Testride BMW F650 and BMW R 1200 GS
WerbungPeople keep asking me, why I'm not riding a BMW since I'm German. So far my answer was always "because I'm not stupid". Here now a more detailed answer:
New 20.000 $ BMWs are the worst bikes to travel third world countrys with. Way to much electronics which nobody in Africa can repair. Rather get a more relyable bike from Japan. Any old Honda AfricaTwin, or Yamaha Tenere for just 1000 bugs can do 2 up as well (if one can ride the offroad parts along the west coast 2 up is a different question. I would go with 2 Suzuki DRZ 400).
Allways use used bikes for adventure trips. Nobody cares in africa if you have the newest "coolest" model or not but the loss of value per mile and per scratch in the paint is wors on new bikes.
Testriding a BMW is allways a big financial risk. While I can have fun race through the forest with my 700 Euro Honda Transalp, a tiny little scratch in the paint of a 18.000 Euro bike costs already hundreds of Euros. Also my friends have had bad experience with them 1, 2.
More about the F650 I have already written here.
The big GS 1200 was very different. With a loud klong the first gear popped in. The hydraulic clutch was working fine but had a wondering point of pressure (which seem to last only 30.000 km).
If the brakes don't fail at all. Update: The new Honda Transalp 700 and the new CRF 1000 L Africa Twin, bike of the year 2016 also comes with ABS :)
Unfortunately there are many complaints of motorcycle magazines about this bike. The BMW R 1200 GS had managed, what as far as I know, no other bike had managed before: It failed the long term tests of professional motorcycle magazines with broken engines three times: 1, 2, 3. (Englisch translation here.) Accordingly bad are the results. "We had to change toe whole engine" MOTORRAD from 12/2014 and "Thank to his angels the rider is still alive after this inferno" MOTORRAD from 17/2014. Because this engine problems happen mostly at BMW bikes, the journalists even ask BMW why their quality is always worse then the quality of Japanese motorbikes.
The concurent products Triumph Tiger Explorer, Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Ténéré, Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Ténéré Worldcrosser and Honda Crosstourer finished the tests with no serious problems and the comment "Very good condition after 50.000 kilometers" in MOTORRAD from 22/2013 etc.
Also other motorcycles from Japan finish the 50.000 km test with no measurable wear out,
(klick) (klick) (klick) .
Zitat of the experts from MOTORRAD 21/2009: "The Japanese have always been ahead in terms of quality and workmanship, it has basically not changed." The Consumer Report says the same.
Nevertheless driving more then 50.000 km should be normal for a 18.000 Euro expensive bike made in Germany and not a special thing that needs to be positively mentioned. You can even ride this distance with a Chinese scooter for 600 Euro from a hardware store.
with more then 200.000 km like a Honda Africa Twin. Single accidents? So many? Nobody believes this anymore. The BMW R1200RT was so dangerous, that it even became illegal to be used on public roads.
Update: A new model of the GS has finally reached the marked: The liquid cooled BMW R 1200 GS LC. Unfortunately this bike seems to have the same problems. It failed the test of the MOTORRAD magazine 12/2014 after just driving 44.000 km Amazing? Not really. A few months later the first customers start to have problems too: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Because the Internet is full with descriptions like this, I can't recommend buying a BMW. Dont rely on a gesture of goodwill.
If an 7975,70 Euro + mechanic would not just cost -5 points like a broken clutch cable for 1,50 Euro, the BMW would ne be one of the best 100 motorbikes.
But like this the motorcycle that did not even reach the finish line got 68 out of 100 points and stays on place 18 in front of other bikes who finishes their test with no problems but did not get so many points for adjustable windshields or electric heated seats etc.
In my opinion, a bike who does not stand the little distance of just 50.000 km should be disqualified with 0 Points. What does an adjustable windshield helps you, when the bike does not even drive and nobody can repair it? In "Long way round" the BMW had to be flewn back home because of this reason.
The problem these days is that you wont reach the top 10 list of new vehicles, if you produce good quality. Therefore its better to sell bad quality. Then people have to replace their bikes more often and bay more new bikes. This is also called "Obsoleszens". Products have to fail just after their warranty has expired.
The legendary quality of the Honda engines must have been the main reason not to produce them anymore. A person like me, who bought a bike in 1990 and is still riding it with a smile 20 years later, will not replace it. My Transalp reached 200.000 km now still running well. Why should I buy a new one?
CharleyBoorman and Ewan McGregor only took the BMW in their film, because they got them for free.
These are just my own thoughts. No responsibility for wrong spelling or mistakes. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email ;)