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      11-07-2020, 09:00 PM   #63
Remove Before Flight
flybigjet's Avatar

Drives: M2C & Boeing's light twin
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Littleton (Denver), CO

iTrader: (0)

I've put about 12,000 miles on my GS this year alone, and have 22 states (so far) under my belt. My last road trip (Solo, in September) was Denver-Lincoln, NE (SAC Museum)-Hannibal, MO (Mark Twain's Boyhood Home)-Springfield, IL (Lincoln's Tomb)-Portage, MI (Air Zoo Aeronautical Museum)-Kalamazoo, MI (Gilmore Auto Museum)-Dearborn, MI (The Henry Ford Museum)-Luddington, MI (rode across Lake Michigan on the SS Badger, the last coal-fired steamship in the northern hemisphere)-Manitowoc, WI (Wisconsin Maritime Museum and the USS Coiba, a sub from WWII)-Oshkosh, WI (EAA Museum)-Paradise, Upper Peninsula (Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum & Lighthouse)-Houghton, Upper Peninsula (Quincy Copper Mine & Museum)-Eagle Harbor, Upper Peninsula (lighthouse)-Copper Harbor, Upper Peninsula (another lighthouse)-Ironwood, Upper Peninsula (where my family's from, so did a lot of "When I was a kid there in the summer" stuff as well as the Plummer Mine Headframe and the Iron County Historical Museum)-Duluth, MN (Lake Superior Railroad Museum)-Grand Forks, ND (Minuteman Missile Launch Control Center Museum)-Denver. It was two weeks of fun (well, except for the cold rain in Ironwood for a few days) and just about 4300 miles.

So, here's my advice:

First: Head over to and start reading. ADV's a forum that specializes in Adventure Bikes of all stripes, and there's a LOT of information and a TON of very, very smart people over there.

There's also a "For Sale" section.

Second: Consider used. I've owned 8-9 bikes over the years and have always bought used. If you do your homework, you can save a LOT of money. Look at the "For Sale section on ADV to get an idea on pricing- both with and without "farkles". I bought a 2015 R1200GS with seven hundred miles on it-- and saved close to 40% off of the dealer's price. And yes, the warranty transfers. At this price point, there are a lot of barely-used bikes that were bought as midlife-crisis mobiles, and they go on a few trips to Starbucks and then sit gathering dust. Of course, there are also bikes that get ridden the way they're supposed to!

As far as bikes. For a "single-arrow-in-the-quiver" bike, the GS is tough to beat (there's a reason it's BMW's best-selling bike). For used, I'd recommend a liquid-cooled 2015-2019 as you'd get the heavier flywheel, which makes them a bit more tractable, and since the "new" model is out, there are deals to be had. The GSA is of course an option, but that's a BIG bike.

You can also find them with a "Low" suspension, which may help if you're a little "height challenged", but they aren't as common, so are harder to find.

The "new" GS is basically the same bike as the 2013-2019, albeit with a few more bells and whistles, a slightly larger engine, and a TFT digital display. And the weeping Hayes brakes. (the LC's above come with utterly bombproof Brembo's). They are heavy bikes (about 500 lbs dry), but that helps in stability, comfort and rideability-- once I'm on the bike, I really don't notice the weight unless I'm trying to back it uphill or something silly like that.

Personally, unless you got the deal of the century and have money to burn, I wouldn't spend the money just to buy "new". I could've easily afforded a brand-spanking new GS with every bell and whistle installed on it, but after doing a bit of research, I found my bike-- less than a year old (so, two years of warranty still to go), no farkles, 700 miles on the clock (the seller had a baby was on the way), and in pristine condition. And I saved over $5000 from buying the bike new. I flew out, did the paperwork, and road tripped home from Tucson to Denver.

Additionally, you'll most likely want to modify whatever bike you get for purpose and comfort. Are you going to ride mostly highway, mostly dirt or a combination of the two? That makes a huge difference on the tires you mount (I highly recommend the Michelin Anakee Adventures-- it's a 90/10 tire that will work great on the highway, but allow you to hit a fire road once in a while as well). Windscreen? There are a bunch of options, heights and combinations that will make a HUGE impact on your riding comfort. Crash bars? (YES!!!-- you WILL drop the bike at some point in time). Different (wider/lower) footpegs for comfort or riding style? Soft bags or permanently mounted hard cases? Seat? (the BMW one's are.... adequate at best). You get the idea.

You can go just as crazy modding on a bike as you can on a car-- but more of the bike "farkles" are more purpose-driven.

Additionally, if you're going to ride in spring/fall/winter-- do yourself a favor and wire the bike for heated gear (my personal favorite is Warm and Safe)-- it makes an UNBELIEVABLE difference in comfort-- even on a "warm" mid-50's day, the wind blast will end up chilling your core over the course of a few hours. It's not hard (you just mount a coax plug) and being toasty while you ride in the cold and/or rain? Priceless.

And? Spend the money on GOOD riding gear. With armor. Something armored, gore-tex and comfortable is worth its weight in gold on a road-trip-- if you fall or get hit, you don't have the body of a car to save you (I recommend Klim gear-- its spendy stuff but worth every single penny if you go down).

Oh-- and earplugs. Wind noise will permanently kill your hearing and/or give you tinnitus for the rest of your life. Wear the damn plugs!

Feel free to PM me with any questions.

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