSA. $250+ tax at ModuleMasters in Moscow, ID to rebuild it. Or...put electrical tape on dash and ride it, I did that for 3000 miles.

If you are paying a mechanic it's likely a tossup to bypass servos vs. rebuilding ABS II. Assuming your mechanic will do either of those.

Either way...change the fluid to take care of them.
 

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You guys are killing me!
Every buyer's guide suggests to steer clear of the 2004 to 2007 Servo bikes, and now you are telling me that the later, ABS II bikes are an even more expensive to fix?
The use of servo brakes on the GS lineup ended in 2006.

Don't confuse the term/s "repair/rebuild" with "bypass".

A rebuild of a non-servo ABS is around $250 + shipping

A rebuild of the servo ABS is around $750 + shipping. This is actually a new discovery as prior to checking today Module master been stating for years that this service was under development. The other fly in the ointment is the their site also says this service is waitlisted and the wait list is closed until 2021. So do they really offer this service or did they source a limited number of components and they are spoken for and not sure if they can get more. If you read up on Module Master they have in reality been able to rebuild the servo ABS units all along but could not reliably source components so this was not a posted service.

The bypass of a failed servo unit is less than $20 in parts and can be done at home in an afternoon so no shipping.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The bypass of a failed servo unit is less than $20 in parts and can be done at home in an afternoon so no shipping.
I understand. So would you advise a non-mechanic buyer on a budget to look for a servo bike or an ABS II one? My guess is that, all things being equal, 50K miles, it would depend on the likelihood of the ABS II to fail. Let me restate that I only ride a 6 or 7 times per year, usually 150 miles, give or take, so my annual mileage is around 1,000. I'm not looking for a GS because I want to travel the Earth; I'm looking for one because I hope it will be much more comfortable for my tall frame. And given my age of 63, it might be the last bike I'm buying.
 

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For riding a couple times a year have you thought about just renting a bike when the urge strikes? Probably cheaper in long run and no worrying about insurance, registration or maintnenace.

At 63 you should be in you prime not looking towards the end.
 

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I agree that for 1000 miles a year renting is worth a look, especially being in California where that may be possible.

If you are committed to buy I think ABS II is better as they are easier to bleed and if they fail you don't lose any braking power.

You mention budget...I hope your mechanic is not a BMW dealer as I wouldn't want to sour your purchase with big repair bills. I'd be sure to know whether the bike had the 12,000 service done recently. Particularly fresh final drive fluid and driveshaft splines lubed.
 

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I've owned both servo and non-servo. When functional, both systems work fine, but I bypassed both servo bikes after my first one had the servo fail on a ride and never want to experience that again. In my opinion, the choice is simple, go for the 2008.
 
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