Early thoughts R11s and comparisons (11GS, 12RT, 8GS)

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Kaze
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Early thoughts R11s and comparisons (11GS, 12RT, 8GS)

Postby Kaze » Sun May 27, 2012 8:39 am

I've had my R11s one week now, so thought I'd capture and share my early thoughts on owning and riding this beauty.

It's early Sunday morning, glorious day, sun's shining and not a cloud in the sky, stiff breeze blowing which we'll be glad of later. House is quiet, wife and kids still blowing out the z's, so I stick the kettle on and roll my newly acquired toy out of the shed just so I can gaze lovingly at it whilst taking on board my early caffeine fix (yes, I know, saddo.. guilty as charged :lol: ).. and it looks great!! :D

I've only had 4 rides on it so far, it would have been far more but work and other commitments did not allow. The first trip was mainly motorway miles bringing the bike home after first buying it. Despite being nearly 9 years old it's immaculate and had done less than 14k, it felt like a new bike. After riding an F800GS for the last 4 years the key differences were the riding position and the stiffness of the suspension, in particular the cornering felt odd and I realised then that I'm going to need to spend a little time relearning to ride a more sports orientated bike. I'd fitted the BM comfort seat to my GS, and whilst this was a massive improvement it was not the most comfortable over distance, especially on motorways, the buffeting and wind-noise combined with low gearing made it tedious, in comparison the R11s was great.

The way I feel about his bike reminds me of my R11GS, this was my first BM so before I bought it I read every review that I could get my hands on, but the line I remember most was .. 'you spend the first hour wondering why you bought the GS, then every hour after this wondering why you didn't buy it sooner.' Never a truer word said! After 4 years including a trip to Italy in '06 I found myself panging for a change, the bike was superb, it ate long miles in relative comfort yet still was an absolute hoot come the twisties. I remember with fondness on hitting the curving roads in the Alps the surprised look on my mates face when he admitted how hard he had to ride his TL1000R in order to keep up :D However, I found that in colder weather the icy wind was directed to my mid-section and on long rides would chill me beyond the point of discomfort. I also found myself desirous of something that looked and sounded err... less agricultural, well I've found it now :D . My R11s came fitted with carbon can's, not sure what make they are, they are loud but not overly so but they have a beautiful deep bauble that makes them sound gorgeous. The past owner assured me that they passed the MOT's without a problem but I suspect they must be close to the limit.

After the 11GS I spent 2 years with a 12 RT, most comfortable bike I've ever owned and superb weather protection but the defining moment for me deciding to sell it was on a tour down through France. Whilst the Rt handled great for such a large bike, I was tracking along some twist tarmac alongside the river Loire when a Ducati rider swept past.. I'll keep up with that thought me, then reality hit :shock: err no I won't then. To be fair to the RT it was well loaded with both top box & panniers but nevertheless it was clear that it wasn't anywhere as much fun as my old 11GS.

In 2008 I was tricked into a test ride by the dastardly BM dealer whilst my RT was in for a service :lol: ( I do like that about BM dealerships but they're not daft they must get loads of bike sales out of this tactic). What a hoot, loved it, especially on twisty B roads. Loved the revvy engine, reminded me a little of the crosser I had when I was younger and the handling was excellent. For twisty B roads IMO the 8GS really takes some beating, but as I said before, longer distance is definitely not the bike's forte. One of my favorite routes on the 8GS was Ribchester, over the top of Longridge, through the trough of Bowland then up to Kirby Lonsdale via Caton so I tried this yesterday evening on the R11s. The early part of the journey with a lot of dual carriageways and a bit of motorway the R is a vast improvement, however the twisty bumpy B roads were hard work, me on my GS would have left me on the R11s for dead. Occasionally I sometimes would tootle along through the scenic countryside on my GS and admire the views from a great vantage point from the upright with the more softly sprung suspension being very forgiving over bumps and potholes. Not so with the R11S, whilst the riding position is OK the hard suspension is very unforgiving in comparison and I found myself concentrating hard to avoid the worst of the bad road conditions with the consequences of the bumpy conditions being somewhat akin to a Turkish massage :lol:

However as the roads smoothed widened and twisted up to Kirby Lonsdale the R11s came into it's own, with every corner I grew in confidence and improved my technique. Stopped briefly at the usual spot Devils bridge to refresh (tip, if you're riding up that way pick somewhere else for a WC break, they've got portaloo's in place at the moment and you require a strong stomach to use them :shock: ). Well that was a good 2+ hours of riding and whilst courtesy of the bumpy section my right wrist was a little stiff, other than that I had no ill effects, I was expecting a little stiffness in my lower back but no, fine, very happy :) Chose a different route home, less bumpy and more sweeping bends, confidence growing now more with every corner. I often found myself accelerating hard, and at times to max throttle, I remember reading a criticism about this in one of the articles I read. I don't see this as a negative, in fact I like it. For me it is good to have a bike you can use across it's limits, try that on an R1 or a blade and I'd likely end up through a hedge or losing my license.

In conclusion then, I am absolutely loving the R11s. It's a bike I can engage with and grow as a rider. Yes I could ride a lot faster on newer Jap machinery but I simply wouldn't be having any where as much fun :D

I think I'll be keeping this one a very long time!! :D Will be out again this afternoon, not sure where yet but either NW England or N Wales... Can't wait!! :D

Now for some pic's (holding breath,hoping links work)

R1100GS, St Bernard Pass, Switzerland

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R1200RT

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F800GS

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My latest acquisition

Image
:D
Last edited by Kaze on Sun May 27, 2012 6:51 pm, edited 9 times in total.
Kaze

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Daveg2812
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Postby Daveg2812 » Sun May 27, 2012 3:24 pm

It seems you have to have an account to view the images, any chance you could copy them direct onto here?
This ain't Twitter you know!

2003 R1100S with some bits on.

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Postby ned1 » Sun May 27, 2012 5:14 pm

Yesterday R1100S 03, today K1300s sport
Ride like they are all out to kill you and you will live to ride another day............Ned 2008

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Kaze
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Postby Kaze » Sun May 27, 2012 6:54 pm

Oops, sorry folks :oops:

Now rectified, I've edited the original post with the photos added in.

Thanks Ned
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Postby Bender » Sun May 27, 2012 10:41 pm

Kaze wrote:Oops, sorry folks :oops:

Now rectified, I've edited the original post with the photos added in.

Thanks Ned
Nice collection of bikes there!
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Postby Gromit » Mon May 28, 2012 7:28 am

Nice account Kaze - thanks for sharing.

I've always loved that description of the GS - 'the first hour' etc etc. I had an 1150GS many moons ago (it was what I had before my first 11S) and loved it - the only downside was that it was really uncomfortable at higher speeds due to the shocking buffeting from the standard screen. Back then there was no real aftermarket stuff available - this was early 2000 - so I ended up getting rid as it was causing severe headaches on long (300+ mile) riding days.

Still maintain though that I've never ridden a bike quicker since, nor probably before I had the GS. Its capabilities on B-roads is legendary.

Now my biking requirements are somewhat different, I'd certainly entertain having another, but they're a bit pricey for a good clean one.

Come next year though, when the BB is sold, I'm thinking of searching out an older but clean 11S. Don't really need the Blackbird's top end oomph (although it is fun) and fancy something for pootling round the excellent local roads. The BB's a bit of a handful at times.

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Postby dave the german » Mon May 28, 2012 1:26 pm

Nice description and pics!. Just used my BCR for work the last few days and have absolutely loved it!! Similar sort of story about why I didn't use mine more last year!!! I have had a GS the last 2 times my bike has been serviced and while I really enjoyed the bike, as Gromit said, They are a tad expensive - I couldn't believe in the the local the price of a used GS with 7 or 8k was only about £1500 cheaper than new!!
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Postby Gromit » Mon May 28, 2012 1:37 pm

Just been onto Bike Trader looking up prices of good used 1150GS's - it's scary. Nothing that looks really decent (without insane mileage) for under £3.5k. Didn't even bother looking at 12GS's. :shock:

Others which seem to be hardening in value are 1100R's - these were cheap as chips a couple of years ago (I picked up an absolute honey of one for £2.2k) but now they're all well in excess of £3k which is crazy.

Interestingly, 1150R's a cheap - and a great bike, and really just a GS with shorter legs.

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Kaze
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Postby Kaze » Mon May 28, 2012 10:12 pm

Nice collection of bikes there!

Nice description and pics!

Thanks Bender/Dave, I've been fortunate with these.

Dave, Gromit, you're spot on about the GS's being expensive, even the ones with higher mileage. I did a lot of looking around after I sold the 800GS considering anything around the £2k - £3k (ish). Strange that before now I'd never even considered the R11s but there's been some great bargains about lately. I can only see the tidy ones going up in value.

I'd always fancied the K13R but right now I wouldn't swap the R11s for anything - good job really cos I couldn't afford one before I bought the R11s & I defo' can't now :lol:
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Postby dave1100s » Mon May 28, 2012 10:31 pm

Great read and great pics Kaze, thanks for posting. I loved my 11s just as you have described for the 5 years that I owned it, but then old age (well 47) and a crappy lower back from sitting too long in office chairs, started to be affected on long rides, so I started to look for an alternative...........that came along in a superb 03 plate 1150GS (ex Yogi Bear) which is absolutely fantastic and as Gromit says, quite some tool on the twisty stuff. However the GS is now in bits in the garage after busting the rear Ohlins last week in Fort William.......the ride home was interesting if not a little 'bouncy' :shock:
We don't stop playing because we get old.....we get old because we stop playing!

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Postby Kaze » Mon May 28, 2012 10:47 pm

Thanks Dave

I suspect at some time in the future I may be in a similar position, I kinda expected some lower back aches on the S but touch wood I've not had anything issues at all so far, bit surprised to be honest.

How did you manage to bust the Ohlin's, hope the fix isn't too harsh on your wallet
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Postby dave1100s » Tue May 29, 2012 9:47 am

Kaze wrote:How did you manage to bust the Ohlin's, hope the fix isn't too harsh on your wallet


Nowhere near as much as I thought it was going to be, KAIS in Bolton, approx £120.00 plus VAT :D Might as well put a new rear tyre on while the wheels off as that is shot too!

When it's all back together in a week or so, I'll get myself down to the Carousel and keep my eye out for a nice yellow/grey 11s :D
We don't stop playing because we get old.....we get old because we stop playing!

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Postby Kaze » Tue May 29, 2012 4:55 pm

I'll get myself down to the Carousel and keep my eye out for a nice yellow/grey 11s


Please do, though truth be told as it's on my doorstep it's often overlooked and I tend to stray further afield for my habitual coffee stops, Devils Bridge as often as not, via the scenic route of course :D
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Postby FLASH » Thu May 31, 2012 7:14 am

R1100GS ..... fastest machine in the (known) universe. They don't DO "pootle" Gromit

:-)
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Postby Gromit » Thu May 31, 2012 11:59 am

FLASH wrote:R1100GS ..... fastest machine in the (known) universe. They don't DO "pootle" Gromit

:-)


We had noticed - I also seem to remember blue 11RT's (N-reg'd ones in particular...those residentjust norf of the River) suffered some similar 'non-pootling' affliction too. :D


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