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Thread: R1200GS vs. R1200RT?

  1. #1
    GSMoto31 mtfrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Miami Beach, FL and Maggie Valley, NC

    R1200GS vs. R1200RT?

    Last November I rode my R12GS from Miami to Little Rock (~1200 miles each way) for a business meeting. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip despite some cold rain and chilly temps (for Miami anyway). Since I normally ride the GS offroad and on the twisty hardtops of the NC mountains, it was reassuring to feel how well the tall GS performed on the big slabs and at high speeds. Add in the fun factor of the GS and I was convinced that this was the best bike for me for rally trips and other long rides.

    Little did I know. Earlier this month I had another series of meetings in Little Rock so I decided to take my R12RT this time. Up to now I was mainly using the RT for daily commutes to work and 2 up day rides with my wife. Not surprising, she much prefers the back of the RT than the GS. Anyway, I discovered that the RT is an amazing touring bike as well and had no problem covering the distance from Miami to Little Rock in under 2 days. The cruise control, ESA, larger top case, and wind/rain protection are major advantages over the GS.

    So, the key question is which bike would I keep if I could only have one? My heart says the GS, but my head says the RT. Since my heart would probably win out, it's a good thing that I can enjoy both bikes and keep my marriage intact.

    Any thoughts from others who have ridden both bikes? GS, RT, and NC mountain cabin are pictured below. Cheers.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    2009 R1200R (Commuting)
    2008 R1200GSA (Touring)
    2009 R1200GS (Mountains)

  2. #2
    Registered User RTRandy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    You have the best of both worlds and what many of us can only dream about. . . and both Hex Heads no less. Why consider losing one? I have a few friends with both models as well and often the GS seems to come out on top . One has knobby tires and the other has cruise control, but both come in handy for the right situation. It usually boils down to what you want to do with a particular bike. One is not necessarily "Better". Kind of like having two kids.

    My only gripe about the GS is why BMW outfitted it with only a 5.2 gallon tank. It's one thing to run out of gas along a well traveled road, it's another to be out in the middle of nowhere looking at a reserve light. OR, if you do want to travel distance with a GS, it seems like you're at a disadvantage having to stop for gas more often. Hello GSA.

    Enjoy those bikes!
    Luck favors those who are prepared.

  3. #3
    On a Ride sfarson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Ride both here. Well, used to have the 12GS and now the 12GS ADV, and alongside in the barn is the 12RT.

    I don't have a whole lot to offer except concurrence. They both go far well, both are a hoot in the curves (And I ride sportbikes), both complement each other well. Believe the RT is finer over longer distances. Believe the GS is finer for going down and exploring that strange and uncertain road.

    Nice having both bases covered with both in the stable.

  4. #4
    countersteer larrydk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Chicago suburbs


    If you would be forced to part with one due to your significant other I'll store it for you and "lie like a rug" when you tell her you sold it
    If you don't wear a helmet when you probably shouldn't be riding.

    mine: 07-r1200s
    hers: 07-monster 695
    Hx of bikes
    1979 Honda 125 SS
    1988 Ninga 900
    1997 Suzuki SV1000S (fastest)
    1997 Kawasaki 600r (racing only)
    2001 Honda F4i
    2002 Daughter
    2003 Ducati 800ss

  5. #5
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Raleigh, NC
    I have the RT. If you plan on nice long rides in the NC mountains (I ride the Smokies all the time from Raleigh) I'd stick with the RT. Most roads are paved. If you plan to do a lot of dirt and gravel, well, then the GS. I have taken my RT on miles of gravel road because I had to (HWY 90 in the Pisgah area). With street tires, she handled fine, but you are cruising in 1st gear at 10 - 15 and keeping awake as it is not meant for that type of road.

    So, really, you need to decide. How much off road dirt/gravel will you ride? If you won't miss it, stick with the RT. If you want, buy a cheap Japanese Dirt bike to get your Yah Yahs out in the offroad when needed.


  6. #6
    GSMoto31 mtfrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Miami Beach, FL and Maggie Valley, NC

    Maybe it's just me, but I have a lot more fun and confidence leaning the twistys in the Smokies on my GS than the RT. SR 209 from Waynesville to Hot Springs and SR 215 from Bethel to the BRP are my favorites. The GS also seems to fit my 6 foot and 180 pound frame better than the RT. That said, I'm taking the RT over the GS for a ride from Miami to Lake Tahoe for a family reunion in July. More comfort and protection on the long highways and more storage space for all of my camping gear. With about 20K miles on each bike in less than 2 years, I clearly enjoy both for different reasons and hope to keep them around for awhile.

    When the new R12R came out a few months ago I was temped to trade my RT for the black pinstripe model because the R is more nimble and practical for my work commute. However, my wife nixed this idea because she said riding 2 up on the R would be like switching to a moped after the size and comfort of the RT.

    In any case, maybe we can get together for some riding in the Smokies this summer.

    2009 R1200R (Commuting)
    2008 R1200GSA (Touring)
    2009 R1200GS (Mountains)

  7. #7
    Jersey Guy
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    New Jersey

    Rode Both

    This last Summer I rented The 2006 RT in Germany when still thinking of buying a new bike. My FJ1200 1986 was sitting in NJ and I desided this year was going to be the year I was going to get my new bike. It was between the FJR1300 and the RT. I loved riding the RT but was a bit unfamiliar with the 2 cilinder boxer. Although I enjoyed my ride in Germany with the RT and well a 2006 new bike as opposed to my 20 year old bike. I came back knowing I wanted a inline four.
    But Yamaha only offered one color a year here and I was stuck on red, and white.
    Then I found Long Way Round and it was a done deal. I wonder how many GS bikes have been sold because of that movie. I can't tell ya how many people I've talked to who have watched that movie more than a few times and the people who have purchased BMWs because of it.
    My dealer Touch of Class in Phillipsburg NJ had a red and White one on the floor and it was mine Jan 17th 2007.
    I think both bikes are very comfortable. But I have long arms and the GSA's handlebars are more adjustable where as I felt a bit cramped on the RT.
    Loved the adjustable windsheild in the rain in Germany though.
    All in All I beleave the GS is a beast and I enjoy owning the SUV of motorcycles.
    Lovin Life.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by DKrochta; 06-07-2007 at 04:13 AM.

  8. #8
    great post from my perspective. currently own an 04RT which i love. recently purchased a 2007 non-abs V-Strom 650. it is a blast in a different way and really enjoy riding it. lately been giving too much thought to selling both and picking up a GS. always loved the looks. don't ride off-road, but dig the airflow on the weestrom down here in steam city which the GS will replicate somewhat. i also have no problem whatsoever with the weestrom on the interstates. i'm torn, but it's making more sense to me with each passing day.

    if you sell the GS i'll take color choice as well.

  9. #9
    old fa_t 110593's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Boerne, TX

    Talking RT vs GS

    You don't need three Keep both bikes. Do you need a wife ?
    J Fisher

  10. #10
    07 R1200GS Rich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Killdeer, ND
    I traded an 04 RT for an 07 GS last September, and I haven't looked back. I can't afford both at the moment, so it is one or the other for me.

    I see the best in both bikes, but the GS fun factor is 10X the RT's. I have gotten into exploring the back roads around here, of which there are many, and the GS is super for that. My RT never saw gravel.

    Would I do it again? Absolutely. Even if I was staying on pavement.

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