Author Topic: Choosing between a BMW GS(A) and a Super T....  (Read 4813 times)

Offline Ron Earp

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Choosing between a BMW GS(A) and a Super T....
« on: June 12, 2016, 10:13:53 am »
I asked this on a BMW forum...so I'll ask here to get another side of the story.

I'm sort of down to choosing between a 2011 or 2012 BMW GS(A) and a 2014-2015 Yamaha Super T ES at that $13kish price point. The only BMW I have owned was an old R100/7 and that was a poor ownership experience that colored my opinions of BMW however unfairly. That and running the US arm of a German based technology company gives me something of a unique perspective on German engineering.

Anyhow, looking at bikes in that $13kish range as I feel that is a pretty sweet spot for the BMW depreciation and it happens to fall where I can obtain very newish Super Ts that I'm also interested in. My riding is typical of the urban guy - commuting to work, taking multi-day rides for pleasure, and a small bit of fire/dirt road work when up in the WVA/VA area.

I boiled down my pros and cons.

BMW (+)
I like the boxer engine, bike overall, pretty well-established
Lots of aftermarket support and parts
Pretty decent dealer network in my area (NC)

BMW (-)
It's a BMW, I have concerns about reliability
Very common bike in these parts
No cruise control, likely no electronic suspension (option, uncommon?)

Yamaha (+)
Extremely reliable brand / bike
I like parallel twins, loved my old TDM 850 engine
Great dealer/parts supply
Bike has all wanted features including cruise and electronic suspension

Yamaha (-)
Its a soulless appliance
Rather utilitarian nature / appearance

Repair of either machine isn't a problem as I have extensive auto and bike skills, but, I definitely don't want a machine that adds much to the workload my street and race cars already produce. Any feedback for this decision making process would be welcome.

Online Dogdaze

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Re: Choosing between a BMW GS(A) and a Super T....
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2016, 10:42:31 am »
Ride both, then ride them again and decide what you want, we cannot know how you feel when riding either bike. Both are good solid machines, the last of the WC GS's did not that many reliability issues, but as all are man made, they are prone to failure........ possibly.
As I get older, I am no longer surprised at what I know, I'm surprised at how much I don't know.

Offline silvergoose

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Re: Choosing between a BMW GS(A) and a Super T....
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2016, 11:26:32 am »
Welcome to the forum. As a BMW owner as well as owning the Super Tenere, I feel that I can ask a few questions.

The short list of Pros for the GS: You list the looks, but on the ST list you list the appearance as utilitarian-soulless.
Question: Are you concerned about showing up at Starbucks with an "appliance" and not blending in with the others?

The GS has you thinking about reliablity, why? It appears that the BMW is used while the Yamaha is new,with warranty?
What is the background of the GS? You state the GS is supported by a close by dealer, are you concerned that you may have to visit the dealer often?

The Yamaha has features you want, I don't, the GS is lacking the features you like.

The choice is in your hands, I went with the Yamaha and sold the BMW and never looked back.

Good luck with the choice you make, ride safe.

Offline Use2btrix

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Re: Choosing between a BMW GS(A) and a Super T....
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2016, 11:45:31 am »
I test drove a new GS and new ST. Not the longest rides but enough to get some sort of feel.

I had counted the ST out entirely for several reasons originally, prior to riding it. (Horsepower, looks, etc)

After the test drive I was hooked on the ST. No question about it. I liked the feeling of the power delivery a lot more and how the dash was laid out.

Since getting it set up and farkled how I want I'm in love with the bike. Panniers, crash bars, and a beefy skid plate totally transform the look of the bike IMO.

Offline Ron Earp

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Re: Choosing between a BMW GS(A) and a Super T....
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2016, 12:13:25 pm »
Ha, good questions!

Yes, I feel the Yamaha is a bit "soulless" but my ride on the bike was great. Nice machine, well-engineered Japanese bike, and that has less character than the BMW. All subjective drivel I know, but that's my view point. And character isn't always a good thing....

Either bike would be used; 2011-2012 GS(A) or a 2014-2015 ST ES. The prices of these two ranges match up well from what I've seen. But you're correct, the ST ES would be under warranty and the BMW would not.

And yes, as stated in my opening, I'm concerned about BMW reliability. I've got a couple of friends who go in and out of BMW ownership and yes, one of them has had some issues with his GS. And early one of which problems are well-documented, but nonetheless there.

And last, I'm not brand label conscious. I do like riding machines that I click with in some way, but around where I ride if anything the ST would be unique and different. I hardly ever see them on the road and a farkled out do it all ST I think I could get used to.

There is a 15 ES for sale in NC that looks pretty attractive. I'm planning to give the fellow a call after lunch and talk to him about it.

Offline Andylaser

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Re: Choosing between a BMW GS(A) and a Super T....
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2016, 12:45:53 pm »
You mentioned commuting. I commute on mine every day of the year. The bike starts every time, including in sub zero temperatures.

I am not sure I would have that much confidence in the BMW from reading their forums.
Artificial Intelligence usually beats Real Stupidity

Offline eram310

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Re: Choosing between a BMW GS(A) and a Super T....
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2016, 01:09:12 pm »
The only thing I would change about the ES is the weight. That's only a concern when  parking(Just have to  think about it)  and when I tried to  load it on a trailer when I picked it up from the dealer by myself last year. Once you get going, not an issue.
My ideal bike would be an Africa Twin with 19 inch front and electronic suspension. Maybe it's coming. 94 usable HP is plenty fast in my book.

 

Offline Checkswrecks

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Re: Choosing between a BMW GS(A) and a Super T....
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2016, 01:26:33 pm »
Welcome aboard. The question has been asked numerous times, so it might be enlightening to do a search here. I am also a commuter and like others have moved from the Gen1 (2012-2013) to Gen2 (2014-present).


We generally find our membership to come out of three groups, one of which are ex-BMW owners, which should say something just by itself. I find the GS is more of a sport bike on back roads and not as good as the Tenere on muddy East coast dirt roads. One of our members made some shirts that the Tenere is The Worlds Biggest Dirt Bike. (Something like that - I always mess up the phrase.)

There've been numerous debates about the infrequent and lower cost maintenance of the Tenere versus easier access of the BMW. Bottom line on the Tenere side is that it's essentially a 2 cylinder car engine and driveline when it comes to robustness and reliability. As for reliability, the Tenere is the BMW recovery vehicle & I've been left walking by 2 GS bikes. There's a lot of joking on the ADV big thread about how much we poke & joke at each other simply because we don't have all the issues the BMW owners have. CANBUS, dealers, rear drives, leaking rear seals, PITA spline lubrication, specialized expensive parts, etc. btw - The years of BMW you mentioned are when they were having rear drive problems. Below is the retracting backup of an electronic key for a new GSA - This should not be hard high technology.



Not sure how committed you are to the idea of an ES with the usage you describe. For the price of the unknown used 5 year old BMW, you can buy a brand new left-over 2015 non-ES Tenere for $10,800. I wanted mine simple, knew I wouldn't constantly adjust the suspension, and will put enough miles on to eventually want a new shock, so the ES didn't appeal to me. People don't experiment with the stock suspension enough to realize that unless they are pretty heavy, the suspension is actually pretty good once you get it dialed in. And for the price of that new bike, you can upgrade the suspension to some of the best and STILL be under your target price. For ref:
http://www.cycletrader.com/search-results?type=Motorcycle%7C356953&radius=400&zip=20882&sort=price%3Aasc&modelkeyword=1&condition=N&page=1&make=Yamaha%7C2321194&model=super%20tenere%7C764934129&

Those are things to consider, but it really comes down to which one you like to ride. The Tenere has a flatter torque curve than the BMW and less top hp so it doesn't seem to have the horsepower kick. But turn the traction control off in Sport mode and it will play over-sized sport bike fairly well. With respect to test rides, realize that the Teneres are tight and not really broken in and smooth till about 5,000 miles.







Damascus, MD
XTZ1200, KTM 690R

Offline Checkswrecks

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Re: Choosing between a BMW GS(A) and a Super T....
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2016, 01:35:59 pm »
Three other thoughts before moving this to the Other Bikes sub-forum.


That 2015 will have cruise control and better wind management than the BMW. Once you have had the cruise you won't go back.


Our accessories are cheaper. You can add OEM heated grips to the Tenere for a bit over $200 and they'll be integrated into the existing dash display/controls. Good luck with that on the BMW.


The Tenere is easier to pick up when on it's side. It has a lower CG and you rock it up to the crash bars, then lift from there.
Damascus, MD
XTZ1200, KTM 690R

Offline La Knee

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Re: Choosing between a BMW GS(A) and a Super T....
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2016, 05:40:55 pm »
How about comparing two brand new machines!!

Offline Davesax36

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Re: Choosing between a BMW GS(A) and a Super T....
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2016, 05:49:30 pm »
I gotta say, a water cooled gsa really gets me going. I'm glad I bought the ST,though. Eventually with all the farkles I'm still into it for thousands less and worry free. I do sorta wish wheels were cheaper so I could do big road miles and swap for short weekend dirt exploration (because I have no skills off road).


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Offline EricV

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Re: Choosing between a BMW GS(A) and a Super T....
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2016, 06:25:47 pm »
@La Knee - New to new there is no comparison.  The wife is buying a '16 GSA Low/Low and factory farkled with bags and pimped by the dealership it's $29k.  Vs a '16 Super Tenere at $16k  Call it $19k with farkles and you're still talking $10,000 more for the BMW.

@Ron Earp - That you mentioned "soul" in a motorcycle forum thread tells me you need to change your outlook.  Go buy a Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro and have a blast.  The only issue is the chain and the price.

Or, wake up and smell the coffee.  It's a motorcycle.  It does nothing on it's own.  It's simply a tool to take you places.  Would you rather pay close to $2k for an aftermarket warranty and hope it doesn't run out before you move on?  Or $400 for the factory extended warranty, ( YES), (which for me they offered an additional two years, making it 6 years of coverage for ~$600 in the end.)? 

Pay $13k for a out of warranty BMW?  You'd be very foolish to do so.  There is a reason they get dumped right around 36k or 3 years.  Let the next sucker pay for the repairs.  The repairs have been more than the cost of the bike for the '11 GS in the garage.  Thank god for extended aftermarket warranties, though some of that was still out of our pocket due to the terms of the warranty.
Raven Super Tenere (108k)
Rumbux Adventure Products Importer
Eval Innovations Inc.

Offline Ron Earp

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Re: Choosing between a BMW GS(A) and a Super T....
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2016, 08:27:58 pm »
@Ron Earp - That you mentioned "soul" in a motorcycle forum thread tells me you need to change your outlook.  Go buy a Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro and have a blast.  The only issue is the chain and the price.

Or, wake up and smell the coffee.  It's a motorcycle.  It does nothing on it's own.  It's simply a tool to take you places.  Would you rather pay close to $2k for an aftermarket warranty and hope it doesn't run out before you move on?  Or $400 for the factory extended warranty, ( YES), (which for me they offered an additional two years, making it 6 years of coverage for ~$600 in the end.)? 

Hi Eric,

I'm just looking for other opinions and viewpoints. My best riding partner has a Ducati Multistrada and I've spent many a happy hour on it. But, I do have issues with the chain drive. The price isn't too bad when considering a few year old used machine, but I do not want a bike with a chain. I'm happier without that maintenance, and as you point out, the Ducati has an allure that is all its own.

Motorcycles are personal choices and I think if one were to simply compare stats and statistics with respect to cost, reliability, and performance, then we'd all be on the same machine - probably a Super T for the adventure market segment. Fortunately we don't do that and we all get to hit the road and see lots of different bikes out there.

I'm just trying to sort out if a Super T is for me and reading about how various folks have come to their decision is useful for me.

Thanks,
Ron


Offline EricV

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Re: Choosing between a BMW GS(A) and a Super T....
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2016, 08:32:54 pm »
I understand Ron.  The wife drinks the koolaid.  Problem is, I end up having to fix the junk she buys.  I'm a machinist by trade, worked turning wrenches for a dozen years, (cars), and quite frankly, the German stuff is some of the most poorly designed, poorly engineered stuff out there.  It is a feature rich bike that is fun to ride.  But it's not a great long term experience.  I have 100k on the Super Ten, my wife has just over 100k on the GS.  A lot more down time and a lot more cost in keeping the GS on the road.  That's not to say I haven't had issues with the Super Ten too.

You're specifying a budget point, consider that ownership is part of your budget too.  Time spent riding Vs time with the bike not running.
Raven Super Tenere (108k)
Rumbux Adventure Products Importer
Eval Innovations Inc.

Offline La Knee

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Re: Choosing between a BMW GS(A) and a Super T....
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2016, 06:46:50 am »
$29,000 DAAAAAM that's what I paid for a brand new 2011 RAV4 Limited GEEEZ!!

 

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