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Thread: Which GS?

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  1. #1
    rjhowe
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    Which GS?

    Hi All,
    I am embarking on what must be a well traveled road, a research project to determine which GS model is for me. I have a preference for airheads, but maybe because I have only owned a '78 R100/7, and currently own a K75s. I understand that some airheads have a transmission circlip issue, and are in need of an alternator upgrade. It is my uninformed opinion that the airheads are easier to work on than the oilhead models. I am also aware that some oilheads had final drive issues. I am interested in opinions, experiences, good and bad. What would you buy for under $10k and why, $7k? There appear to be many early airheads with relatively low miles for under $6k as the market seems to be softening. What resources are available to sort out the options? My concerns are weight, reliability, ease/cost of maintenance. I live in western Montana and am surrounded by thousands of miles of Forest Service roads. What am I missing? I am leaning toward the early R100 models, only because the R80s seem rare and expensive. Which models have what issues and what are the best fixes? Hopefully this hasn't been beaten to death or is a synthetic oil vs mineral oil topic.
    I am willing to be pointed in the right direction.
    Thanks in advance,
    Jeff

  2. #2
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjhowe View Post
    Hi All,
    I understand that some airheads have a transmission circlip issue, and are in need of an alternator upgrade.
    Late 80s, early 90s airheads had no circlip to hold the transmission output shaft in place. you can get a groove machined in, but what a pain!

    *all* airheads need an alternator upgrade if you want to run lights *and* heated grips *and* heated clothing, which i think would be good in montana.

    It is my uninformed opinion that the airheads are easier to work on than the oilhead models.
    they're both easy. unless the engine management system in oilheads goes, or the transistorized ignitions in later model airheads go.

    hall sensors in some oilheads have been known to be an issue.

    i would not worry about these.


    I am also aware that some oilheads had final drive issues. I am interested in opinions, experiences, good and bad.
    in the R1100 and R1150GS, there were some bad bearings in final drives. the seal in my 1150's drive started leaking at 70k miles, and when i had it repaired, the big bearing on the crown gear was about to go.

    i was glad that this was discovered in my garage and not somewhere in nebraska on the way to gillette last year.

    What would you buy for under $10k and why, $7k?
    for under $10, i'd get an early 2000s R1150GS. no whizzy brakes, that nice tall 6th gear (pure heaven on the highway, imo) and according to clement salvadori of rider magazine (and me, for that matter) the best motorcycle on the road.

    for under $7, i'd get an R1100GS... or, an F650. my preference is twins, but the F650s are very competent bikes.

    R100GS with Paralever drive shafts are nice, but the shaft only lasts 40k miles and cost a LOT to replace.

    R80G/S are great bikes, the best G/S, imo, but they're getting expensive to buy and long in the tooth. low mile bikes go for stupid dollars.

    I live in western Montana and am surrounded by thousands of miles of Forest Service roads. What am I missing?
    a LOT!!!

    ian
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
    ________________________________________________
    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '00 1150 GS || '06 HP2e

  3. #3
    rjhowe
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    Thanks Visian, one more question what is the story with servo-assisted ABS? On which model years does this appear? Is it a problem in your opinion?
    Jeff

  4. #4
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    You can find early and somewhat farkled 1150GS's for under $7k all day long. Awesomely versatile and easy to ride bike. Service is simple and mostly rare.

  5. #5
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjhowe View Post
    Thanks Visian, one more question what is the story with servo-assisted ABS? On which model years does this appear? Is it a problem in your opinion?
    Jeff
    i am not sure when the whizzy brakes started.... sometime around 2004.

    they're unnecessarily complex, a real pain/expensive to bleed and difficult to modulate on gravel.

    ian
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
    ________________________________________________
    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '00 1150 GS || '06 HP2e

  6. #6
    Registered User theLuz's Avatar
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    1150 Adventure

    go for the R1150GS Adventure. It has a lot of things you might upgrade to (ss braided brake and clutch lines) and it has 2" more travel front and rear. Most (if not all) have a lower 1st gear which is MUCH bettter in the soft stuff. I think they look meaner than any other bike on the planet, as well. Good luck.
    the Luz

  7. #7
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    The whizzy brakes got dumped for 2007 (and there are a few rare 2006's that were sold in basic trim without whizzy too, although they also lacked ABS, handguards and some other bits), so if you can find an '07 GS for $10K (perhaps not common, but certainly plausible in this economy), GO FOR IT! It's lighter and more powerful than the 1150, and less ugly than the 08-10 GS. Might still be in warranty too.

    Having owned both a 2007 GS and a 1995 R100R (which is just a lowered, prettier version of a GS), I'd have to say that the oilhead is easier to live with. MUCH less maintenance, and even though it has twice as many valves as the airhead, I find them to be quicker and easier to adjust because the setting doesn't 'drift' during torquing anywhere near as much.

    As for the final drive issue, if you find a nice clean well-maintained 1200 in your price range, it will probably be OK- either having been maintained well enough to prevent the problem (FD oil changed at 600, and the right viscosity used), or might not have developed it in the first place (or might even have already had it and has a new FD). I don't think that the FD thing is as big and bad as the interwebs make it out to be.

    Whatever you get, ride the living piss out of it and be sure to share your adventures with us!
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

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