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Discussion Starter #1
Hi gang!
So I've been poking around here for a while and I've learned lots of great stuff but here is my situatuation...I will TRY to be brief (no promises):

I am downsizing from two bikes to one and I have always wanted a BMW but found myself with Hondas, Kawasakis and yes, even a Harley. While I loved all my bikes in different ways (the harley was a lot of tough love), I am now looking for my "forever" bike. I am still very early in my search and my BMW studies and my vocabulary isn't perfected yet so please be patient. Theres a lot of slang to learn. :) I went to my dealer and narrowed down to f650gs. However when I got home and started looking through the brochure, I noticed the 1200gs which they did not have in stock and therefore never even brought up to me. They main issue is that I am a 5'3 145lbs (with a 30" inseam on a good day) female and know that I need the low seat/chassis model. Apparently this is hard to find. Now I have handled bigger bikes. My honda was a 2005 GL1800 but I was never fully comfortable on it and it still gave me anxiety. I do not want to wrestle with another bike. I want something I can feel confident on and really mesh with. So whats my point? I am trying to hear from people (guys and gals) about their experience with this bike. I know opinions should be taken with a grain of salt but I still want to hear them. The frustrating thing is I can't even find one of these to sit on and see in person. I don't want to go all over the country trying find a dealer who has one only to actually see it and say it isn't for me.

So much for brief, huh? So anyway, please feel free to give me any and all of your musings good, bad or indifferent about this bike as I'm really trying to make an informed decision. And thank you!!

BMW riders seem like a very tight knit, caring group of folks and I really do hope that in the near future I can count myself among your ranks. :):)
Again, thanks!!!!
-Denise
 

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Welcome Denice!
A GS would be a great choice, either the 1200 or F650 Twin. Both are quite versatile and easy to "wrestle around" compared to any Harley, or certainly a GW :eek:. I currently have both, and used to own a GL1800. There *are* low GS's out there, in fact most dealers I've been in recently had low versions but not always the standard height ones. For me the low seats are like sitting in a trough. Maybe a low bike with a standard seat (in the low setting) could work? So I would suggest trying the low bike with both seats.
 

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You might want to put the F800GS on your possible list. Its powered by
a Rotax engine. The 800 folks seem to be very positive on the bike.
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Thing is the 650 Twin uses essentially the same Rotax engine, frame, seat, etc. but with a 19" front wheel and slightly less suspension, sits lower than the F800. Also there's a low version of the F650 if she'd really think it necessary. I think the F800 is even taller than a standard R1200GS.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the responses! I did consider the 800 but I guess in my mind the bang doesn't justify the buck (again, simply my opinion. I know many would vehemently disagree). Having ridden a fair share of all different kinds of bike, I would hate for a year or so to go by and wish that I had a bit more bike under me. However, as I mentioned before, I don't want something that is going to be too heavy for me as I do plan on putting the bags/panniers on either one that I decide on. I live in central NJ and the closest one I found is in NYC and if I'm going to make that trip into the city (train/subway/cab,) I want to make sure that I am not wasting my time with something totally not for me. The dealer closest to me said he could get me the 650 the exact way I want it but of course the deal is "time sensitive" and I "needed to let him know by today". And I went ahead and passed it up because I felt I owed it to myself to chcek out the 1200. Hope I didn't make a mistake...
 

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Hi Denise -
IMO if you are looking for your "forever" bike and have doubts between the 650 and the 1200GS, I think the 1200 might be for you. I had the same thoughts about the 1200GS and GSA, and thought initially the GSA was "too big". But I kept thinking about it somehow... I ended up buying a used GSA and could not be happier. Indeed I also like more bike under me and I know I would have upgraded eventually. The 650GS twin is of course a fine bike, I had one for a few months (trying to get my wife to ride). It is definitely more "nimble" than the 1200. You can fix it up to be a great tourer bith bags, new screen, etc... If you are comfortable with some more weight, then the 1200 will be probably more versatile, especially if you like longer distance rides - will be more stable and have better protection. Also has many more farkles and options available (ESA, ASC for example). When I was searching for my 1200 there seemed to be many "low frame" for sale on craigslist, ebay, cycletrader, etc... I don't think you will have a problem finding one if you give yourself a little time. Or a new one of course. I agree with Wiley that low frame and standard seat is a good option. If you need a lower seat than that I would suggest going aftermarket (Sargent, Mayer(s), etc...) which might give you the best combination of comfort and lower height. As for the 800GS, it is indeed quite high and is meant to be a more serious off-pavement bike. It's never a mistake to pass on a "deal" - there will be others. The good thing about BMW dealers is that normally you can easily arrange for test rides - so try them all ! Good luck with the decision and the search ! :eek:
 

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Goejeff spells it out pretty well. The 1200GS does offer noticibly better wind/rain protection than the 650Twin, yet you still get a nice bit of air. Also the stock regular seat is pretty good. On the 650 you'll likely need to change the seat and windshield. And Is I mentioned if you can handle a GW or Harley, a 1200 GS will feel just slightly taller but so much lighter. If I were going to have just one motorcycle it would be a R1200GS. It handles like a sport bike, can carry as much as a Gold Wing, and is comfortable riding across town or across country.
 

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Another Ex Harley newbie! after many many years of HD's, (and others) I am about to lose my Dyna superglide in favour of a R1200GS, it looks quite an honest bike, origanally from Allan Jefferies, so some good history, and 29k on the clock, I also am challenged on height side at 5' 7" but did try a GS afew years ago, and did just about manage.
My question is, how much can they be lowered, and what sort of miles can you put on an engine, my Harleys went to the moon and back before I had to only re-bore them
Thanks all
 

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....
My question is, how much can they be lowered, and what sort of miles can you put on an engine, my Harleys went to the moon and back before I had to only re-bore them
Thanks all
Aftermarket companies offer lower shocks for the GS. The used 05 I had came with them. Hyper Pro, or something like that. They lowered the bike about 1 1/2". As you know BMW offers a low version R1200GS which comes lowered from the factory. Not sure how much but it feels a good bit lower, certainly low enough for someone 5'-7".
Hard to say how long the newer R1200 engines will last. I don't believe the Nikisil cylinders can be re-bored but they're probably good for over 250,000 miles so I wouldn't worry about them.
 

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I'm 5'7 with 29 inseam...
I have the lowered version (2011, triple black) with the low seat and absolutely love it. I carry a sheep skin seat cover for long rides.
Even though I can easily touch the ground, I mostly use one leg at stops.
 

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Which bike to buy?

Just this past weekend, I sold my F650GS and got a R1200GS. I am 41 y/o, 5'7, fairly strong, I have a lot of off-road experience and have owned over 45 bikes.
I would say that it GREATLY depends on what you are going to do with the GS you get. Either bike would suit you just fine. People have globetrotted to every corner of the world on both the 650 and 1200.
It boils down to confidence and your type of riding. Don't discount the F650GS, it is a GREAT bike that will give you more confidence to venture down the path, closer to the ground with a lot less weight.
The 1200 is a better long distance, higher speed bike that can carry two people and their gear comfortably all day at 75 MPH. It can also do amazing things off road, in the right, capable hands.
I commute every day on the interstate and dice it up with cars, trucks and buses at 80 MPH. I do some off-roading four or five times per year and take two or three 1000 mile weekend trips per year. I ride about 12-15,000 miles per year. I was very happy with my 650 but I got the 1200 as I wanted twice the power, the ability to sit higher and see better, more leg room and I love R-bikes.
The bottom line is that you should ride them both and decide on your own...Go to an Eagle Rider rental center near you, rent each of them for a day (for around $120) Spend several hours flogging them on the interstate, around town and do a bunch of tight riding in circles and figure 8's in a parking lot and make your own choice. Too many people (ie. guys) get hung up on having to get the 1200 "because the 650 is a girls bike."

Rene and Amy Riding round the World on F650GS bikes Renedian Adventures - african motorcycle tours
and http://web.mac.com/renedian

Erin and Chris Ratay ULTIMATE JOURNEY -- Around-the-World motorcycle tour

Bob Morley MAGPAS World Challenge on F650GS Smellybikers Motorcycle Shipping & GPS Maps

Lisa (on F650GS) and Simon - \"Ride the World\" 2ridetheworld.com

Monika (on F650GS) and Simon Newbound BMW Endurance Enduro Champions of the World 2009

Pierre and Merrit on F650GS bikes Photobiker

Benka Benka Pulko - 1 Woman, 1 Motorcycle, 1 World

Riding from Capetown to Istanbul on an F650GS Dakar LongDetour


Best of luck! Let us know what you decide after riding them...
 
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what are you going to use the bike for?

If it's street only, long distance travel with your clothes and gear on the back the R1200GS is probably a good way to go. I have a 30" inseam and find that, with my boots on, the bike is no problem on the low seat position even with my daughter and full camping gear on the back.

If you are planning on doing some serious offroad then you'll need a lighter, lower bike.

The other thing is, how comfortable are you with leaning the bike when stopped? If you know how to get a Harley off the sidestand then I think you'll be OK with the GS on that score. But stopping at a light might cause some issues. I've had a couple of "saves" where there was a depression in the road. Never dropped the GS but been close. Touch wood.

I think you ought to try a test ride of any bike before you buy it. I wanted an R1100S in the worst way a few years ago, but one test ride and that was it for that idea.

I don't know where you live but if the dealer isn't working with you then either find another dealer or find a BMW MOA club in the area and see if you can find somebody who will help. The BMW owners are a pretty helpful bunch. Or find a BMW owners rally close by and drive there. You'll get more information than you imagined.
 

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Renting some options is a great idea. The R1200GS, F800GS and newer models are awesome. I have had both, and am now scaling back and mostly using my 2013 Sertao (a G650GS customized model). I love it... does all I want. Try some rentals on twistedroad.com and see where to go...
 

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It may be a bit tall, but it is narrow and well balanced. For me that makes a big difference. There are many low seat options, just do a search on the forum. As far as checking one out, I would bet that there is a close forum member who would gladly show you around their GS. Happy hunting.
 

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I have riding buddy about your size, she had a factory lowered F700GS on which she put a lot of miles (if you were in Canada, it's now for sale).

Last spring she got a F750Gs, she loves it but, since the bike center of gravity is higher on the new models, she is not strong enough to lift it if dropped in non-perfect condition (soft ground, bike leaning toward the bottom of an hill, etc.) and loaded with luggage. The 1200 is just heavier.

I would avoid the 650, because that was a less popular model, spares parts and accessories are harder to find. My suggestion is to look for a used F700GS.
 
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