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Keep which bike?


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Many years ago I was in SJBMW and there were 2 K100RS with around 1000 miles for sale. Seems a Silicon Valley couple decided that motorcycling was their new hobby. Didn't work out!
I'm sure there lots of situations where people bought bikes that were totally inappropriate for their skill level and sold them shortly after...that's if they didn't die or write the bike off first.
 

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I've owned both bikes, well, sort of. I bought one of the first K1600GTs available in 2011 an rode it for 4+ years before trading it on a 2016 triple black 1200GS (not a GSA). Lots of hard miles on both so what do you want to know?

My first advice is to determine what kind of riding you'd like to do most. Being new to bikes and without any explanation here on what you'd like to do with it, it looks a lot like you just went in to the best motorcycle store you could find and said "I'd like the most expensive and nicest bike you have please!" That's probably not a good recipe for enjoying your first experiences on two wheels.

Both of these bikes are fine sport/touring motorcycles. The K1600GT will cross the continent in high speed comfort and then transform itself into an apex strafing hooligan bike when you get to the twisty roads. It's no good for anything unpaved.

The R1200GSA also will also cross the continent in relative comfort. Not as comfortable as the 1600. Not as powerful though plenty powerful enough for high speed passes on the interstate whilst being fully loaded. And, with some proper training/skills, and a bit of preparation for you and the bike, this bike can be taken off the pavement and is quite capable at those types of rides.

If the mission of either of these two bikes is something you are keen to experience, then you've chosen wisely and just take your time, get some additional rider training, and go fill your memory banks with bucket list experiences.

If you've no clue how you might ultimately want to spend your time in the saddle; and you're just experimenting to see what kind of riding you might like to do; then you could not have picked two worse choices for motorcycles. There are so many better choices to build your experience that better fit commuting, running errands, day trips, etc.

If you drop that K1600GT in the parking lot without good engine protection on it, the bike will be totaled by your insurance carrier for damage to the engine. Even with the proper engine protection, a simple stationary drop is going to cost you upwards of $900 in replacement of scratched fairings, bar ends, mirrors, etc.

The GSA has pretty good protection on it so parking lot naps are going to damage your pride more than the bike. If I were you, I stick to riding that one for a while.

And finally, please accept my apologies if any of this post came off as condescending or harsh. I mean this from the heart - we'd all like nothing more than for you to have good experiences and be a motorcyclist for life and you're off to a bad start - I'm guessing due to some ego issues. If that's not it, my bad.
 

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For southpaw

The wetheads are fly by wire bikes. The throttle doesn't pull cables, but sends electrical pulses. The advantage to this is that the throttle response can be varied by the push of a button. It is the electrical version of changing throttle tubes to get a different cam profile.

Changing modes changes the throttle response profiles. It also changes how ABS and ASC work and how the suspension is configured if you have the dynamic suspension. In the rain mode it takes more throttle twisting to unleash full power. In the dynamic mode it takes very little throttle twisting to get to full power. Road mode is somewhere between -- possibly a linear response. There are also enduro modes.

Your '05 doesn't have this.
 

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Being new to bikes and without any explanation here on what you'd like to do with it, it looks a lot like you just went in to the best motorcycle store you could find and said "I'd like the most expensive and nicest bike you have please!" That's probably not a good recipe for enjoying your first experiences on two wheels.
I have a feeling you are 100% right and there are probably many older riders in the US in exactly the same spot. Although I imagine many of these types would probably buy a Harley.
 

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I have a feeling you are 100% right and there are probably many older riders in the US in exactly the same spot. Although I imagine many of these types would probably buy a Harley.
A Harley would be a better starter bike for a well monied new rider than either of the two he owns. On the Harley, it's easy to get your feet down and planted so dropping it is less likely. It's also a bike that does not encourage hooliganism (on purpose or by accident).

By the way, dealerships sell more bikes than you might think to people that damage a loaner or demo bike. When you damage a demo bike, they don't write up the estimate the way you would go about fixing your own bike. They right up every little scratched bolt head and paint scrape and total up everything it takes to return it to "like new" condition. That adds up scary fast. My son low sided a rental Honda CBR250R. The repair bill estimate on a $3,000 motorcycle was $1,600. I asked them how much they'd sell it to me as is? $2,900. I bought it; put $400 worth of parts on it doing the work myself making it look "like new to the casual observer;" rode the snot out of it for 6 months; and then sold it for $3,200.
 

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Not even close and it was awful advice.
and telling him not to be riding the bike is moot at this point since he's already committed to buying both and riding one of them. If he had come on board asking for advice prior to what happened that's another thing, but we and he don't have that hindsight luxury now. For one reason or another he's chosen the bike/s he's chosen.

Best he take more rider training at this point.
 

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and telling him not to be riding the bike is moot at this point since he's already committed to buying both and riding one of them. If he had come on board asking for advice prior to what happened that's another thing, but we and he don't have that hindsight luxury now. For one reason or another he's chosen the bike/s he's chosen.

Best he take more rider training at this point.
Well I'm quite happy to give him my 2 cents, and more, on this subject. He would be much better selling the bike and getting something appropriate
 

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A Harley would be a better starter bike for a well monied new rider than either of the two he owns. On the Harley, it's easy to get your feet down and planted so dropping it is less likely. It's also a bike that does not encourage hooliganism (on purpose or by accident).

By the way, dealerships sell more bikes than you might think to people that damage a loaner or demo bike. When you damage a demo bike, they don't write up the estimate the way you would go about fixing your own bike. They right up every little scratched bolt head and paint scrape and total up everything it takes to return it to "like new" condition. That adds up scary fast. My son low sided a rental Honda CBR250R. The repair bill estimate on a $3,000 motorcycle was $1,600. I asked them how much they'd sell it to me as is? $2,900. I bought it; put $400 worth of parts on it doing the work myself making it look "like new to the casual observer;" rode the snot out of it for 6 months; and then sold it for $3,200.
Yeah one of the smaller lighter Harley's would be ok, not my sort of thing at all but plenty of people like them.

I am sure lots of demo bikes get dropped and yeah it's crazy to have to spend thousands of dollars on the excess for a bike you wont own. I suppose some people would just buy the bike instead as you suggested.
 

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Scary thing is I don't think it is a troll post. Seen too many things like this happen with the mental license scheme in the US.

Funny how you can serve in the military yet can't have a beer when you're 18 and they won't stop you from buying the most powerful sportbike to learn to ride on either. I'm American by the way but just live in Australia now.
The USA is pretty free and easy with motorcycle licensing, some countries like England insist you climb "a long ladder" before you can get on the big stuff.
Good in some regards, just suck in others.

- John
 

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BTW, when I first got my R-1200GSLC I was shocked by how abrupt the throttle was off idle, especially in the dynamic mode. I can see a low experience rider getting on one of these and having troubles. Let the clutch out a little too quickly, get thrown back, throttle rolls open and OH MAMMY! First time on a GS put the ride mode in "Rain or "Enduro" modes for a more smooth application of power. At least at first.

One famous motorcycle manufacturer had a riders program using a very small 500cc thumper as a training bike, built by a division of theirs. This little motorcycle had the most maniacal clutch engagement ever. Add a novice/never been on a bike before, add a bunch of torque plus the "all or nothing" clutch, some people got killed unexpectedly taking off at a high rate of speed and crashing into something trying to learn to ride.

- John
 

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Remember when

The USA is pretty free and easy with motorcycle licensing, some countries like England insist you climb "a long ladder" before you can get on the big stuff.
Good in some regards, just suck in others.

- John
a friend let me ride his Kawasaki 500 triple and I road to the beach where a cute girl asked for a ride. I'd never ridden a bike before and somehow I didn't kill myself or the girl! she said "that was the best ride she'd ever had on a bike! I immediately bought a used 1972 Yamaha 350! There was no MC written test and the DMV tester asked me to drive down the road and go through the gears. I turned around and tester was already signing my license. Then the carnage began! I lost track how many times I crashed! My first sergeant said if I crashed again, the bike was his! I survived somehow and after over 500000 miles, no woman I didn't know has asked me for a ride.
 

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The USA is pretty free and easy with motorcycle licensing, some countries like England insist you climb "a long ladder" before you can get on the big stuff.
Good in some regards, just suck in others.

- John
I think it's good and Australia has the same thing where you start on lower power to weight ratio bikes first. I find the US system insanity even though I did get my license there.
 

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Well I certainly understand your story and just to say also own a K 1600 GTL exec and GSA 1200 Triple black as my first proper bikes so there will be no judging you here. Had quads and small 250cc plastic bikes before. Long story short had I bought the GSA first I would not have bought the 1600 . Nevertheless I have kept both and use them for the different rides as best suits !
Love them both but love the GS more
Do agree that rain mode is a must on both until you are really comfortable on the bikes
 

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Well I certainly understand your story and just to say also own a K 1600 GTL exec and GSA 1200 Triple black as my first proper bikes so there will be no judging you here. Had quads and small 250cc plastic bikes before. Long story short had I bought the GSA first I would not have bought the 1600 . Nevertheless I have kept both and use them for the different rides as best suits !
Love them both but love the GS more
Do agree that rain mode is a must on both until you are really comfortable on the bikes
I tend to agree. Probably would have not bought my GTL had I owned the GSA first. However. The K1600 surely is a nice way to cover lots of miles quickly and comfortably. See this is your first post, so a welcome is in order. You might want to check out the K1600 forum. Lots of good info and good folks there too.
 

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If rider needs to ride a bike in rain mode because it has too much power for their skill then they simply should not be riding it. There is the size of these machines and even in rain mode they are still putting out a fair amount of power for a learner.
 

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1200 or 1600?

Starting off on either of these bikes is brave to say the least.

Anecdote:
I returned to regular riding after the children grew up and left home. I started on an R1150RT which wasn't too big a leap as I was occasionally riding a range of bikes on and off while the children grew.
After 5,000km I thought I was an expert on the RT. After 10,000km of riding, I looked back and realised that at 5,000km, I was still a beginner. I really didn't refine my riding skills until I had about 40,000km riding experience on the RT and completed a few advanced riding (refresher) courses during that time.

To survive on either of these bikes, you will need to surrender to the fact that you will a beginner for quite a while.
 

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Starting off on either of these bikes is brave to say the least.

Anecdote:
I returned to regular riding after the children grew up and left home. I started on an R1150RT which wasn't too big a leap as I was occasionally riding a range of bikes on and off while the children grew.
After 5,000km I thought I was an expert on the RT. After 10,000km of riding, I looked back and realised that at 5,000km, I was still a beginner. I really didn't refine my riding skills until I had about 40,000km riding experience on the RT and completed a few advanced riding (refresher) courses during that time.

To survive on either of these bikes, you will need to surrender to the fact that you will a beginner for quite a while.
Not sure that brave is the right word :)
 

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If rider needs to ride a bike in rain mode because it has too much power for their skill then they simply should not be riding it. There is the size of these machines and even in rain mode they are still putting out a fair amount of power for a learner.
But the throttle is much more muted (takes more twist of the wrist to get, say, quarter throttle) and the rider aids intervene sooner. That, in my book, means that these bikes with the incredible level of electronic riders aids, make them adaptable to newer riders.
 
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