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  #1  
Old 07-02-2011, 04:52 PM
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2012 BMW K1600GTL

Now y'all didn't think we went all the way to the BMW dealer and didn't test ride one of these suckers, did'ja?

This bike is a beast, and deserves every bit of fawning that it's gotten in all the reviews. Sure, it sounds like a blender having an argument with a vacuum, but so what? Wanna be going 130 at the end of the on-ramp? No problem. Feel like pulling the front wheel up going into 3rd? Piece of cake. This bike has so much torque it's just unreal. Whack the throttle at 2500rpm, the bike pulls smoothly to about 4000, then it just fracking explodes on its way to the redline.

The only real gripe I have with it is with the ESA. "Normal" is too floaty, "Sport" is to harsh. The GSA's settings are spot-on perfect, so it surprises me that the GTL's aren't. Don't get me wrong, the ride is superior to the Limited's, as is the handling, but the calibrations just aren't quite right. "Comfort" is really soft, and only useful for highway riding. For a big bike, it transitions really well from right to left, though the throttle was a little jerky. There are 5 other throttle settings that I could have tried, but I was too busy trying not to wad up someone else's $30,000 bike. With that said, if I had the opportunity to really get used to this bike's dynamics, y'all would never catch me on a winding road.

The brakes are similarly heroic. I jumped on them hard more than once, and never had any issues with fade or ABS pulsing.

The riding position is typical BMW upright, though the GTL has a more "American" idiom, with more pullback to the bars, and lower pegs. I liked it, but I could see there being a need to stop more often to stretch my legs since there's no way to mount highway pegs. Dana hated the seat and the pegs, and didn't like the fact that the top box moves around as much as it does. She also said there was substantially more turbulence & buffeting than the GSA. She said, and I'm not making this up, that she could see riding all day on the GSA, not on the GTL.

Had this bike been available when I bought my Ultra, there would have been a heated argument in the Train household over which one to get. The Harley is going to be more comfortable on the long hauls, but the GTL is by far the better rider's bike.

The GTL is 95% of the way there. Fix the top box, sort out the ESA settings, and it'd be perfect. I won't be trading in the BSL just yet, but I think I've found my next touring bike.
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  #2  
Old 07-02-2011, 04:57 PM
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Gosh, there's a lot to think about before I buy my next bike. Thanks for all of your info, Russ.
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Old 07-02-2011, 05:13 PM
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Did BMW get the drive shaft failures taken care of?

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Old 07-02-2011, 05:18 PM
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Friend of mine is a retired motor cop from Atlantic City. He spent thousands of hours/miles on Harley's. He currently owns a big ****** touring bike, I forget which. He solved the seat problem by getting a Mustang seat. His girlfriend had similar complaints about the stock seat. Seems no matter which manufacturer it is, stock seats suck!
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Old 07-02-2011, 06:36 PM
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As of today this bike is not nearly comfortable enough for me to give up the BSL. This bike has more wind issues than the GSA and was not as comfotable. A different seat would help but the back rest bounces so much that I felt every bump on the road in my back. And the peg position on the GSA was better. Plus it sounds like sh%t and is just ugly.
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Old 07-02-2011, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Margaritaville View Post
As of today this bike is not nearly comfortable enough for me to give up the BSL. This bike has more wind issues than the GSA and was not as comfotable. A different seat would help but the back rest bounces so much that I felt every bump on the road in my back. And the peg position on the GSA was better. Plus it sounds like sh%t and is just ugly.
Don't hold back dear, tell them what you really think....
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Old 07-02-2011, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Margaritaville View Post
As of today this bike is not nearly comfortable enough for me to give up the BSL. This bike has more wind issues than the GSA and was not as comfotable. A different seat would help but the back rest bounces so much that I felt every bump on the road in my back. And the peg position on the GSA was better. Plus it sounds like sh%t and is just ugly.
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Old 07-02-2011, 07:43 PM
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Thank you for the review, Russ. That is just like what I've read about online with the ESA electronic suspension. For some reason, it's just not completely there yet. That makes my decision much easier. I am amazed that Dana found the GSA more comfortable! I may have to test ride one of those bad boys. Sounds like you are in love my friend!

Bob
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  #9  
Old 07-02-2011, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by OKC Fatboy View Post
Thank you for the review, Russ. That is just like what I've read about online with the ESA electronic suspension. For some reason, it's just not completely there yet. That makes my decision much easier. I am amazed that Dana found the GSA more comfortable! I may have to test ride one of those bad boys. Sounds like you are in love my friend!

Bob
Bob, for the typical rider, it's probably fine. I whipped the thing pretty hard (as I do), and it wasn't "just right". With all the work I've put into the BSL's suspension, it's not as comfortable as the GTL, though it probably turns a bit sharper.

Ride it for yourself, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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Old 07-02-2011, 08:30 PM
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Russ, ya got me thinking about a another bike.

I was hot to trot for a new R1200RT to replace my 08 FLHT this spring. Toots said if ya really want it go ahead and buy it. But you'll regret not having an Electra Glide, esp when she's with on a week long tour. She wasn't super pleased with the pillion BMW offers. Once they get used to H-D's FLHT pillion it's hard to get them into the Sport Tour type of bike.
So we decided to keep Travler and pay her off.

I've spent nearly 30K on a used Vette. Just spent nearly 30K on a used Silverado. I just can't get my brain wrapped around 30K for a new bike. No matter how Awesome it may be.

I have looked around and found used R1200RT's, 08-10's in the 16 to 19K range, Also one of my all time favorites, the FJR1300, 08-09's in the 8-11K range. All with really low miles. The used BMW's are almost always equipped with big dollar seats/GPS etc.

I think that may be the route I go. Keeping the 08 FLHT AND owning and nice clean, used Sport Tour rig is the best of both worlds.
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Old 07-02-2011, 09:08 PM
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Thanks, great write up. Havent ridin the 1600, but tyhe GSA will be hard to beat for all around do everything bike. I need to ride one.
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Old 07-02-2011, 09:27 PM
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Snap! Dana has too many nice Harley clothes!
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Margaritaville View Post
As of today this bike is not nearly comfortable enough for me to give up the BSL. This bike has more wind issues than the GSA and was not as comfotable. A different seat would help but the back rest bounces so much that I felt every bump on the road in my back. And the peg position on the GSA was better. Plus it sounds like sh%t and is just ugly.


Guess that pretty much settles that argument, huh Russ?
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by J.A.F.O. View Post
Guess that pretty much settles that argument, huh Russ?
For now, yes it does.
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:37 AM
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Think hard before giving up on HD. BMW still wont have soul like a HD. I've thought about the BMW untill I spent the day on my road king.
It feels like an american hot rod and fits me like a glove.
Personally, I would get bored with the ****** quickly, I need to be able to tinker with my machines.
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