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Thread: R1200 GS vs R1200 RT

  1. #1
    Hammam
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    R1200 GS vs R1200 RT

    To those who know both the GS and the RT, here is my problem: after 2 years of bliss and honeymoon with my R1200 GS, my ageing articulations are starting to complain a lot on Quebec's and Montreal's horrible (and I mean horrible) road surfaces. The cracks, bumps, holes, potholes and varied leprosis scars here are outrageous. The shocks and blows to my osteoarthritic back, knees and neck are becoming unbearable. Sometimes it feels like I'm riding on wooden wheels. It's that severe. Seing as the 12000 GS is a sort of 4x4 vehicle only with two wheels, ie a bit harsh for my age, I am looking into selling it and buying the RT. I know the ride is smooth and well protected, the comfort superior and the nimbleness on back roads at least as good as the GS' if not better, but what about suspension? Do you think riding the RT would help alleviate the terrible jolts on our shameful roads?

    Thank you for your insight on the matter.

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    I just made the same change for many of the same reasons, and the answer is yes. I am extremely happy I made the switch to an RT.

  3. #3
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Interesting... I found the longer suspension of the GS was better for bad roads, but I went from an R1150RT to an R1200GS, not quite the same thing. Both bikes were better with after market shocks.

  4. #4
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Sounds like our roads here in Vermont.

    No personal experience on the RT, but my riding partner had an RT and couldn't keep up with my GS on the rough stuff. He ended up trading it in on an R12GS and was delighted with the change.
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  5. #5
    Hammam
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenfiddich View Post
    Sounds like our roads here in Vermont.

    ....
    Are you kidding me? I sometimes ride to the Stowe and Burlington, VT, area, and the roads are like billiard tables compare to ours up here. In fact, they're one of the reasons me and my GS buddies head for Vermont so often. When government people excuse the terrible state of disrepair of our roads by attributing it to our harsh winters, the common joke is ?½You mean, they have no winters 45 minutes down from here in Vermont???

  6. #6
    On the road again! R80RTJohnny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammam View Post
    To those who know both the GS and the RT, here is my problem: after 2 years of bliss and honeymoon with my R1200 GS, my ageing articulations are starting to complain a lot on Quebec's and Montreal's horrible (and I mean horrible) road surfaces. The cracks, bumps, holes, potholes and varied leprosis scars here are outrageous. The shocks and blows to my osteoarthritic back, knees and neck are becoming unbearable. Sometimes it feels like I'm riding on wooden wheels. It's that severe. Seing as the 12000 GS is a sort of 4x4 vehicle only with two wheels, ie a bit harsh for my age, I am looking into selling it and buying the RT. I know the ride is smooth and well protected, the comfort superior and the nimbleness on back roads at least as good as the GS' if not better, but what about suspension? Do you think riding the RT would help alleviate the terrible jolts on our shameful roads?

    Thank you for your insight on the matter.
    You may want to talk with the Montreal Police officers and/or the Quebec Police officers at the Montreal bike show. The bike of choice for these guys is the R1200RT. They might provide you with some opinion as to their performance both on city streets and highways.

    I have no real issues with the roads in La Belle Province with my RT. Just keep an eye out for potholes and other road obstacles.
    2008 R12RT (Blue)
    1986 R80RT (Silver)

    Member of the Loonie-Tics. MOA 292.

  7. #7
    Motorradfahrer
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    The roads in Canada are much better than in the states where the infrastructure has been allowed to fall apart. One thing I like about riding in Canada is the condition of the roads. It is why I have ridden over 7000 miles in Canada over the last 2 years. Come to Michigan sometime if you want to see horrible roads. All that being said you should demo ride one. I have only test ridden a GS but I thought the suspension was about the same. I don't know if you have ESA or not but the solution might be in the setting of either. The one thing you have going for you in Canada is the many gravel roads and trails. One reason I am considering a GSA is because of those roads I have passed and know the RT would not navigate as well. So ride one and see as you might just trade for something that takes you off those roads less travelled which in my opinion would be a shame.

  8. #8
    On a Ride
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    Used to own an '05 12GS, now an '07 12GSADV. Also have an '07 12RT.

    I like the RT for its better protection up front, its gearing when on the highway, amenities like heated seats/electric windshield, and its wonderful delivery as a sporting/touring ride goes.

    But give me the GS keys when road surfaces are uncertain or "challenged", or wanting something more lithe and nimble on sporting roads. The extra suspension makes a diff, the 55lbs less weight (12GS) is noticeable, and those wide bars are nice for twisty road leverage.

    I can see how the 12RT and its extra heft can have a plus or two in how it delivers on road comfort, but when the bumps and jolts come, it isn't going to be an improvement. Plus, the 12GS has components that can handle shocks to the system.... like the screen, tail light assembly, etc. When I'm subjecting the RT to a rattling ride, the bike just seems more brittle and rattling than when the GS is on the same kind of surfaces.

  9. #9
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Go get a pair of good aftermarket shocks that are set for your weight and riding style, Ohlins, Wilbers, Elka's etc. They make a WORLD of difference in ride and handling. Yes they are expensive, but look at it as a lease, as if you sell the bike, you put the oem back on, and sell the shocks for 2/3 the original cost.

    It will be the best $$$ spent on the bike.

  10. #10
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammam View Post
    Are you kidding me? I sometimes ride to the Stowe and Burlington, VT, area, and the roads are like billiard tables compare to ours up here. In fact, they're one of the reasons me and my GS buddies head for Vermont so often.
    First of all, Burlington is not part of Vermont. It's as close to Vermont as you can get without actually being here, but it's just like any other city in many ways. They have half the population of the entire state, so come time to vote they get whatever they want. Decent roads is high on the list. And Stowe, my hometown, is a tourist town. Of course the roads here will be well maintained.

    But get out into the real Vermont, the Northeast Kingdom and the mountain gaps, and the pavement lasts one winter before deterioration begins. The DMV says it's okay to stand up when going over bumps. There are some roads where I sit only when at a stop sign. And those are the paved roads!
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  11. #11
    Registered User kurt1305's Avatar
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    I'd spend my money on upgraded shocks. I have a R1200RT and traded the R1200GS for it. I immediately had to add bar risers and peg lowering blocks to try to recover the GS's relaxed upright position. I love the weather protection, stereo and cruise control so I was willing to make the changes.
    2014 R1200GS Adventure

  12. #12
    Curmudgeon in training
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    IMO, I also don't see it as an RT vs GS question. It's more an OEM shock vs after market shock question.

    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    Go get a pair of good aftermarket shocks that are set for your weight and riding style, Ohlins, Wilbers, Elka's etc. They make a WORLD of difference in ride and handling. Yes they are expensive, but look at it as a lease, as if you sell the bike, you put the oem back on, and sell the shocks for 2/3 the original cost.

    It will be the best $$$ spent on the bike.
    That's the approach I took. Had Wilber's on my RT and now on my GS. When sized for you and the damping adjusted correctly, the ride seems almost plush.

  13. #13
    Hammam
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    Interesting comments, all. Yes, I suspected as much. I think I will rent an RT for a day or two, and test ride it thoroughly on the worst surfaces in town. Easy, many of them are just around the corner from my home, in a "residential" area.

    I am actually also thinking of giving up on ESA entirely and fit ?ûhlin shocks to my GS. Or go the Wilbers way with ESA. The fact is I love the GS, and if I can find a way to spare my old articulations, I'll definitely keep it.

    Thank you.

  14. #14
    Registered User BlackdogGS's Avatar
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    Thats weird. I went with the GS because of the smooth ride and excellent seating position. I'm old and have a bad knee, the GS is one of the few bikes I'm comfortable on.

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