Mixed messages


Registered user
Nov 23, 2003
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Surrey and the Lot
I currently ride an R1 and am seriously considering swapping to an 1150G. Several reasons (all fairly familiar I imagine):
1. want to keep my license and the R1 is so ballistic (Yes, I know the twist gripworks two ways and the GS doesn't exactly hang about!).
2. I'd like to do some touring and the GS seems to be ideal for this
3. I'd like my wife to join me and she won't get on the back of the R1 (can't say I blame her)
4. I actually rather like the look of the GS

Where I'm getting a bit confused reading these forums are:
1. reliability... it looks like the GS is not without problems? But should this be a concern or is it that most GS/Adventure riders are clocking up big mileages and therefore some of the failures are to be expected.
2. servicing and dealers. There seems to be a fair bit of concern here. The comment is made that dealerships handling cars and bikes are perhaps more concentrated on cars and may not provide a good service on bikes.

I have a test ride planned at SPC (put this on hold for a few days due to the monsoon having arrived). I spoke to some GS owners at SPC a week or so ago and they were really enthusiastic about the bike and also SPC as a dealership... however, looking at the forum I see a few negatives about SPC especially with regard to their pricing.

At the end of the day it will come down to whether I enjoy riding the GS but as I plan to do more miles if I get one, reliability, servicing, dealers all start to come into the equation.

btw, I've found these forums really useful... a great source of knowledge!!!
Welcome to the madhouse:D
The GS has an enthusiastic and knowledgeable following, so if you trawl the forum I suspect that your questions will be answered. My theory is that in generally the GS (like anything else) is as good as it is cared for. That is not to say that things don't go wrong, but I believe the mileage point is valid.
Buy one, you won't regret it and discover that riding a bike isn't all about looking at your front axle! I have found lanes, byways and tracks that never knew existed and because of the GS have obviously been able to explore.
There are a couple of points worth mentioning. You will certainly have difficulty with transmission, weight, lack of perceived performance and refinement and possibly switch gear. Don't be put off, just adapt.
There are many tales of derring do on GS but the fact is they are heavy, slow and no match for a sports bike, BUT therein lies their charm:D The GS is like nothing else.
Best of luck.
MD - welcome to the Dark Side:cloak

The reason you seem to be getting mixed messages on this board is that you get to see/read all sides of the story.

Apart from the "I pulled a wheelie at 90 past a jam butty" threads, you will also see the "My rusty bits are falling off" threads, "My dealer is an angel", "My dealer is a bastard" (especially if you go by the handle of TheSanguine), plus "My bastard is an angel dealer", "Does God exist?" and "Does anyone have Kylies phone number?"

(No, Greg, you can't have it:p )

Mixed messages? Definitely, 'cos life isn't simple, and neither are GS'ers.

There is also an elegant answer to the supposed problems of the R1150GS -

Buy an 1100 instead:hide

Faster, better finished, more economical. And cheaper:D
Buy a GS, you will never regret it, you'll miss the speed, curse the weight all for about the first hour, get at least a full day out on one, and you come to love, what we all do, nothing does it better.

Go out with an open mind and YOU WILL LOVE IT.

Looking forward to welcolming you to the fold of the faithful.

Gary "The Beast" Simon.:cool:
Get an eleven hundred, seems to me reading on this forum for the last three months that you get a better deal and they are more reliable. Mine has 41000 miles and so far I have had to change the fuel filter and an ignition cable.

No big deal. Runs a dream, and yes I have ridden faster bikes but no I don't want one anymore. Mine'll cruise all day at 90MPH two up with baggage if you like.

For touring don't waste money on the BMW cases get some off of Vern seems much better. Or even I'll sell you my BMW cases and rails an I'll get some of Vern's.
just do it.

i was the same as you - had R1 (stolen) then SP1 (seemed
to attract plod cameras) and loved them both. track days
etc blah blah blah. needed to slow down on the road - just
too easy to go way too fast - and insurance after R1 theft
was just horrific. so i went for a complete change of
direction got a new 1150 (graphitan) in april and have done
12,000miles and lots of fiddling since. brilliant fun, enjoy the
journeys far more, pillion ace. 45-50mpg. only thing gone
wrong is rear shock - just replaced under warranty. no
arguments. coopers in reading have been great.

try to get a longish test ride - have some patience. it feels
VERY VERY odd to start with. but in the end it just sort of
clicks. not about outright speed - more about 'momentum'.
i certainly haven't regretted it.

best of luck

ps. this forum is astonishing for getting info and ideas for
fiddling. very mad folk but mostly honest, helpful and
funny (except me).
Hi mate ...

.. you won't regret it, my last bike (before my first GS) was a 996 and prior to that a Fireblade...

Now got an Adventure, which i chopped my Mandarin GS1150 in for at SPC....i love it... bought so many bits for it now i'm frightened to add up the cost! ... but what price enjoyment eh?

May well have bin me that you saw at SPC, my 'local' if ya like ...

and ...yes... i gotta say i am biased as i've had nothing but good service from them over the past 3+ years.

As for problems ... i can't say i've had much ....got 22k on the bike now after about 18mths and for about 3/4 of them i had a broken leg...

I recon i've done more miles on this bike than all the other bikes i've ever had put together .... and i've had a lot.... it just makes you want to go places..

Anyway enough of this .... just go and buy the bloody thing .... you know ya want to..:D
ZZR1100, Fireblade, ZXR750, ZX6,and thats just in the last 2 years..... Finally i've found a bike that will do everything, help (a little) to preserve my licence, and save me from chiropractors, the 1150 GS... Buy one.;)
Last bike was a ZX12R various other sports bikes before that.

i can count the times i have missed the speed on one hand since march this year.

still love my adventure to bits and very rarely look at other bikes these days

get a good long test ride on a GS take it on your favourite bit of road if you can I doubt you will be any slower on a gs down it .

but then i am just a old slow git these days !!:D :D

bet you have a blast though!!
Welcome to the funny farm.
When you take a test ride, make sure it is a long one. A good 50 plus miles. A quick thrash round the block wont help you at all.

Forget all preconcieved ideas about BMWs, the GS is a completely different beast.

Enjoy:D :D
Hi M D.

3 months ago i traded in my r6 for a GS 1150 from SLM at
Caterham, now i loved the r6, but for everyday biking the GS wins it for me.
One big thing on your demo rides, don't be put off by the buffeting you may experiance with the standard screen. It can be fixed at little cost via Tobers on this site!

Go enjoy yourself !:cool:
Definitely agree with those above : highly recommended. But you may be heading down the path to a 1150RT or 1200 KLT !!

Relatively minor reliability problems as you may have seen here:


The only reason I'd give to NOT buy one is to wait for the 1200GS !! Coming soon, and it sounds like it has a more road-oriented version.
Thanks a lot to all of you who have replied in the last 24 hours.
I definitely get the message about the test ride... and the need to make it a long one.
I guess the other thing that is making the GS more and more attractive is the sense of community there seems to be among GS riders and a general willingness to help each other.
In a way this generally true with most bikers regardless of what they ride, but I sense it very strongly with the GS guys.
I finally had that test ride.... all your comments proved to be correct.
The first 30 minutes or so it felt really strange... so high, a bit heavy, a bit vibey and then it all started to click. The roads were a mixture of dry, damp (greasy) and some with mud across them. The GS felt really planted and those wide bars really gave me some leverage and I felt I could muscle it around if needed. The result was my confidence grew in the bike as the ride progressed. I don't think that was just as a result of getting over the initial familiarity, but a growing appreciation of how well a bike like this can handle the twisties especially in less than perfect road conditions.
Anyway, the bottom line is that I'm hooked.... so now ALL I have to do is pursuade SWMBO!!!! :rolleyes:
Good man lets have a mass debate about this.... go and do it.... It has to be the best bike going, had mine for 2.5 years and apart from wanting to change its colour I DONT EVEN LOOK AT OTHER BIKES ANYMORE. At least not with an inkling of wanting to have one..
Anyway, the bottom line is that I'm hooked.... so now ALL I have to do is pursuade SWMBO!!!! :rolleyes: [/B][/QUOTE]

Well done MasterDabber,
Not sure what SWMBO is though:confused: but if it's the missus tell her the price goes up in january, if it's the bank manager ditto.:D .
Seriously though, at the moment you can get some really good deals out there on new or nearly new GS's. I just bought a year old GS Adventure for silly money.
Hope you get sorted soon:D .
Cheers John:beerjug:
I would agree.
Short test drive = BAD

It was so bad, that when I went to test drive a Tiger afterwords, I bought a Tiger on the spot!:eek: Then, even though the Tiger was OK, I still couldn't stop thinking about the GS. Four months later I bit the bullet & traded (AKA: "Loss-my-Ass") the Tiger for the big pig. Even my first 100 miles on the GS were a little odd. Then...SHAZAM! IT all became clear. Then you get it. I have never looked back as I love the GS. All bikes have their share of issues. Just buy the one you want. :cool: :beerjug:
I liked the strange look of the GS for years. When I eventually took one out during a bmw open day I was really disappointed.
Compared to my Triumph sprint it was slow and strange.
However, despite this, the next year I decided to buy a second hand one (something to do with trying to slow down)
I still felt it was grossly over rated until after about three days when something clicked and I realised that this was a great bike.
For the only time in my motorcycling life (32years) I do not have a yearning to change to another bike.

I find that the only thing wrong with this is that I have lost the interest in other motorcycles. Unless a magazine has an article on GS,s or a related matter, I will not buy it. This is from a person who used to buy several a month prior to gs ownership, I have hundreds!

Life changing? Well, I have met a whole lot of new and diverse folk and ditched a few lesser mortals. Some of the gsers are actually ok.

SO THERE ! Buy one, but tell everyone who asks that gs,s are rubbish, I do, Its my wee secret.

That was a sensible rambling , wasnt it. I must be coming down with something.
Den said:

That was a sensible rambling , wasnt it. I must be coming down with something.

It'll be that snow drift you got stuck in on Saturday............:D



Owned all of them and many more in 20 odd years. TLS aside, the only one to keep was the GS (1100). Ugly, huge and heavy. Same as my wife and I married her.

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