Why do BMWs' cost so much to run??

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by Domromer, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. jdub

    jdub Dawg bytes reel gud

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    Had to chuckle at this as it brought back memories of an off-road ride through Big Bend Nat'l Park on my Strom. The engine bash plate more than paid for itself on that ride, ending up with several dents and scars and I lost count of the number of times the suspension bottomed at both ends. The bike came through it all just fine though, while I watched my buddy on his R1150GSA comparatively glide over the same stuff with no drama. Great and fun trip, and I'm looking forward to doing it again but on my GSA this time. With knobby tires.

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    Sorry for the little thread hijack..... :evil
    #41
  2. murfalert

    murfalert Adventurer

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    I've owned 2 Vstroms, 2 Tiger 955, Ulysses, and now I finally bought a 1150GSA. There's something different that I can't identify well. All the others were more comfortable than my other bikes that were more sport or sport touring, but yet the GSA just feels- better. I'll be darned if I can put into words why but it does. It corners amazing and handles rough stuff like it was flat. I think part of it is that BMW thumbed their nose at the 'needs' of short riders and made a bike for tall folk. Sure, the Tiger was that too, and its a great bike, but it doesn't handle like the GS and still has those darn shims to deal with for valve adjustments. A big factor for me is ease of maintenance.
    However, after working on bikes my whole life it does seem the BMW requires a re-education. But that's easily accomplished on here; it just takes a little time. Personally I don't want to be yanking cams every 6 months on any bike, I want to pull out my stool and a few tools and adjust valves in 15 minutes.
    I paid too much for my bike, double what a similar Vstrom or Tiger would have cost. But on each of those I was thinking how to make it better within a week. So far on the GS I can't think of a thing I'd change. And for a bike whore like me that's a major deal. Heck, for once I've finally quit even looking at other bikes- for the first time in 40 years. I'm hoping my bike is as reliable as it now seems, but if it isn't I'll bitch then fix it and still enjoy something that finally has the mysterious 'fit'.
    Murf
    #42
  3. Domromer

    Domromer Desert Rat

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    You've owned pretty much every bike that interests me. You mentioned bmw thumbing thier noses at shorter riders. The funny thing about that is out of all those bike you've owned the Vstrom has one of the highest seat heights but the least clearance and travel... Don't know how they worked that magic.
    #43
  4. Domromer

    Domromer Desert Rat

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    That there is my favorite kind of riding. Do you have a trip report for this ride?
    #44
  5. kaspilo

    kaspilo Adventurer

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    I have 3 BMW's.... r1100rt, 1200c and 650 funduro, I work ont theses bikes on a weekly basis, do maintenance at least every 1,000 miles. For sure they are nice, but something goes wrong after every long ride, the electronics in German made bilkes is very poor, very unreliable. To me BMW is just the name, but reliability goes with Japanese made bikes, not European or USA made.

    I'm planning to ride from the US to Cabo de Hornos, but I'm debating to ride any BMW, parts are expensive, very hard to find outside the USA, etc., etc.... First, it will be a chain driven bike, not shaft drive (scared of the thought of lossing the drive in the middle of nowhere). It will a lighter bike, not a heavy one like a 1200-1150 GS models. I'm thinking to sell the larger BMW's, keep the 650 and buy maybe a KLR or a DR650 model just for the trip.

    Just my thoughts...!
    #45
  6. Domromer

    Domromer Desert Rat

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    I started this thread to talk myself into a BMW. It's having the opposite effect.
    #46
  7. gsweave

    gsweave Yinz, blinkers are on, JACKWAD!

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    Just go buy a used 1150/1100. Parts for the piece of shit will be available for the next 40 years.:clap you will be out 5K fully optioned out, bags, lights, all kinds of non essental trinkets. Best $ for $ 5K spent.

    any shade tree hack can rebuild em:evil

    tires, hopefully will be your biggest expense, be sure to buy a tire machine to go with it.


    stop believing stuff on the internet:freaky I've had issues with my current 7 BM's but never an electrical one.
    #47
  8. jdub

    jdub Dawg bytes reel gud

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    No ride report per se, but here's a link to some more pics from the trip along with some captions.

    FWIW, my buddy's R1150GSA also has around 115k miles now and he just bought a new 2012 R1200GS Rallye to keep it company. We kind of like these bikes based upon our experiences.
    #48
  9. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    The only detractors from modern 1150 and 1200 GS models seem to be junk yard mechanics who long for the days of "they don't make 'em like that any more" refering to machines that require constant tinkering and only last 20k miles before needing some kind of major overhual...appearently thinking easy overhaul gives bragging rights over 100k+ trouble free miles.
    I, for one, am glad they don't make them like that any more! I have absolutely no interest in bikes that have been obsolete for a decade or more, even if you can rebuild them on the road side. I'm a gas and go kinda guy, and that's how I've treated my '07 GS for 5 1/2 years. I wouldn't own a bike that required a lot of fiddling.
    #49
  10. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    OP: questions like yours come up on this site frequently. My experience within my world of riding friends with many different makes of bikes is that my 1200GS is NOT unusually expensive or hard to maintain.

    I'll make my pitch for an '05-'07 1200GS. You should be able to find one that is WELL within your price range with cash left over for farkles or a service fund. My '05 (bought used in Sept 2009 at 10k, now over 36k) has been great. My total service costs have been as follows:
    - several oil changes: ~$200 (http://www.beemerboneyard.com/r1200hmaintkit.html)
    - some special tools:
    - ABS bleeder funnel $35 (http://www.beemerboneyard.com/abs3funnel.html)
    - oil filter wrench: $20 (http://www.beemerboneyard.com/kr1200ofwr.html)
    - spark plug puller: $25 (http://www.marcparnes.com/BMW_Plug_Tool.htm)
    - service DVD for step-by-step instructions: $25 (http://www.beemerboneyard.com/jvbdvd1200.html)
    - DO NOT BE AFRAID of the valve adjustment. Just watch the DVD and repeat.
    - I've done all my own service with typical garage tools.

    I've had two hardware issues with the bike:
    - clutch slave cylinder: replaced myself for $125
    - gear selector switch: fixed at dealer for $200

    I eat a front tire every 10,000 miles and a rear every 15,000. I don't think this is atypical for any bike.

    I know there are horror stories about $3000 servo units failing and $2000 final drive jobs - but mine are fine. I'm sticking to the maintenance schedule for fluid changes and hoping for the best. I do know one guy who had a final drive bearing failure that was fixed by our local dealer for under $400.

    Buy one and enjoy it.
    #50
  11. vintagerider

    vintagerider Long timer

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    Domromer, You would be doing yourself a great disservice if you shied away from GS based on any of the opinions expressed here.

    You added more to your specification such as the miles you intend to ride as the thread progressed. The pros and cons of your three GS choices pretty much apply to any vehicle purchase. Its your money, nobody can spend it for you.

    The easiest choice of all would seem to be trying a used 11xx because of the very low commitment and easy resale. Look/ride as many as you can. Inspect before you buy. Lots of pre-purchase advice threads here. Few if any of the repair issues are sudden death. My biggies are check for seal leakage, ease of shifting, absence of metal flake in the oils, bent rims, brakes, clutch and controls, highway test for acceleration and smoothness. After you've met a few owners you'll be able to tell what kind of use and maintenance the machine had. Risk of getting stuck is very low if you do your diligence.
    For friends that I have advised we always consider older well maintained because they have already fully depreciated. More than once I've said "buy the farkles for the asking price... you're getting the mc for free". Bring cash and don't waiver if all checks out.

    It doesn't seem that you have anything to loose by trying out the 11xx before proceeding to 1200 if that's what you want.



    D-m Marty! I agreed with your wisdom! Especially if riding many miles and why not benefit from the low interest rares? Summary of my opinion Don't risk $12k on a mc with no warranty. That's just me, pay $5-6k used max or just buy new. Newer is not always better i.e. don't buy a 2005 over a 2001 just because its newer. Buy on actual condition more than odometer. On that last point, well that is what newbies have the hardest time with because they are not familiar enough to judge quality.
    #51
  12. krellheat

    krellheat Milk Crate Challenged

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    Any bike gets expensive if one keeps buying farkles.
    #52
  13. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

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    Domromer,
    If you stop and read this whole thread over again, there are really only 2 dissentors here opposed to 4 pages of other folks encouraging you to, at the VERY least, go ride and or buy one.

    kaspilo {sp} has some personal sour grapes that are unsubstatiated and polar opposite to 40+ other posters. Vintagerider is not even saying NOT to buy a GS. He is just encouraging not to buy a near new one, but rather to guy a GS or GSA....just an older one.

    If you take kaspilo out of this thread {not that his opinions are invalid, they are what they are...HIS opinions} virtually EVERYONE is saying what the heck, we love ours, buy one.

    Which year, make and model is purely you choice. Buying one or not buying one is your choice.

    But posting this thread to as you say "talk myself INTO buying one" and then say it is having the opposite effect really says to me that you never WANTED one. Everyone except kaspilo is saying they love THEIR BMW, which ever model that is. Many are saying they have had many and loved them ALL. Virtually everyone is admitting that there is some maintanance cost and some have had repair issues, but virtually all are still saying the overall cost of ownership is still a value and well worth it on the FUN and performance per dollar chart......I do not see how this could be talking you OUT of one.

    One sour grape in a whole cluster of sweet and tasty grapes does not ruin the grape experience.

    Buy what you want, ride what you want....a GS is a GREAT choice to get what you want though.
    #53
  14. SR1

    SR1 Back in S. Korea

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    I'm curious how you make this economic model work for you. Would you mind explaining it with more numbers? I'm not setting you up to argue, I really just don't see the logic. Help me out.

    From the data I can get from your post, you've:

    Bought seven GS's over the course of roughly 14 years. They weren't all $20k each, but maybe I'll make this easier for myself by saying they were... So the first was $20k, and over three years with depreciation and mileage (you say 40k) you had to have sold for at least $3k less than you bought...I'd estimate $4k, but I'll give you the benefit of $3k. So, $3k*7 we are now at $21k you've paid in mileage and depreciation, plus the original $20k for the first bike, that's $41k.

    I admit I haven't ridden my 2006 for 14 years (duh). Nor 280k miles (40k each * 7 bikes), but I still don't get it. A FD (even at your $2k estimate), driveshaft, and clutch should only get you to $5k maximum. Far from the $20k for a new bike, or even the $10-15k for a used GS. Granted, I don't have a new bike every two years. I don't feel a need for that, either, but they are easier to sell if you ever need to.

    Also, I don't understand how financing is a compelling factor...you're still paying more for the bike than paying cash, how is that a good thing? That means over the last 14 years you've had $20k financed at a few percent, nearly all the time. Ok, maybe an average of $15k considering you'd be paying the loan down...

    Help me out with your logic here.

    #54
  15. BTL

    BTL No more snow!!

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    Domromer! I am doing a very similar thing..coming off of a super reliable M109R. 30,000 miles of pure bliss with all the required maintenance stuff any bike will need. If I took everything seriously on the M109R website I would never had the pleasure of owning such a great machine.

    Keep it simple, they're all just machines that turn our fancy. I do agree buying used you should do some homework but being a previous bike owner I'll assume your no rookie.

    I just bought sight unseen a Triple Black GSA with 640 some odd miles on her and cannot wait for winter to end.

    If you ever have been to a BMW demo day and had a GS or Adventure out for a blast then you will know why they are sought after so much.

    Good Luck.
    #55
  16. Gillus

    Gillus High Desert Rat

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    +1 :nod

    Ride one more than just around a block or two.
    #56
  17. lkchris

    lkchris Albuquerque

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    Ask a guy with a Porsche if his car costs more to maintain than his wife's Camry.

    His answer will be "so what?"
    #57
  18. Snarky

    Snarky Vodka Infused.

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    There's only two people who think that BMW's are expensive to run. Dealerships, and new or clueless folks. When I first got my GSA, I thought it was going to be a lot more difficult and expensive to keep up to date than my Versys (I didn't care, I didn't need to be convinced that it was the right bike for me). The opposite is true, the GSA have been even easier to deal with than the Versys, especially with it's center stand.

    Seriously. Every 12,000 miles or so past break in, swap out a gallon of you favorite correct weight and API rated engine oil made in the last 20 years, put in 180ml (or whatever it is now) of the correct GL rated gear oil in the final drive, pull the valve covers and stick some feeling gauges in as per JVBs instructions. (if they are out of spec [hint:they probably wont be], take it to the stealership) If you've been in dust, check the air filter, you don't even have to remove the entire top half of the motorcycle to do that, like a Versys.

    It's not difficult. There are other things you might want to check, just like any other bike: perhaps inspect fuel lines, wheel torque specifications, whatever. But overall, aside from occasionally making sure my bike isn't eating oil, there are generally no maintenance concerns I have with the GSA.
    #58
  19. Disco Dean

    Disco Dean Long timer

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    There are a lot of things I can get grumpy about owning a GS but the overall cost to run and maintain the thing are not the ones that get me.

    The things that I really don't like:
    - dealership fancy pamby latte car lots with nimrod psuedo bike guys running the shop
    - higher cost of parts
    - stupid high costs of shop tech

    The rest about owning the GS have been pretty good really - despite my complaint sometimes here.

    I have a 2006 GSAdv - with 110,000kms on it. I have gone through a full FD rebuild (minus big bearing) then a big bearing this summer. One rear disk - many sets of pads but not abnormally so - and one counter balance seal (known fixed problem) One center stand bolt. And, the bike really is infinitely easier to adjust the valves myself and do most all maintenance in my garage.

    The rest of my $$ pain has been spent getting farkles that I didn't have to buy.

    If I add up all the extra $$ above I have only added $2,000 maintenance, all in for a bike I have owned for 6 years and ride a lot. Thats only $27 per month. Now that doesn't include oil and such that any other person would spend on any other bike. I suspect that one would spend $2000 or more on clutch parts or chains and sprockets in that time.

    ...oh I did have to get a new set of grips as the oem ones wore out - that cost me $18.00

    And, the bike has never ever let me down while on the road - never didn't start in all the rain and riding and deserts and dropping it... ever. Never been stranded.

    As for riding - and I think the consensus here and the sales figures around the world attest - the bike really does ride like no other - not that others don't ride well - but the suspension combined with the dynamics of the engine and layout/center of gravity provide a ride that is really very hard to beat for riding fast twisties or gnarly off road - it cannot be beat for all around riding.

    D
    #59
  20. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    Oh wait, now there are three of us. :lol3


    I have been stranded ONE time in 32 years of riding by a bike that couldn't move under it's own power.

    The bike that did it to me? 2001 1150GS :deal


    The OP asked a good question and a BMW is a terrible bike for a guy concerned about ownership costs, under warranty they might be great, but when it's on your dime they are extremely expensive to own.

    As I was sitting on a snow bank in the dark at 7,000 feet awaiting rescue I asked myself what the fuck I had done to myself by buying this thing. :scratch Yeah, it's fun to ride and luckily I wrench for a living and repairs don't scare me, but come on...52,000 miles and the input shaft splines stripped and the big bearing in the final drive is junk? If I had to pay out of pocket for parts and repairs at a dealer I would have junked the whole bike. Luckily I can do it myself and saved what...$4,000 in repair costs?

    I would run from any thought of owning another used BMW, it's a pile of junk, but it's fun to ride and I can fix it myself, so I still have it. :D
    #60