View Poll Results: My opinion of current BMW style (Specifically the GS model line)

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  • Ugly to the point I would not buy one

    33 17.37%
  • The style doesn't appeal to me but I would buy one anyway

    21 11.05%
  • Neutral - The current style doesn't matter to me

    43 22.63%
  • Attractive - I like the current style

    93 48.95%
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Thread: Why Ugly BMW's?

  1. #46
    Curmudgeon in training
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    This post speaks less to the style of new models and more to the technology. When I buy a bike it is with the expectation that I will do all or almost all of the maintenance. And it is certainly with the expectation that when something breaks, at home or on the road, I am responsible for knowing what needs to be done to fix it.

    So any great leap in technology - fuel injection on the K bikes, ABS I, II, iABS, Canbus, etc. is my responsibility to figure out. And, to figure out without benefit of a dedicated new model school put on by BMW. So each leap forward is faced with some trepidation.

    I used to use a dwell meter. Now I use a GS-911. I used to set carb floats. Now I adjust the TPS.

    Every model I have ever worked on had troublesome warts: slingers, broken transmission springs and shift kits, missing circlips, spline wear, burned out fans, HES wiring, water pump issues, antenna ring failures, axle tube defects, and/or whatever.

    Almost without exception, each technology advance has made the bikes more trouble free, not less so. But there is a steep learning curve to cover the exceptions. That is the way it is. They have added a dozen or so new elements to the Periodic Table of Elements, and are talking about the Higgs Boson, absolutely inconceivable in my school days. Time marches on. With us or without us. And to our benefit or detriment. It is our choice.
    IMO, Paul's post should be made into a sticky that gets pointed to every time someone asks why things aren't as good as they were in the "old days." It applies to technology and life in general.

    Praraphrasing just a bit. "Things in life change. There can be a steep learning curve for some new things. That's the way it is. Time marches on. With us or without us. To our benefit or detriment. It is our choice." That's a pretty good philosophy for life.

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeoriaMac View Post
    Hultman, I assume, must be the guy in the corner with the designer jeans...

  3. #48
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hultman View Post
    So these great designers can come up with nothing better than the Pontiac Aztec and GS BMW's?
    They have indeed come up with lots better than the Pontiac.

    Nobody said they were perfect. You aren't really pushing the envelope if you never come up with a clunker, are you? Think also BMW Z8, most butt-ugly BMW ever, closely followed by the X6.

    And, selling nothing but antiques is a dying business and perhaps reflective of a dying country. This doesn't describe BMW nor Germany but could suggest Wisconsin or the Minnesota home of the Ford Ranger plant.
    Kent Christensen
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    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    They have indeed come up with lots better than the Pontiac.
    True, but at least once they figured out it was a dud, they quit building the Aztec!

    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    And, selling nothing but antiques is a dying business and perhaps reflective of a dying country.
    Don't know that I buy that. Building something "new" just because it's new isn't necessarily progress. Music is a good example. By your definition, Rap would be an improvement over Rock and Roll.

    OK, maybe I am just an old geezer stuck in the past, but there are some things that are just plain timeless. Function and form are the basis for mechanical beauty, and, IMHO, BMW has somehow allowed their design to drift in to the world of trendy style.

    Just sayin'.

  5. #50
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    Well I am often accused of being a " Stick shift person stuck in a turbo charged world"

    Fine with me, I always manage to get there , just takes me a little longer now days, and that's ok too.

  6. #51
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    I have been known to . . . .

    Just sit and admire my airhead. The elegant simplicity. The proportions are perfect. The sound at full song is peerless.
    I started riding BMWs in May of 1972. I felt the same way back then.
    Campbell Tellman II

  7. #52
    Dale Rudolph
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    Yes, technology has made cars and bikes more trouble free, and for that, you can call it progress. But when it finally quits running after 7 years of trouble free service and you have no idea where to start, then you wish you were back in the "Good old days". When the car wouldn't start, you took the lid off the air filter and pumped the accelerator rod to see if you were getting fuel. You took a spark plug cable off and stuck a screwdriver in it and grounded it to the block to see if you were getting a spark. It was not that difficult to rebuild a carburator, change points and condensor, set the timing with a timing light etc. It's nice if you have been able to keep up with technology, but I do miss the days when things were much more simple.

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRUDOLPH148006 View Post
    Yes, technology has made cars and bikes more trouble free, and for that, you can call it progress. But when it finally quits running after 7 years of trouble free service and you have no idea where to start, then you wish you were back in the "Good old days". When the car wouldn't start, you took the lid off the air filter and pumped the accelerator rod to see if you were getting fuel. You took a spark plug cable off and stuck a screwdriver in it and grounded it to the block to see if you were getting a spark. It was not that difficult to rebuild a carburator, change points and condensor, set the timing with a timing light etc. It's nice if you have been able to keep up with technology, but I do miss the days when things were much more simple.
    Everybody has their own perspective, so this isn't a criticism of anyone else as much as just saying what mine is. I'm 57, so I'm not as old as some here and older than some others. I got my drivers license in 1970 (IIRC) and my first cars were early to mid 60's vintage. My bikes were mid-60's Honda street bikes and a Hodaka 2-cycle dirt bike. My dad come up in the depression and wanted my brother and I to be able to fix our vehicles. Until a few years ago I was trapped with that philosophy and pretty much did all my own work on my cars. I still do my own bike work, but I consider that relaxation.

    With that as context, this is my recollection from those good old days (although my recollection seems to be getting faulty as I get older). While you could pretty much fix those 60's cars with a screwdriver, a crescent wrench, and some feeler gauges, they didn't last very long. By 60,000 miles, most of those engines were ready to be rebuilt. It's also a good thing gas was so cheap (maybe 25 or 35 cents a gallon). They only got about 12 miles per gallon. My '66 VW got like 18 MPG and that was considered terrific. Once they were jetted correctly, my carbureted bikes did well at one elevation, but not so hot going from sea level to altitude. If you took a cross country trip, you always packed a pretty good stock spare parts because of the likelihood of a breakdown and a roadside repair. You were concerned about vapor lock on really hot summer days and frozen fuel lines when the temps dropped below zero.

    Fast forward to now. Not unusual to expect a new car to last 15 years or more and go 150K miles with regular oil changes and a few basic services. 200K miles isn't unusual. Want to go on a cross country road trip. Just go get in the car and go. My fuel injected vehicles seem to run pretty well from sea level to 12,000 feet (highest I've been). Services are really pretty simple. Unless you're driving a truck, most cars are getting at least 20 MPG. When was the last time you've heard of a modern vehicle having vapor lock?

    My Ural gives me some of that nostalgic past, but I wouldn't want it as my primary transportation. Not sure if my memory is going on me, but the quality of new vehicles seems way better to me.

    Again, just an alternate perspective.
    Last edited by alzyck; 12-18-2011 at 12:10 AM.

  9. #54
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRUDOLPH148006 View Post
    Yes, technology has made cars and bikes more trouble free, and for that, you can call it progress. But when it finally quits running after 7 years of trouble free service and you have no idea where to start, then you wish you were back in the "Good old days". When the car wouldn't start, you took the lid off the air filter and pumped the accelerator rod to see if you were getting fuel. You took a spark plug cable off and stuck a screwdriver in it and grounded it to the block to see if you were getting a spark. It was not that difficult to rebuild a carburator, change points and condensor, set the timing with a timing light etc. It's nice if you have been able to keep up with technology, but I do miss the days when things were much more simple.
    I've yet to wear out a modern machine.... I get bored with them, first. And it takes a good deal longer than 7 years.

    Troubleshooting issues isn't all that different. Instead of removing an air cleaner and pumping the accelerator you remove an injector and see if it squirts. Instead of removing a spark plug cable and grounding it you remove the cable and plug and ground it. Not much different. On the plus side there are no carburators that need rebuilding, no points to wear out, no condensor to suddenly give up its life. A timing light isn't needed, but perhaps it has been replaced with something like the GS-911. Whatever tool you used to balance your carbs can still be used to check/balance your throttle bodies.

    My old, simple bike needs work often. My modern bike rarely needs work. It usually gets worked on because the schedule says it's time, not because something is wrong.

    But I do like the looks of the old machine better.

  10. #55
    100,000+ miler 32232's Avatar
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    The thing is, modern technology and classic good looks don't need to be mutually exclusive.

    Triumph has done really well with its Bonneville derivatives, in fact my '06 Scrambler is in the favourite 2-3 bikes of the over 20 I've owned. Guzzi's V7 Classic is doing really well in sales and is a sweet bike to ride.

    I know I'm dreaming, but I'd like to see BMW do a retro version of an R75/5. Something like the R1200R Classic, but a full-boat styling exercise with the big tank and Krauser style bags. BMW is fully committed to being "progressive" in terms of technology as well as styling, so it isn't going to happen.

    If they did, though, I think they would be surprised at how well it would sell.
    Dave

    '06 Triumph Scrambler (Trans-Labrador veteran)

  11. #56
    celt
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    I'm the first to say technology has improved with bikes, unfortunately I'd also add that since the 80s we've lived in an accelerated model of profit and investment where it isn't simply sustainability and long term growth desired by shareholders but more and more rabbits pulled out of hats each year to grow profit margin every year - this ultimately means ways to get as much for products that cost less to manufacturer.

    This is the true catalyst that fuels the concept of things built in the past are better. Take it for what it's worth but I do believe there is a difference in quality.

  12. #57
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    Thought I should note here that I never meant to criticize modern technology. When electronic ignition and all the other new systems came around, I was justifiably suspicious at first. But they have clearly proven themselves, and I don't mind at all not having to replace points and I even have fuel injection on a couple bikes.

    My complaint is simply the styling of modern BMW's, especially the double front fender of the GS. There doesn't appear to be any real mechanical reason for the design, and I fear it is simply a trendy design gimmick that I consider far, far beneath the dignity of BMW.

    Quite simply, I feel that design should follow function, and cheesy gimmicks have no place on any vehicle, but especially a BMW.

    Of course that's just my opinion, but I agree with 32232 that they would be surprised at how well a less "stylish" design would sell. Just sayin'.

  13. #58
    Dale Rudolph
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    From my tread here , you may think I ride an old Airhead, but my only bike is a 1992 K75RT which I bought 3 years ago. Most likely, because it does have electronic ignition and fuel injection it has never given me a problem. If I had the money, I would buy a new bike. But if it were to quit running on me, I really don't know where I would start. While you could pull off an injector or pull a plug off to check them , on some of these newer bikes you can spend an hour just to get to the plugs or injectors. Many parts of a modern vehicle or bike are not made to be fixed, they are pulled off, thrown away and replaced after finding out what was wrong with a diagnostic tool that the average home mechanic does not own.

  14. #59
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRUDOLPH148006 View Post
    From my tread here , you may think I ride an old Airhead, but my only bike is a 1992 K75RT which I bought 3 years ago. Most likely, because it does have electronic ignition and fuel injection it has never given me a problem. If I had the money, I would buy a new bike. But if it were to quit running on me, I really don't know where I would start. While you could pull off an injector or pull a plug off to check them , on some of these newer bikes you can spend an hour just to get to the plugs or injectors. Many parts of a modern vehicle or bike are not made to be fixed, they are pulled off, thrown away and replaced after finding out what was wrong with a diagnostic tool that the average home mechanic does not own.
    More or less true, but with about 800,000 miles between us on K bikes including a few over 100,000 miles and one at 370,000 miles, neither Voni nor I have ever had the ignition fail, or an injector fail, or even a fuel pump fail. Or anything else disabling fail except when my K75T got run over by a mini-van.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  15. #60
    Dale Rudolph
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    Paul Glaves

    As my K75 just went over 63,000 miles and I only ride about 3,000 miles a year, it's nice to know I should get another 25 years of good service out of it. I said it before, but again Thank you for the advise you give here and in BMWON.

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