My first BMW was for function. I was living in Korea and really wanted a HD NightRod. Having had driven in Seoul traffic with my car for a couple years I realized that I needed something skinnier with some clearance in case I had to get on the sidewalk in a hurry and with enough power to get out in front of the crowd at stoplights. (like anyone ever stopped for stoplights there!) It had to be nimble too, which is not what the HD was.
I tried the KTM but for the same price as the BMW they were lacking in features. I ended up with a F650GS with adjustable suspension, heated handgrips, a 12v power outlet, ABS brakes, AND a single coffee can sized piston to power me through traffic and rice patties. The adjustable suspension was AWESOME. With a few twists on the knob I could tighten up the rear to handle the twisties on NamSan or loosen it up for the pot hole riddled back roads and dirt.
When I moved back to the US I learned the hard way the 650 was not suited well to DC traffic. The strait up seating position made me into a huge sail and the thumper engine shook my eyeballs after commuting for an hour or so each way.
I guess I wanted a sports bike that didn't treat me like a 15th century torture device and still throw down respectable numbers. I tried the Gixxer 1000 and the Honda 1000RR AND the R1 but they were too flinchy. Not to mention the super aggressive seating position was killing my back and wrists after only a short 10 to 15 minute ride.
The BMW K1200s fit me perfectly. The 1200 is the perfect size for me (6'1" 235lbs) and puts out 176hp and 100+ ft/lb torque. 0-100 in about 4 sec and that is with only one shift. For a big bike it handles like a sports bike but is comfortable for longer commutes. The rear 190 tire takes me down to draggin boot angles but feels planted just cruising down the highway.
Plus, it is beautiful in a very understated way. No super flashy paint with race stripes at crazy angles and high contrast colors, just those yellow racing wheels with a matte silver finish. I ended up painting it gunmetal grey but I am pulling the panels back off this afternoon to prep her for a very unique finish I want to try out. Oh, I put 6,000 miles on her from Feb - Nov 2009.
Bang for the buck I'd say there isn't a better bike. . . . for me. Everybody has different tastes but I would suggest anyone head to a BMW dealer before making your purchase, they let you test drive whatever you want, just to see if there is a model for you. Especially if they have a leftover from the prior model year. That's what I did and got a HUGE discount.
MAN, I can't wait to ride again!