Your thoughts- BMW Vs. Japanese dual sport for long hauls?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by kaspilo, Nov 4, 2016.

  1. CJ3Flyer

    CJ3Flyer Long timer Supporter

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    Kaspilo, until my '12GSA I was a land of the rising sun guy. If money were no object I'd have a Harley or two, a BMW or 3 and 20, scratch that, 40 classic and current Japanese bikes. That is where I am coming from...

    Since delving into the BMW GS's I must admit I have become a skeptical convert. They have capability, character, charm and performance that is magic. Do parts that cost more than hedging your portfolio against Quantitative Easing? Yes. Service departments that can be somewhat unresponsive? Perhaps, thankfully my Marietta, GA shop seems to be great.

    To your original question: If comparing 650/700/800 class bikes I am not sure I would choose to long distance tour on a BMW vs a HondaSakiUkiAmaha with some mods. As for the big-bore machines the big GS's are amazing. From what I can tell they run in rarified air... Duc Multistrada, Africa Twin, big KTM, Tenere and the Beemer. Each has it's plusses and minuses but they are all are truly magic.

    As for taking a long trip on a big GS and all that could go with that, good and bad. Hell yes! We've all seen the stickers; "it's a Jeep thing", we all know a Harley die-hard... Maybe we don't quite understand as a folks who have a 4Runner and a V-Star but we know it's a real thing. The Boxer Beemer thing, especially the GS thing is like that...

    Think ski vacation with hottest redhead (with an Australian accent) imaginable. Yes, it's a pain in the arse but SO WORTH IT!!! So yes, I would choose to do a long-haul trip on a 1200 GS(A). Expensive but likely worth it...
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  2. interiorak

    interiorak Been here awhile

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    1981 r80 gs 30000 miles SF Calif to Inuvik via cassiar and mackenzie highway. Dawson, top of world back to fairbanks, two trips up haul road. Parks to Paxon and back to fairbanks three times. routine maintenace, lotsa week long fishing trips to secret hotspots. no problem except fried clutch (my problem)
    1995 1100 gs 80000 miles, 2-up Dalton, Richardson, Alaskan, Trans Canada, Western US highways, just routine maintance, no breakdowns or final drives issues . . . starting to 'surge', just pick the right traveling rpm . . . no problems
    2010 1200 rt 20000 mi 3 iron butts, every asphalt sweeper highway in alaska, bc and yukon territories . . . no issues or breakdowns. crappie cruise control.
    2014 r9t 10000+s mile local twisties, total engine failure ... replaced with 2015 r9t at no cost to me. brings biggest smiles when riding . . . wow !
    2014 Sertao 2000 miles 3 recalls/ and several maintenance challenges/idiosyncrocies, nice 50/50 ride ... noticable engine vibrations for a single. hope it gets better with time and miles.
    2007 and 2013 dr650s with farkles and bigger fuel tanks. Best for "visiting fly and ride friends" anytime, any weather, everywhere in alaska. Bulletproof, lightweight, reliable in all conditions, best traveling bikes and easy to intuitively maintain. At 71 year young ... the dr650 are the bikes i'll ride into the sunset ... if the sertao doesn't grow on me (8->}

    wife's 2014 yamaha xt250 "putter bike" may be the last to go ... when i'm finally blind, crippled and senile.
    #22
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  3. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Inactive User

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    These things are usually diary studies, meaning failures are counted as remembered, and there are often no controls for differing expectations vis a vis price, tendencies to modify the bike, or how it's used.

    I realize there's more to a bike than an engine, but I don't think the latter at least should worry you on your F7. Rotax motors may not have a lot of charisma, but they don't strand people very often. Ask any Canadian :)
    #23
  4. TheProphet

    TheProphet Retired; Living the Dream

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    Cherry picking at it's best. :fpalm
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  5. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    No scientific info from me, but if you look thru the big adv bike threads, you'll see that many owners come from BMW because of ownership costs and reliability concerns, and basically don't trust them.

    Don't hear to much about the other way around.

    Nice to have peace of mind in your machine as you leave the driveway.....
    #25
  6. jspringator

    jspringator Long timer

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    Consumer reports has 2 rating systems for vehicles. First, they buy a vehicle, test it, and rate it based on its performance, and compare that performance to other makes.

    Second, they collect reliability data from subscribers and rate reliability on a number of vehicle components.

    I have found CR data very reliable. Look at 2005 Lexus SC430 reliability, all red (best), and 2005 BMW 3 series reliability, lots of black. Both owners have like expectations. This result has been confirmed anecdotally by talking to owners of these cars. I wanted the BMW (I was an E36 owner), but bought the Lexus.

    I bought a 1986 Chevy Nova (predecessor to the Geo) based on the recommendation of Consumer Reports that is was the exact same vehicle as a Toyota Corolla (both made by NUMMI motors) with different badging for several thousand dollars less. I can't speak to whether their owners rated them differently, but I do now that CR was very steadfast in reporting that they were the same vehicle.
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  7. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    CR has a history of really bad reliability testing and phone polling. You cannot accurately judge reliability through phone polling or small sample testing. Their oil test was the joke of the industry. In my experience, they miss as many as they hit. Also, the organization has had an agenda (think Ralph Nader types who like to kill things they don't like).
    #27
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  8. der_saeufer

    der_saeufer ?איפה בירה

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    I had an '04 DL650 that I sold last year (for pennies) with 120k on it. My current ride is a '96 R1100GS.

    For money, there's simply no contest--the DL650 was cheaper to keep on the road. A little of that is the cost of 20-year-old plastic pieces breaking on the GS, but most of it is stuff that I'd be buying even if the GS were also an '04.

    I wouldn't say the BMW is less reliable, but it is definitely more maintenance-intensive. 6k valve checks that you actually have to do vs. 24k that most people blow off, 24k in-tank fuel filter vs. never, etc. The BMW also leaked more oil in the first month I owned it than the Suzuki did in 4 years :lol3

    That said, the lowest cost of any bike I've ever owned is my '03 XT225. Throw a quart of oil at it every couple thousand miles, clean the air filter and adjust the valves, and change the brake fluid every couple years. Nothing ever breaks unless you crash and a pair of tires is $100. Not a great bike for long trips, though.

    I'm willing to spend the extra $200 a year because I like the BMW better, but I recognize that if I were paying someone to do the work that number could easily be a grand.

    It's the same story with cars. The '96 Volvo I owned before my current '04 Toyota was no less likely to make it where I was going, but I certainly threw parts at it more often than I do with the Toyota "transportation appliance". The Volvo was way more fun to drive and much better in the snow, though.

    One advantage BMW definitely has is parts availability. I can get a random part for an old bike in a couple days, and I can even get parts specific to European-market bikes if I'm patient. Yamaha and Suzuki parts often have to be ordered, even when it's a common part. And good luck getting parts for a bike not sold on the local market. The difference is way less pronounced between BMW and Japanese cars. I suspect it's BMW treating bikes like transportation and HonKawaYamaZuki treating them like recreational vehicles--I've never had to wait a week for a common part on a Honda car.
    #28
  9. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Inactive User

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    In the first instance, their evaluations are subjective... cars rarely break down when they're being tested. And CR's bias about what a "good car" is might differ from the definition a BMW enthusiast would use. And in the second instance, this is again diary data. CR provides useful input to decision making, but it's not gospel.

    The very definition of anecdote. Happy people don't tend to post in technical forums. Honestly, I think a lot of these reputation issues are rooted in the distant past. I've been a Porsche and Land Rover owner, and mine were truly terrible vehicles, back when scale had a direct effect on how well developed and built a product could be. But today, I really think that engineered products like motorcycles are far and away more similar than different, and all ridiculously reliable. As to ownership costs, my F7 costs nearly to the penny the same amount annually to service as my air cooled Scrambler does. It's just a non issue. If I was going to ride a bike to Ushuaia or some damn thing, I would be much more inclined to compare dealer networks and parts availability than some abstract quality score.
    #29
  10. jspringator

    jspringator Long timer

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    I have subscribed to CR for a number of years. As far as I have seen, they do not conduct phone polling. I gat a membership survey every year to rate the reliability of products that I own. I have never been phone polled, nor have I ever heard of phone polling.
    #30
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  11. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    How do you think they got their motorcycle reliability data? Manufacturers don't give them their data. You might want to look a little harder at how they arrive at their conclusions.
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  12. Nesquik

    Nesquik Long timer

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    Nearly every modern bike is overall reliable

    BMW doesn't compete with Japanese dual sports so I'm missing the point
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  13. jspringator

    jspringator Long timer

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    CU makes the point that owner satisfaction is quite different than reliability. Someone may be more satisfied with perceived superior performance of a produce despite an increased maintenance and failures. Of course, if reliability were so bad it would strand the owner on long rides, I don't imagine satisfaction would be that high.

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/...-reliability-and-owner-satisfaction/index.htm
    #33
  14. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Satisfaction is subjective and fraught with emotion. Reliability is objective but hard to accurately measure due to a variety of factors, not the least of which is access to objective data. Other factors influencing reliability reports include survey response size/rates/sample size, nature of the owners reporting, variations in use and care of an item/vehicle, differences in user expectations, completeness of reporting, etc. Equally important is the fact that CR subscribers will report things differently than non-subscribers, which greatly suggests that their subscriber samples are not automatically representative of the general population.
    #34
  15. FredBGG

    FredBGG Long timer

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    Denial, head buried in the sand etc etc.

    Plenty of fan boys dismiss consumer reports motorcycle survey because of owners pride or simply because they lucked out with a low reliability brand or where in the minority with problems with a high reliability brand.

    I have bikes (and had bikes) on opposite ends of the reliability scale. BMW and Yamaha. also KTM and Suzuki.

    While my experience matches the Consumer reports reliability (BMWs all had problems, KTM some, Suzuki None, Yamaha none. And I really rode the hell out of my Yamaha dirt bikes from freezing weather to high desert 100 F. +)

    On top of that I would add that BMW motorcycle dealers I've felt with are thieving pieces of buffalo manure.

    Dismissing the Consumer Reports reliability rating is just silly. It's the biggest survey, the people polled are members that pay for their membership and as such value the accuracy of the service provided, so they have no interest in screwing data. Milage is taken into account.

    Consumer reports is currently working on their new round of motorcycle reliability... it will be interesting to see what the results are.

    With all that said I think it's quite safe to say that modern bikes are quite reliable and bikers "brand passion" or the "what makes me look better BS" outweighs reliability for many.

    I'm not too concerned how reliable a crotch rocket is because when I ride it .... it's just about riding the bike and I'm near home.
    My other bikes are about going somewhere to do something other than riding the bike and the bike is just more fun for getting to the destination.... but the real fun is doing something else when I get there.

    For dirt bikes... well I ride up mountain goat trails and pushing the bike back up and down the mountains would be a pain.
    Solution... Yamaha, Suzuki and treat the bike with respect. No way am I taking a BMW into the real boondocks.

    One good thing about reliability is that if you want to buy a BMW for fun and games..... and you know how to wrench, you can get them dirt cheap (well relatively to their new price and provided the model is not in fashion).
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  16. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    BMW makes a dual sport? I thought they gave up on those.
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  17. jspringator

    jspringator Long timer

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    One point I thought was interesting is the correlation between scores for comfort and owner satisfaction. I don't really know what that means.
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  18. statsman

    statsman Long timer

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    At one time there were set statistical standards for ALL polls, be it for motorcycles or Presidential candidates.
    Poll results issued in the newspapers for example would have a paragraph of statistical parameters when they were published.
    When was the last time you saw that?
    So now we have a poll in the Sunday paper stating that Trump is ahead of Clinton for example.
    The size of the poll is 500 people, the area polled is only within 50 miles of the place where the paper is published.
    So yes, Trump is ahead of Clinton, but only in Moose Breath Montana.
    The paper doesn't print that part.
    #38
  19. shovelstrokeed

    shovelstrokeed Long timer

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    There are people who think a burnt out directional signal bulb is a catastrophic failure and whine about it in Consumer Reports. There are others that see a rod through the side of the block as an opportunity for an upgrade and don't bother reporting to anyone. The demographic for Consumer Reports attracts the former types.
    As motorcycles get more complex and require all sorts of whiz-bang gadgets to monitor performance or do trouble shooting, the poor average guy is left in a lurch if he does not have the resources to manage even simple repairs due to lack of information as to the source of the problem and proprietary parts that can only be diagnosed by "factory trained and equipped" mechanics.
    The simpler a motorcycle, or a car, is to maintain, the higher the consumer satisfaction will be.
    This brings us full circle to my first couple of sentences.
    #39
  20. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Inactive User

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    This made me not read the rest of your post. See how that works?
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