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View Full Version : Goldwing vs. BMW 1200GS


msfdude
03-17-2012, 09:46 PM
I recently had a "vehicle altercation", therefore am in the market to replace my '88 Goldwing. I was very close to making a decision between an '06 and '08 Wing, but was advised to look into the BMW. A guy I work with just traded in an '08 Wing for the 1200 GS and he claims the GS is a better long distance bike.

I really enjoyed my Wing, but is the BMW better for breakfast runs and 100-500 mile rides? (Did I mention I really enjoyed the Wing???) Also, is there a difference between the recent model 1200's ('05-'12)?

I'm looking for a comfortable ride with luggage capabilities and the potential for moderate twistys.

Thanks.

kurt
03-17-2012, 09:53 PM
Depends. I found the current Wings short on rider leg room and relatively cramped feeling. It just wasn't a good around town bike for me as it was heavy and cumbersome. I like the higher seating position, more relaxed ergonomics and MUCH lighter feel of the GS series. What you give up is low end torque, smoothness, cruise control, stereo/intercom and wind protection, which I found to be too good on the Wing.

Jchefboyardee
03-17-2012, 10:02 PM
Ride each and decide for yourself! I have a 2004 GL1800 and few $$ spent for upgrades (Traxxion) and all I can say, Bring it on! 90,000+ smiles and only a Alternator change.

Red Brown
03-17-2012, 10:35 PM
Hey Trev,

I am in complete agreement with Kurt. If you need ONE bike to do both local commuter work and long-distance riding you can't beat the GS1200. I prefer the 800/650 (twin) GS which offers an excellent compromise plus it is a good deal lighter than the 1200 GS. For me, the parallel twin engine found on the 800/650 GS seems a bit smoother than the GS1200 boxer style engine under 85 mph...above that speed the twin can get slightly buzzy.

Here is my bike a few days ago:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-PWb_dGYd36o/T2Vfy9jCrXI/AAAAAAAAAdA/T-4GwsVBL8s/s800/2012-03-12%252010.28.07.jpg

The GW is a great bike if you're main purpose is to ride heavy touring miles but for regular commuting it is too heavy. If you do get another GL1800 the Traxxion set-up for around $2K-$3K can transform the wing in terms of nimbleness in the twisties as good as many lighter sport-touring bikes like the ST1300 or C-14.

RB

TWTourist
03-17-2012, 10:39 PM
I've own both an '06 Wing and a '11 GS. For me the Wing was a better long distance bike due to the comfort, cc and wind protection. The GS was a better commuter due to seating position and weight. I now have a little of both in a RT. Comfort and cc of the Wing and light weight of the GS. All are good for your mileage need and in the twists. I believe the GS had the best luggage option.

YoDoc
03-18-2012, 12:15 AM
I went and rode BRP with a friend and his dad a few years ago, his dad on an 05 Wing, my friend on a Duc ST2. That wing kept up with everything except actual sportbikes.
Now, personally, I'm not a huge fan of wind protection that I can't remove. See my recent move out of a C10 and back onto a cruiser. Of course, that's just me, maybe. I figure, if I need more wind blocking, I can farkle the ever loving crud out of a bike that has little to none to begin with, but as far as I'm aware, it's relatively hard to increase the amount of wind getting to you on a big tour rig. Well, maybe Bakers Air Wings...

trainman
03-18-2012, 01:52 AM
I've had both, a 2005 wing and a 2007 1200GSA. When my wife and I rode the wing was a great bike for two up riding, comfort, and just fun riding together, but now that she doesn't ride anymore I find the 1200GSA a riders bike. It's a total different style of riding, where the wing you set inside the bike the GSA you set on top of the bike and riding becomes a sport. You set a top a bike that you feel that will go anywhere, both on and off road, plus the comfort of a bike that gives you that feeling you can conquer the world on this thing, well you can, you know. As far as cost of ownership, the wing is pretty must a trouble free bike and cost is very little, on the other side the BMW thinks that you need all these scheduled service visits to their dealership with high dollar service checks to keep the bike going. Well this is not true and if you have any mechanical skills at all you can do the work yourself at very little cost, but there is a little maintenance to the BMW that should be done. Your choice is going to be on your ridding style, either bike will put a smile on your face after a full days ride. I'm a BMW rider now and probably never go back to a wing, just because of the feel I get riding the BMW. Until you ride one you will never know, it might not be the bike for you, then again it just might be.

John

Hap Hazard
03-18-2012, 05:53 AM
I, too, have owned both and still have the GS. Much prefer the GS even on long distance rides. The Wing felt like driving VW with the doors off. BUT, if going touring with a passenger then the Wing wins big! Especially from the passenger's comfort standpoint.

Desert Skies
03-18-2012, 06:20 AM
I ride mostly 1-up and will throw a leg over my GS before my Wing. It simply fits me better.

Fort Bend Rider
03-18-2012, 09:25 AM
Comparing a Wing to a GS is like comparing an Apple to an Orange. They are two totally different beasts. Each bike can do the same thing as the other, just one can do some things better than the other.


There is really no ideal bike for all types of riding, it is just some are a little more multipurpose than others. Try to ride both, and see which one you like best.

R1150R
03-18-2012, 01:22 PM
I have a 2004 R1150RT. Purchased an 08 Wing about 2 years ago as my wife likes to tour.

Sold the Wing a month ago...the buffeting was bad. My wife liked it better than the RT but my eyeballs were getting rattled around in their sockets. The BMW is a smoother ride too in my opinion. We've toured on the BMW too and will continue. One up, can't beat the RT.

YMMV

YoDoc
03-18-2012, 01:42 PM
Ymmv indeed. Some folks call it buffeting, I call it wind... lol

kurt
03-18-2012, 02:21 PM
Ymmv indeed. Some folks call it buffeting, I call it wind... lol

Steady wind is no problem, having your head beaten back and forth from turbulence is just plain tiresome. I much prefer my helmet in a clean air stream. It is quieter as well.

Texas T
03-18-2012, 02:43 PM
A laminar lip mounted to the top edge of the stock Wing windshield has worked well for me as it helps to move the airflow up and over my helmet and still allow me to see over the top of the shield. In addition, when the wife is riding with me I mount the travel bag to the rack on top of the trunk. It acts like a windbreaker does in a convertible car with the shield behind the driver/passenger to disrupt the turbulence and greatly reduces the buffeting that she feels.

YoDoc
03-18-2012, 02:46 PM
Steady wind is no problem, having your head beaten back and forth from turbulence is just plain tiresome. I much prefer my helmet in a clean air stream. It is quieter as well.

I guess maybe I've just been lucky? IDK. I've never experienced anything like THAT.

trainman
03-18-2012, 03:40 PM
Most bikes will not give you "Buffeting" as we know as head banning, a lot of wind yes. One bike that has this problem is the Suzuki DL650, or the V-Strom with stock windshield, it will truly make you light headed from the buffeting that comes off the windshield of this bike. This is easily corrected by a different and taller windshield, or brackets that will change the angle of the stock windshield. There maybe other bike that have this same problem, but I have only had a V-Strom that I ever got this buffeting from, read the V-Strom forums and you will see what I'm talking about.

John

Red Brown
03-18-2012, 03:44 PM
Sold the Wing a month ago...the buffeting was bad.
YMMV

The GL1800 amazingly does have a buffeting problem. It is strange since it has so much fairing on the bike. A lot of wingers, will solve this by getting a really tall windscreen like the Tulsa brand (unless you get a laminar lip etc.). It works great on windy days except you can't look over the top and are forced always to look through the screen. If the windshield gets plastered with bugs or riding the wing during a deluge of heavy rain - it is not very fun having to look through the windscreen.

The GS650/800 has amazingly smooth air w/ a Madstad bracket/screen system. I can go all day and not feel fatigued. The BMW GS series has really excellent ergonomics almost "out of the box", something I have not experienced with other brands of bikes.

John...yea the wind buffeting on the V-Strom is hideous on a sustained ride into a headwind. That is why I sold mine. It was barely tolerable with the Madstad bracket and a large windscreen.

RB

YoDoc
03-18-2012, 04:13 PM
Huh. Learn sumptin new every day, yeah?

Desert Skies
03-18-2012, 05:09 PM
I run a modified Wind Bender on mine which cures a lot of buffeting issues. I bought the HP version and found the reflex bothered me looking through it and the plastic too soft. I cut down my stock which is coated and mounted it on the upper half.

Shameless picture post to illustrate my point... :mrgreen:

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v249/DesertSkies/Hill%20Country/WingHC_800.jpg

msfdude
03-18-2012, 07:19 PM
Thanks for all the replies. I agree it is comparing apples to oranges, that is why switching to a GS is such a change of thinking for me!

I used to own a couple of V-star's and had the buffeting issue. I put a huge windshield on one of them, which solved the problem however it was HUGE! My 1500 Wing had a short and X-tall windshield, so know exactly what the buffeting issue is about.

TWTourist
03-19-2012, 02:03 AM
Ymmv indeed. Some folks call it buffeting, I call it wind... lol

But their is a difference. Wind will keep you cool and try to blow you off the bike at funner speeds. Buffeting knocks your head around at any speed.

tsp
03-25-2012, 02:53 AM
Isn't a better comparison the GW to an RT? GW is touring... never for off road. The RT is touring and not for off road. The GS can do road and off road.

IMHO the RT is light enough for the short rides and in town use yet does awesome on the long hauls. My second choice was an R1200R.

And then there is the ST1300, FJR, and C14 to name a few sport tourers. I wanted the lighter RT with the funky boxer engine.

tsp
Blog: www.swriding.blogspot.com

swoody126
03-25-2012, 02:02 PM
imho, the subject falls back to WHICH ONE FITS THE RIDER?

they will both give you many smiles/mile

the GS is not for vertically challenged riders

if you can stand, flat footed, over the GS, then you have a dilemma

which one to get

i, sadly, found the GS's too tall for me, any more

my balance has diminished & since my legs only just barely reach the ground, i find myself on a WEE STROM, w/ a custom seat & a tall Suzuki brand windshield(no buffeting)

have done several 3-400 mile days w/o unusual discomfort and it works quite well around town & for short commutes

& did i say?? i am always 1 up, since my bride, of over 40 years, prefers the grandkids to riding, anymore...

like i said, above, IMHO

btw: i've had 3 WINGS, an RT & a GS ... & LOVED THEM ALL!!

shiny side up

DFW_Warrior
03-25-2012, 06:26 PM
Just an FYI, anyone that says a bike has buffeting really means that a bike has buffeting for them. I've ridden quite a few bikes, some of which are on the dreaded "bounce your head around" list, and none of them have really bothered me. I've always been told that the Strom is one of the worst bikes when it comes to this. I have over 90k miles on mine with the stock windscreen and I promise it is just fine..... for me.

So just because one person, or a group of people seem to have bad luck I would still try a bike out.

Now for your two choices, if it were me, I would go with the GS simply because I have too long of legs for the Goldwing. Like Kurt said, those things are pretty cramped in the legroom dept.

Red Brown
03-25-2012, 07:00 PM
I would go with the GS simply because I have too long of legs for the Goldwing. ...those things are pretty cramped in the legroom dept.

Naaahhh, with the many aftermarket foot peg (http://www.kuryakyn.com/Goldwing/Foot-Controls) variations, there are plenty of options for those that need to stretch their legs out. Plenty of tall folks who love the Wing once properly tweaked.

It is not called one of the greatest touring bike ever made for nothing....

;-)

RB

DFW_Warrior
03-25-2012, 07:20 PM
Forward controls don't fix the 22" seat height... I don't like my feet forward so for me ALL of the options aren't very helpful. I had forward controls on my cruiser way back when, but couldn't stand having to take all those bumps with nothing but my tail bone and spine. The Strom is worlds better, and the GS would be worlds better than a Wing.... for me.

Again, the key words are "for me". Heck my current Strom is lifted in the rear, has stiffer springs and therefore sits up higher, I have the tall touring seat on it, plus the beads. Overall it has +3" of seat height over a stock DL1000 which many complain is already too tall. One of the pros of being tall I guess...LOL

YoDoc
03-25-2012, 07:40 PM
Yeah, I could flat foot my concours and still stand up out of the saddle. I have forwards on this shadow I'm on now, but I don't feel stretched out at all. In fact I can still stand on the pegs, lol.

Desert Skies
03-25-2012, 08:10 PM
Naaahhh, with the many aftermarket foot peg (http://www.kuryakyn.com/Goldwing/Foot-Controls) variations, there are plenty of options for those that need to stretch their legs out. Plenty of tall folks who love the Wing once properly tweaked.

It is not called one of the greatest touring bike ever made for nothing....

;-)

RB

Disagree... I have Kurys on my wing and they are only worth a mile or two then it's feet back on the riders pegs. The wing's boxer six if like putting a keg between your feet. With your feet up like that, the weight of your legs is transferred to your butt. The GS, with my feet slightly behind me is way more comfortable... to me.

I've had my wing for 10 years and put 80K miles on it an still can't a setup that works for me on that bike.

BTW, The Kurry stuff is pure crap. The only chrome on my wing that is either peeling, cracking or checking is the bolt-ons with their name on it. All the Honda and the few pieces of Show Chrome I nave on the bike still looks new.

Fort Bend Rider
03-25-2012, 09:03 PM
Disagree... I have Kurys on my wing and they are only worth a mile or two then it's feet back on the riders pegs. The wing's boxer six if like putting a keg between your feet. With your feet up like that, the weight of your legs is transferred to your butt. The GS, with my feet slightly behind me is way more comfortable... to me.

I've had my wing for 10 years and put 80K miles on it an still can't a setup that works for me on that bike.

BTW, The Kurry stuff is pure crap. The only chrome on my wing that is either peeling, cracking or checking is the bolt-ons with their name on it. All the Honda and the few pieces of Show Chrome I nave on the bike still looks new.

Way back when, I went with some cheap highway pegs for my wing. I didn't want to spend the big money for the Kurry stuff, plus I really don't care for chrome.

I am opposite of you, I spend 90 percent of my riding time with my feet on the highway pegs. Now I do have a modified seat on the wing (Bike Solution), and Russell on my GS, but as far as comfort goes, I like the wing a bit better. As far as fun goes it is the GS all the way. Now before anyone mentions that my wing is a trike, I need to state it had 85,000 miles as a two wheel before I triked it. :)

Red Brown
03-25-2012, 09:41 PM
I've had my wing for 10 years and put 80K miles on it an still can't a setup that works for me on that bike.


Does it take 80,000 miles of riding to figure out that the ergonomics on a Wing or GL1800 are not compatible with your body type?

:-P

RB

Desert Skies
03-26-2012, 03:24 PM
^^^ Nope, the wing is my wife taxi. When I leave her at home, the Wing stays home and keeps her company.

I'll be on the GS. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v249/DesertSkies/smileys/VroomVroom.gif

PassTheGravy
04-11-2012, 01:42 PM
I owned an 1150GS and now own a 2005 Wing. I loved the GS, but I love my Wing more. The Wing is more comfortable for me, and feels like it was custom built for me. Plus, I've become spoiled to the conveniences such as electronic cruise control and the stereo with direct feed into my helmet. I have the Mick-O-Pegs on mine, which allow me to stretch out periodically. Helps a lot on long distance rides.

The Wing is heavy, but the COG is very low and the weight melts away at anything above parking lot speeds. The 1150GS was not only heavy, but was also very top heavy. It was comfortable, but not nearly so much as the Wing. I've ridden the 1200GS, but not enough to be able to compare it to the Wing.

I solved the buffeting issue on the Wing with a laminar lip.

Red Brown
10-03-2012, 09:51 AM
Depends. I found the current Wings short on rider leg room and relatively cramped feeling. It just wasn't a good around town bike for me as it was heavy and cumbersome. I like the higher seating position, more relaxed ergonomics and MUCH lighter feel of the GS series. What you give up is low end torque, smoothness, cruise control, stereo/intercom and wind protection, which I found to be too good on the Wing.

Hmmmm...Kurt, now that you own a 2012 Wing, I would be interested in your thoughts now.

:trust:

RB

Multisurface Rider
10-09-2012, 08:40 AM
Both are great bikes and are different altogether.

The GS you can ride the rough roads, (paved/gravel or even worse if desired) and the interstate and be comfortable.

The GW is a highway bike and will go down the rough paved roads but not like the GS.

The difference is the roads you want to ride.
GW = less roads to ride, super smooth bike and hard to beat.
GS = all roads to ride, smooth bike and hard to beat.

My 2 cents.

Oh yea, I see a '12 Explorer in your sig. Great bike, talk to us and tell about it.

Ride safe.

msfdude
10-13-2012, 11:33 PM
Yep, decided to go the Triumph Explorer route. Quite a bit different than where I started (was positive that I was replacing a Wing with a Wing). The Explorer has really been enjoyable. The upright seating suits me very well, then there is the cruise, tire pressure monitoring, etc. Very happy with my decision.