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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Short intro:
  • 39 years old
  • 6,0
  • owned 1 practice bike, Yamaha XJ900 from 2011-2013
  • Rented a bike couple of times, short periods (among them, 2018 Triumpf Tiger 800 which style I liked much)
  • Confident in riding, not afraid of the weight of the bikes
  • pretty capable, willing and planning to do most of my own maintenance (including valve adjustments)

I know it is a GS forum, but please give me an unbiased reply if you can.

I started looking at the Yamaha Super Tenere, for its adventure bike style (looks, riding position and capabilities). A big reason was also the Japanese reliability. I think however that it will bore me somehow, and still will want the most popular adv bike, the 1200GS. I dived into all the different generations and I believe the 2010-2012 is for me the way to go. That is more or less my budget and it is the most developed Air-cooled model. I am pretty sure I can do the maintenance myself, including clutch change if necessary. What worried me was one thing, and that is my biggest concern at the moment: I have read that the shaft drive can be a problem, and it often fails, during riding sometimes, leading to dangerous situations (if wheel blocks).

That lead me to look a little further and in the same price range there is of course the KTM 1190 adventure R. What I like about the KTM is the power/speed and the looks as well. Negative is the chain maintenance, and I don't know a lot about it's reliability. I have seen that the valves need to be adjusted a lot more, and it is not as easy as the pre 2013 boxer. The overal quality image is not so good from what I could see, but then again in comparison to Japanese bikes a lot of brands would look bad, including BMW (fed by media, not own experience).

Are there people here who can give an honest opinion about the reliability of the BMW and KTM? I value a little fun over super reliability (otherwise I should look for Japanese bikes I think), but I have limited budget to spend on repairs. I think if I don't have to worry about the driveshaft I would go for the GS. If you guys say, go for a GS but change the shaft, that might be an option if the additional costs are doable. But then again if it is a hit or miss, with driveshafts then... you get my point (please deliver me from my suffering 馃槄)

Excuse me if this is the 100th time you get such requests, but there is so much info from a lot of resources that it is still quite difficult to filter things out. Especially because negative issues tend to find the internet a lot more then positive info.

Best regards,
(maybe soon fellow R1200GS-rider) Racka
 

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Over the last few years I've owned multiple BMWs (1600GT, S1000RR, R1200GS), a Kawasaki KLR 650, a KTM (Super Duke 1290 R) and a couple of Yamahas (WR250R, TTR110). I don't think there's a reason stemming from quality and reliability to avoid any of these makes. You should ride all the bikes you have in your cross hairs and pick the one you like the best and don't overthink all the, well, frankly, crapola you read about reliability problems. Any of those bikes, properly maintained will give you many years of trouble free service.

I feel like there's so many great bikes out there and so little time/money/garage space so owned many bikes over the last decade I'll just say that my '16 GS is the bike I've kept the longest and have no interest in moving along from it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks a lot for your input. I don't have a lot of experience as you guys have so this helps me a lot. I will let the worries slide of me as I intend to give the bike superb maintenance.

I totally understand the problem of the lack of resources to fulfill al bike related wishes haha.

I will try to test ride all bikes, but I am leaning towards the GS. I think I pretty much, cant go wrong with the GS. I like the brand as well, therefore drive a MBW car. What I definitely will tetlstride is the GS but also the GS Adventure, so beautiful .



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I had a seal go out on my final drive on my 2007 GSA so I'm not a huge fan of it as it requires special tools to fix. Generally they are problem free but not perfect.

Personally I have no issues with chain drive. I do not mind the maintenance, easy to see wear, inexpensive and easy to replace.

KTM isn't known for reliability...lots of good options today with Adventure bikes. As @GrayBeard said try some out until you find the right one.
 

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If you're buying new, the BMW 3 year warranty will take care of any problems you might have. I'm late to the BMW game, after riding Harleys for 30 years. But they got to be just to heavy and $$ for me. So I've been on BMW's for the last seven years. Zero problems, but none-the-less, I traded my 15 GS for a nice 2022 Triple Black GS. While none of my BMW's have ever let me down, there are those horror stories. I'm of the opinion BMW's are quite reliable, but when one does decide to break, they break big! $2000 dollar LED headlights, $4000 dollar stator replacements, $1600 dollar TFT screen, etc. etc. The price BMW asks for parts can be breathtaking! I'll probably spring for an extended service contract, thus insuring nothing on my bike will ever need replacing! ;)
 

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If I were in the market for a non-European adventure bike, I'd look long and hard at the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports model. Most of the whistles and bells without the big price tag. Lighter too. The Harley Pan American is getting good reviews, and I've noticed several on the road over the last few months, so they seem to be selling and well received. Lots of choices...you can demo everything at the dealerships except the Honda, for that you'd have to find their demo truck...Bike Week anybody?
 

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Hi Racka and welcome to the wonderful world of adventure bikes!
I owned a new 2012 Yamaha Super Tenere for about 45,000 miles and it was trouble-free and comfortable for long trips with Rox bar risers (helpful for both standing up and comfy long tours) and stock seat.
The shaft drive is the same as Yamaha's VMax, so it is bulletproof and the ABS system works well in the dirt.
The motor had a cross plane crankshaft and so had a wonderful sound that reminded me of my old Ducati 996.
Valve adjustment is difficult, as access is very tight, but I was able to do it myself with a bit of patience. I think the period is 24,000 miles. It was a bit heavy for off-road, but very well balanced and with knobby tires did ok in the dirt.
With street tires, the bike handled like a supermoto in the twisties.

I now ride a 2017 GS1200 Rallye I bought used with 10,000 miles on it and love it too. The styling is even more beautiful than the Yamaha in my opinion. It feels a bit more nimble and lighter than the Super T but I won't be riding it offroad as I now have a Honda CRF300L for dirt duty. Horsepower feels about the same on both bikes, maybe there is a bit more on the BMW.

Definitely ride all the bikes you intend to purchase as they are all a bit different.

Good luck with your search and let us know what you decide.

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If you鈥檙e in the market for a DOHC R1200 GS you cannot seriously go wrong 鈥 .they are the most reliable version of all, according to my dealer and in accordance with my own experience, having owned some 11 GSes by now.
However, the liquid cooled versions are nicer to ride, albeit that their perceived quality is lower .
I have also owned some 3 KTM , and although I haven鈥檛 had any really serious problems with them, the after sales service of KTM and the availability of spare parts are dreadful.
If I were you, I鈥檇 go for the 2010 -2012 Beemer, butI I would also test ride the LC version (from 2013 on) and see if you鈥檇 prefer the latter鈥檚 roadmanners . I know I certainly do !
 

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As for reliability no matter what we say or post here it will not change if something is going to break/fail. ALL mechanical things break.

Yes it is true the BWM drive shafts do wear out and or just sometime fail, however with regular service and checkups and not ignoring the telltale signs for one more ride you normally catch them before something goes wrong.

Another thing is the rear drives are also known to go out on the Oil/Hex/Cam heads. Again if you choose to ignore the telltale signs failure of the big bearing can leave you stranded. Its also somethgin that can be changed out buy the shade tree mechanic if they are so bold as to try. My buddy has done big bearing replacements on his R1150's in motel parking lots. Funny thing is he doesn't carry hardly any cloths but he does carry a puller and new bearing when he travels especially when the bikes rear drive has around 50,000 miles from the last rebuild.

If you want a bike with character look at Moto Guzzi. The older stuff had it in spades the new stuff is trending towards UJM but still gobs more character than and Asian big 4 offering.

As for what bike to buy, you need to buy what you like and what suits your needs. .

Cheers,

P-14
 

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It always depends on the miles you'll ride the bike! Low miles I wouldn't, but I ride a lot and at 75K miles my 2014 GS stator went and was covered under extended warranty. And then there's the LED headlight that went out and warranty covered $2K cost ;)
 

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For my 2006 oil/ air cooled for 4 full seasons I change both front and rear rubber boot sealings and both U- joints of the cardan. This was my preventive action. None of them was damaged, cracked or so. Only thing that I decide to change U joints, just in one axis bearings do not fall free, another axis was OK, disassemble it and found service for replacement of U - joints, not whole cardan. Cost was about $150. Both rubber boots approx $100 both from dealer. In every change of oil in a final drive (include disassemble of rear part of the cardan and final drive) just check the cardan and change the grease. Another is fun and smiles :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Thanks for your replies all! Very helpfull in getting a clear picture of what to expect. I will definitely try to drive the bikes, to firstly figure out what I like the best. If I can't test it from the dealer, I will rent it from a platform we have in the Netherlands: 'Motoshare'.

Every prive bike owner can put his/her bike there for rent and all legal and insurance matters are covered by the platform (for a "small fee" of course).

@Motormike definitely looked into the Africa Twin, but the one I can afford at the moment (CRF1000) has some negatives for my intended use. The CRF1100 would be a little better with more power and tubeless tires, but still more dirt orientated than my skills an needs can handle.

@P-14 Yeah the MotoGuzzi has a lot of character indeed and the bike is servicefriendly I understood as a lot of parts are generic in the Piaggio Group but I am not really into Italians yet. Later if (when :)) I expand my fleet, it would definitely be an option.

I like @Niks solution a lot. If I get a GS than this might be the way to go for me as well, just for a little piece of mind. The costs aren't too high as well.

And we continue the great journey of choosing and getting the bike :D. I will surely let you guys know what it will be.

Best regards,
Racka
 

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Lots of good advice on here and I think you鈥檙e on point choosing a 2010-12 model (last of the air-cooled). I owned a 2004 model which I loved and was supremely reliable, other than the stupid servo brake system which costs a fortune when (not if) it goes wrong. Fortunately, bmw kicked the car guy out of its design team and removed that folly!馃槀

I鈥檝e had a Triumph Tiger 1050 for the last 5 years but have since sold it and bought a 2010 GSA, with 50,000 miles and I love it.
I have ridden the LC models and they are great but there are too many high items to fail on them for me.

So I like the 鈥榦ldish鈥 1200 GS. They have character and for the price of a 2010-12, you can risk it a bit I think.

good luck
 

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Hi, I think if you want to test tide all these bikes, you DO NOT start with the GS, as once you know how comfy it is and easy to manoeuvre you will not move to test ride another bikes! :)
 

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Hi all,

Short intro:
  • 39 years old
  • 6,0
  • owned 1 practice bike, Yamaha XJ900 from 2011-2013
  • Rented a bike couple of times, short periods (among them, 2018 Triumpf Tiger 800 which style I liked much)
  • Confident in riding, not afraid of the weight of the bikes
  • pretty capable, willing and planning to do most of my own maintenance (including valve adjustments)

I know it is a GS forum, but please give me an unbiased reply if you can.

I started looking at the Yamaha Super Tenere, for its adventure bike style (looks, riding position and capabilities). A big reason was also the Japanese reliability. I think however that it will bore me somehow, and still will want the most popular adv bike, the 1200GS. I dived into all the different generations and I believe the 2010-2012 is for me the way to go. That is more or less my budget and it is the most developed Air-cooled model. I am pretty sure I can do the maintenance myself, including clutch change if necessary. What worried me was one thing, and that is my biggest concern at the moment: I have read that the shaft drive can be a problem, and it often fails, during riding sometimes, leading to dangerous situations (if wheel blocks).

That lead me to look a little further and in the same price range there is of course the KTM 1190 adventure R. What I like about the KTM is the power/speed and the looks as well. Negative is the chain maintenance, and I don't know a lot about it's reliability. I have seen that the valves need to be adjusted a lot more, and it is not as easy as the pre 2013 boxer. The overal quality image is not so good from what I could see, but then again in comparison to Japanese bikes a lot of brands would look bad, including BMW (fed by media, not own experience).

Are there people here who can give an honest opinion about the reliability of the BMW and KTM? I value a little fun over super reliability (otherwise I should look for Japanese bikes I think), but I have limited budget to spend on repairs. I think if I don't have to worry about the driveshaft I would go for the GS. If you guys say, go for a GS but change the shaft, that might be an option if the additional costs are doable. But then again if it is a hit or miss, with driveshafts then... you get my point (please deliver me from my suffering 馃槄)

Excuse me if this is the 100th time you get such requests, but there is so much info from a lot of resources that it is still quite difficult to filter things out. Especially because negative issues tend to find the internet a lot more then positive info.

Best regards,
(maybe soon fellow R1200GS-rider) Racka
I have owned a 2017 Super Tenere, 2015 Triumph Explrer, 2013 Triumph Explorer, 2014 BMW R1200GSLC and talked to people with the KTM.
super Tenere鈥reat bike but dull.
Triumphs鈥ard to work on and Top Heavy, but the triple is awesome.
KTM is awesome of road but KTM owners have to do repairs on the trail quite often.

FOR AN ADVENTURE BIKE - R1200 GS鈥inner in my mind鈥ow weight distribution and very well balanced, easy to work on for general maintenance, great on the highway, works well off road but heavy for really technical riding, fits me very well and great two up riding. Gas mileage on average 47 less if I am really pushing it.

i have owned many Yamahas, a Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki.

For what its worth.
 

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I have a 2005 GS, 35000mi. I ride it on the street with occasional gravel and dirt roads, not offroad. I do the recommended maintenance and no big issues. This year I replaced the rubber on the driveshaft/final drive as I noticed the front one was wearing(not unexpected for a 16 year old). I have read in the forums and such of problems. However I know several GS riders who have way more miles than mine and still go back for another one, usually with 80,000 or more miles. None have had huge problems to cause concern. I plan on keeping mine for a long time. I will echo some of the wise advise above. Do the maintenance and plan on a thorough servicing and preventative maintenance on any late model machine you acquire. I know that parts can be expensive on European bikes, but I don鈥檛 think they are unreliable or less durable. My advise would be to buy the one that feels the best to you, that way keeping it properly maintained will be favorably balanced with the fun you have on it. Happy hunting!
 
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