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I have been looking at different bikes to replace mine with. Part of me would like a great sport-tourer, like an FJR or an ST1300, and another part would like to get an adventure bike, so l can explore some of the old mountain roads that are all over the place here once you get an hour out of the city. I had pretty much sold myself on a V-Strom if l went that direction, since it has the same motor as my SV that l love so much. But after reading up on them, the V-Strom 650 isn't anything like my SV on the open road, and the V-Strom 1000 has a host of problems. Little by little l find myself peeking at BMW's that l see on Craigslist.

I know next to nothing about them. Can anyone give me any insight? I heard that there were transmission problems on them in the early 2000's...is this true? If so, what years should be avoided?

I am looking for a good used bike, and my budget is likely in the $6000-$7000 range tops. Ideally l would love to find an Adventure bike that is exceptional on the highway as well. I want to be able to load up and go. Reliability is important. I'm kind of weird so looks aren't that important ;)
 

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Do some research on "final drive failure". I think it was mainly a problem from around 2002 to 2009, but I don't recall the exact years. I know at one time they were supposed to have a "lifetime fill", but that didn't work out so they added a drain plug. Then, I believe they added a vent to relieve excess pressure that could cause problems.

My wife has a 2011 R1200R which is very similar mechanically to the R1200GS adventure bike. She hasn't had any problems, but still has less than 10,000 miles.
 

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Swamp Rat Rider
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BMW is a good choice but as with any make be careful what you buy .. Most Beemer Riders I know are very loyal to the brand and don't part with them easy unless is giving them problems ..
 

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Aging & Worn
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The only first hand help I can offer, and it is admittedly slim, (perhaps I should change my username in here to "SlimToNone") is from an experience I had ON a Beemer.

An Engineering friend of mine at a former workplace, was also a rider. He had bought a BMW because he had "done his homework" (he said) and determined that, in his opinion, the BMW was "the best Engineered bike in the world!"

We made plans to take a ride one day, just the two of us. He on his Beemer and I on my VT500C.

I guess we did a mere 100 mile circuit that day, perhaps 150, and about half way thru the ride, we decided to stop and take a "smoke break."

During our break, he asked me if I would like to try the BMW. I laughed it off at first. Here I was, dressed like a member of the Hell's Angels, and he in his (what I call) Power Ranger outfit. I could just imagine us switching place!

After some coaxing, I agreed, and climbed onto what felt like a toy bike to me. Lots of plastic all over the place, and a sound when I started it, that sounded more like a mini bike than anything else. No "rumble."

We rode, we unusual pair, on our opposite bikes. We must've looked rather odd to those who saw us. I don't recall going all that far (a few miles perhaps) but I found the gears very loose (almost imperceptible) and I was a nervous wreck when I got off it.

There was something about that bike that scared me. Was it the speed potential (I didn't overdo it)? Was it the posture? Was it the sound?

I can't tell you that I thought the bike to be undependable, or underserving of the title of "best Engineered" bike around. It ran ok. For ME, the tale of the tape would be long term. How did it hold up under years of use? If it were prone to any particular issues, I wouldn't know unless I owned one.

Guess you'll just have to decide if you want it or not; if you can afford it or not, and then report back to us all after you've owned it for a while, and let us know if you felt it was worth it.

Weren't you the one who recently told me that the riding position of a "Rice Rocket" (as I call them) was giving you lots of shoulder, neck and other parts, pain? Sounded to ME like you were interested in venturing into the world of Touring bikes with a more "upright" sitting position. what happened to THAT course of thinking??????

"I rode a little over 200 miles to my parents' place a couple weeks ago. My butt hurt, my back hurt, my elbow hurt, and my foot fell asleep. More than anything, the handlebars are way up there, ad you have no choice, no options. I am currently working on my finances so l can get a better bike for the open road, probably either a sport-touring or adventure bike. Both have a standard design and are good for long rides, from what l have heard."


-Soupy
 

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American Legion Rider
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I think you would be fine with a beemer. As with any brand there are years to avoid. Those shouldn't be too hard to find in today's interweb world. Heck, I even took my K100LT on hundreds of miles or California logging and fire trail roads. And that was with street tires. Granted I did some turning around too but the fact it had a drive shaft I wasn't worried about a stick or rock causing a problem. Scheduled maintenance is key as usual though. BMW riders are extremely loyal to the brand. Me, I just ride what works. Brand means nothing to me. BMW's are generally on the tall side but you should be fine.
 

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.............BMW's are generally on the tall side.............
Really? the one "I" rode that day, seemed small to me. I'm 6 ft. (or at least I WAS, until a recent Doctor visit when they said I had SHRUNK two inches........which I don't believe, frankly!!), and I was able to be easily "flat footed" with it.

If I had to guess what model BMW it was that I rode that day, I'd at least pin the Model YEAR around 1990 or higher.

-soupy
 

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New or used soupy? A lot lower them. I was still 5'11" then and my feet were just barely flat to the ground and I mean barely with legs straight as can be. The GS series I had to one leg.
 

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First off I want to say that BMW seems to make a fine machine, many get a lot of miles on them. But my advice really has nothing to do with them.

Last fall I was on the search for a new bike. I knew the style, but not set on brand. Each time I would find a bike I liked I would search the net for "known issues". What I come to find is that EVERYTHING has some issue. Or at least that's what we can be lead to believe. The internet is a funny place, you can get information about anything, but it must be taken with a grain of salt. It seems like a really big place, but you will find that one or two spots can cause a lot of noise. One bad experience can be blown out of proportion just by the popularity of the site it happens to be posted on.

As an example, do a search on products you own yourself, even the bike you now ride. There will be issues...

I found my best information on owners group forums. People that actually owned the motorcycle I was interested in, armed with that and local availability I made my choice.

So far we love our choice, everything about it. But to be perfectly honest, one thing I missed with my "research" is that the bike we picked stopped production in 2009. I still can't believe I missed that! Had I known it, i am pretty sure I would not have bought it. So I am glad I missed it.

You are doing the right thing by reading all you can, I would find a Beemer forum or even the adventure bike forum, they love Beemers there. But I am a believer that you will learn 90% of everything you want to know with a test ride. I can put up with a lot of stuff, but I won't ride a bike I am not comfortable on for very long...

Happy searching, man its fun!
 

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I hope you are aware of some of the rules that apply to riding a BMW. First, you must wear racing style gear, head to foot, no matter what the temperature. Comfort takes a back seat to being smug about always being the safest dressed and equipped rider on the road. Second, you are never, ever, permitted to smile at other riders, or even at any people while stopped for gas or anything else. Waving at other riders is optional, but as you become more and more convinced of your elite status because you are riding a German engineered motorcycle, you are likely to look with disdain upon folks like me riding a big cruiser without a helmet, jacket, or sometimes gloves, smiling as the wind blows through my hair and across my t-shirt clad body, enjoying the ride and not taking myself too seriously!
 

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I hope you are aware of some of the rules that apply to riding a BMW. First, you must wear racing style gear, head to foot, no matter what the temperature. Comfort takes a back seat to being smug about always being the safest dressed and equipped rider on the road. Second, you are never, ever, permitted to smile at other riders, or even at any people while stopped for gas or anything else. Waving at other riders is optional, but as you become more and more convinced of your elite status because you are riding a German engineered motorcycle, you are likely to look with disdain upon folks like me riding a big cruiser without a helmet, jacket, or sometimes gloves, smiling as the wind blows through my hair and across my t-shirt clad body, enjoying the ride and not taking myself too seriously!
And I am pretty sure they check to make sure you use only Apple computers and that your socks are blue tooth compatible before they will sell you a new one. :biggrin:
 

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In all seriousness, as a shorter rider (5'7") I have found that no BMW models really work for me (I will not tippy-toe at a stop but insist on being able to flat-foot on the ground). I've demo ridden several BMW's and think they are really fine machines, although a bit of an acquired taste. Last year, before buying a new Triumph Thunderbird I was looking at full dress touring bikes and considered the top of the line BMW K1600. It was a bit high for me, the controls were a bit too far backward for my old legs, but most off putting was the $30,000 price tag! And on older Beemers I never liked the idea of having two turn signals, but I guess that was a hallmark of this brand of bike.
 

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In all seriousness, as a shorter rider (5'7") I have found that no BMW models really work for me (I will not tippy-toe at a stop but insist on being able to flat-foot on the ground). I've demo ridden several BMW's and think they are really fine machines, although a bit of an acquired taste. Last year, before buying a new Triumph Thunderbird I was looking at full dress touring bikes and considered the top of the line BMW K1600. It was a bit high for me, the controls were a bit too far backward for my old legs, but most off putting was the $30,000 price tag! And on older Beemers I never liked the idea of having two turn signals, but I guess that was a hallmark of this brand of bike.
Are you referring to a left/right separate switchs? It's been so long since I had mine that I can't remember if it had a left/right switch separately for signals. Harley's surely do.
 

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Even Hitler knew better than to buy a BMW:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCEQtwIwAA&url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaB40TLQE8M&ei=aWA2VY7lHouZoQTf3IC4Aw&usg=AFQjCNGf2OdxiFA29***2At91ji4wvsxAA&sig2=y4NSuqGpRXrzUWYtfIX3yg&bvm=bv.91071109,bs.1,d.b2w

Seriously, any brand of bike can have problems. I've owned 5 BMW motorcycles none gave me any problems other than an easily fixed final drive seal that weeped a little and a defective battery on another one.

Funny about the final drive seal because that has been my only problem on any of the JAP bikes I've owned, was a weeping final drive seal on a new 1979 Honda CX500.

Not bad for having 78 bikes/ scooters so far---and still looking to buy another soon:biggrin:

The best BMW I had was a 1999 R1100GS, with ABS and full GIVI's. This bike did everything well and wasn't subject to the Famous BMW final drive problems that affected the R1150 series on up.

Sam:coffeescreen:
 

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Some BMW's that I rode many years ago had a left and a right turn signal switch, rather than the combined switch found on Japanese bikes, and at least the more modern Triumphs as well. When you are accustomed to pushing the switch up to turn right, and find nothing happens because you needed to push the switch on the right handgrip, it can be disconcerting.
 

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Next thing you know I may have to give up my kick starter! Or start using pneumatic tires!
 

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Now see, I was just the opposite. I got on a Honda after years of Harley and said what with these cheap people that can't put a switch on the right and one on the left like all other bikes I'd had. Then I remember I had 2 other Honda's years ago but I couldn't remember if they even had turn signals.:)
 

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I was just kidding about kick starters and pneumatic tires. Every bike I've owned for the last 30+ years has had electric start, and I think pneumatic tires came in around 1912 or so (just a bit before my time). What I have seen in the years since I started riding is improvements in every aspect of the motorcycle, particularly the move from drum brakes to disc brakes, and from carbs to electronic fuel injection. New fangled things like gas gauges, turn signals, meaningful suspension systems, and almost vibration free engines are just fine with me.
 
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