Looking for Help From Afghanistan

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by usmcshepherd, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. usmcshepherd

    usmcshepherd Master Guns

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    Hello from the center of no-where; Helmand Province, Afghanistan!

    For all your die-hard adventure tour riders...this would be an incredible country to traverse if you could avoid the IEDs and getting shot (scenery is beautiful, remote and challenging).

    That said, I'm a US Marine, currently stationed here and am looking for some assistance on choosing my first dual-sport adventure bike. I've owned three Harley's and am done with them. Anyway, I want to get into a different style of riding and love the places you folks go on your adventure bikes. That said, I have three months left of a twelves month deployment and would like to either purchase a bike before I get home (so its waiting for me) or at least have my choices narrowed down so I can ride a couple and make my choice when I get home in March.

    That said, I've narrowed my choice down to the BMWR1200GSA, Yamaha Tenere and KTM 990 Adventure. I've read numerous reviews and watched endless videos, but haven't connected with a live source to ask the specific questions I am concerned with (or at least think I should be). I want to use this bike to commute to work during the week, and then be able to travel on (this could be a combination of interstate, backroads, and dirt). This will also be my first bike of its kind (if that matters). I'm also not a super young guy (41 yrs old) so I am not looking to try to be crazy with the bike on or off road. One of my biggest questions revolves around maintenance and accessibility to maintenance, which I would think the Tenere would have the edge. Anyway, I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

    Semper Fi
    USMCShepherd
    #1
  2. Wallowa

    Wallowa Long timer

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    First thanks for your service and I mean that. Next as you narrow down your choices and get advice from folks with real experience, feel free to PM me [I will include my email address if you do] for my first-person experience with my '07 GSA out here in Eastern Oregon/Idaho/Nevada. For reference I ride mostly if not always off road and at the tender age of 70 I am just hitting my stride ..... :D. I ride conservatively because I ride solo and in the boonies, so my bike is prep'd for getting me home.

    Take care and thanks again for standing at the gate.

    Phil
    #2
  3. Slippy Chips

    Slippy Chips Been here awhile

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    First, Thank you for your service! Know we are all proud of you for your ongoing service. You guys rock!

    Second, You will probably get a little bit more biased info on this thread. I have owned a Yamaha before and it was a great bike. As you know all bikes have pros and cons. I've had my BMW for a year and love it! I carry pictures of it around in my wallet when I can't ride it (right next to the pictures of my two 2 year olds). I am not a speed demon, nor am I a knarly adventurer dude, but the bike does whatever I ask of it and I always feel like there's much more it could handle. If I had to use it as a daily commuter I'd be perfectly comfortable with that.

    I am a mechanical idiot. Having said that even I am able to do most of the maintenance on my bike. Jim Von Baden has a DVD that helps, and I have some friends who feel pitty on me and are able to help with the rest. BMW's are not cheap, so being able to do your own maintenance is important (at least some of it).

    Best of luck!
    #3
  4. Izzy3

    Izzy3 Freak of Unnature

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    Semper Fi Devil Dog! Old Army geezer here. As a freakish sized rider the GSA is perfect for me. I've also done the Harley thing while deployed. While they are handy, they are not nearly as much fun as the GSA. What's more, most of the farkles actually are functional.

    The GSA handles superslab and secondaries just fine, the giant tank act much like a fairing. I've done some dirt roads on it and it doesn't particularly like loose sand, but it could just be my candy-cane riding style.

    I've got a great BMW dealer local to me, just south of Q-town, but wrenching them yourself is not too tough. The GSA is fun, carries lots of gear, can go almost twice as far on a tank of gas as my HD riding buddies, is much more fun to ride (handles well), and is a hell of a lot faster than the HD. :evil I know you said you won't get wild, but you will have to hooligan ride a little once you get used to it.

    That being said, all the bikes are good choices, and you can throw in the Triumph Tiger for consideration. A guy at work has one and it is a nice bike too. He loves it.

    Keep your head down and the dust out of your ears.:nod
    #4
  5. LaurelPerryOnLand

    LaurelPerryOnLand Long timer

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    Second..."thanks for your service".

    You may want to consider using the BMW Military Sales Program through which to purchase your bike.

    As I understand, you can get a US-import approved R1200GSA through them...ride it over there and be guaranteed to IMPORT it back into the US...without ANY import hassles...and continue to ride in the US!

    http://www.bmwmotorcycles.de/

    Click on Military Sales.

    Caveats:
    Do you qualify to participate in the BMW Military?
    Any Military/DOD member qualifies to use BMW Military Sales when:

    Permanently stationed in Germany (PCS)
    Deployed to Germany
    TDY/TAD (to Germany for just one day)

    Can you somehow swing the 3rd option?

    Otherwise, Kaiserslautern might be able to suggest another route for your particular situation.

    Good luck and 'welcome home'...albeit early.
    #5
  6. usmcshepherd

    usmcshepherd Master Guns

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    Thank you to everyone who responded so quickly. The GSA is certainly in the running and I'm sure will be one I ride when I get back. I know a little about the military sales, but I am not stationed in Germany nor going to be stopping there anytime soon. I also wasn't sure I wanted to get another brand new bike, as this is my first introduction to this I was leaning on trying to find a nice used bike. I'm certainly glad to hear that these are something I could work on. I am not a mech either, but given a little instruction I can turn a wrench or two. I'm glad to hear from other Harley riders that they find their GSAs equally or even more fun...that's encouraging. I am tall as well...I stack up around 6'4" so I certainly need something that I can ride and not look like I'm too big for. I also really like the idea of the huge gas tank and the extended range that gives me with the GSA model...I will probably be doing the majority of my riding on the slab, but want the option to be able to venture back down trails to be able to camp away from folks. Well thanks again and thanks for your support of our military forces.
    #6
  7. Gale B.T.

    Gale B.T. Long timer

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    This real ole jarhead to you now serving, cannot THANK you enough so be safe and we are here to help you any way we can.

    I have forwarded your original question to a much younger Marine doing an awesome trip. So I am sure he will offer his point of view.

    I have both , BMW RT for many roads and also KTM 640 ADV for all the other roads. Lots to consider before laying out great wads of $$ so pick all our brains as much as you wish.

    gale, Semper Fi

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=572583
    #7
  8. 2712

    2712 Been here awhile

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    ok now im curious... Service? what kind of service?:D
    #8
  9. Ride4Coffee

    Ride4Coffee Been here awhile

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    Currently on an R1200GS and loving every minute. It's got a fair share of farkles to add visibility and sustain long rides (1100+ on weekends). I can carry all of my gear in the side cases or mounted bags. Plus, when HomeCINC rides with me, she's very comfortable.

    I'm sure you've googled the BMW military sales programs and I can vouch that they're worth your time, having used it for cars before.

    Head down, sights forward. Even Bill Murray woke up from Groundhog Day. If you redeploy to MD, first round's on me.
    #9
  10. Mr Head

    Mr Head PowerPoint ADV

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    Personally I'd pick the 990 KTM. Having ridden my 1150 for a while I'm over the odd sized wheels and over-priced bits. I like the power of the 1200's, but the seats are garbage for offroad work. for me anyway.

    Plus I just like the sound of the v-twin better. And that 21" front makes it look like I know what I'm doing.

    If I can afford to do it, I plan on making the switch when it comes time to replace my 1150. Then I'll probably be looking more for a single than the 990. But, that 990 calls me.
    #10
  11. biometrics

    biometrics Been here awhile

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    God Bless you, and all those serving with you... :clap:clap:clap

    Merry Christmas!

    --From a Crusty old retired U.S. Army Sergeant...
    #11
  12. chopperdoc60

    chopperdoc60 Adventurer

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    Thanks for your service my brother. I had the (dis) pleasure of a tour in Jalalabad and a tour to Kandahar. There were some fantastic roads in the mountains and I would love to take my bike back there one day and ride between Bagram and the Khyber pass then up towards Feyezabad through the Konar and Kamdesh valleys, that would be awesome!

    If we could get the a**holes to stop blowing everything up, The Stan would be an awesome adventure rider haven. They could host a great tourist trade, if they wanted to.

    I am partial to my BMW, but I don't think you could go wrong with any of your choices.

    Keep your head down! Come to Germany, and the bier is on me! Just don't come to Landshtul!
    #12
  13. Wallowa

    Wallowa Long timer

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    Email sent with some of my musings about my '07GSA.
    #13
  14. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

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    Consider a standard GS too. They're plenty big and a shitload lighter. GSAs are mainly for posers. The "I'm going to Alaska! Umm ... next year. Maybe" crowd.
    #14
  15. def

    def Ginger th wonder dog

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    Shep,

    Will you do your own maintenance? Do you have a favorite?

    Let us know.

    Thanks for all you do to keep us free.

    def

    USN Retired
    #15
  16. Mr Head

    Mr Head PowerPoint ADV

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    Hey! I'll have you know I've been to Starbucks in several states.:lol3

    #16
  17. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

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    AND you lived to tell the tale, apparently. Kudos to you, sir. :freaky

    Hey OP, what do you do over there? I flew AV-8s back in ... uhhh ... in the previous millenium.
    #17
  18. Dan-M

    Dan-M Long timer

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    * thanks for your service *

    Now about the bike. Between the GS(A) and the KTM, it depends on the riding you intend to do. While both are very capable all around bikes, The BMW is more comfortable and better over long distances on the road. The KTM is a better dirt bike.

    Edit: The GS is very easy to maintain. As other's have said give the regular GS a look. I was looking at both and went for the lighter weight of the GS. In my opinion the only practical advantage of the GSA is the extended range unless you are really going to do some serious off road bashing.
    #18
  19. bigtodd

    bigtodd Hi, wanna ride?

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    THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

    BMW is a great machine in both the GS model and the GSA. These bikes just go and go and can take a beating. Super easy to fix and maintain and parts are easy to come by. Huge aftermarket of products as well.

    I ride mine every day as a comuter 300 miles a week and it is super comfy. Couple of little mods and I am heading off into boonies for 3-4 days.

    Don't let comments like this sway you ... my GSA has done 2 LAB2V rides and enough single track to keep the thumper guys looking over their shoulder.
    #19
  20. DirtViking

    DirtViking SKOL!

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    You probably won't be dissappointed in any of the choices. That being said, I've never ridden a KTM or a Tenere.

    One thing to keep in mind is maintenance and if you have all 3 dealers in your immediate area. If a dealer servicing one of the bikes isn't close to you, then I would definitely take that into consideration. Having someone close by is just handy.

    In my estimation, the BMW has proven itself. They are the standard by which the other bikes are measured. The KTM has some gremlins from what I've seen and read. That being said, if you're into offroad riding, that might be the way to go. I don't know much about the Tenere's. To me, they're a bit new. I bought a newly designed Yamaha WR450F and wished I had waited a few years for them to fix a few issues with it.

    I went from a 2004 FLSTFI to a R1200GS. When I test rode the BMW for the first time I remember thinking to myself "where has this bike been my whole life????" It was quite a change, and I still love the bike. It's light years ahead of the harley I owned.

    I chose a GSA because of the gas tank size. It's remarkable to me that I can go the same distance on my GSA as my truck before a fill-up. It's one less thing to concern yourself with and I'm already programmed to start looking for gas after a certain amount of riding, either in my truck or on my bike.

    With stock tires, I've done some trail riding on the big GSA. It does surprisingly well. It feels very well balanced to me, but it is a big heavy bike. I did some sand also. I lost front wheel traction a few times in that environment.

    At 6'4", I would think the taller GSA would suit you. It's considered tall by some, but at 6' it doesn't bother me at all. The dirt bikes I have sit taller. Whenever I've ridden those for awhile and get back on the GS, it feels squat to me.

    I've run into quite a few guys that have transitioned from Harley to BMW. More than you probably imagine. I spoke to a local dealer and he guessed that most of his sales fell into that category.

    Whatevery you choose, it'll be a fun ride! Good luck!

    Jon
    #20