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Offline Villager

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Another comparison with R1200GS, Rallye TE
« on: May 20, 2018, 03:36:44 PM »
Some context: I currently own two motorcycles. A 2017 Gen2 Explorer XRx that is a year old today. I also own a BMW R1200RS SE Sport. Both bikes are excellellent but each has a couple of things that hinder ownership. The Explorer is just too heavy with the weight carried very high. I'm only 5'8" tall and I have a wonky hip so moving the bike around on foot is becoming more difficult. Holding it upright on steep inclines has caused a few worrying moments until I have it under control e.g. stopping on an Alpine hairpin when you find a bunch of cyclists or a coach in your path. Then of course, there is the infamous heat problem. The RS is, in my view, the best looking bike BMW has produced in a long time. I love riding it and would have it as my only bike apart from one reason, the semi-sporty riding position makes my wonky hip hurt after an hour or so. I get this problem with the Explorer but not so early and you can move around a lot more including standing up which makes a difference.

So, a trip to Cotswold Motorrad to blag some free coffee and food last weekend resulted in me taking a fancy to the blue Rallye version of the GS and agreeing for a test ride. My Explorer is Lucerne Blue and my RS is Lupin Blue so I'm a sucker for a blue bike.

The bike is a R 1200GS in Rallye TE spec. It has a single piece seat and was equipped with a full colour display. Electronic suspension and Brembo brakes so very similar to my XRx & Rs. A change from the RS is that the suspension now has auto-preload like the Explorer. My RS has 3 presets you can choose in the menu - rider only, 2 up or 2 up with luggage.

Controls are very easy to use but I am used to a very similar set up on the RS. The colour display is a bit of a gimmick and I would not pay extra for it and I like that BMW leave it on the options list rather than forcing you to have that expense.

Gearbox: quick shift up & down. Clunky up from 1-2 and 2-3. Smooth elsewhere especially on downshifts which I love using on my RS. My 2016 Rs is the same and I was hoping they had improved it after 2 years.

Brakes: Brembo front & back, linked. Simply superb. I cam flying around a downhill bend and there was a tractor turning right. Just using the front lever brought me to a graceful almost stop whilst auto-blipping down the gears.

Engine: boxers are Marmite. I love them and 125bhp is adequate on a bike of this nature. The Explorer thrives on revs where you use the torque and a higher gear on the GS. Both engines are able to get you to speeds on a private road over 120mph where things do not really feel safe. Both will cruise all day, fully loaded at 100mph on a German Autobahn.

Seat: the single piece seat seems nice to begin with but quite narrow at the front. I started to feel uncomfortable after an hour and a half. I think the Explorer and RS are better. I have the stock seat on both bikes.

Riding position: feels natural to me after a long line of ADV bikes since 2001. It has not provided a riding position free from hip pain though. Better than the RS but similar to the Explorer.

Suspension: I was expecting the GS to be better than it turned out to be. It has a Telelever front end like my old R1150GS. My RS has forks like the Explorer. Of the BMWs I think the RS set-up is better. Of the adventure bikes, I think the WP suspension on the Explorer is better. I don't think BMW have the auto-preload programmed properly and there is no manual override. The bike seemed to wallow on undulating roads at speed, making you feel a bit sea sick. The Explorer allows you to adjust the suspension to how you like it in small increments. The Explorer is the best of all three bikes on bumpy terrain especially if you hit a pot hole. If I wasn't being picky the GS would be fine and it was a doddle to ride quite quickly. The Annakee tyres gripped well.

Screen: seemed pretty good. Adjusting it between the extremes did not seem to make much difference. Rotary adjuster not as easy to use as the electric one on the Explorer.

The bike was keyless like my RS. I like not having to faff around with keys when refuelling. Triumph need to catch up with this on their keyless bikes.

Weight: the GS & Explorer are not that different on the scales but you notice the difference in centre of gravity. The GS feels like a toy in comparison to the Explorer when moving it about on foot. The boxer layout keeps the c of g very low.

I like all three bikes and I would happily own any one of them if I was forced to have a single bike. I would choose the RS if I was presented with a choice. The sport touring set up is so much more engaging to ride. both adventure bikes feel a little "loose" in comparison. You need to countersteer more to keep them on line in a corner.

The sheer popularity of the GS puts me off owning one and this is why yesterday was the first time I have ridden a 1200cc version of the GS, some 15 years after the launch! It does look nice in the blue Rallye colour scheme. I am not going to pay £16,000 for one though. The sales chap was pointing me towards a 2017 spec. bike, triple black with 3 piece luggage and the 600 mile service included for the list price of a TE spec. bike. £15,680. the bike I paid £13950 for a year ago was valued at £9500. I knew there would be a big drop in the first year as you always wave goodbye to the 20% VAT (tax for non UK readers) but that is more than expected. Unless my hip improves, the Explorer will have to go eventually but not for a GS.




Offline Nutter

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Re: Another comparison with R1200GS, Rallye TE
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2018, 08:07:48 PM »
I was recently in Cotswold BMW too, and took their ex-demo R1200GS TE Exclusive out for a ride as a potential Explorer replacement.

Is your Explorer red? I might have seen it parked up at the front of the showroom - if so mine was the other red Explorer!

I had a similar feeling about the GS suspension, and your description of feeling slightly seasick sums it up nicely. I was trying to explain it to my wife doing some actions, but your description is much better (and would have made me look less silly).

I thought the drive train was smoother on the GS than my Explorer, because I think the Gen 1 has too much drive lash whereas the later GSs don't seem to, but I wasn't so keen on the boxer engine when making some good progress. The engine just didn't have the smoothness of the triple.

I have decided to keep the Explorer for now because I could justify the change with the price of the GS and the trade in they offered, especially when taking into account that I'd need to add engine guards, panniers and I would want the navigator that it's pre-wired for.

Offline Villager

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Re: Another comparison with R1200GS, Rallye TE
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2018, 09:40:24 PM »
My bike is a blue XRx. I was there on Sun 13 & sat 19 May.

When I told Steve in sales he was a grand off making me interested in the Triple Black he tried to tempt me with cash off instead of the luggage but was still way off.

I'll go to Germany next month on the Explorer and then it will need a service. It won't depreciate much in the next 4 months so I'll look to see what is about when the dealers get to the end of the September sales quarter.  Or I might wait until next spring and see if the new Moto Guzzi V85 bikes are any good. I have not owned a Guzzi so there is an itch to scratch...

 


Offline Nutter

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Re: Another comparison with R1200GS, Rallye TE
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2018, 07:11:38 PM »
I think it was Sat 12th I was there.

Your mention of servicing prompted me to look up the GS's schedule, and it's every 6,000 instead of the Explorer's 10,000 miles (but I don't want to get a oil change debate started!).

Like you, it's the top-heaviness of the Explorer that's causing me a problem. I'm slightly shorter than you and over the past 18 months have lost quite a lot of weight. Having done so, I am finding the Explorer harder to manhandle in the garage, car parks, etc, and I think it must be because I was previously using my own weight to shove it around, but now I'm lighter that doesn't work for me. I nearly dropped it when I failed to get it on the centre stand first time at work this morning because the Explorer has a very narrow range from upright at which it's not too heavy to pull back, whereas the GS can be lent much further from centre when stationary before it can't be balanced.

Offline kenw

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Re: Another comparison with R1200GS, Rallye TE
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2018, 08:49:49 PM »
*Originally Posted by Nutter [+]
I nearly dropped it when I failed to get it on the centre stand first time at work this morning because the Explorer has a very narrow range from upright at which it's not too heavy to pull back...
My solution to that is to always use the sidestand.
The only time I use the centrestand is when I'm getting tyres replaced.
I struggle to get the TEx onto its centrestand.  All about technique.  I don't have any.   :034:
(And I'm not light.)

Offline Villager

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Re: Another comparison with R1200GS, Rallye TE
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2018, 10:45:24 PM »
*Originally Posted by kenw [+]
My solution to that is to always use the sidestand.
The only time I use the centrestand is when I'm getting tyres replaced.
I struggle to get the TEx onto its centrestand.  All about technique.  I don't have any.   :034:
(And I'm not light.)

I have 2 bikes. They have to go on the main stand in the garage or there is not enough of a gap between the bikes to get access to the door & light switch from the internal door. I have one bike facing into the garage and the other facing out so I can easily access the left of each bike. The key to getting the Tiger on the stand is to use your weight as leverage on the stand rather than pulling up with your arm.

Offline Will Morgan

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Re: Another comparison with R1200GS, Rallye TE
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2018, 09:21:57 AM »
*Originally Posted by Villager [+]
The key to getting the Tiger on the stand is to use your weight as leverage on the stand rather than pulling up with your arm.

That's the way I do it. At some event a while ago someone watched me do it & commented it was nice to see me using the correct technique. Little did they know that the Tex is so heavy & I'm so feeble I have no alternative!

And whenever I put it on or off the centre stand I always have the side stand down "just in case" my technique fails!

Offline Nutter

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Re: Another comparison with R1200GS, Rallye TE
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2018, 07:39:39 PM »
*Originally Posted by Villager [+]
I have 2 bikes. They have to go on the main stand in the garage or there is not enough of a gap between the bikes to get access to the door & light switch from the internal door.
Very similar for me - 2 bikes in the garage, one on each side so there's a path down the middle to get through. Probably worth saying for non-Brits that our garages are typically much smaller than ones I have seen in other countries.

The key to getting the Tiger on the stand is to use your weight as leverage on the stand rather than pulling up with your arm.

Yeah, that's never worked for me. I can stand on my centre stand with all my weight (other foot off the floor) or even bounce on it, and there's just no way it will go up/back onto it without plenty of arm muscle.

Offline Villager

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Re: Another comparison with R1200GS, Rallye TE
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2018, 09:56:36 PM »
*Originally Posted by Nutter [+]
Very similar for me - 2 bikes in the garage, one on each side so there's a path down the middle to get through. Probably worth saying for non-Brits that our garages are typically much smaller than ones I have seen in other countries.

I meant to say, my house, which has an integral garage, was built in the early 1970s when one of the best selling cars in the country was the original Mini. If I parked my current car, considered a small hatchback, in the garage I would have to climb out of the window or rear hatch as the doors would never open.

 


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