BMW R1200GS Adv vs. KTM 990 Adv R

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by RZRob, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. RZRob

    RZRob Long timer

    Dec 18, 2008
    Anaheim Hills, CA
    Hi folks looking at making the change to one of these types of bikes. I like these two the most. I'm inclined to get the BMW, but worried it won't have enough "zip."

    I've got an Aprilia RSVR Factory, and an SXV, and these both have ridiculous zip. I've got an old K100 too (I know, irrelevant), and it's a slug. I've never ridden a fast BMW. I mean one that revs and handles. Can someone try to convince me? Also, can anyone compare it to the "R" KTM?

    I'm also curious where I can find a good listing of hop-ups and accessories - stock and aftermarket.

    Last thing, any notable changes over the last couple years?

    Thanks in advance guys

    RZ Rob
  2. GodSilla

    GodSilla I did that.

    Sep 21, 2006
    GodSowncountry Australia
    Dunno about the 1200 models, they have significantly more power and torque, but the older 1150 motor is a real tractor.

    Not sure where you are located, but my advice is try before you buy. While some similarities exist on paper, the two bikes you mention are worlds apart to ride.
    If you like comfort, sealed roads, and lotsa luggage, the GS. If you want to run loads of offroad, and not so slowly, the KTM.
    Either bike will still do what the other one does better, so it comes down to personal preferences and also where you mainly intend to use the bike. Personally, I have a KTM single because when the going gets rough, the bike works best, and it still does everything my 1150 GS does (much of it a lot better actually).

    Try them first. Looking at your recent bike history my bet is you'll go Orange.
  3. Yellow Iron

    Yellow Iron Long timer

    Feb 21, 2008
    Mountain Corners North Jersey
  4. RED CAT

    RED CAT Bumpy Backroader

    Jun 2, 2005
    Western Canada
    Its not about Zip, its about the ability to handle any road with ease and go anywhere. You want real power, stick with Sport Bikes and smooth roads. On the other note both the 990 Adv R and the GS1200 have more than enough power to cruise at high speed and keep up with most machines on all surfaces.
  5. kjclark7

    kjclark7 Long timer

    Jul 13, 2008
    when i first was looking at the gs adventure, i was wondering if 105 hp would be enough, especially coming off of my cbr1100xx with 140hp. but everytime i ride my gs, i come off with a big :D each and every time. the bike can just do everything. i am actually quicker through my local twisty road with the bmw than my cbr. the bike just handles effortlessly. i kinda wish i had gotten it sooner.
    i will have to say, i do miss the raw power of my cbr but the bmw makes up for it two fold in every other category!!! sorry i can't speak about the ktm. but from all the reading i've done. the ktm is more dirt oriented and the bmw is more street. both can do either but the ktm excels in dirt, gs on road. so you need to figure out what you'll be doing more of and get that bike.
    there's my .02 cents for ya.
  6. RZRob

    RZRob Long timer

    Dec 18, 2008
    Anaheim Hills, CA
    Wow, post 69 was impressive. Quite the professional production, but in general I am definitely concerned as I can't picture myself being able to get that behemoth thrown around. I guess I'm going to do a test ride.

    RZ Rob
  7. mlyamkaw

    mlyamkaw Drill Baby Drill

    Jul 17, 2004
    Sandpoint, ID
    KTM has more Zip. I've had both, and there are times I wish I still had the KTM, although I prefer the BMW almost everywhere.

    One place I notice a big difference is passing. You have to plan it out more on the BMW, wheras the KTM was just grab and go. But the BMW is way more enjoyable to put miles on, I put on in one year what I did with the KTM in 4...

    I would like to have both. :deal
  8. ghostrider1964

    ghostrider1964 Edumacated Red Neck

    Oct 2, 2007
    Heart of Texas
    One of my riding buddies has the KaTooM. It is faster in the straights than my 1150 GS but in the corners and on the dirtroads he ate my dust:lol3 I did have the advantage of knowing the roads. On my 1200, he would have been hard pressed to pass me:deal I hope to steal some saddle time from him to see if their ride has improved. No KTM dealer here for service on the LC8 motors. I put about 125 miles on the 990 before deciding the R1200GSA was my machine:deal NO REGRETS!
  9. Lunatik

    Lunatik Been here awhile

    May 28, 2007
    I've been really happy with the Gs/A ...
    But could I have it as my only bike? I don't think so ... I have the K1300s too ...
    But I ride the GS every day ... The K1300s makes me wanna ride like a Lunatik

    The GS/A Is fabulous indeed
  10. greeneggsnoham

    greeneggsnoham Perpetual N00b

    Mar 25, 2010
    The edge of his seat
    Once moving, the 2010 1200GS is light as a feather. As long as you're not 99lbs, you won't have trouble shifting it around. The main issue you'll have is that it's HIGH, which feels odd if you're used to sport bikes.

    I went on a 300 mile ride today with friends riding a Street Triple, a Yamaha naked bike and a Buell 1125R. Now, we're not hard core racers or anything. I don't think we ever got above 110mph. I had no problem at all keeping up in the corners. The BMW suspension and ABS makes it really easy to race into corners and brake hard late. Not that I'd recommend that of course.

    In the straights, they pulled away though. Not so hard that I couldn't catch up in the corners, but even pinned I watched them pull away. The 2010 is the first DOHC for the 1200GS, so it revs easier and gets more hp than even the 2009. 110hp and reving to 8.5k. But an F1 it ain't and never will be. Personally I'd be sad if it was, but that's me.

    If you're looking for 600/1000cc standard/naked/sport track speed, you will not get it from the GS, especially if you go for something older than 2010. If you are the kind of rider who finds himself getting impatient riding behind most other sport bike riders, or you like dragging a knee, stick to sports and super sports. The GS does not handle how you'd expect it to looking at it. It does not handle like a dirt bike, or a touring bike. With street tires, you can get a pretty decent lean. But it's a multipurpose bike, and as such, it can not compete with the specialized bikes in their areas.

    I've ridden 100+ft/lb torque cruisers, and 150hp sporties. The R1200GS is not any of them. It's no slouch, but it requires more RPM than the torquies to get going, and it never gets the same "HOLY SHYTE I NEED TO CHANGE MY UNDERWEAR AGAIN" of a sportie.

    I can't speak for the Katoom, but I hope that gives you some idea as to the 2010 R1200GS. Someone above said that you have to prepare more to pass with the GS. I don't know what year he's riding, but I find that depends on the speed you're going. On my GS, if I'm going 50-65mph, there's very little prep required. Twist. Go.
  11. rpilottx

    rpilottx Long timer

    Feb 16, 2004
    El Paso
    I put 40000 miles on a 950S and got bored. I wish I still had it. I put 14000 miles on an 07 GS last year. And I got an 08 GSA last month for an upcoming trip to Alaska (I wanted the extra fuel). They are all OUTSTANDING motorcycles. As has been said before and often, the KTM is better off pavement and the BMW is better on. If I am going into really nasty stuff, I will take a 650 thumper.

    My decision to trade the KTM had more to do with service or lack there of. We had an outstanding dealer in Las Cruces who closed his doors and the KTM does require more detailed service (valves and even oil changes are a PIA compared to a BMW). Now my closest BMW dealer is 260 miles but I am finding it pretty simple to work on for routine things like valves and fluid changes so I get over to Ironhorse or Sandia every 12000 miles vice 6000. Both the KTM and BMW have known issues so it is pay your money and makes your choice.

    I think it comes down to the type of riding you do as well as factoring in things like dealer support. The KTM motor is a bit more exciting compared to the tractor in the BMW but I do more highway touring so I will keep the GS for now. By the way, my longest day on my 950 was 770 miles so it is not a torture device for highway use either. My longest day on the BMW's is a bit less probably since I am a few years older and have more sense. If I ever get close to a good KTM dealer, I would get another 950/990 in a heartbeat.

    One thing no one mentions and it happened to a friend on his 950SM. The KTM uses tube type tires. He had a blowout at speed and was down before he knew what happened. My understanding is tubeless tires give you a bit of time to get things under control.

    Go ride the bikes you are thinking about. It all comes down to that.
  12. ultane

    ultane sqeezin the bag

    Feb 20, 2008
    The dry side of the blood brain barrier
    If you really need more 'zip'... and want to be on a BMW boxer..

    try the HP2 Sport.

    If you just want a shaft drive BMW, with a lot of zip, try the K1300s.. :huh

    and if the K bike doesn't fill your need for speed,

    and you don't mind giving up the shaft, try the S1000rr. :eek1

    The GS Adventure was never meant to be seriously complete with the speed demons. It's a Dual Sport, and a big one at that. So get used to riding on a two story tall 1200cc enduro with knobbies, and have some fun after the pavement stops. In Idaho, the crotch rockets may get to the end of the paved roads before Gretchen and I, but NONE of them have ever followed the big pig (I'm sorry Gretchen) and I beyond the pavement.. :clap

    I might be wrong, just ask my X...
  13. Elderberry

    Elderberry just 'bout all used up...

    Jun 25, 2008
    Up on the pegs...
    I faced the same decision last year. 990 adv or 1200 gs..??? Understand, I was already a KTM customer with 2 dirt bikes in my garage, along with an FJR. I looked at the 990 first and had decided that was the one I wanted. 'Cept the salesman was such a jerk I walked and bought the GS the next day. Best move I ever made. I love this bike and it has become my daily workhorse. In fact, I sold the FJR. It was a great bike but the only thing it could beat the GS at was straight line acceleration and top speed and don't even think about going off pavement with an FJR...!!!

    The GS feels like a big ol' dirt bike and you can just throw it into corners. Either bike can go off road and the KTM is more off road biased than the GS, but neither one is a dirt bike -- they are big and heavy. And incredibly few of either model spends more time off road than on, 'cept maybe in our dreams... :lol3

    If I could only have one motorcycle it would be a GS...
  14. Rick001

    Rick001 Never too old

    Sep 23, 2006
    Brisbane, Australia
    Don't know abourt the 1200 & 990, but i've ownd a 950 Adventure and now have an R1100gs. They both have lots of power. The 950 was "Formula 1" typ power ( get up an scream blue murder) where the R1100GS is more "Massey Ferguson" type power (pull a house off its stumps) ,. I'm no fast dirt rider, but I find the tractor much more manageabe when things are a little "loose" under foot. I suppose it all depends on what you want out of a bike.
  15. OConnor

    OConnor Bad juju

    May 22, 2004
    When I decided to replace my DL650 with a bigger ADV bike I had to be truthful with myself about the type of use the bike would get. I would love to have really needed the off-road prowess of the KTM but truth is most of my riding is on-road with a long trip now and again. For me the big Beemer just made more sense, and then a great deal came along. :ricky
  16. rattis

    rattis Long timer

    Apr 3, 2010
    East of the seas of Kattegat
    manners maketh man an corkt speling and syntax makes the dej:lol3
  17. Devil#1

    Devil#1 Temptation Abounds

    Sep 14, 2005
    Bay Area

    This dead horse has been beaten since 2003. The answer remains unchanged since 2005: HP2
  18. craigincali

    craigincali Just hanging around

    Apr 8, 2003
    A town called Hell
    +1 The HP2 is the best of both bikes. The great motor, lighter than the GS/GSA, etc,etc,etc....

    I was in the same boat. Read all the 990 engine threads and then find one to ride. Ride it in real world conditions. You will find your answer.
  19. nevermind

    nevermind Slower, then Molasses

    Jul 26, 2008
    Out back...
    My 2008 r1200gs is point and shoot. Emphasis on shoot. Quick, like a bullet, out of the barrel of a gun. It gets up to speed in an awfully big hurry when you want to, as long as that speed is below say, 91 mph. I've mellowed a tad, but I still like to reach the speed limit on every road I ride as fast as mechanically possible. The beemer has ZIP in spades!

    I've been on fast machines and quick machines, I've done 10,000 miles on the Aprilia 1000cc Rotax motor. I've raced an R6 and hit top speed on that machine. I would say the BMW boxer motor is smooth and kind of a lazy fast whereas the Aprilia was sneaky fast. Twist the loud stick on the Aprilia and the speedometer on that puppy would be passing 100mph before you knew it. Doing the same on the beemer yields a sanely quick response, with just enough of an edge to make sure stay alert and pay proper attention. You will NOT fall asleep as long as you keep the right wrist moving quickly, frequently.

    Agreed. Berry, berry much fun. Once you find your windscreen so the buffeting stops drumming on your helmet, mile after mile is easier than fishing. So easy, even a caveman could do it.
  20. pfb

    pfb Riding, not skiing.

    Oct 30, 2003
    Boulder|Denver|Winter Park
    Spent time and owned on lots of GS's and KTM's.

    Take a look at my sig and you can probably guess which one I'm going to recommend overall....:rofl

    • Serious off road: KTM
    • Moderate off road: KTM
    • Graded dirt road: Pick 'em
    • Paved long distance two up touring: BMW
    • Paved long distance one-up touring: Pick 'em
    • 1,000 mile butt burner: BMW
    • 200 miles of canyon twisties: KTM
    • Wheelie/hooligan/general misbehaving: KTM