Originally Posted by Xdriver
I'm on the fence with this very issue right now. I just took a deposit from a guy buying my RT because I just couldn't get comfortable on it. I liked the easy maintenance and performance, but comfort has been an issue. I don't have a lot of time for trips, so when I do go, I like to get some big mile days in. That's why the comfort thing is big for me. Even on a local day ride, 300 miles is normal. On a trip, 500 works for for me in a day.
I like the Harley's for a number of reasons, some of which parallel the BMW boxer such as easy maintenance and re sale value. What I've been looking at is the touring line. Test ridden the Kings and the Glides. All new frame models. I really enjoyed them. The King looks fantastic but the comfort and storage on on the eglide was great. I don't mind the weight. I'm a small guy, but I didn't think it was bad.
What has me on the fence is the performance I'm worried I'll miss, the potential for engine heat, and having never owned an HD I just don't know what to expect as far as reliability. At least on the BMW I know my fuel strip will go out, my fuel pump will quit, and my final drive will self destruct at some point.
I wouldn't worry too much about the reliability with either bike. As long as they are left stock, reliability shouldn't be an issue and both bikes have many examples of a hundred thousand miles + with no issues except normal maintenance. In North America there are way more HD dealers and that lack of dealers ( parts ) can be an issue if you have problems with your BMW. The routine maintenance on an HD is simpler & less than on the BMW.
Performance could be an issue if you are part of the go fast crowd, but a lot of performance issues really depend on the rider and his/her capabilities. The big HD touring bikes handle well if they are in capable hands you know what you are doing. Engine heat might be a concern if you just ride in the city and sit a lot in traffic. This area can be overblown by some as well. Test rides in your normal driving conditions will help you choose.
Having had both and currently riding an 08 Softail, I can put it this way. With the BMW I always tended to push the envelope and with the HD I drive a bit slower overall. Also being able to plant both my feet on the ground when the bike is loaded and 2up makes life a lot easier. Both makes are fun to ride but they are both aimed at their respective market place and in some areas don't always compare well to each other. The BMW's especially the GS models are kind of on their own and I'm not sure why you'd be comparing a GSA against a HD Electra Glide for example, it would be more appropriate to compare the HD touring bikes to the RT or LT offerings from BMW.
As some have suggested have one of each and that's really not a bad idea. Have fun choosing.