View Full Version : OK, Why BMW and Why Buy New?

04-19-2010, 04:44 AM
Thanks to the loads of great advice I ended up with the following as my FIRST BMW bike:

2007 BMW R1200GS with 25,327 miles. All maintenance up-to-date. Selling the bike as I'm looking for something new, just not sure what that will be. Sorry, no trades. Bike has the following:

*Touratech 35L panniers
*Touratech 33 liter top case (no mount)
*Touratech locking windscreen spoiler
*Touratech mesh headlight guard
*Wunderlich Handle bar risers
*Fastway Evolution pegs
*Givi Touring windshield
*Kaoko throttle lock
*Sargent Seat (front)
*Hepco Engine Guards
*BMW front fender extender
*BMW Tank bag
*Wind deflectors from the GSA
*New rear TKC80

Detailed service record and I know the shop that has cared for the bike. They gave it 2 thumbs up.

Many thanks for all of your help and yes, I will be at the Rally.


04-19-2010, 05:16 AM
Ok, I'll go:

1. Yes, they are high quality bikes. But they are no longer alone in this category. While I appreciate the quality, the essential motorcycling experience they provide for me is key.

2. Yes, the parts can be pricey. Again BMW's are hardly alone in this, as I have gathered from speaking with numerous Japanese and Harley riders. Ditto labor. But, aside from headwork, transmission or FD rebuild, I do my own work. So I am generally not concerned about labor costs.

3. Can't help you on new. My youngest bike just turned 26. All purchased used. I really cannot justify the cost and instant depreciation on new. Lots of good used machines out there. Your best warranty is your good maintenance and feeding; no abuse of course.

4. I do not have Motard style tires on my bikes, so they are not at their best on dirt. But, as far as easy dirt, the heaviest BMW I have is 512# soaking wet, so they are not cumbersome behemoths on easy dirt roads here and there.

If I wanted a new BMW, with more off pavement capability, lower maintenance cost, I would look really hard at the F800GS. I put a premium on lighter weight; while I am tall and can ride anything, riding is more fun when it is less work. And a premium on simplicity, as it tends to lower operating costs.
I do love my old boxers, as I can ride them all day, with no complaints. Hence I am upgrading them, so they can work even better and longer.

04-19-2010, 11:15 AM
My 2 cents

1. OK, besides brand I know why BMW is the bike. Quality is my main link to the bike.
Quality is there, so is fit and finish, and another thing not mentioned is the engineering involved in these bikes

2. I hear loads of talk about the maintenance costs - high labor, high parts costs, etc. SOme feedback on this? You thoughts? What do you say when someone says "yeh, great bike but costs a fortune to maintain it".
If you are mechanically inclined you can do almost all the work yourself with help from many sources, if your not mechanically inclined then you will need service by the local BMW dealer and that can be expensive, as with any dealership work , regardless of brand

3. Used or new? If new does the extended warranty program justify its cost? Thoughts?
I prefer new, because i know who and how it was beat on; as for extended warranty I am on the fence, when I get to that bridge will cross it

4. I like easy off-road but really enjoy exploring the 2-lane roads and want to ride more trips - like from AZ to Alaska. 1200 GS vs. 1200 GSA? Feedback please.
If it was me, I would get the GSA, it is a big rolling tank, which has its pluses and minuses

04-19-2010, 12:07 PM
After riding Harleys for years, I became a new BMW motorcycle owner last October.

Here's my take on your questions.

1. The quality is definitely there. I'm impressed with this bike.

2. I don't know what brand of bike these folks complaining about costs were riding, but the maintenance costs I've paid to date are comparable to what I was paying to have my Harleys serviced. First service for both my RT and last two Harleys was something under $400 each; the cost was basically the same.

3. If you can afford it, I'd go new. The most compelling reason for this, in my view, is that you're starting out with a full three year warranty. The other big reason, already mentioned, is that you don't have to worry about how badly it was hammered and/or how many times it was dropped before you got it.

Regarding the extended warranty, you can normally buy one of these, without penalty, anytime during the life of your factory warranty. I'm going to wait till I have about six months left on my factory warranty. At that time, I'll probably buy an extended warranty, mostly because of the high cost of replacement parts. Whichever extended warranty you buy, make sure it covers the really big ticket items like ABS, ESA, etc.

4. I can't offer any real help on this one as I've no experience with either bike. That said, my "WAG" would be that the GSA would be the better choice between the two for your intended use.

04-19-2010, 01:50 PM
1. I don't ride BMs just for the quality. I ride them because they are unique and their engineering. I had a bunch of UJMs before I started buying BMW and found them to be reliable also.

2. I don't think the parts prices are out of line with other bikes. I think a Suzuki I had had higher parts prices. I can't speak to labor as I haven't paid to have anything done to any bike I have ever had. (but I've only had motorcycles since the mid 70s and a scooter in the early 60s)

3. I always buy used because I am cheap and mechanically inclined. If you are not mechanical and/or have not place to work on the bike, new might be the way for you to god. If you buy carefully and know what you are looking at, you will seldom a encounter many deal of problems. I would buy new if the bike I wanted was not available used.

4. Being short in the inseam, I would get the GS with low suspension and low seat. The taller GSA and regular GS would be out of the question for me. The low GS would be the one bike I would buy new because used models are very rare or not available at a fair price.

04-19-2010, 02:05 PM
A lot of companies make great bikes that will last a long time. Honda certainly comes to mind.

I don't think maintenance varies much from brand to brand. Dealer service is not cheap. But if you choose to do your own service, it is not expensive at all. An R bike is the easiest machine I've ever wrenched on. Aftermarket oils and fluids save a good amount, too.

Buying used saves money. Buying new is a luxury. It is just a choice between yourself and your wallet (and perhaps your spouse!). I've bought both new and used, never gone wrong.

04-19-2010, 02:22 PM
I have owned three BMW motorcycles over the past eight years:

R1200C - bought used, a two year old bike with 6,000 miles on it. I rode it for another two years and 8,000 more miles. No problems with it. I sold it because I wanted a touring bike.

R1200RT - bought new. I rode it for five years and put 16,500 miles on it. No problems. I wanted a bike for touring and the RT was definitely that.

R1200R - bought new in Feb. I have 1,025 miles on it. I switched from the RT because the fairing didn't allow for ventilation in the heat and humidity. I also admired the basic style of the R. I love this bike.

As for your questions:

Quality - Yes, BMW has that, but so do other manufacturers. However, the other manufacturers don't offer some of the options/features that BMWs have, like ABS, hard cases that hold a lot and are easy to remove, Boxer engine, good MPG (high 40s to low 50's).

Parts and maintenance - That is not much of a consideration for me. I have all maintenance done by the dealer, just like I do with my cars. I consider parts and maintenance a necessary part of vehicle ownership. If I start having recurring problems, I will get rid of the vehicle and buy another one. I don't continue to pour money into a vehicle that requires maintenance. I view the motorcylce as a "toy." I don't play golf and so I don't purchase expensive titanium clubs, greens fees, clothing or trips to exotic places to play or watch others play. BMW motorcycle ownership is my hobby and I spend what is necessary to maintain it.

New or used - If you can find a good low mileage, used bike, I would go for it. I have bought new the last two bikes because I wanted the style and that was what was available. The three year warranty is a plus with the new bikes.

GS - I have never ridden nor owned one. I have a 29 inch inseam and the GS is just too tall for me. It has a 33 inch seat height and the GSA is 35. Make sure you have enough inseam to handle that tall of a bike. Those who ride them will say they bought them for that "trip" to Alaska, but probably ride them more on the street than on multiple Alaskan rides. We have folks here in North Carolina who buy four wheel drive SUV's so they can ride on the beach at the Outer Banks. Guess where most of their driving is done. If you want the capabilty to go off road, as well as, on the street, the GSA is the way to go. In German, the bike is called gelande strasse (GS) meaning it can go gelande (off road) and strasse (street). They are very capable bikes and those who ride them love them.

04-19-2010, 02:40 PM
We have owned 25 or 26 BMW's since 1977 and own 8 right now I think. Sometimes I lose count. I like BMWs. There are other brands I might consider, and in fact own a couple of Japanese small dirt bikes now. My preference for BMWs comes because the type of bikes they make suits the way I ride mostly: Long trips to town or long touring or months long moto traveling.

It took years but I know and understand the mechanics of BMWs and how BMW does things. Note that I said "how" not "why" because the why still has me scratching my head from time to time. My tools, spare nuts and bolts, odd spare parts, and stash of spares all match/fit BMWs. Generally speaking for most things BMWs are easy to maintain relative to competitive brands. Service requirements are really no more demanding than most competing bikes. Parts costs are parts costs and some seem cheap and some seem silly costly. But that is no different for any other good brand.

New or used is a very personal calculation that depends on you, your wealth or lack of it, your mechanical skills or lack of them, and several other factors. We have bought many used bikes and a few new ones. We seem to specialize in buying new first year models and sorting out the beta bikes along with BMW. K75, R1100RS, and F650 jump instantly to mind. :)

I know several people who buy warranties: that is they buy a bike and keep it for 3 years, riding less than the 36,000 covered miles and then trade the bike in and buy a new one with a new 3 year warranty. Some of them have done this repeatedly for 10 or 20 years and it works. We tend to buy bikes (new or used) and keep them forever. Bikes with more than 100K are typical in our stable and a couple have or had more than 350K miles.

There is no clear single answer as to what any other person ought to do - or there would be only one brand and a handful of models of motorcycles. You could rearrange chrome and paint schemes, and add lots of add-ons but the bikes would be the same. Not true so no one answer.

04-19-2010, 03:00 PM
Mile for mile I found the maintenance costs to be similar to the Japanese bikes I had before my BMWs - the reason why I ended up spending much more in maintenance costs for the BMWs is because I rode them a LOT more than I ever did my Japanese bikes, and with more miles comes more maintenance costs.

When I had my VFR700 I would put maybe 1,500 to 2,000 or so miles on it each year (May through September.) I did more than that the first month of owning my first BMW, an '88 K75S -- and that was October.

On a similar note, I was bikeless for a decade after a pretty terrific dust up with a couple semis on the Delaware Memorial Bridge. It was finally time last December and I bought a nice, used 1994 K75RT. This last Saturday was the longest ride with it so far but man did it feel GREAT (my wrist is a bit sore, I think it will take a while to get the body back into bike mode.)

04-19-2010, 04:06 PM
PLease consider buying a used machine that has substantiated maintenance records. IMO, a bike with some maintained miles on it is better than a garage queen with low miles (batt, seals, etc.).
A ridden and maintained machine is a sweet deal!

Be sure to check the FD.

As far as DIY work, there are DIY'ers like Paul Glaves who can take apart a bike blindfolded, one hand tied behind his back and put it back together. Then there people like me who can change the oil and apply polish where needed.

Others have shared with me that the new Hexheads are not as DIY friendly as other previous models. BMW, like Ducati and others, have made their new machines dependent on dealer servicing.

You can still do a substantial amount of work (if that is your goal) on the oilheads (R11xx) in order to save money.

Keep in mind that regardless of what BMW you select, there are many people on this forum who can help or refer you to places and sources.

And just to give you an idea what is out there, here is "Site Mash" for used BMW's between 1996 and 2007. You can reset the parameters to your personal specs:

(cut and paste)

It pains me to say to this, but there are people in tough financial straights right now who HAVE to and NEED to sell a bike because they need cash. Often these bikes have low miles and the price is right.
Ride safe,

04-19-2010, 05:29 PM
4. Why limit your consideration to a GS or GSA?

In your two bike choice go with the GS, but I will put a plug in for considering a Roadster. New the R1200R used the R12 or R1150. The bike is very capable of all the range and roads you describe. There are others to consider in the lineup but I plug Roadsters.

3. New used or carryover model is not the main consideration. I have purchased all three kinds and have had good and bad experiences. The good experiences have been when I took the time to find the right bike. There are subtle differences, real or imagined, even within the same model. Every bike is used when you take it from the showroom floor. It’s finding the right combinations of buying decision compromises that make the bike you buy the right bike for you.

2. Motorcycles are not cheap to maintain properly. The dealers that I have used over the years were multi-brand dealers with BMW their smallest but generally most expensive model line. The shop costs were the same for BMWs and UJMs. BMW parts can be more expensive but UJM parts are not cheap either so the difference these days is more incremental than a quantum leap in cost. Judgment plays a role also. After the 600 mile checkup I do 99% of my own work. With my current R I talked with the mechanic before he did the work. He asked: Do you want the BMW oil (IIRC $8/qt at the time) or what we use in the shop that meets all BMW specs? The choice was simple. My rule of thumb is to buy BMW parts unless I purchase a off the shelf item that meets or appropriately exceeds BMW specs for the part. I spend the money for the BMW oil filter because I have not found one (come close but does not meet or appropriately exceeds) that meets that criteria that is cheaper. I have fuel line quick release things from Small Parts. Cheaper and met and exceeded what BMW had to offer. Motorcycles are not cheap to maintain properly but you can sensibly contain the costs.

1. I’m a romantic. Every bike I have purchased from mini bike to my current Roadster has seduced me in some way. Deep thought and analysis will go into every bike purchase I make yet in the end it is bike lust that opens the wallet. Quality uniqueness and all the other things are what I use to rationalize the seduction.

I am happy to hear that you are healthy and are able to ride once again. Cancer kept me off bikes for several years. I remember getting my all clear to ride, the search for an purchasing my first post cancer bike then picking it up and riding home in the rain alternating between giggling like a child and being terrified at what I was doing.

Welcome to the forum and all the best to you in your return to motorcycling and the decision.

04-19-2010, 05:43 PM
Make a list of the key characteristics you want in a bike.

Then match up the bikes and buy the one that fits, what ever brand that may be.

For me it was:

1. Shaft drive
2. Ease of maintenance
3. Good handling
4. Upright seating
5. 500 lbs or less
6. 200 mile range
7. 30 inch seat.
8. Anti-lock brakes.

From this, the R1200R came up the winner.


04-19-2010, 07:07 PM
1. OK, besides brand I know why BMW is the bike. Quality is my main link to the bike.
No doubt that the fit and finish on BMW motorcycles is better than your typical Japanese bike. I wouldn't say that's the case for the higher end Japanese bikes, like a Goldwing. Its also not true when compared to Ducati or Triumph.

Personally, I like the way BMW's ride. BMW's, for me anyway, are confidence inspiring machines. Way more than any Honda I rode, and I was a Honda guy for 20 years. BMWs, more than any other brand of motorcycle I've ridden, feel like you're riding inside the bike, and not on top of it. It might have something to do with BMW's famous "sit up and beg" upright postition. Maybe they're just engineered that well. I really don't know. But BMW motorcycles give me a sense of control that I don't get from other motorcycles. The first time I rode a BMW airhead in 1984 I felt that way.

On a less practical level, riding a boxer twin has an understated yet indescribable coolness about it. I remember riding in the famous ROT Rally parade in Austin in 2004. The streets were lined with people looking at one blurping cruiser after another. There were 40,000 motorcycles and we were crawling at 5 MPH or so, and I remember a kid pointing to my bike (an R1150R) and exclaiming to his dad "Hey! BMW makes motorcycles!" :D In the mid 80s those big cylinders sticking out of the sides really put the hook in me, and just maybe my bike put the hook into that kid in Austin!

Honestly, I can't explain why, after I rode that airhead in 1984, it took me nearly 20 years before I bought a BMW. Brand loyalty to Honda, I guess.

2. I hear loads of talk about the maintenance costs - high labor, high parts costs, etc. SOme feedback on this? You thoughts? What do you say when someone says "yeh, great bike but costs a fortune to maintain it".
I have over 70,000 miles on my R12GS and other than regular maintenance its been largely trouble free. One large thing (console replaced while still in warranty because the clock crapped out), and a couple of small things, but that's it.

I do have to say, however, that I spend more on maintenence than I did on my Hondas. But then, I never rode my Hondas more than 2,000 miles per year. I've owned two BMWs, and the least I ever rode one in a given calendar year was 8,000 miles. I typically ride my 12GS 15,000 miles per year. With more mileage comes more maintenance. But almost all of it is in the form of the regular 6,000 mile services, tires, the occasional bulb, etc...

3. Used or new? If new does the extended warranty program justify its cost? Thoughts?
I've never bought a new motorcycle. I just can't justify it. I look for a bike that's low mileage, with legitimate service records, and some factory warranty left. That's how I bought my R12GS. It was in October of 2005, and the bike had 12,000 miles on the clock with 20 months of factory warranty left. I've ridden it nearly 60,000 miles and I have no intention of parting with it anytime soon. Heck, a few months ago (at ~66,000 miles) I finally replaced the stock shocks, which started leaking, with a set of Ohlins. I wouldn't have done that if I didn't intend to ride it for at least several more years.

4. I like easy off-road but really enjoy exploring the 2-lane roads and want to ride more trips - like from AZ to Alaska. 1200 GS vs. 1200 GSA? Feedback please.
Others may disagree, but in my opinion, the most meaningful differences between the GS and GSA are weight and range, and I'm sure you know about both of those. The GSA is also a bit taller than the GS, and the GS is a tall bike, so if you have a short inseam its something to consider. Do a search here and on the GSpot forum at ADVrider.com and you'll find lots of discussion about one over the other.

Personally, I have the regular 12GS, but my riding is exclusively in the Continental USA where gas stations are common enough that the 220 mile range is fine. Besides, on longer rides I like to stretch my legs every few hours. I also like the lighter bike. But, I'll be the first to say that if I rode a lot in Mexico, Central or South America, NW Canada, or Alaska, or even the less populated areas of Utah, Montana, or Wyoming, where there are a lot of miles between gas stations, or if I became a dedicated Iron Butt rider, then I'd sell my GS and get a GSA. I know some dedicated long distance and/or Iron Butt riders, and those that ride GSAs love them.

04-19-2010, 09:28 PM
I would like to respond specifically regarding the GSA. I see several people have recommended it in the posts above. Here is my two cents for what it's worth.

I bought a new GSA in May of '09. I ride it quite a lot. Every time I get a big uncontrollable smile on my face. But I must be realistic in one very important area. I have a 30" inseam on a good day. My dealer sold me an "extra-low" seat of of the low-suspension "R" model which fits me quite well. I'm not completely flat-footed with both feet down, but am fine with one down. With both, I'm a just not quite flat footed.

I bought the bike because I like the looks, I like the way it handles, and I love the huge gas tank. I will more than likely spend over 99% of the time on tarmac. I just replaced the back tire last weekend and had 13,640 mile on in (Bidgestone Battlewing). SO as you can see, I'm not hard on a bike.

The GSA is a great bike, I love mine. But it is a tall bike and folks like me with the short inseam must always be aware of that height. But as long as you keep that in mind, - what a great bike.

04-20-2010, 01:35 AM
Everybody should buy a new bike at least once in their life.

04-20-2010, 03:20 AM
I never expected such a great response my questions around getting by first BMW.
Great insight from some great, experienced riders.
I have collected your different "slices" of experience and knowledge and am using these points in my dialog with the dealers or the private party selling their bike.
Great set of "field notes"

I will make sure each of you gets an email message with a link to me on my new or used bike. And if all plays out I will see you at the Rally in Oregon.

Again, many thanks.

da Reddbike

04-20-2010, 03:35 AM
Antilock brakes !

04-20-2010, 03:15 PM
Where I work there are many different brands of motorcycles ridden as daily commuters. With the exception of the larger Honda models, the excellent reliability record of Japanese bikes seems to be a myth. They have just as many problems as a BMW or Harley. The Jap bikes do well for the first year or two, but they can't seem to handle much more than 40,000 miles before big stuff starts going wrong, and that stuff can be pretty difficult to fix. Also, it seems to take longer to get Jap bike parts which can keep your bike off the road longer. I won't even mention how long it can take to get a Ducati part.

04-20-2010, 04:18 PM
Why BMW?

I was looking for a bike that was good around town, good for touring, good for a passenger and still had good enough handling, looks and power to keep me happy. The BMW R1200RT and the Moto Guzzi Norge both fit the description. The nearest good Guzzi shop, however, was some 400 miles away, so that tipped the balance to the German bike. After a long string of Japanese bikes, I was in the mood for something different. My next bike? Who knows, but it will probably be something else altogether different ÔÇö maybe a Triumph or an HD. I sure would like a new S1000RR, though.

Why Buy New?

It makes me happy to buy new bikes. Really, that's about it. It's sort of the same reason I ride motorcycles to begin with. There are more practical and safer means of transportation, but motorbikes are fun. Likewise, there are great deals on used bikes, but buying them new is more fun. More expensive for sure, but there's nothing like a brand new motorcycle. :clap

04-20-2010, 06:33 PM
It took years but I know and understand the mechanics of BMWs and how BMW does things.

This is VERY significant and is the reason I would not own ANY automotive product not made in Germany.

It's a different culture, and there is LOTS of simularity between, say, BMW and Mercedes and even VW. If you like your BMW bike, you'll be in familiar territory with a German car.

Compared to the USA/Japan auto culture, I'd characterize the German culture as honesty versus cynicism.

Unfortunately, however, many German vehicle dealerships in the USA have been around long enough that "the factory" can't control the quality of dealership service as can the newer Oriental brands operating under newer contract language. (The recent universally applauded demise of our local bike dealer--2nd longest in-business BMW bike dealer in USA at the time--being a great example.)

Germany has gone through some tough times due to competition from Lexus, as it was difficult to cheapen some things so as to be able to compete. Germans didn't do "cheap" well at the time.

Germany continues to lead the world in automotive design and innovation without question. See, for example, http://www.atzonline.com/index.php

Buy new vs used? Not much of a question, really. Buy what you can afford. Any talk of practicality with respect to motorcycles, however, is ridiculous.

04-21-2010, 12:44 PM
Welcome Tom !

I will put in a vote for the R1200R. My bike is a release day bike which was received in November 2006 (2007 model year). I had seen some promotional photos in some magazines and when I drove by the dealership, they were unpacking the bike. I came close to driving into the ditch while looking at the machine, and turned around to go look closely at it. I was due in court for a hearing for a client, so asked the sales manager to prep the bike for an afternoon ride when I got clear of work. Later that day I took it on a 40 mile test ride on a look I use for testing new motorcycles, and when I landed back in the parking lot I got off the machine, stared at it about 5 minutes while getting out of the riding gear, and promptly wrote a check for it. I love every minute on the machine and am always reminded of the comment the mechanic made to me when I picked up the bike: "That is the only motorcycle you will ever need".

Good points: Long range, comfortable (after adding a Rick Mayer seat), can carry the same luggage the RT does. Easy to work on. Cheaper labor costs for service than the RT (no plastic to remove/replace). Can embarrass crotch rocket drivers even while carrying the luggage. Bad Points: None, really. The stock seat sucks and the BMW windscreens may or may not work for a particular rider depending on a lot of variables.

I lusted after the GS and the RT for a long while, but doing a reality check: I do not go off-road much at all, and do not really plan on going to Alaska on a bike, so no real need for any tall suspension and 7 gallon tank. The RT is the same bike as the RR internally, but with the addition of the fairings. This is good in cold/rainy situations, but in south Louisiana in the summer (95 degrees and 90% humidity) the fairing is so good at blocking wind that you can easily get severely overheated and generally feel miserable (like the HD guys with the big jugs between their legs!). For the relatively few days we have of cold weather, electric lines in the gear work very well.

As far as new vs. used, caveat emptor and know the bike. If you are close to a dealership, having them give a prospective purchase the once-over is a good investment. I do not purchase extended warranties simply because I have made the actuarial decision that in probably 90 percent of the time, nothing happens and I have saved a whole lot of money. All things break eventually and I accept that risk and deal with the issues when they happen. Preventive maintenance goes a long way to stopping the expensive stuff before it gets out of hand and is way cheaper than extended warranty costs in most instances. I keep vehicles a long time, so I generally come out ahead on all my costs. When something totally blows up, I go buy something else !.

As noted, German vehicle engineering is "unique". It has a certain feel to it that is hard to articulate, but is very easily noticed by most people. Last year we purchased a BMW 328i for my wife that is an absolute joy to drive. I took it up to the Dragon and other good roads up that way, and was having as much fun with it as if I was on the bike. I had the same big grin on my face !! About a month ago, I traded in my 1999 Tahoe diesel (305000 miles) on a new BMW X5 35d, and I love that machine. It is as fun to drive as the 328, and gets the same 30mpg on the road ! It also has over 500 mile range on an 18 gallon tank.

Short answer to whats different about BMW anything: "Ultimate Driving/Riding Machine"

So far, I am totally happy with the RR and have no current plans to change.:thumb
Here is my full blog on the bike:


We have a specific R1200R board here:

Do a search on "Chitown" and see what Joe does with his RR. It seems to think it is a GS !

One thing I would suggest is that you take an MSF or Harley Riders Edge basic rider course to refresh your skills. Since you have indicated that you are a reentry rider, that is the best money you can spend to get up to speed before you go back into the combat zone of the open road. We even have long-time riders who take the course with significant others and they always comment that they learned something they did not know which could save a crash.

04-21-2010, 01:06 PM
As I sit now in Germany, stranded due to the volcanic ash that has paralyzed European air travel, I'm pondering your question. I'm also thinking about the fun I should be having over here, like renting a bike to head south to the Alps! Yes, I got stranded in Germany due to the volcano....what luck?? I did at least run by the local BMW dealer here (both autos and motorcycles.....WOW)!!

Last year I purchased my first bike, a '95 BMW R1100RS. I'm a "late in life" biker. The kids are grown, and I have a job that provides more free time than some previous.

When I started looking at the brand that I wanted to buy, it was a real toss-up. I liked the idea of "American made" but really didn't see myself in the HD "culture" of black leather, doo-rags and wallets on a dog chain. Then I looked at Victory....nice bikes, took a test drive and parked it and walked away with that one scratched off my list.

I didn't consider any of the Japanese brands, but had BMW in my mind from the get-go. Just kept having this little voice suggest "BMW". So, started seriously looking at the brand. The more I looked, the more I was impressed. Of course, the engineering is excellent. Their reputation is excellent. I didn't want to spend the money on a new bike and BMW kept jumping up as a quality bike that could run upwards of 200,000 miles.

This forum also helped persuade me. Check out some of the other forums and you'll see that this is a group of gentlemen and ladies, for the most part. Compare this forum to some others and you'll wonder about being part of their crowd. The folks here are helpful, and almost never condescending, rude or downright profane as you'll see on some of the other forums. This forum speaks volumes about the quality of BMW owners, and I think that is also a reflection of the quality of the BMW bikes they own.

There's a certain cachet about owning/riding a BMW, can't deny that. And, at this point in life, I'm liking that, too.

I bought used because I don't think I'll be running a huge number of miles on my bike. A used one will probably run me as long as I want to run. Not to mention the cost. Saved a bundle over buying new.

Also, I purchased from a highly reputable BMW dealer. They have an outstanding reputation, I like that. I paid a bit on the high end when I look at the Blue Book price for my bike, but am comfortable in the knowledge that a reputable dealer went through it (serviced it, replaced some pads, a tire, etc) thoroughly. I also have the service records from the previous owner. Those things were of value to me.

So, I've put a couple of thousand on my bike. I've been to a Tech Day of the local BMW club, met some nice folks, and been on a couple of rides with some of them. Am I happy with my decisions? You bet!

Good luck on making yours!


04-21-2010, 02:38 PM
I'm new to the BMW bikes having owned various Japanese bikes over the last 30 + years of riding bikes. I have nothing against any bike manufacturer I just wanted to try something different and always had an interest in trying a boxer. Having owned a couple of first generation goldwings I'm kind of partial to the boxer engine design.

I tend to always buy used bikes. I'm pretty good at wrenching, having restored a couple of older bikes from salvage status to daily runners so I don't mind getting my hands dirty.

I have found that I no longer like the bigger heavier bikes. I tour a bit but probably 80 % of my driving is trips of 100 miles or less.

I ended up buying a R1100R in excellent shape with about 30 K miles. Bike was well looked after and looks like new. I have done 400-500 mile days on the bike and yes the stock seat sucks ( padded bicycle shorts - cheaper than some aftermarket seats that don't work, worked fine for me ) and the windshield is a bit small for me. These are the only negatives and they are fixable.

The bike is quick, nimble and very easy to ride. As others have said you sit in it not on it. I think the GS is an excellent bike but unless you are going to use its capabilities you might be further ahead looking at the R models with luggage etc.

In the end try a couple of different boxer models and buy what meets your needs.

04-24-2010, 10:34 PM
I think the GS is an excellent bike but unless you are going to use its capabilities you might be further ahead looking at the R models with luggage etc.

In the end try a couple of different boxer models and buy what meets your needs.

The GS met my needs despite the fact that I have very little off-pavement ambition. No bike (BMW or otherwise) had better ergonomics for me than the GS, so that's what I bought and I couldn't be happier. It just does everything so damned well.

04-24-2010, 10:42 PM
This is VERY significant and is the reason I would not own ANY automotive product not made in Germany.

Hmmm.........what model of BMW/MB/VW-Porsche-audi do you own that has no non-german content? You must be riding / driving something really old.

04-25-2010, 05:18 AM
I have commuted on a BMW for the last 10 years and many major cross country and international trips on my 1200RT.

I have never been broken down ONCE or stranded, not ONCE.

The Beemer brakes, (ABS) are really good and more than anything else have saved my bacon more than I can count. They stop you without turning the bike sideways.

I also own a Harley Road King and the bike is great looking, sounds great and truly American, and I love 'em but I never ride the thing alone. Sorry guys, but Harley's are mechanically crap. The bolts rust, stuff falls off, crazy things that shouldn't happen. Also the accessories are all made in China but cost like they were made in America.

They also seem have a stopping distance greater than your average car which isn't great in emergencies.

BMW started out manufacturing aircraft engines. Harley started out with farm implements. Kind of says it all.

Ride safe

04-28-2010, 10:11 PM
I've bought 3 Beemers. Each time, I bought new, and haven't regretted the purchase, ever.

1975 R60/6 - still have it - somewhere upwards of 100,000 miles
2003 R1200 CLC - just recently totaled (rear-ended) 85,500 + miles
2010 R1200 RT - just bought and have maybe 300 miles

Interestingly, I never took any for a test ride except for the CLC. What can a test ride really tell you? There's not enough time. I didn't like the CLC (what are these newfangled disk brakes, let alone power brakes), but I read enough comments over on Chromeheads from folks who'd had all sorts of Beemers, and they loved the bike - so I bought it on faith. Alas, they don't make CLC's anymore, so the next logical choice was the RT.

I heard it was a good bike. I know I will not be disappointed.

I tend to keep the bikes, so I don't care about depreciation. I'm in for the long haul, and there's nothing like a brand-new bike with a good warranty. The longer you ride, the less it costs. That's how I see it. Then, again, my rides have always been workhorse commuter bikes, and not weekend pleasure riding.

The only new cars I've ever bought were station wagons...

04-29-2010, 03:54 AM
WHY BMW: They make me smile when riding them.
WHY NEW: I finally could - cash - and since the last new bike I bought was in 1974, the next one will probably be an electric wheel chair..

Love the R1200R - best thing BMW has made in decades IMHO. I smile every time I get on it.

04-29-2010, 08:36 AM
I will join Reddbike in saying what a whole lot of tremendously good advice there is on this thread. Thank goodness I recently reached my "toy limit" so I am not in the market for anything with any number or size of wheel driven by a motor.

Anyways, me, I buy new when I can afford it, and I only buy stuff that reaches out and grabs my soul. My three beemer bikes I bought without riding them, and the same goes for the four wheel devices around here. I dont regret owning any vehicle I ever bought once I grew up (26 years old or thereabouts).

04-29-2010, 12:59 PM
Hmmm.........what model of BMW/MB/VW-Porsche-audi do you own that has no non-german content? You must be riding / driving something really old.

Actually what was in error in my "made in Germany" statement is the fact my SUV was made in Alabama.

No, the "made in Germany" thing is the tradition of German engineering--which transfers to wherever the vehicle is finally assembled and to particular components produced anywhere. Yes, lots of Delphi in my diesel injection.

04-29-2010, 09:18 PM
Only my first motorcycle (Honda 305 Dream) was bought new. All subsequent bikes have been used. Buying used allows me to get a bike that has options I like at a price I can afford. New would be nice but most motorcycles built in the last 5 > 8 years will outlast thier warrantee before suffering major problems. My CLC was bought in Jan 2007, had 932 miles on the odometer, and still was under warantee until Oct 2009. My 2006 Softtail was bought during Daytona bike week and had only 4203 miles on it. Be patient when looking for "new" wheels, know what the Blue Book value is, throughly scan the bikes appearence, ask for service documentation, and ride the bike before plunking down your hard earned cash. I'm keeping my CLC and Softail, selling my Sportster, and planning on buying a 2>3 year old RT in about 2 years. ABS is a must & Cruise Control is great on the slab, few other bikes lend thenselves to long distance cruising and twisty roads like the RT. Ride Safe :usa :usa

04-30-2010, 04:17 AM
I have no idea why you'd buy a new bike, unless of course you want the very latest technology. For me, my ride is all about safety, and traction control is very tempting to this Pacific North-wet rider.

However, if you don't mind yesterday's technology, used is the only way to go.

04-30-2010, 05:26 AM
My next bike? Another BMW twin NO doubt at all. They work for me, they do SO many things well, great all-around machines that fulfill my everyday riding needs, and my riding plans for years to come. Plus I am very familiar with BMW twins, as I am still riding the same R1100RS for almost 16 years.

My next BMW as a brand new bike? Not likely. I just can't justify it for myself. I bought my 94 R1100RS with 3k on it in Oct 94, for a LOT less than brand new. Yet, at 3k miles on it when I bought it, it was a NEW bike to me. So my next BMW twin purchase is most likely a low-miles used R1200R.
It's just,.......right,...as a bike, and as a BMW.

05-01-2010, 04:26 PM
Just a dissenting note....I prefer buying new. I have lived in the boonies 1 to 4 hours from any dealer) for about 12 years and do most or all of my own maintenance. So, besides the fact that I desire and appreciate the latest technology and have always been drawn to the latest K bike tech and style, new is more reliable (usually) than a used bike while I get used to it, etc. I keep my bikes long enough and put enough miles on them that I am no longer concerned about depreciation. My K12RS is worth far more to me than it is on the open market, so is the new 13S. Since 1994 we have purchased 5 BMWs new.

05-07-2010, 03:40 PM
I bought my first bike in 1970 when I was stationed at Fort Ord, California. It was a brand new 350 Honda CB and it cost me a grand total of $777.00 I rode the bike there for a just over a year and it was a great bike for bee bopping around up and down the coast.

My second bike was a 750 BSA Rocket III purchased used a few years later. My brother-in-law was English and talked me into it. Like most English bikes of that era it was less than reliable and performance was pittiful. A friend of mine had a 500 Kawasaki and could clean my clock without breaking a sweat.

I gave up riding for many years as I lived in the east and the season was short. Kids came along and priorities changed.

When I retired and lived on the west coast in Vancouver I took up riding again. I bought a used Victory Vegas (I just couldn't bring myself to by an H-D). The Victory was a great bike. While vacationing in Ontario a friend of mine let me ride his K1200GT and I was spoiled after that.

I finally decided to trade up to BMW so when I started looking around for a GT there were none available in my area so on a visit to a dealer I test drove a 2006 K1200S and what a rush. The bike had only 2800 KM's on it (that's around 1700 miles for you none metric types) and was in excellent shape. I love the handling and power of the bike but the riding stance is a bit aggressive and I'll probably end up trading it in on a GT in the coming years.

Since then my wife has converted to BMW and purchased a used 2008 F800ST. It only had 1300 KM on it. So there's deals out there on low KM bikes.

Unfortunately, I don't have the space to have a fleet of bikes in my garage like some of the other more fortunate people contributing to this post. I'm green with envy.

New or used? I think good used bikes and good deals can be had if your willing to shop around. Andrea's bike had 18 months of warranty which protects her purchase. Mine didn't but it was so lightly used that I felt confident taking a risk. Both were purchased from a reputable BMW dealer and we felt confident in both the product and the dealership. How's that for a win win situation?

cbcK1200S - Colin