What's next best?

Anthony S

I've been enjoying this forum for some time, in anticipation of the purchase of a brand new GS. Unfortunately, a financial hiccup dictates a less costly machine (not even an R1150R). I would like to buy new, with as many of the benefits I would have got from the GS as possible - torque, comfort (for her as well), reliability, a bit of agility, luggage possibilities, etc. I am looking at the Caponord, Fazer 1000, Hornet 900.

So the question is: On the basis of your previous experiences, what's "second best"? Many thanks.
A second hand one

Don't be put off buying a second hand one. They remain excellent for many years - I'm having great fun on an 1100GS from 1999 (well I will when I get it back - see the Arson thread for details!)

The Other Tim
Second best in all honesty is second hand. If you've decided the GS is the bike you want, nothing will come close to the same level of satisfaction. There's nothing wrong with second hand, many that come up are in very fine fettle and bargains abound.

If you decide it HAS to be new then no one can tell you what suits you best but maybe the 650GS has something to offer Sir?
Second Hand

Buy second hand, with full service history and all the mods done, with panniers if you want 'em.

Still a belter of a bike and in a couple of years you can sell it (you might lose a few hundred quid) and buy a new or newer one. That's if you can bear to part with the one you got.

Alternatively you could buy one of the other's you mention, watch it depreciate before your eyes, then when you've saved some more cash go and buy a 'GS.

Tough choice?
The latest "TWO Wheels Only" magazine has an interesting conundrum.

In it's "BiKE" like pages at the back it has the GS as ***** and the KTM Adventure as ****, but in the supplement of the five best big trailies, the GS comes second to........ er..... the KTM..... sorta 4 stars are better than 5 stars obviously

The Varadero comes 5/5, Suzuiki Vstrom 4th and then the Caponord or whatever todays name is comes 3rd...
If you'd already chosen the GS as the bike of choice... you won't be happy with second best. The only answer is second hand. Might actually be a benefit...

1. New bikes loose loads in depreciation, SH is a better financial bet
2. You've to break in a new bike... let someone else do the hard work for ya.
3. GS's are practically indestructable, mine's a second hand and you'd never know it to look at when I bought
4. Few GS's stay in stock condition... so a SH bike will already have some of the mods you may want done. Any unwanted mods can be removed with the judicious use of a set of spanners.

Why settle for anything else, when the GS you want is at hand? You'll regret buying something that in your own words is second best.
after test riding Suzuki,s V-Strom very nice,
Hondas Varadayo (carnt spell) MMMMM nice,
toyed with a fazer thou, too fast for insurance,
could have bought all of above new,
settled for a 2000 X plate 1150gs almost same money,(more now with all the little extras Iv put on),

never regreted it once, nuff said.

:beerjug: :beerjug: :beerjug: :beerjug: :beerjug:
If you buy something else it'll be really hard to get a GS later as you'll lose so much in depreciation. If you go 2nd hand GS, it may be that you'd never want to change. Remember the "Ride" group test? The GS was much older and had many more miles than the others yet they said it was by far the best machine.
AnthonyS: My ears pricked up when I saw that you were considering Hornet 900 (amongst others). The Hornet 900 is a very good bike for the price, handles well even two up with luggage (and I was 17 stone before my crash), scratches on the back lanes and is a good commuter.

BUT, think seriously about depreciation. I never intended to sell mine, planning on running it until I died or it died...or until I'd paid off the finance. I did close to 17000 miles in the year I had mine and enjoyed every mile. It has recently been written off in an accident and I'm very lucky to be getting £4600 as the engineers quite kindly didn't push me on the mileage (the bike key went missing whilst I was in hospital). That's almost £2000 lost in depreciation in one year. Look in MCN at the second hand value of the Hornet 900. Bikes with less than 2000 miles on the clock and with extras go for around £4200.

Then look at second hand values of BMW GSs. The GS (apparently) tours better, can scratch on back lanes, has better optional extras, costs less to keep in tyres and has no chain & sprockets to replace. And if you look after it, you'll probably only lose about £200 after one year's ownership.

Knowing what I know now, if I had the chance, I'd be looking at a GS1100 for around £5000 with ABS, H/grips etc rather than £6000 for a new Hornet 900. Indeed, when I can ride again, that's exactly what I plan on doing.

You have to try all the bikes you've got your mind on, because if you don't you'll always wonder if you made the right choice, especially when something goes wrong. But unless your happy losing so much money in depreciation, think seriously whether you really want to go Japanese.......(or Italian).
Why not get yourself down to your local dealer and see if they have a used Demo for sale,
These normally go for sensible money and still under warrantly :D
Failing that there is always the never never !!!!
But dont settle for less.....
A wise chinese man once said
"Good Things No Cheap'
"Cheap Things No Good"

Well I'm lucky I guess because my garage contains a 2003 GS and a 2003 Fazer 1000 and a Transalp.

If finances are stretched and you don't want someone else's old bike then consider this for a reasoned argument.

For the price of a decent s/h 1150 GS you could buy a brand new Transalp and have plenty of change left over for panniers etc. The Transalp is reliable and trustworthy, it'll never let you down and go for ever. The performance even two up is quite good and they are rewarding to ride, although some will say they are characterless I have to disagree, if I even breath the word sell it my partner almost goes apopletic with anger, tears well up in her eyes at the thought of parting with Alfie (she named it so I'm stuck with it.. but I love the old bike anyway.. thats the Transalp).

And again for the price of a decent s/h 1150 GS you could end up with a new Fazer 1000 these are f*#king brilliant and will blow your mind with acceleration, torque and fairly decent handling. mine is just run in, with a rev limit of 5-6000 rpm for the run in period the performance is bloody excellent.

Now I'm not just comparing the Fazer to the 1150 more with the Aprilia Mille that I owned (2000 model..pure adrenolin on a stick).

When the time comes and your finances are back up to speed you will have a better bargaining position with a one owner p/x.

WARNING: after owning either one of the two bikes suggested you may find yourself wondering why you bothered to buy a BMW.
After all they are not that good, its just that they are so very different to the rest, if you don't believe me just look at some of the threads about clanky this and clunky that, backfiring and other problems.

The performance is not much better then a Transalp or Africa Twin.
The handling is 'different' because for a trailee the weight is so low down compared to other trailee's.
The reliability is no better than a Honda, Yamaha.
The fuel consumption is not brilliant especially when compared to the Fazer.

Yes if I were to sell one of my bikes I'm afraid the 1150 would get the chop. But I would miss the road presence that the GS has.
Gotta disagree with Mr Ms views on the Fazer and the Transalp.

I accept everything you say but having ridden both the Fazer and the Transalp and being the owner of an 1150GS I reckon you're missing some serious points.

Yep the Fazer does go rather fast but if I'm doing 500 miles in a day I really don't want to be sitting at 700 revs when I can be sitting at 4000 and making good progress. The GS is much more forgicing and is more relaxed to ride. It handles easily as well as the Fazer and over a 500 mile day I reckon I'll be there first on the GS while you've made an extra fuel stop and cleaned the flies from your visor.

And as for the Transalp... a great machine but vastly underpowered 2 up. How you can say the performance is not much better than a Transalp beggars belief. I don't know the figures for BHP or the like but the big difference is how hard you have to work the Honda to make good progress. It's fine for a bit of laid back touring but very wearing after just 50 miles at 85-90 on the motorway in my opinion.

I guess it depends on what you want a bike for. I can only afford one bike and the GS does everything I need it to do. Long motorway distances two up with luggage in "relative" comfort. Backlane scratching (get a Fazer on a bumpy road and be prepared for some interesting experiences) or A road blasting.

No, I can't see me getting rid of the GS in the forseeable future. It's impossible to make an ultimate value judgement as we all have different criteria but for me it's the best bike I've ever owned.


2nd hand ("pre-owned!")

I bought a 2nd hand R1150GS from Vines in Guildford. I'm more than happy with it. In fact, it may even be better than buying a new one as you dont have to arse about with all that running in nonsense, and any minor niggles are sorted already by the first owner.

I had a look at a few imports (from SPC) but really wanted a pukka UK bike for no reason other than I wanted to be sure of its history.

So save yourself a grand or two and get a second hand one.
guitarman said:
Gotta disagree with Mr Ms views on the Fazer and the Transalp.

Yep the Fazer does go rather fast but if I'm doing 500 miles in a day I really don't want to be sitting at 700 revs when I can be sitting at 4000 and making good progress. The GS is much more forgicing and is more relaxed to ride. ........................................................

OK. Before anybody else points it out.

.....Mr. M's.......

That should of course be 7000 not 700 (and if I remember rightly that's still only about 70)

and I hope you'll be forgiving rather than forgicing


Transalp Man Replies...Mr M's....

The Transalp produces approx 50 bhp not a lot I grant you but with me and my partner on (both a little on the less than light side of 14 stone) it goes acceptably well enough, and will cruise all day long WITHOUT pinking, rattling, coughing or crunching transmission or surging (hunting for the power).

The Transalp is a lighter machine than the 1150 or 1100 GS, returns as good if not better mpg and I am 'totally biased'. Mine is a 1988 model and is only the 600 version, I'll (we'll)never part with it as.

The Fazer may rev higher to maintain the same road speed, but if you ride at 90+ mph the engine certainly sounds and feels a dam site less strained than the bi-plane engine near the end of its rev range. Also engine efficiency on the Fazer is better, if you tried to ride the BMW at the sorts of speeds the Fazer can live at all day long, then I'm afraid you'd need a petrol tanker following the Beemer. But if I ride my Fazer like my 1150 and stick to the legal limits then the Fazer will be more economical,fact.

Now don't get me wrong, I posted my original thoughts because someone wanted opinions, and I repeat when compared to the other machinery out there the 1150 GS is not THAT good. You buy these types of bikes because they ARE different.

Currently there are more 1150GS models second hand for sale privately than there are Fazer 1000's, so to be fair to a potential BMW owner let them have a few fair opinions to mule over before they make that final decision. I know when we jumped on ours and took it for its first ride from the dealer we both wondered what the hell had we done, going from a silky smooth Pan European to the 1150GS..its growing on us...but we still love the Transalp...warts an all!
How far Guitarman?

As an aside how far did you ride the Fazer 1000 and was it a loaner/demo bike? Who last played with the suspension?

Before I bought mine (Fazer 1000) the dealer let me do a couple of hundred miles just to be sure.

The suspension on the Fazer can be adjusted to suit most peoples riding styles solo or two-up. Nothing interesting happens on bumpy roads unless a frustrated wannabe racer's been at the twiddlers, then it'll be like riding an iron girder...(hey remember girder forks,wow)...I ride the Peak District roads very often and I am entirely satisfied with the handling, not quite Aprilia Mille standards but almost. I do the same as everyone else for both the 1150 and the Fazer, jack the rear end up a bit and ignore all those settings given in Performance bike and MCN and use my own 'real world, real roads' settings.
Error check..

oh dear, mule instead of mull and then I left a sentence unfinished....'I'll (we'll) never part with it as long as we can still ride.
There you go!
Re: How far Guitarman?

The Mechanic said:
As an aside how far did you ride the Fazer 1000 and was it a loaner/demo bike? Who last played with the suspension?


I had the Fazer for a couple of hours. As far as I know it was pretty standard. I rode the same roads as I use the GS on and found the suspension harsh and unforgiving.

I couldn't get used to the high revs in comparison to the GS and over the 50 or so miles I did it was really getting to me. I wouldn't want to spend all day on a motorway on it. The GS is soooo much easier to ride in my opinion.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the Fazer but I wouldn't want to live with it day in day out.

As far as the Transalp goes I very nearly bought one but I felt that I was having to work too hard to maintain 80-90 on the motorway or make good progress on A roads.

I thought it was a brilliant bike for a 650 but in the end it didn't really have enough power for what I wanted to do with it.

I wouldn't knock either the Yamaha or the Honda as they both do what they were designed to do very well. Unfortunately that's not what I want a bike to do.

The Fazer is too buzzy and doesn't deal with rough roads like the GS does on standard settings ( I don't wanna mess about with suspension stuff) and the Honda is just too underpowered for serious high speed long distance work.

And oh, did I mention the chains?????

Each to their own but that's how I see it.



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