Are BMW bikes really the best at the moment?

Hank

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I test rode an 800 GS and loved it. Cost as much as two NCs.
 

Afan

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... I am slowly realizing that BMW are to touring and adventure bikes as Harley Davidson is to cruisers. It is an image... almost a cult. Sometimes they are a great choice, sometimes it not and much of the time you are buying into a name, or a club...
Perfect said! ;)
 

Beemerphile

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I've never owned a BMW... <snip> However, I am slowly realizing that BMW are to touring and adventure bikes as Harley Davidson is to cruisers. It is an image... almost a cult. Sometimes they are a great choice, sometimes it not and much of the time you are buying into a name, or a club.
Careful what you learn without any experience. I started riding BMW"s when I was 23 years old. I am 64 now. A couple (man and wife) that I met at the beginning remained friends the whole time. We started a local BMW club in Chattanooga. He died recently and his wife and I still communicate. They stopped riding 20 years ago. I have a circle of eight dear friends (down from 12 with attrition) that I met on BMW's. We meet twice a year in Johns Island, SC for a weekend of "over-indulgence". Half of them don't / can't ride any more. When I had some health issues a couple of years ago I got several "hope you get better" emails from NC "acquaintances", but one of the eight "buds" rode down from Indianapolis to check on me. I did the same for him five years earlier when he was dealing with cancer. When my son died, they covered me up. I could count on any of them right now for anything. If this is a "club" or a "cult", then it has been one of the most rewarding interpersonal experiences of my life. I am most grateful for the lifetime associations that have developed from it and I am glad there was no all-knowing sage on the internet to talk me out of it when I started young and stupid at 23 years old. By the way, I traded a 1975 Gold Wing for my first BMW because I thought the GW was too heavy and it lacked suspension travel and plushness.

My focus is on-road, so adventure bikes like an AT, or BMW GSA is not a direction I am interested in.
A GS ADV with Pilot Road tires is considered by many to be the best long-distance touring bike available. That, and its ability to handle the occasional unimproved road, are the essence of the high preference of this bike in LDR circles. My GS is a standard with an auxiliary tank, but it provides 400+ mile range, a luxury adjustable suspension, and ergonomics that fit my tall frame like nothing else on the market. Bonuses include light weight compared to the alternatives and easy maintenance.

But lately I am not sure about them. Not just because of the latest recall, but for all the reliability issues and sheer cost of ownership.
BMW has its warts. I would never buy a new latest-greatest BMW model. No water-cooled twins and no inline 6's. I would not ride them if I was limited to dealer service. I avoid BMW's inexcusable development warts by buying late-model used bikes at the end of a development line. I own the last model airhead, the last model brick K bike, and the last model air/oil cooled twin (the camhead). Reliability of all has been excellent. Never a failed final drive in 41 years and over 600,000 combined miles (but I keep a spare for each because it could happen). They are boxed to ship and my wife knows where they are in my shop. She could overnight one to me if needed one day. User maintenance is easy to do. I did have to buy a $400 GS-411 computer interface for my 2013 bike. Camhead valves are stupid easy to get to and to adjust. Easier than the NC. No recalls, and my 2 year old GS cost about the same as a new Africa Twin. I"ll probably own these three for many, many years.

For now, I continue to be good with the NC. It is a jack of all trades that works for me right now. A daily commuter, occasional long rides and tours, and easy to ride (this is only my 2nd year riding).
Seems like a good plan. The NC is a good bike and there ain't a damn thing wrong with being satisfied.
 

dduelin

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Loving, caring relationships are formed around motorcycles and in quilting circles and every communal activity in between.

It's not the brand of bike or the quilt that creates and sustains the bond. It's the spending time together, breaking of bread together, sharing our joys, and carrying another's heavy burden. To have real friends is a gift from our creator. Look higher than the brand of bike.
 

lue42

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Careful what you learn without any experience. ... If this is a "club" or a "cult", then it has been one of the most rewarding interpersonal experiences of my life
Please, no insult intended by the cult statement. I mentioned later in the comment about the Goldwings and the group/club aspect of owning one of them. Being part of a group and the bonds that builds is one of the most appealing parts of motorcycle ownership. When I commented about BMW and HD, I meant more of a cult feeling with the company or the brand, not with fellow owners, if you follow me. My statement wasn't meant to categorize or comment on their owners.

A GS ADV with Pilot Road tires is considered by many to be the best long-distance touring bike available...
Oh, I am dreaming again... I think my wife would actually kill me... I am sitting here calculating how much I could sell the NC for...
https://www.autotrader.ca/a/BMW/R1200GS+Adventure/OTTAWA/Ontario/19_10241250_

EDIT: Damn, just called for insurance quote. I hate living in Ontario. Insurance would be literally double. Cost prohibitive at this point.
 
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eastbayandy

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Every bike has its positives and negatives. I came to the NC700X after selling my BMW K75s. I currently also have a BMWR1100R ['98] In my experience ,the older BMWs are pretty rock solid and are good used buys. The brakes and suspension are light years better than the Honda . New, they are also 2x the price! They are great touring bikes. Honda made some choices to get to the 700's price point. Those choices work for me. I am hardly riding the BMW and have it for sale.
 
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Bug Dr.

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I love these threads. I don't think ANY minds have ever been changed one way or the other due to one of these type of threads. I ride what I ride because it moves me, it suits my needs or it has considerable interest to me at the time. I'm not loyal to any brand and I certainly won't defend issues that each brand has. With that said, I won't ignore issues based on a reputation of reliability (insert Hondas here) alone. The ONLY bike that has stranded me due to a mechanical issue was my Honda ST 1300. Does that make Honda a bad company? Of course not. In fact, my mechanical issue means little to anyone other than myself.....the one that was stranded. Does Hondas have their share of problems? YES. Do they have recalls? Yes. Do they get talked about at the same rate as other brands???? Doubt it due to their reputation of reliability. Is that fair? Probably not.

I left Honda because they don't have a bike that I want........none. Well maybe the CB1100 but would like it more if the US got the RS version. I find Hondas over weight and expensive for what you get. I'm still a little pissed that they abandoned the sport-touring segment and never updated the ST. Just about every new model they produce leaves me scratching my head wondering "why doesn't that have cruise, or abs or electronic suspension, etc.....) I think they could make great bikes but they don't really understand the US market. So nothing for me. Personally, I think Kawasaki and Yamaha are kicking Hondas *** in the US market with the bikes they have offered lately. You could never convince some of the persistent Honda fan boys out the of that though. Just my opinion of course.

If you haven't ridden a BMW and ask why are they so popular I think the solution is easy. Go ride one! See for yourself. Don't listen to a bunch of people on a forum and let them form your opinions for you, especially those that have never ridden or owned one themselves. These are the people that have a friend of a friend that had a BMW with a final drive issue. I'm on my second BMW and am having an absolute blast riding it. I think it is a wonderful bike and it puts a huuuuuuuge grin on my face when I twist the throttle. That is ALL I care about. I don't ride it for acceptance into some club (not sure what that would be anyway), I don't look down my nose at non-BMW riders (I own a Tenere too), I don't wear Klim gear (still an Aerostich fan), etc..... Shame, I must be a terrible BMW owner, I know. Some of the best people I've met have been riding motorcycles......period. It's not the brand, it's the person. I've met some wonderful people on this forum and have enjoyed riding with them at Hillbilly Hangout. Glad Greg has taken it over and keeping it alive.
My two rides:




Cheers,
Mike
 

ld_rider

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I think it is a wonderful bike and it puts a huuuuuuuge grin on my face when I twist the throttle. That is ALL I care about.

^^^^ A textbook example of why many BMW owners are also very satisifed BMW owners ^^^^^^
 

SleepyC

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If you are into the style of ADV bikes, BMW knows what's up. The 1200GSA is the meanest most bad *** looking ADV bike in the category. I can't afford a GPS mount for one but if money grew on trees I'd have one.
 

Doc True

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I've never heard of anyone complain about how a BMW operated. All of the complaints I've heard and experienced myself are about the poor build quality, and premature mechanical failures.
 

greenboy

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I've never heard of anyone complain about how a BMW operated.
I have but so what. Pretty much true of any bike. And so are many things said here about the rather inclusive topic: pretty much true of any bike and its circle of users and admirers and even zealots. So. this pretty much makes the word "best" -- as is usually the case in internet "what is the best ______" threads -- superfluous because what is best is not the same for all. Ferinstance, I'd rather have a KTM Adventure R if I was forced to pick a heavy 1000cc-and-up machine.
 

shapemaster

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I came close to buying the new Scrambler but then read where BMW has one of the highest costs of ownership and repair and recall and even my dealer said stay away from them, too much o repair. Wow!


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GregC

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Haters gonna hate. I think, like their cars, BMW probably has the most technologically advanced motorcycles out there. This will, of course, lead to higher maintence costs and some reliability problems compared to simpler machines. Just depends on what you want out of your bike (or car, or boat, or lawnmower).

I've had a Toyota van that was zero trouble and a Land Rover discovery that made me invent new forms of profanity. The Rover was much more fun to drive.


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StratTuner

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I can barely afford the NC... lately... not even that.
I'm sure BMW is a fine motorcycle... but it may as well be made of solid gold. I couldn't afford THAT either!
 

GregC

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Not at all - that's why there are a bajillion kinds of bikes.

I'm just saying folks like to bash certain bikes (HD & BMW come to mind quickly). Maybe it's mostly because they are very expensive. I just think it's hard to compare reliability of a"high tech" machine to a pretty standard machine. An Audi A6 is gonna see the shop more than a Honda Civic.

If I lived where the roads were flat I'd probably have a HD or an Indian cruiser. Since I have curvy roads I like the nc700. But I see an r1200rt in my future at some point.


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