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Thread: Decisions,Decisions

  1. #1
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    Question Decisions,Decisions

    First of all, I am a very frequent visitor of this forum and look here for expert advice. I have been motorcycle for over 40 years. In my earlier years I was a motorcycle mechanic for Honda,Yamaha, and Suzuki. I enjoy put-zing on my current bikes. A 2011 Harley Road Glide Ultra and a 2012 G650GS. I have been riding Harley over the past 20 years and this brings me to my question. I have the urge to try something different. I always have had the love for the boxer engine ever since my cousin bought one back in the early 70's. My Harley's have always been rock solid. The dealer support is everywhere. I live in SW Minnesota. My nearest BMW dealer is 90 miles and the next is 180 miles away. It seems like they are disappearing like flies. I am really interested in a R1200RT. I average around 12,000-14,000 a year touring. In Minnesota that is a lot for about a 6 month riding season. Should I be worried about the available dealers,worrying where maybe the closest dealer is on the road, parts availability, and going from my great experience with Harley Davidson to the unknown experience? I know this is a BMW forum so many answers may be bias. But lets hear it anyway. Thanks

  2. #2
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    No

    Get roadside assistance that will take you "to the nearest qualified service facility" without a mileage limitation. This is usually some brand of RV coverage.

    Then get to know the parts guy at your dealership and simply order anything routine you need. Or go for a nice 180 mile (round trip) ride. On an R1200 that won't seem like much at all.
    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

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    Being a former mechanic, I don't think you'd have any problem doing routine stuff that arises.

    Get to know the local dealer guys as Paul says, or if not, there are plenty of mail-order dealers and places for parts. Beemerboneyard, A&S Cycles, Max BMW, Sierra BMW, etc.

    As a former H-D motorcycle cop and H-D owner who has now owned 6 BMWs since my H-D days, you will be amazed at the technological difference and lack of maintenanace and tinkering the BMW will need. Take the R1200RT for a test ride and I guarantee you'll be blown away.

  4. #4
    What, me worry? GILLY's Avatar
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    Not to be dense, but I don't understand the question; you already HAVE a BMW (G650GS).
    87 K75S, bought new, now sold
    07 K1200GT Bought new, now traded in
    13 C650GT
    MOA 44606

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    Good observation

    Yes, I do have a G650GS. But it is my fun bike to buzz around on and short trips. My concern is can I feel confident on a week or two trip to not worry if something would happen, would I have to spend the rest of my vacation trying to find a BMW dealer to do any warranty work. I'm spoiled now with HD with their dealer support. I have the same concerns with my GS with the idea on taking it to Alaska.

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    Lucky motorradmike's Avatar
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    What's a dealer?
    Mike Marr
    1978 Yamaha XS750 (Needs rings), 1996 BMW R1100RS, 2004 Honda CRF230F

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    I've gone to alaska 3 times on my 12GS. Have been to 17 other countries and 49 states on them/I've had several. Problems in 250k miles/leaky rear shock (wty) and right bowden cable while adjusting t-bodies (wty). Do all my own service 'cuz it's so easy.

    Yes, my first moto was a FLSTC. First time I rode a BMW RT and GS it left.
    Marty Hill
    12 GS black/Boxer Cup Replika

    ride till you can't

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbenstead View Post
    .......Should I be worried about the available dealers,worrying where maybe the closest dealer is on the road, parts availability, and going from my great experience with Harley Davidson to the unknown experience?
    I tour on BMW's and Harley's. I never worry but I am a bit less, let's say concerned, or the need to be aware of dealer locations when I'm on a Harley. HD dealers are *everywhere* and the bikes are every bit as reliable as BMW's.
    Offsetting BMW's thin dealer network is their bikes, which are lighter, better performing, while still being as reliable as HD.
    14 R1200GSA, 93 R100R. No car is as fun to drive as any motorcycle is to ride.

  9. #9
    RAINEY 187132's Avatar
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    You are in one of my favorite positions in life. Looking for a new motorcycle.

    I too have been riding Harley's for the past 13 years. I had a Dyna Super Glide Sport and 2 Road Kings. I loved my Road King and it was a beautiful bike and turned hears and got complements everywhere I went. Once I demo's my first BMW's K1300Gt and R1200RT's I was done riding Harley's. Nothing wrong with the Harley's as far as mechanical issues or performance based on the design of the bike. When you get on the K1300GT or new K1600GT or GTL and the R1200RT you actually ride them and have more fun doing it. They are way more fun and agile through turns and stop a whole lot better. They are great for long trips and going on local rides. You have the best of both worlds.

    I choose the R1200RT because I liked the shorter wheelbase and the agility. If fits my riding style for now The K bikes are so fast and smooth I would probably have lost my license due to too many speeding tickets.

    I still ride with my Harley friends. If they try to keep up with me on the winding roads they will be dragging parts and making sparks. One of my friends took my new RT for a ride and is now waiting on his new RT to make it to the US. He's getting inpatient knowing it on a cargo shop on it way from Germany.

    S far as the dealer situation. It sounds like a fun 90 mile ride for service. The services only take about an hour and a half anyways. If you have a problem the BMW Roadside Assistance will get your bike to a dealer for you.

    Good luck and have fun

    Jason
    Last edited by RAINEY; 09-24-2012 at 12:23 AM. Reason: added more
    Jason
    Grand rapids, MI
    2012 BMW R1200RT

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    Thanks

    Thanks for all the comments. Maybe it more of the unknowns that I'm worried about. But then I likely had some of the same concerns when I bought my first Harley. I still laugh thinking about all the Harley's stopping by the Honda and Yamaha shop where I worked back in the early 70's on the way to Sturgis with all the electrical issues and also picking up oil so they could make it to the next stop. Boy, they have come a long way.

  11. #11
    Registered User f14rio's Avatar
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    re:"I tour on BMW's and Harley's. I never worry but I am a bit less, let's say concer

    I tour on BMW's and Harley's. I never worry but I am a bit less, let's say concerned, or the need to be aware of dealer locations when I'm on a Harley. HD dealers are *everywhere* and the bikes are every bit as reliable as BMW's.
    Offsetting BMW's thin dealer network is their bikes, which are lighter, better performing, while still being as reliable as HD.
    __________________

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    "Enemy fighters at 2 o'clock!...Roger, What should i do until then?"

    2010 r1200r, 2009 harley crossbones, 2008 triumph/sidecar, 1970 norton commando 750

  12. #12
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Before we retired Voni was a teacher. She had about 10 weeks off every summer. She rode all over North America on BMWs by herself. She had to find a dealer a time or two, and called me a couple of times with mechanical difficulties in about 500,000 miles riding by herself. Somehow her mechanical difficulties either didn't happen or waited until I was along.
    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

  13. #13
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Cool

    You raise a valid concern - dealer network - and to be perfectly candid, it deserves to be a factor in your ultimate decision.

    Like any device made by the hand of Man, BMW's break - some more frequently than others, but they possess no magical mechanical invulnerabilty as some hype might have you believe.

    If you chose to own one for extensive touring, dealer availability should be a concern. I had the opportunity to address that very issue one-on-one with the VP of BMW when he spoke at a dinner I attended at the Bloomsburg Rally in 2011. Unfortunately, the prevailing corporate philosophy was to "limit" the dealer network here in the USA to around it current number of about 145, rather than grow too large or too fast and lose "quality control."

    Not unlike H-D's approach not too many years ago of keeping production down, despite demand, so that all Harley's could be sold at a premium price by dealers.

    The R1200RT has been a nice bike for me, albeit with an expensive repair/maintenance history that even personal wrenching would not have diminished all that much.

    If you decide to own one, I suggest you rely on the Anonymous Book for on-the-road assistance first, and then worry about a nearby dealer (IF there is one!).

    Good luck with your decision process.
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.) / IBA Member #34281
    MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer)
    Motorcycle/Driving Instructor - ROAD AMERICA Race Track

  14. #14
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    Since my 1st BMW bike in 2001, I've been in one BMW dealer & that was Mexico City with a friend looking for his parts. I'm a shadetree on bikes, your not, which puts you in a good spot. Yes, as said they can/will break but many of us live where many things are not sold at retail including these bikes. Many independent shops that can get you back on the road too. BMW, like most mfg's the sales floor drives the dealership equation, therefore there will never be many BMW bike dealers & it's probably @ max now.
    Will agree that it's a niche bike with less than 3% market share in USA so a valid question as to where are the parts/service can be found & it's not always around the corner- so, "what Paul said"is logical.

  15. #15
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbenstead View Post
    Yes, I do have a G650GS. But it is my fun bike to buzz around on and short trips. My concern is can I feel confident on a week or two trip to not worry if something would happen, would I have to spend the rest of my vacation trying to find a BMW dealer to do any warranty work. I'm spoiled now with HD with their dealer support. I have the same concerns with my GS with the idea on taking it to Alaska.
    Annie and I are coming up on the 20,000 mile mark for this year on our bikes. The tires keep wearing out; so far that's been our only 'problem'. They are machines, machines malfunction, but your odds are good.

    As recommended by PGlaves above, we have a roadside assist that has no mileage limit. Our plan takes us to the nearest facility capable of making the repair.
    Kevin Huddy
    Intrepid Incompetent
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

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