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BigDav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Klein, Texas
Posts: 113
Compare Contrast R11S and R12GS

I know a few guys on here have both or had both.
I recently added a used hexhead GS to the stable and thought I would share my opinion just in case anyone else is thinking of doing the same. Please add your thoughts if you agree or disagree.

I am not new to on-road motorcycles having logged many hundreds of thousands of miles of saddle time. Like a lot of you I grew up on dirt bikes. First a kawasaki km90, then a KRL250, a Honda CR500 and a XR600. And while I have friends that race(d) and have hung around the race track, I have no track time myself.

I bought my R11S (touring) new in 2001. Other than being a little bit tippy (fixed with aftermarket shocks) and terrible brakes (fixed with hoses and pads) control buttons that don't function because I can't articulate my thumbs that direction and questionable reliability (long list); I've really enjoyed the bike, warts and all.

I only have a couple hours on the GS (used 2006 with 29k) and find it a completely different riding experience. Perhaps because I never spent much time with my off road bikes on pavement. The GS is tall, it's long and it's top heavy. I am only 5'8" and 155lbs. The suspension is marshmallow smooth with a lot of travel. Suspension travel that seems to grossly affect the handling and braking. The mirrors are awkwardly positioned at my wrist. Maybe at my advanced age of 57 I don't have the peripheral vision I once had. I will say this thing is smooth and stupid fast. The R11S always gives me a sensation of speed. I catch myself looking at the speedo on the GS and saying OMG!, am I really going that fast?

In full honesty, I've already crashed the GS. Going to work in rush hour traffic traveling about 40 mph when someone up ahead missed their turn and slammed on the brakes. I grab a big handful of brake lever only to have the front wheel lock up when I hit a wet manhole cover. (sorry I was too giddy with the purchase to notice the lack of ABS on the GS). Fortunately the bike is mostly unscathed, I was in full riding gear and, the biggest miracle of all, I didn't get run over. It's plenty dark here at 6am.

I think my first parts purchase for the GS is new shocks.
Old 10-19-2017, 11:39 AM
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04 R1100S
 
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Thx for this story. Keep us posted. Which one would you like to thrash more then or until you get new shocks....?

Slick
Old 10-19-2017, 07:24 PM
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GS are design for tall physique. Wide handlebar, tall seat, extended suspension travel, all contribute to better control when terrain is demanding.
Maybe GS is not the best for your physique and riding terrain. Grabbing a fist full of brake is rarely the best option to avoid impact or obstacle on any two-wheeler vehicle.
Old 10-20-2017, 12:58 AM
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unsafe at any speed
 
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Once you get your suspension fixed you should find the Hex Head GS to be quite capable on the back roads. I find my R1100S to be more fun on the curves we have here in Arkansas, But I would estimate that the GS handles them just as well, especially when you factor in the places where the pavement gets rough. I have done 1000-1200 mile days on both and would pick the GS over the R1100S if it involves interstate droning. If it is curvy backroads, I would rather do a thousand miles on the R1100S, just because it is so much fun. However the GS gives me the option of taking the non paved or logging road option should i want to go exploring.
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2002 R1100S Prep/2006 BMW R1200GS
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Old 10-20-2017, 05:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wswartzwel View Post
I have done 1000-1200 mile days .
Wow.
Old 10-22-2017, 08:12 PM
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sɹǝʇndɯoɔ sǝʇɐɥ
 
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Originally Posted by Jozef Schumann View Post
Wow.

Hey man. Sometimes you just got to get there .
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Old 10-22-2017, 08:23 PM
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Hey man. Sometimes you just got to get there .
Oh, I hear you. I may have tried to pull that off 40 years ago when I was dating a couple of sultry, alluring vamps, sure - but at 58 and married, I don't need to be anywhere that bad.

I'm sure there's a backstory, eh Bill?

J.S.
Old 10-22-2017, 08:41 PM
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Yeah I had a 1200gs for a few months it just really didnt do it for me,
it wasnt terrible but just not as good as the 1200rt on the road or the 1100s
for short trips. the layout is just to tall for street use for me and the bars
to wide the rt is more comfortable better wind protection for long rides.
everywhere i ride the roads are winding so the 1100s is what I use around town
and the rt for longer trips the electric windshield is really nice.
Old 10-22-2017, 08:45 PM
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unsafe at any speed
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jozef Schumann View Post
Oh, I hear you. I may have tried to pull that off 40 years ago when I was dating a couple of sultry, alluring vamps, sure - but at 58 and married, I don't need to be anywhere that bad.

I'm sure there's a backstory, eh Bill?

J.S.
On the S.. Rode up to Missouri to meet up with Pelican member HD3MD... (Drex) we spent the day riding and playing in the curves of south east Missouri...let the time get away from us, as we had made no plans, it was a holiday weekend... Every hotel in the ST. Louis area was booked... So we both parted ways around 10;00 and headed to our respective homes... I had left the house at 5:00 am, and got home 3:00am the next day. But as a general rule I usually don't bother suiting up and riding the S unless there are >400 miles lined up for the day.

On the GS that is pretty standard for when I attend the Top Of The Rockies Rally in Colorado. I take my time getting there... but coming home it is a straight shot. I usually pack up and leave the rally site around 7:30-8:00 Sunday.. go over Kebler pass to Crested Butte, then on to Gunnison then head home... 3:00am is about when I get home. As long as you don't stop and eat a lot it really is a fun trip. If I eat big meals when traveling, I feel like crap and don't enjoy it. The Pelican Boys from North Carolina are the ones that can really travel though...I am not sure I can hang with them as far as mileage goes. Then on the other side of the coin is guys like RBMann that stretch out a trip for months... I wish my mind worked that way, and I had the time/money to enjoy that. When going somewhere I hate to stop.

Also physical fitness goes a long way to adding comfort... My wife and I road cycle and mountain bike regularly.
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Bill Swartzwelder
2002 R1100S Prep/2006 BMW R1200GS
1969 BSA StarFire

Last edited by wswartzwel; 10-23-2017 at 05:59 AM..
Old 10-23-2017, 05:54 AM
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Yeah Bill, just different riding.

I still love my S but for doodling around with some dirt it is hard to beat a GS.

Sometimes Ralf and I spend 10-12 hrs. on the road but don't even cover 300 miles for the day.

On another point, no one ever dies wishing they had spent more time working. Also I hate driving after dark.
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RBMann- The road is his workshop, and his trips are opportunities to do much needed repairs. -Bill S.
* 2000 S, color-Salmon 100K+ * '09 F650GS twin
* '83 GPZ 550-gone to a newbie * '75 CB400F-retired to AZ.
Old 10-23-2017, 11:11 AM
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Not apples to apples but I have a R11S and 1150GS. The first 10k miles on the GS I though "I don't get the appeal of the GS". I have now come to see the appeal. It is a great handling for around town and slow tight maneuvers much more so than the S, convenient with the big-ass boxes on the back for errands, damn nice on hard packed wide dirt therefor great for MC camping while still doing great in the twisties when I need to get to the next fire road. Rode all over Baja on it and although it was not all that fun in sand to pick back up fully loaded I suspect it would have done better with knobbies instead of 70-30 tires.

What I am really trying to say is stick with the GS for a while if you can as I think it;ll grow on you as you get used to the differences you'll come fully appreciate it.
Old 10-23-2017, 12:44 PM
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