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I have had some serious issues with some of my GS-es too... it strikes me however that all the people I know who had the HONDA AT came back to BMW afterwards, albeit mostly to the F850GSA (instead of the boxer engine).
 

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I think the biggest problem with Hondas is that they are bland. Very little character. Some are better than others. I have a Honda CRF250L and although too slow it is an interesting bike. I recall leaving it with my Honda dealer for it’s first service and riding home on a CB500. A lot quicker but boy was it boring. Totally forgettable. I would imagine Africa Twin would be my 250 on steroids.

There is no denying that Hondas are very reliable. Extended warranties are essential on a BMW but I wouldn’t bother on a Honda.
 

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Well, I've had over 40 bikes during my lifetime... statistically I've had the most issues with my HONDA's...
F.e. I also had a HONDA CRF 250L and it pissed petrol from its fuel pump.
My YAMAHA's were the most reliable, troublefree ones...
 

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I'm online for a bit and following this thread.

I kindly disagree that Honda = reliability without fail. Not specifically the Africa Twin.....rather Honda in general when the name 'Honda' is dropped. I agree, generally speaking, that I also presume a used Honda AT would be more reliable than a used BMW GS with zero data to back it up. Others: please provide reliability data directly for an AT versus a GSA with the two years, mileage & maintenance records that the OP posted. Can't be done.....that's my point. It's speculative based on Honda nameplates. Likely well deserved but not quantifiable on a used bike. I actually just performed a Google search on "Africa Twin Problems" and found quite a lot of fork seals & DCT problems, some electrical and hard to start issues, some rust and button sticking issues. They are not the Honda XR400 of the ADV world. Absolutely not bashing Honda......just saying to research common problems and evaluate likeliness of having to deal with those. Don't assume with your wallet.

With that said - I would not want to own a AT or any 'toy' solely based on reliability or perceived reliability. I've had zero mechanical issues with the three BMW boxers I've personally owned. The sum of the package is what I invested in when buying my 2nd GSA. I'm a maintenance fanatic as well.

I also maintain that a Honda AT versus a BMW GS is apples to oranges. The AT is sooooo much more a dirtbike and I think would be a clear winner as a 70% offroader. It's just not a comfortable mile eater in comparison to the GS platform. The OP self-identified that they were looking for a 95% pavement bike.

Personally I do not like parallel twins so that instantly took the AT out of the running for me.
You know.....I missed this above observation originally. This is a really great point. I've ridden several parallel twin Polaris products and didn't care for the power delivery vibrations and high rev nature of power delivery. Test rides would be the best bet for the OP. The GS platform on paper is a clear winner for the 95% road in my mind & why I'm sharing my detailed opinions in hope to help the OP. Personal tastes will prevail from a test ride. My heavily weighting the GS platform is solely based on my original 'mile eater' theory & the OP's 95% road desires. I also genuinely like the boxer engine architecture. I'm absolutely not a BMW fan boy. The GS is the only BMW I would ever own (car or bike)....or another boxer-engine model perhaps. Not because it's a BMW at all......I just like the boxer engine architecture that much!

Triumph Tiger vs BMW GS becomes much more difficult and I see that's already been addressed on this forum.
 

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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 am a little late on this thread. I have owned two Triumph Explorers and a Super Tenere. My brother in law owns a AT. My 2 cents is go with a GS. I have a 2014 that I bought a few months ago and have right at 5000 miles on it. Best bike I have ever owned. My brother in law loves is AT but he does not travel distance on it. My wife and I just took a 1000 mile trip for a few days and it was comfortable and handled really well. I thought I wanted a GSA but the extra gas also gives it a lot of weight up high which in my opinion defeats the low center of gravity on the GS. Both are good bikes depending on your needs. I was going to buy a AT before the Super Tenere and did not. Wish I had of gotten a GS years ago! I agree the prices sound a bit high. People selling bikes have their one bike to sell, but you have all kind of choices if you can be patient. Easier said than done LOL. Good luck on your choice!
 

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I have had a 2009 GSA since it had 0.3 miles on. The odometer is close to turning 120K. Did the Rawhyde training to learn how to ride it about a year after I bought. Once you get the hang of it, it does well enough, even fully loaded with my fat ass on it. Use it primarily as a daily commuter now, occasionally on a dirt forest road. Love the ergonomics and comfort, as well as the range the bigger tanks will give. Panniers are big enough to put a week's worth of groceries in. Fork seals have been replaced twice. A couple months ago, had the original clutch replaced. Put aftermarket suspension (Wilburs) shortly after buying and that was a great improvement. Had the final drive joint replaced a couple years ago after it finally gave out. Maintenance is easy to do yourself. Not much in the way electronics like newer models. For long distance and primarily road with occasional dirt, I would go with GSA. If I wanted to get more serious about dirt, then probably get the AT. That't my $0.02 worth ;-)
 

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The odometer is close to turning 120K.
That's a great post in it's entirety!

I guess that's another big positive for the BMW boxer architecture - the GS platform is evolutionary so the maintenance procedures & tools are well developed over decades to keep them running.

To clarify my above "......had zero mechanical issues" I will say that I've not had any issues with my BMW's. I emphasize mechanical in reference to functional but they are indeed interchangeable and I have had zero issues.
 

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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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Hi "GSAInTheSun",
I'm not sure if you've pulled the trigger yet, but I own a GSA and an AT (my oldest son rides the AT). They're both great bikes, as long as you have the service history on the 09 GSA, you should be good to go. These engines tend to be strong and long lasting. A couple notes/comments:
  • The AT will sit higher than the GSA (not sure what your inseam is)
  • GSA will provide more wind protection for your mostly on-road riding
  • For being a pig, it's amazing how good a GSA is off road, even in the rough stuff. I take both of my bikes off road a lot, I live in Southern Nevada where things can get challenging, the AT is definitely better, but you'd be shocked how much confidence and maneuverability you get out of the GSA's low center of gravity
  • The GSA's tank will get you a bit farther than the AT
  • I really like the AT's exhaust note
  • Have you considered an ATAS (Adventure Sports)? I think these launched as 2018's, and have a larger fairing which gives you a bigger tank. Other members made some comments about being able to pick up late model AT's on the cheap and they're correct. With the 1100CC model launching in 2020 (which tries to be much more like a GS), demand dropped for prior model years. I purchased a 2019 ATAS in 2020 with .4 miles on the odo for $10,500. If you can stretch your budget a bit, you may be able to find an 2018 ATAS for not much more than what you're looking at for the 2016 AT. The ATAS is more comparable to the GSA.

Either way, both bikes are great bikes, albeit different. Try to ride both before you commit. The AT community has a forum just like the one here. Here's the link: Honda Africa Twin Forum
 

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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 would also get the newer Africa Twin.
i have a 2009 r1200gs with 100,000 miles. I use it on and off road an in places it wasn’t designed to go. I’ve been through two sets of crash bars and about to buy my 3rd. About to replace the rocker covers for the first time. I have overhauled the final drive once at the same cost as a new chain and sprockets for an AT. I have also replaced the front and rear shocks with Ohlins mechatronics which work with the bmw electronics. The bike does everything well - touring, back roads, gravel roads, single tracks (with friends to help drag it back to the track) and two up with the wife. It’s never broken down. I do all my own servicing and it’s really simple to do. The AT has a bigger front wheel, but that’s it - it’s no lighter and way taller. I currently ride with mates on their KTM 1090’s. I go where they go. Granted mine is not an adventure model with the massive tank, I just attach a roto pack if needed, which is hardly ever. Hope that helps.
 

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I'm late to the game, but honestly--the Africa Twin's a really nice bike. If your heart really tells you that you need a BMW, go for it. A Honda won't scratch that itch, and you'll still ache every time you pass a GS on (off?) the road. But that aside, I'd go for the Honda.
 

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Personally I’m biased as I really like my R1200GS. I don’t do difficult off road, just some dirt & gravel and fairly easy trails, the vast majority is on pavement. The GS, as mentioned, is less top heavy than the GSA. For me, the range of the GS is plenty adequate. I suggest that you consider whether the range is really something you value. The boxers are known for reliability and longevity and my 2005 has never had an issue. That said, I only have about 35,000 miles(I know, but work, family, other bikes in the garage and weather limit my play time), so I hope to keep it for a long time. The test ride should impress you with the power delivery, comfort and handling, so get the one that feels best to you. Good luck😀
 

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I have a 2009GS at about 50K miles. It has been the most recalled bike ever. I sill have the fuel pump recall #2 to do, and I need to inspect the throttle bodies for cracked wheels. The specter of shock replacement is coming, the damping adjustment has quit, but I was lucky it on the hardest setting when it quit so it is good for now. Sadly this is probably my last BMW. I love the brand, and I love the bike but the poor quality…….. Oddly I seem to have a good fuel strip of all things. It will still be a few more years but my current ownership experience is not satisfactory. It never strands me. Riding never disappoints me. But the recalls…. For real? Not getting an AT though. I simply do not know what I will get. Triumph or Yamaha, maybe the new HD adventure bike. Or maybe a raised resuspended road glide.
 

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The AT's are problematic for simple repairs. You have to take half the bike apart to change air filter. The bash plate that was installed on mine necessitated taking 4 or 5 screws off for the plate and the same number for the mounting plate, just to change the oil. If it was me, I would keep looking for a 2014 water cooled version of the R1200GS. This is a personal opinion but I see only a very rare need for an 8 gallon tank on the GSA.
 

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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 have owned 3 Hondas. I can tell you one thing to consider depending upon your mechanical ability and taste for repair, Dealers and Mechanics are expensive whether its Honda BMW Ducati or Yamaha. The cost difference is in the parts. A motorcycle is largely a luxury item and if you are going between a AT or GS I will assume you own other vehicles to drive in the wind rain and snow. If this is a first pass at a motorcycle you will likely need professional assistance in maintenance and only you can judge your tolerance for cost. Both manufacturer's make reliable well constructed vehicles.

My point is the two bikes you are looking at are different. The AT is a 50/50 off-road/ touring bike, and the regular model more so. I will get much shade here but the larger GS BMW although very off-road capable is not usually purchased by those spending 50% of their time off road. I recommend High Side Low - Side by Revzilla, Daily Rider and Ryan F9 for some experienced and "somewhat" unbiased opinion on off-road vs. on-road discussion by people who actually do both.

Being a GSA owner and a DIY guy (I've torn down a bike to its frame and rebuilt it) I think the complaint of BMW expense is a tad overblown. Yes if you are going to a stealership for an oil change you get what you deserve, the price of clean hands. Consumables cost roughly the same, most parts are comprable and every bike has a gotcha part or service since 2000.
 

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The difference in dealerships between Honda and BMW is that BMW is selling a product and services they market as a premium experience and so yes, they charge a premium price. When I take my 1200GS in to Bob's BMW everyone there remembers my name and it's a nice pleasant atmosphere to hang out; or, if I need to drop and go for service, they always have a loaner bike for me. The times they didn't have a loaner, they let me take one of their demo bikes for the day. Now, not everyone sees value in all that but for those of us that do, we should be willing to support the dealer and pay a premium price for that experience. I don't consider it a "stealership" if I pay a bit more for tires or gear there because I see the value in supporting my local dealer so that they're there when I really need them.

When I go to the Honda shop, it's a rotating door of sales people and the back parking lot is full of bikes parked outside that they haven't gotten to yet. The guy that works on my Honda might have been working on a lawn mower before he got to my bike - not saying he may be any less qualified but it's more likely he's perhaps not as well trained or experienced as the techs in the BMW shop. Of course, with a Honda you may never need a repair or need to take your bike back to the shop. But if you're the kind of owner that likes to let the dealer do an oil change or mount new tires, at the Honda shop they'll get to your bike when the lawn mowers and generators that got there before you are serviced and there won't be any loaner bike.

I grew up on Hondas and have a real affinity for the quality and design of the bikes they make. However, I've been trying to find a Honda that I liked for over ten years and I always end up elsewhere. I bought a K1600GT instead of a VFR for sport touring (I might have bought that VFR if it hadn't been so ugly :)). I bought an S1000RR instead of a race spec CBR1000RR. I bought a KTM Super Duke instead of a CB1000R. And I bought a WR250R Yamaha instead of a CRF250L. In every case I felt like I got on a better motorcycle than what they could sell me at the Honda Dealer. Oddly, my next couple of bike purchases may be Hondas - I'm going to buy a CRF125L for my daughter because it's the only bike in the category that's fuel injected. And, if I can find a good deal on a Honda Montesa 260 trials bike I'll probably snag one.
 
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Discussion Starter #36
Huge ( and potentially unpopular ) plot twist...

I ended up going with a 2016 KTM 1290 Super Adventure. Same price range, same mileage, just overall an amazing bike.

Thanks so much to everyone for the advice and opinions, they were really helpful in getting me to the bike that truly sang to me.


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Huge ( and potentially unpopular ) plot twist...

I ended up going with a 2016 KTM 1290 Super Adventure. Same price range, same mileage, just overall an amazing bike.

Thanks so much to everyone for the advice and opinions, they were really helpful in getting me to the bike that truly sang to me.



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You start a heated debate and then you go and buy a bloody KTM..
 

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Huge ( and potentially unpopular ) plot twist...

I ended up going with a 2016 KTM 1290 Super Adventure. Same price range, same mileage, just overall an amazing bike.

Thanks so much to everyone for the advice and opinions, they were really helpful in getting me to the bike that truly sang to me.


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If you paid $8-9k you got a steal. Be careful with all that horsepower!
 
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