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Old 11-16-2012, 05:36 PM   #46
cycleman2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xdriver View Post
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.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:02 PM   #47
studad
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I've been a Harley/BMW flip flopper.

BMW XCountry, loved the power and weight. And the economy! Didn't like the prospect of a multi-stage oil change, weird shit that goes wrong with DS bikes when ridden in the woods and through rivers. Missed the KLR for simplicity.

Rubber mount carbed 883. Loved the SOUND through baffled drag pipes. Loved the feel of the controls and the solid shifter. Clunky shifts suit me. It just felt like a quality bike.

R1100S - holy shit, that boxer motor through open pipes! Smoooooooth and fast (enough). Felt right, solid mechanicals, great experience. Controls always felt cheap though.

Rubber mount FI 883. Everything I loved about the 04, but better economy, which was already good. Feels stronger too.

Road King. Tours like the BMW. Which is well. Luggage is a wash. BMW luggage opens and shit falls out. HD bags are a fucking project to open and close. Piss poor mileage (my jetta about matched it). Feels good. Agricultural almost, but comfortable. Maybe like a nice pickup? So far it's the winner. But maybe I could use a Setrao?
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Old 11-17-2012, 05:46 AM   #48
rudolf35
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Laugh No conversion needed

I could not get myself to convert. Each mark has it's own plus and negative. HD and BMW both are reliable, as long as their engines are stock, but each is a totally different animal. I use my mixed heard as needed: touring, crusing and retro. Why choose or get into a mark war? Just enjoy each mark for what they offer; besides that, it is fun going to the respective stealership with the other mark - it is fun to get a HD oil filter riding up on a airhead BMW.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:30 AM   #49
bvkamp
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I only have room in my garage (and time in my life) for one bike at a time. The last 10 years have looked like this for me:

2003 R1150 GS
2005 KTM 625 SXC
2006 HP2 Enduro
2007 Victory Vegas 8-Ball
2008 Triumph Scrambler
2011 Harley Softail Blackline

Yes, I change motorcycles more frequently than is fiscally responsible. I have enjoyed all of these for different reasons. Since this thread is about BMW/Harley, I will comment on that. The BMW bikes are great for travel and adventures on multiple surfaces. From a performance standpoint they do almost everything better than the Harley. But the Harley is a superbly built machine that is truly a pleasure to ride. The fit and finish is second to none. The classic design reminds me of motorcycles I admired from afar when I was a kid. I enjoy that nostalgia. Plus, being 6'6", I like the ergonomics better on a cruiser.

If I could have both, I would. However, with the present demands of a family schedule, I don't have time for the adventures that a BMW begs for. So I am presently happy commuting to work and taking short weekend jaunts on the Harley. I'm sure I'll own another BMW GS someday though. I have a dream to ride to South America.
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:57 AM   #50
blackSP
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I owned pretty much any type of bike you can think of and many brands, but never a Harley Davidson.
So as of January my KTM 690 Enduro R will have a buddy, a 2013 Sportster LX 1200 CA. All black.

I stopped with beemers after owning many over some 20 years as I decided I really don't want a one size fits all bike anymore. After the 1200GS and the HP2 Enduro I got me a KTM 690. Although the 690 is capable of doing both road and off road I pretty much only enjoy it in the mud. On the road it's too light and with knobbies it's really not a pretty ride. The HP2 I had was a great dual sport but too heavy off road, making me skip single tracks and other fun stuff.

Better get yourself 2 bikes (or whatever number suits you) that are build for a purpose and make you enjoy that space they sit in. I discovered over the years that the 'all purpose' bikes are also a bit boring when it comes down to it. OK, going really fast, comfortable and safe and all is great but I got fed up with that. The R1200GS(A) is really a great bike but I found it to be soulless after I switched to the HP2 Enduro... But I'm quite a moody person, always looking for the next best thing. My best...

The Harley is not fast, the brakes are truly sheit, the worst ones I ever encountered on any bike over 30 years.
I see some shocks and brakes upgrades ahead of me...

But the most important thing: the test ride gave me a big big smile! Just like the KTM did and still does!



Update:
This is my bike, in the flesh, in the wild so to say. Great, love it!


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Old 11-18-2012, 09:53 PM   #51
flemsmith
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I wanted a Harley....

...and I was into building almost more than riding, so I bought a basket case Ironhead sportster. That was stupid on a number of levels, and after building it (a couple of times), I bought an R1200Gs, which quickly became my real bike. Dependable, smoothe nimble, awesome bike compared to anything I'd had up til then. Next I also ended up with a 2002 Road King. It was a great sounding, great looking bike, not bad for travelling either, although it generated a lot of heat for the passenger, my wife, especially when caught in traffic. It wasn't very nimble, nor did it stop quickly, and I was actually glad to finally decide to get rid of it. Harleys are cool, but they don't feel as safe to me as my bimmer does.

roy
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:06 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flemsmith View Post
...and I was into building almost more than riding, so I bought a basket case Ironhead sportster. That was stupid on a number of levels, and after building it (a couple of times), I bought an R1200Gs, which quickly became my real bike. Dependable, smoothe nimble, awesome bike compared to anything I'd had up til then. Next I also ended up with a 2002 Road King. It was a great sounding, great looking bike, not bad for travelling either, although it generated a lot of heat for the passenger, my wife, especially when caught in traffic. It wasn't very nimble, nor did it stop quickly, and I was actually glad to finally decide to get rid of it. Harleys are cool, but they don't feel as safe to me as my bimmer does.

roy
My other ride is a hyper s with great, sensitive brakes. The Ultra actually stops pretty good, but the lever and pedal sure feel heavy to operate. I'm sure part of the problem is me. I'm used to using much less grip on previous sport bikes and bmw's.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:08 AM   #53
alii1959
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The '04 Road King that I have had somewhat iffy brakes to start with, or so it seemed. I tried a couple of simple fixes, one that really seemed to help: lash the brake lever to the grip overnight as tight as you can get it...and the response of the front brakes got much better. I will be pulling the calipers this week to clean the pistons and inspect the pads. I will put better pads next time...don't like the factory versions. In addition, I think better tires will make a huge difference. The stock dunrocks don't really grip for crap....turning or braking.

Further, I came off of a sportbike and was very surprised at how well the big girl can dance. Sure, she'll never be a rockette, but she can really shine in the twisties if you insist and aren't afraid to sharpen the floorboards.

All that said, even Road Kings aren't for everyone. Do a test ride. Find what you like. Then ride the crap out of it.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:11 AM   #54
FR700
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studad View Post
I've been a Harley/BMW flip flopper.

*snip*


Road King. Tours like the BMW. Which is well. Luggage is a wash. BMW luggage opens and shit falls out. HD bags are a fucking project to open and close. Piss poor mileage (my jetta about matched it). Feels good. Agricultural almost, but comfortable. Maybe like a nice pickup? So far it's the winner. But maybe I could use a Setrao?


I don't care who you are , that was fucking funny

Yeah they are a pain in the ass at first. It took me a few days to work out the easy way. Now I can open and close them sitting on the bike.

As for which brand , I've got one of each. They're different animals. Mileage is the same for both bikes ... surprised me too. 4 cylinder FI versus twin with a carb' , cam and pipe.

Pay your money , pick your poison.


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Old 02-12-2013, 08:35 AM   #55
Iggster OP
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Great posts! Thanks, everyone!

A little update...I have sold the F650GS and bought a 2012 R1200GS Rallye. I still have the Road King but it is for sale.

The Road King has been (and still is) a great bike. I've had 60,000 trouble-free miles. It's taken me to Alaska and back, around the USA twice and a lot other places in-between. I'll probably have another one someday. I still have a 1991 HD Softail to cruise around on, too...I haven't totally abandoned the Harley ship.

Thanks again for the input!
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:49 PM   #56
whitewater18
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For me, living in the mountains of Colorado, 2-3 bikes are needed. I have a 07 Road King for sight-seeing cruising. My wife loves her "queen" seat on it. When riding the RK, its about taking it easy and enjoying the scenery, people, and lifestyle.
For riding the many forest roads, two track roads, and easy single track, I switch to my 07 KTM 990 Adventure. My wife doesn't really care for touring on it. However I can get my fast riding fix on pavement..., and not really have to slow down much for the forest roads. Lots of fun!!
For technical single track and the need for a little flight time, I would get a lightweight dirt bike that can be plated. I used to have one and wore it out long ago. Maybe I'll get one again soon.....
And of course, living in mountains with 1/2 the year in winter with lots of white stuff. You gotta have a motorized toy with skis & a long track.

Each bike/snowmobile has its place for different types of riding.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:40 PM   #57
donutrider
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I went from an '09 HD Fat Bob to an '09 Ultra Classic (bumped to 103" w/cams) then to a '13 BMW K16GT.

My first b*tch is that our local dealers won't allow test rides. So I bought the Fat Bob straight off the floor. It was a nice handling bike but it wasn't for me, I sold it with 200 miles on the clock. I turned around and bought the Ultra Classic straight off the floor and luckily I wasn't as nearly disappointed. I loaded it up a few days later and took off for Montana and though it cruised very comfortably over the long haul (some 900 mile days) it was way too underpowered. I nearly had two head on collisions because it wouldn't get out of it's own way trying to pass with a slight headwind. After that I didn't try to pass unless I was going downhill and had a good run up.. I'm not kidding.

I sold the Ultra in '10 with 4000 miles (maybe 400 miles was local, the rest were from the trip) and a fresh punch to 103" and cams. It ran better but was still too slow and uninspiring for me.

BMW, every dealer I visited threw me the keys to whatever bike they had available for a demo. "Come back when you're ready".. I was able to ride an RT, K16GTL, K16GT.. I knew without a shadow of a doubt what I wanted when I left the dealership. I didn't llike to two colors available for the 16GT so I waited till fall of '12 for my new "13 Graphite (grey) K16GT to arrive.

I love motorcycles and that love makes me want to have another HD, but I soon remember and I'm able to walk away and remind myself of the Ducati dealer in Eugene Oregon that allowed me to demo an MS12 for the afternoon and I can tell you that I will be buying a Duck for my second bike..

I feel that these decisions fall on your area dealerships. If a dealer tells me I need to drive to another dealer across the state for a test ride that tells me where I'm not buying my next bike. BMW trips over themselves to get you on their bikes, as does Ducati..

HD sells a lifestyle, BMW and the other EU brands sell an experience.. IMO
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