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RS/ S1000R head scratching

Discussion in 'R1200RS Versus The Competition' started by Ollybolly, May 2, 2016.

  1. Ollybolly

    Ollybolly New Member

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    Hi,

    Wonder if you could help me with a quandary I have on choosing a new bike. This could be a long post, so please bear with me.

    Here's the situation. I commute from outside London into the city almost every week day, all year round. This is a 40 mile trip each way: about 30 minutes on the motorway and then around 40 minutes city riding. I've been doing it for 18 months on a Triumph street triple. I chose it for this because I read it's a great bike: well built, great handling, light and nimble, good brakes. The triple engine- for its size- is ace too. I can only afford and have space for one bike, so it has to be capable of the bread and butter commute, as well as the occasional longer adventure/ twisty scratching I always aspire to doing more of.

    So, together we've braved the M25 and clogged up road arteries of inner and suburban London. I suppose we could carry on, but the arrangement's by no means perfect, and I'm lusting after an alternative bike.

    The reasons are, in approximate order of concern:

    - Wind/weather protection. Stupid of me to pick a naked bike to do such a long commute, right? My logic was that having such a great bike would make up for the discomfort. I'm young(ish) at 38, so I can deal with a bit of that at my age. Also, if simple logic dictated what bike to choose, we'd all be riding NC 700s, surely? But having just come out of my second winter, complete with inevitable English wind, rain and spray thrown at me through the cold, I'm hardly looking forward to the next one. Wouldn't a screen, a bit of fairing and heated grips be great?

    -Cleaning the chain. I really don't mind doing the rest of the bike, but the chain is a pain in the bum. I mean every weekend. My wife also resents the attention my chain gets during those precious hours in the weekend, which naturally come at my family's expense.

    - Oomph. Doing 75mph/ 120km/h at 6,500 rpm with accompanying triumph high-pitched whistle is beginning to get tedious. Would love some longer legs, together with more torque to boot, for those motorway sections to be less effort.

    So, having read lots on this forum and research elsewhere, the RS seems to be just the ticket. I went to my local dealer and tried to arrange a test ride. On that day the RS wasn't available, but they had the S1000r. It was never going to be a contender, but I had to experience what all the fuss was about, so I took it out.

    Good lord. Just an amazing, stonking bike in all departments. Thirsty, insanely fast and for my mortal abilities too much to handle. Never managed to turn the throttle wide open as ran out of road. But I handed back the keys to the dealer almost unable to stop smiling. It made me feel giddy, ontoxicated on whatever that thing is that we get from being on a bike. I had to have one, despite the knowledge that it addressed only one of my three concerns (and I acknowledge maybe #3 is moot due to relatively short legs- think 75mph came up at around 5,500 rpm). But after all, bikes are about passion, what stirs your soul, surely? That you look longingly at when you put them to bed, and give you a bit of a shiver when you walk away.

    Test rode RS a couple of months later with those siren voices still ringing in my ears. Beautiful day: the dealer allowed me to take it out for the whole morning so rode on a beautiful, twisty road down to the coast, and put it through its paces. Couldn't fault it, and that boxer engine is so easy to use: great punch instantly, but totally manageable. It didn't scare me (questioned later whether this was a good thing or not) and I was surprised at how easy to ride it - in the confidence-inspiring sense- it was, too, given the extra weight it carried. And I liked the feeling of being on a 'big' bike (I mean physically big: something reassuring about having all that mass around you, thinking ahead to managing strong cross-winds flinging weather at me), particularly those big cylinders in front of your legs.

    But going back to the dealer I wasn't in love with it. At least, not at first sight. A few questions niggle at me still as I save for my deposit (aiming to resolve all this and make purchase before next winter season):

    - If I'm going to throw all this money at it, and it become my sole motorcycle, do I need to love it? It didn't make me swoon like the S1000R, but if it's a long-term bike for primarily practical purposes, should it? Can it?
    - Boxer engine: first time I've used a modern one, with only other experience an 800cc bike from the mid-80s, I think. Unlike that engine, the WC 1200cc moto lives up to its reputation in terms of smoothness, linear power, low-down grunt, but I found it lacked the 'thrill' factor. Dealer said afterwards it's something you learn to love: would be interested to know if that is the case?
    - Dashboard: I know this has been moaned about countless times, but it still puzzles me how BMW decided that this was the best possible design- analogue and unreadable speedo, and digi tach. I've got 20/20 vision and still can't make out the speed at a glance. Is this an annoyance that you get used to and goes away, or- like a dripping tap- gets worse as time goes on?

    So, jury's still out, and I'd really appreciate your thoughts on any of the above. Especially those RS owners who had their doubts when they bought and now love it. And of course those that bought and harbour regrets (though assume few of those on this forum!)

    Ride safely, and best wishes, Olly
     
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  2. Aussie Import

    Aussie Import Well-Known Member

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    I loved the thrill of my 2 stroke Yamaha 350 "coming onto the pipe" (it was highly modified). Blah, Blah, (nothing) then "Whing" and off it would go. No room to ride it without the hand on the clutch and the toe on the lever. A really committed ride.
    First foray into big 4 strokes was the Yamaha XS 750E. I ruined its best feature, low-medium torque, by putting on a "3 into 1" and maybe getting more top end, but losing low end. It was rideable, but not as good in the real world as standard.
    I had a lovely FZR 600, but I was rowing the bike to work every day with the gear shift.
    The TRX, especially after the Staintunes were fitted, had lovely torque. The R1100S had about 30% more and I think the RS feels like it has about 20% more again and is a flatter torque curve to boot.
    It is torque that makes the bike such a great partner in the real world. That is the only reason I can see why HD can sell their bikes, or at least so many of their bikes.
    It may not thrill on a straight line squirt because it doesn't feel as fast, but it is, or if not, it is not far behind. It will thrill each time you twist the throttle looking for power and finding it is there.
    Your 675 is a lovely bike, and the RS is a lot larger and needs care and confidence to "filter" (now legal here in Victoria!!!). I commute on mine and love it for that task too.
     
  3. Lee

    Lee Well-Known Member

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    This part of your post is VERY important.
     
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  4. Grumpy Goat

    Grumpy Goat Well-Known Member Contributor

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    Olly - You raised many good points in your post, and in my reply I am only quoting the above because I think that is what touches on the most important points - some of which are inconsistent with one another. What I did not quote is where you said that you are 38 and that is a bit younger than the average demographic for this bike - at least on this forum. So I can see why you perhaps have a little bit more of an itch for perceived higher performance. :)

    However, you said that you are limited to one bike, and given that there is no such thing as the perfrect bike that will maximize all the variables at any given time for any given mood that we might be in, you are indeed faced with a dilemma.

    One thing that you did not mention is the importance of fuel consumption to you and as a person with an 80 mile commute daily living in the UK I would think that is a concern. I would bet that the RS has the best balance of fuel economy and performance of all the bikes you have ridden and are considering.

    Yes, you need to love the sole bike you end up with or else you will be asking these same questions over and over. That said I think you need to really evaluate what you need and take your time with this decision.

    Last point - I recently went on a 1500 mile ride over 4 days and when i cam back I loved the RS even more than the day I bought it. It is safe to say that this bike grows on you, that's for sure, because you can never truly love a bike (or hate it) until you actually spend some time on it. On that trip I was faster than anything else around me, including the other 2 guys I was with, and cruising all day at 75 - 80 mph with the engine was just ticking over at probably 4000 rpm IIRC. I will take that any day over some high strung engine whining along at more than 1500 rpm higher for the same speed - one of the factors that killed off the S1000XR as an option when I was in the market.

    The RS is the best one-bike-only option I have come across. Good luck in resolving your dilemma.
     
  5. jlduck

    jlduck Well-Known Member

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    Ollybolly: youse is on the horns of a dilemmar....one the one hand you found a bike that tickles you gonads. And on the other, there is a semi sensible sport tourer that may or may not keep you interested. Now, a lot of posters on this forum are oldsters who want bar backs, more comfortable seats, lower footpegs, etc...you get my drift. Then there are old fux like me, that don't care that much about ultimate comfort and just want to ride an exceptional bike (that is very comfortable as is). Personally, judging from your posts, and what you want out of a bike, I think you'd be very happy with an RS for the everyday commute and weekend fun. But...you're not going to impress the Sunday Squids - they'll think you're on an old man's bike....
     
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  6. Andy Griffiths

    Andy Griffiths Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I bought my first boxer (1100RS) and was unsure. It didn't grab me like some other bikes had done first ride, but I decided to go for it as it did tick a lot of boxes that I wanted ( shaft drive, good panniers, good two up bike). I then fell in love with the boxer engine and have now had 5. The torque every day usefulness of the engine is just brilliant. It is a definitely more of a slow burner that you come to appreciate.
    I think the appeal of the insane S1000R will wear thin on a December morning when the chain needs adjusting and the spray has covered you in crap.
    Each to their own, ...
     
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  7. oscarguitar

    oscarguitar Well-Known Member

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    The RS was a slow burner for me as well. I'm still "testing" other bikes against it. I took a S1000RR and K1300S (both brilliant but mental) out this weekend and was so glad to be back on the RS for the ride home. The power is sufficient, the torque, from 2000 rpm is diesel like, it's comfy, quick and it is very, very sure footed. I commute about 75 miles each way and it's a good companion on a wet, cold, dark, shitty ride home.
    It also looks good in Lupin Blue, if you are not an octogenarian.
     
  8. Andy Griffiths

    Andy Griffiths Well-Known Member

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    or.. octogranistarian
     
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  9. Scorch

    Scorch Well-Known Member

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    Ollybolly, you sound like you're in the same place as I was over a year ago. I was on a slightly more 'all-rounder' type of bike, but nearly all of the bikes on my shortlist were nakeds. K1300R, S1000R and R nine T were all right up there, but the question of practicality was a constant niggle at the back of my mind.

    When the RS was announced, it immediately shot to the top of the shortlist, as it had all the features I was looking for, PLUS the wind and weather protection that would have been lacking on the other machines. So, I'd more or less made up my mind pending a test ride. In the meantime, like you, I tried out the R1200R to get a feel for what the RS would be like. I knew immediately that the new LC Boxer engine was going to be in my next bike, and since I have always disliked the front end of the R1200R, it was a no-brainer that that RS would stay on top of the shortlist. I placed my order, and then nervously waited until I was able to test ride one.
    I think, like you, I didn't get quite the same buzz from riding the RS, but that may have been coloured slightly by the horrible weather on the test ride, and being a bit concerned about potential buyers remorse. The traction control kicked in and saved me when going over a slippery manhole cover, and I decided that I'd stick with the RS if only for the added safety measures.

    I started commuting on it, and it was more work than my old F800ST (not a huge amount more, but enough to make me wonder if I'd made a mistake), and it was quite some time before I finally got out for a good, long run on the bike.
    And that's when I finally gelled with the bike. Getting it out on some fast, sweeping curves and twisties, sticking it in Dynamic mode and letting the engine roar, and using the fantastic torque and engine braking to keep off the brakes and stay smooth and fast while I effortlessly nailed every corner. I finally got back home with the enormous grin that had been missing at the start, and even my wife knew when I walked in the door that I'd made up my mind that I loved the bike. :)

    You do tend to forget that when you've been stuck in commuting mode for a while, but get out and about for a fun weekend ride, and you'll never be disappointed.

    In answer to one of your questions about the dashboard: You do get used to it. It doesn't bother me at all anymore, and I know exactly what speed I'm doing from a very quick glance. I also put it in the screen mode where you have the larger rev counter, as the dash looks less cluttered, but actually, with these boxer engines, I rarely need to see what my revs are doing, because I can feel and hear where I am.

    I honestly don't think you'll be disappointed if you decide to pull the pin. :)
     
  10. Grumpy Goat

    Grumpy Goat Well-Known Member Contributor

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    Oooohhhh ... somehow I suddenly feel old! :D

    The bit above is a great synopsis of the bike. I like the diesel-like comparison - not the first time I heard it - and I wonder if owning (and loving) my Golf TDI (lying emissions aside) has anything to do with it. The car, like the bike, is quick, handles great and lopes along on the highway all day at cruising speed of 80 or more. And gets great fuel economy. As for the bike, it maximizes all the variables even moreso than the Golf. :)
     
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  11. frequentflyer

    frequentflyer New Member

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  12. frequentflyer

    frequentflyer New Member

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    Hi Olybolly,
    I traded my S1000r for a 12RS just last week. My thoughts on the bikes if it helps.
    S1000r best handing bike I've ever ridden, fast as a very fast thing great exhaust noise and for me I really liked the styling especially the short exhaust. Always felt very safe with the rider aids easy to feel confident apart from the limited steering lock. Immense real world power, any overtake any where. It did encourage me to ride very quickly on the road all the time. Comfortable on Euro trips even the odd 400 mile day, reasonable fuel economy + 150 mile range considering the performance it's brilliant.

    R1200RS I've only done 200 miles but another great bike obviously very different. Why change? I like the 1200LC engine sort of long legged lope more relaxed but still very fast. Similar great handling, more comfortable + plus the wind protection and better fuel range (not really an issue for me TBH).
    I have 2 summer trips coming up and felt like I wanted a more (for me) suitable bike. End of the day I'd go with my heart, S1000r is king of the road but the RS runs it close- different strengths.
    Enjoy which ever one you get
     
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  13. paulb64

    paulb64 Member

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    Interesting quandry.... I'd bought an interim bike last summer (also a Triumph with a triple motor) to get some weather protection and practicality before I got round to test riding the RS.
    You should have ridden the same route with the same approach when you rode the RS as the S1000 maybe? I rode the RS as hard as I dared on some challenging roads for my trest drive and arrived back with the same grin/feeling as you describe on arriving back with the S1000 and immediately bought an RS. In common with what the other guys are saying, the more I ride her and the more I explore the capabilities of this bike, the more I like her.

    Did some riding across the Scottish Borders on Saturday with an old pal I haven't seen for years - we swapped bikes and I rode his 1200 multi-strada while he had a spin on the RS. He's not about to dash out and buy one, but was immediately impressed by the smooth and ready power delivery, the luxurious ride quality, the ease and familiarity of the controls and after only a relatively short ride said he could see how you could ride it all day anywhere - more accessible/usable than the multi-strada by comparison.

    I love the blend of power, practicality and for what it is, relatively sporty riding position and feel.

    If I were you I'd take another long hard look at your criteria and another test ride - I can recommend the dealers in Carlisle for their can do attitude and access to some of the best roads in the country!
     
  14. Ollybolly

    Ollybolly New Member

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    Wise words. You are right about fuel economy. Which would clearly rule out the S1000. Not sure whether it's purely the engine's consumption, or the way it makes you ride it.

    Regarding age: not sure about this. Noted average age of bikers in the BMW dealer considerably older than me, and it has crossed my mind that owning a boxer was something I intended to do later in life. That said, this bike just sort of makes sense for what I need a bike for right now. So not about to cut my nose off to spite my face.
     
  15. Ollybolly

    Ollybolly New Member

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    Thanks. I'm definitely going to have another test ride. Whilst I agree on those roads up around Cumbria, don't think I can make it up to Carlisle from all the way down in Kent!

    But you're right about doing the same route. Will try like with like next time, although there's no doubt the bikes are two totally different characters as bikes. It's which one I feel I want to live with, long-term, which I'm pondering.
     
  16. Ollybolly

    Ollybolly New Member

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    You're absolutely spot on about the S1000R in December. And January and February. At least.
     
  17. oscarguitar

    oscarguitar Well-Known Member

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    I'm sticking my neck out here but before you decide, spend some time in traffic. It could be me, or my RS, but I don't think heavy traffic is the RS natural habitat. It's quite high geared, so a fair bit of clutch slipping is required you'll want to keep it in 1st gear with the clutch in at the lights to avoid the clunk into gear and I still find the change from 1st to 2nd embarrassing. If there are other riders about I have taken to starting it up in gear to avoid having to select 1st.
    I'm sure others have mastered it, but if over half your time will be in traffic, give it a good test first.
     
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  18. Ollybolly

    Ollybolly New Member

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    Ah yes- that neutral to first "clunk". I noticed that- I mean you can't not. I didn't find the first to second change too bad, though I made sure I used the clutch for that ( and clutch is so easy and light I really don't mind). I don't think it's GS/ ADV bike wide, but wider than my striple. But low centre of gravity and great balance counter the higher weight a bit. Still- great tip about testing properly in traffic.
     
  19. Orson

    Orson Member

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    The torque of the boxer engine makes it an extremely capable sport tourer, allowing you to leave it in one gear and ride a wave of torque on twisty roads.

    From your description, I think you might be happier riding something with a little more zip. It sounds like you might be happier on an S1000R with a fairing :D
     
  20. Andy Griffiths

    Andy Griffiths Well-Known Member

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    See MCN this week. Long test of the S1000XR
     

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