Long Distance Tourer: R1200R or Sportster 1200 Low

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by teachnsurf, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. teachnsurf

    teachnsurf Bonnie Adventurer

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    My Bonnie is great for touring but a really want a liter+ bike.

    German engineering is quite attractive but American Iron stirs the soul.

    Please help.
    #1
  2. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Aspiring advrider

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    R1200R for touring.....

    Sportster is about as far from a touring machine as one can get. One doesn't tour on those low twin shocks with a peanut tank.
    #2
  3. vnsfxr

    vnsfxr BornAgainDirtyRider

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    #3
  4. ka5ysy

    ka5ysy Doug

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    The quick answer is that either will make any trip you might want to take. The question is one of range and comfort.

    I absolutely love my R1200R, which is a 2007 version, and was one of the release day bikes. It is comfortable with an aftermarket seat, and the addition of some farkles: windscreen, throttlemeister, and I added the hand guards from a R1200GS which makes winter riding quite nice. The bike will cruise effortlessly at 80 mph while getting 45-50 mpg, for a usual tank range for me of 230-250 miles depending on speed and loading. The RR is the most underrated bike in the BMW fleet, and is essentially the R1200RT without all the plastic on it, and can use the identical luggage the RT uses.

    The RR is a capable canyon carver, and I have personal experience running with sport bikers, to their total amazement. This bike, in capable hands, can embarrass crotch rockets in the twisties.

    The Sporty is a nice bike too, but being low, cannot corner anywhere near the angles of the RR. It can be configured as a tourer, but I don't care for the much less comfortable suspension, lack of ABS brakes, etc. For blasting around town it is good, but I personally would not care to ride it 600 miles, simply because that is not its forte'.

    Go take a test ride on the R1200R and you will become a test ride victim like a whole lot of us!:lol3.

    Come over to the R1200R board and visit us. Ask your questions and see how happy we all are. Do a search on "Chitown" posts and see what he does with his. Hint: His RR thinks it is a GS !

    http://www.r1150r.org/board/viewforum.php?f=20

    My thread on the whole RR experience is here:

    http://www.dualsportridersoflouisiana.com/forums/showthread.php?2378-BMW-R1200R-report&highlight=r1200r
    #4
  5. GrumpyTrails

    GrumpyTrails Confused

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    These are radically different machines. I have a 2007 XL1200L and have used it for long-distance touring many times - but this is not so much by choice but because the XL1200L fit me better than anything else. And as a point of correction, the XL1200L has a 4.5-gallon tank. Range has not been a problem for me, even in NV.

    I can't comment on the R1200R, but you will need to spend $$$$ for suspension, luggage, etc. to turn the XL1200L into a touring bike, and no one would call that bike a "sport tourer." That said, the XL1200L is a very simple machine and HD has a huge dealer network.

    As the others have noted, a test ride should resolve the question right away.

    happy trails
    GT
    #5
  6. ka5ysy

    ka5ysy Doug

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    GrumpyTrails mentioned the cost of setting up for touring.

    This is a discussion topic on the R1200R group when discussing the RR vs purchase of a R1200RT. The RR is sold as a naked standard without any luggage, windscreen etc. I added all the stuff to mine over time, and ended up spending very close to the cost of a RT by the time the farkles were added to it. If you are genuinely interested in touring and the BMW bike, I would also suggest that you test ride the RT. It has superior weather protection, a much larger tank for long range, and is essentially the best sport tourer on the market IMHO. If I had thought about it I would probably have sprung for the RT in place of the RR. On the other hand, I love the RR because it is very easy to work on, and does not take any time to remove plastic to get to the guts of the machine. It is also the perfect tool for 90 percent of my riding just now.

    The RT ends up being about 80 pounds heavier than the RR because of the fairings and electric windscreen, and some folks think it to be a top-heavy machine. I have not found it to be so, and it is a pleasure to cruise on it, especially with the nice cruise control that is an available option. My wife prefers the RT in the comfort department too. From a very practical point of view, If you intend to do any long range touring, the RT is a better choice from the economic point of view simply because it is essentially a plug-and-play touring machine you can jump on and go without spending a lot of extra money to set it up.
    #6
  7. boxerboy81

    boxerboy81 Stay Horizontal

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    What about a R1200ST. Ugly, but owners seem to love 'em. A sort of compromise b/w the R and the RT maybe.

    The fairing does make a difference for touring...if that's what you want to do.
    #7
  8. spanker

    spanker I don't get this florida thing...

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    +1 on that. I have about 5k miles on my new RT and apart from the sucky stock mirrors, it is a marvelous sport tourer. It's japanense-smooth (something you'd never get in a Harley), great power (ditto), sophisticated suspension with the ESA (ditto) and has high-quality, leakproof luggage. In addition, when traveling alone, I strap a waterproof Seal Line duffle bag to the passenger's seat for even more storage. As far as the mirrors go, I opted for the accessory sport mirror package (they really should come with the bike for 240 bucks!) and can now see what the hell is going on behind me. Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the bike and with 45 yrs riding experience, I know what works and what doesn't. This bike works.

    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. scapegoat

    scapegoat Pushin forward back

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    Being Ive had both types bikes for one I think your comparo is like putting a old convertible Vette with no PS pr PB against a nice Benz cruise sedan. If HD stirs the soul nothing will replace that, can you do a cross country on one sure, upgrade tha tank to a 5 gallon like I did on the misses 883L. She just did 750 miles in 3 days thru Yosemite and the western Sierras on hers. If she could touch the ground on a big cruiser or tourbike type ride Im she could have made it in less time, but whats the point, it was a vacaton to get awy from home. The BMW has wind protection,quiet smooth power and gizmos for comfort. I see somebody listed bang for the buck as Pularis. I beg to differ, best under supported POS for the money from my experiances. Either BMW or HD are inexpensive, bit for the diff in coin with a HD you could set it up with a windsheild,bgs etc and have $$ left over. consider maint also, the HD is nothing in comparison to a BMW, No FD failures, flushing the ABS, picky picky picky. HD change the oil and go plus mass dealer support if needed. Personally If im in need of making miles on the tarmac I dont think Id even consider a windsheildless ride anymore, Guess Ive spoiled myself with my DXT and bagger.
    #9
  10. patiodadio

    patiodadio Motorcyclist

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    Don't forget the R1200R, lighter weight, side cases , windscreen etc. Sure the RT is a great touring bike but the R1200R might suit him better. Worth taking a look for sure.
    #10
  11. rhys

    rhys Long timer

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    Uuuuh, this is a trick question isn't it.... 'cause the answer is contained in the question, and it should be obvious.

    You get a Sportster Low because in a prior life you were heard to be yelling, "De plane, Boss... De plane!".... and for the ease of riding something in-town that's fun & easy.

    You get an R1200R because you like naked Roadsters that are fully capable. But the reason you look at the R1200R is because you're too cheap to consider the real deal, an R1200RT..... and then you buy system cases, a GPS, custom saddle, a top box, three different windshields before you settle on one that "works better than the others", and a new suspension because you tried to make a Long Distance Tourer out of a naked bike. Don't worry, that's what I did when I bought my R1150R in 2001.... I just shoulda bought an RT.
    #11
  12. concours

    concours WFO for 44 years

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    +1
    #12
  13. Outlander2188

    Outlander2188 Ready to plunder

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    If you do get the Sportster, get a 2004 or newer. You get fuel injection, bigger tank, and rubber-mounted engine.
    #13
  14. bobw

    bobw Harden the phuck up

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    You likely have a very short inseam if you list the "L" Sporty as your choice out of all the ones they offer. I'm not sure if the R using the low seat option can even come close to a standard, let alone HD L in that spec. Test ride as others have said, buy what fits your body and makes you happy to write the check. This will not be a close call choice :D between these two options.
    #14
  15. teachnsurf

    teachnsurf Bonnie Adventurer

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    I'm looking at naked liter+ bikes. The lineage of both bikes really appeal to me. I'm just wondering if, based on the previous experience of others, the Sportster is a reasonable consideration.
    #15
  16. concours

    concours WFO for 44 years

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    The bike will go that far... but can you be happy with the ergonomics? You've seen a few comments, only YOU can answer that. If you don't even know you have a lumbar region, this could work for you.:lol3
    #16
  17. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    I find cruisers, especially short ones flat painful to ride and would not tour on such a machine if at all avoidable (this from a guy who just solo'd vegas to reno with no training). You'd be better off with almost any other street legal motorcycle if your body works like mine. I've done 1k+ mile days on sport bikes with just a bit of stiffness, but a couple of hundred miles on a little cruiser and I'm hurting. Lousy suspension, feet forward and lots of wind means your spine gets hammered and you tip off the back unless you hold on tight.

    My favorite type of street touring machine is a naked sport bike, ideally the livelier the better. Good balance of fun and comfort for my tastes.
    #17
  18. jdgretz

    jdgretz Looking for new places

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    I actually enjoy riding Sportsters - but not the low. I fit well on a Sportster with mid controls and standard height seat. I do not like forward controls as I don't feel as in control as I do on a standard or my Norge. If I was going to do miles and miles on the Interstate, I'd consider a Sportster. They are certainly easy to get serviced if you have a problem while on the road - if the town has a McDonalds, they probably have two H-D mechanics and one dealership. Also, the standard height Sportster does somewhat better in the twisties, and with a little work on the suspension does better than OK. It will never be a sport-touring machine, but it is fun.

    Now, given my druthers, I'd take my Norge, or if it was going to be a lot of slab, I'd think seriously about a Victory Vision.

    jdg
    #18
  19. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    I toured all over the continent for three years on a then new Sportster with the larger accessory fuel tank, convertible windshield, rack, tank bag, etc. It CAN be done. I didn't have a single issue with it and the cost of maintenance was virtually non-existent. I never cared for the seat but must have just adapted because I never did anything about it. If one avoids the low models and forward controls, it's a pretty decent "standard" motorcycle with a nice riding position. They also bleed character. I've never had a grandfather come up and ask if he could sit his granddaughter on my motorcycle with any other bike.
    #19
  20. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

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    Fuel injection from 2007, onward.
    #20