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Discussion Starter #1
I’m about to buy a new to me bike and I’m down to the 2 finalists...

A 2009 GSA with 35k miles, and a 2016 Africa Twin ( non-DCT ) with 21k miles. The bikes are the same price - $8k USD. Both have full service histories and are immaculate.

I’ve always admired the GSAs from afar, but I’m tempted by the Africa Twin as it’s so much newer.

The bike will be used daily for commuting, then longer rides with some fire roads on the weekend. Being honest, it will likely be “off road” about 5% of the time.

Any advice would be very welcome, especially if anyone has had both.


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I don't have both but there seems to be a lot of AT owners who do not remain AT owners very long. At 1st they love them then after the honeymoon they start to dislike them. Personally I do not like parallel twins so that instantly took the AT out of the running for me.

I have owned a 2009 GS and GSA along with 7 other Hexhead GS and they are reliable with minimal basic care. The nice thing is they do not have a bunch of the electronic crap more modern bikes do.

Price wise I think 8K is at the upper limit even with aftermarket suspension and panniers but I have been spoiled by some very good deals that came my way last year.

I do not know where you are located but I am currently selling a 2006 GSA with 33,600 miles. It in the classified section.

Also when comparing the AT to the GSA is a bit like apples to oranges. Out of the box the GSA will weigh substantially more but you also have to account for the 33L fuel capacity vs the 18,7L of the AT.

Either bike will serve you well. I prefer the GS/GSA especially Hexheads as they fit me well. They have good brakes, suspension and handle extremely well for what it is. Honestly I can ride my GS/GSA's at a more rapid and confident pace than I can sports bikes. I can also grind out 1,000+ in a day very comfortable. Also the BMW has tubeless wheels the AT I think still relies in tubes.

Ask your question on a Honda site (I encourage you too) and you'll get all the reasons why you should not own a BMW. Number one will be service costs. When that comes up ask how much it costs for the dealer to do a valve check on the AT. On the BMW it can be done with simple hand tools in 20 minutes along side the road.

Feeler gauge
10mm wrench
T27 Torx bit
2 or 3 mm allen wrench
Sparkplug socket
Pencil, chopstick or straw (to find TDC)
 

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I also do not have first hand experience with the AT. But I do know that my 2009 GS is the first bike I have owned which is truly a long distance tourer while also allowing any other mission including offroad very well. The ergonomics, suspension and wind protection are outstanding, for me. I ride 75mph with the visor open and even rain doesn’t bother me on this machine. The AT is rumored to be very good offroad but I am short and like the low center of gravity of the GS when offroad. The GSA you are looking at is obviously taller unless lowered. I could see the AT being fun for shorter distance, city type, commuting but that’s just guessing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This is really helpful advice, thanks all so much. For now I continue to lean in the GSAs direction...


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My friend got a 2018 AT.....sold it and got a BMW R1200GSA,,,,sold it and got a 1250 GS and is super happy,
Oh wow, this says a lot...I will say, Africa Twins don’t seem very popular...I rarely ever see one out and about.


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Bobmanz
2018 R1200GSA & 2017 Ural Gear Up
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Before totaling my 2013 GSA, I expected to ride it until, well, it no longer would run (had over 90k on the dial), and when I was looking for a replacement, it was an easy choice, another GSA. While I'm sure the Honda is a great bike, and may have a few more modern amenities than the older BMW, considering they are both immaculate with complete service records, I personally would go with the BMW. Whatever your decision though, all the very best, have fun, and stay safe!
 

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Are you going to ride 2 up? Then get the GSA.
Hondas are reliable, so are BMWs, personally I hate chain drives, always need cleaning, lubing and adjusting.

Which bike fits you better?

Have you noticed how many Honda dealers have brand new old stock still sitting on the floor, (2017s and 2018s)? Try finding new a new old stock GSA
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Are you going to ride 2 up? Then get the GSA.
Hondas are reliable, so are BMWs, personally I hate chain drives, always need cleaning, lubing and adjusting.

Which bike fits you better?

Have you noticed how many Honda dealers have brand new old stock still sitting on the floor, (2017s and 2018s)? Try finding new a new old stock GSA
Will be 2 up on weekends for sure. And you’re right, always see lots of ATs in stock...


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Maybe not qualified to give an opinion here. (I had a 1990 Transalp and have not ridden an Africa Twin.) My current ride is an "obsolete" 2005 R1200GS, but ya know, it carries its weight low, and the paralever/telelever suspension design truly works. It is a very versatile bike: twisties or freeways, take your choice. As a Honda guy, I've gradually come to grips with the BMW culture, but I have a good local dealer and also a specialist BMW shop nearby. Yes, German parts are a lot more expensive, but my approach has been spending money on preventive maintenance, not disaster repair. So at 58K miles, the ABS brakes still work, as does the rest of the bike. Does the 2009 Beemer have complete service records? If so, it is a good choice. Even if you don't like it, it will retain its resale value if maintained.
 

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I cannot compare with a HONDA AT, but I have owned a 2009 R1200GSA , and it was my least favourite GS.
All in all I have owned 10 different GS bikes from 2007 till the 2020 model years.
I part exchanged the 2009 GSA after only one year for the then new 2010 DOHC R1200GS , which perhaps was the most reliable motorcycle I have ever owned.
I found the GS Adventure heavy, cumbersome and finnicky with its short wheelbase.
Its more offroad bias (compared to the "normal" GS) I found moot because you have to be a hell of an offroader to master this mastodon on anything else than tarmac or very smooth gravel roads.
Remains its giant gasoline tank which makes it also very top heavy, when full.
Everything else the regular GS does better and it was a relief for me to be able to mount the much lighter, more nimble GS again.
Last but not least, if you prefer the oil cooled version of the GS to the liquid cooled ones, try and find a 2010-2012 DOHC version : it is WAY better than the previous generations and my dealer says it is simply the most reliable bike ever made by BMW.
 

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Ride them both with the mind of how you will use it and either can work.

Considerations:
  • 2016 is first year of Africa Twin.
  • 35k on the GSA, has the 36k service been done?
  • 09 will want rubber parts like alternator belt/ telelever boots done and maybe change fuel fittings to chrome plated brass as they get brittle over time.
  • BMW parts prices, but should be used/aftermarket parts for an 09.
  • AT won't have cruise but may have traction control and riding modes, if that matters.
  • ATs 21" wheel advantage may be negligible on fire roads with right tires.
  • BMW "culture"
Get what bike speaks to you and you shouldn't regret it.

Edit: Forgot to mention, IMO both bikes seem a $1000 high, but market is a seller one at moment. A month ago local dealer was selling leftover 17 ATs for $9499.
 

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Go to test ride of both models, after that you decide which one is better fit to you. GS hold that price with years, this talk only good things for BMW, related to another brands.
Every one owner of brand different than BMW dream for BMW GS :)
 

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Ride them both with the mind of how you will use it and either can work.

Considerations:
  • 2016 is first year of Africa Twin.
  • 35k on the GSA, has the 36k service been done?
  • 09 will want rubber parts like alternator belt/ telelever boots done and maybe change fuel fittings to chrome plated brass as they get brittle over time.
  • BMW parts prices, but should be used/aftermarket parts for an 09.
  • AT won't have cruise but may have traction control and riding modes, if that matters.
  • ATs 21" wheel advantage may be negligible on fire roads with right tires.
  • BMW "culture"
Get what bike speaks to you and you shouldn't regret it.

Edit: Forgot to mention, IMO both bikes seem a $1000 high, but market is a seller one at moment. A month ago local dealer was selling leftover 17 ATs for $9499.
I come to this as a self service performer. In an afternoon while sipping a few beers and listening to the radio this can all be easily completed. In fact if anyone needs help and is local to me I'll certainly walk you through the routine services like oil/filter changes and how to check/set the valves.

BBY has the following for the BMW (if you use the code ADV10 you'll get 10% off you order)

CPC fuel fitting kit - $79 (if needed. Might already be completed)
Upper and lower swing arm boots - $100 (if needed)
Alternator belt - $25

Avalaible from Amazon and or you local mega mart:

Oil - 1 gallon of Mobil 1 15W-50 for $24 at Walmart minus the $10 rebate - $14
Oil filter - HiFlo 164 - $8
Mahale air filter - $13
Trans/Rear drive oil - 1 quart of 75W-90 or 75W-145 full synthetic - $11
1 pint of DOT brake fluid - $4
 

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My longest time and highest mileage ridding buddy rides an AT and loves it. His words "This bike saved my riding soul." It's a great bike with a bit more off-road cred than the GS (21" front wheel and a little bit lighter). If you're 95% road with just an occasional forest road thrown in, the GS is probably a more comfortable choice though I'd be shopping for a 1200 2014 or later.
 

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I cross-shopped the AT against the GSA. It was very simple for me actually and I'll share in hopes that it helps:

Ergonomics. Simply that the AT didn't fit me near as comfortably as the GSA for eating up miles. The AT felt very much like a large dirtbike. I wanted a mile eating ADV bike with good wind protection and seat/handlebar fitment to my 160# body. That's it. I personally inventoried what my true riding style is and what kind of tool I wanted to accomplish that style of riding. I think your style echoes mine a lot. What fits you best? Think about that.

Had I went the 'large dirtbike' route....I'd honestly have gotten the Yamaha Tenere or Super Tenere. I think that's a better option than the Honda personally. I don't care so much about maintenance costs as much as reliability and fun. Don't overthink the maintenance. Nothing bad to say about the AT mind you. Just recognize your needs and buy accordingly. The Tenere, Honda AT and even the KTM feel very similar. There's nothing like the BMW....the Ducati is way more 'street' as an example. The Triumph is the closest and I feel bridges the gap between the GSA and the AT. My $0.02. Good luck!
 
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