I rode my -07 BMW R 1200 GS (normal ABS, no ESA) 6 years, 50 kkms. Got it equipped to very comfortable travel adventure bike for a tall guy like me, Givi AirFlow windshield, Sargent heated seats, Touratech rally footpegs, bar risers, Rostra electronic cruise control...
My GS was allways reliable and got the total 71 kkms with very few repairs, the mots expensive of which was the battery replacement. It was very comfortable travel bike that also can be ridden on very bad roads
, even some off road. I really loved my GS, but to be frank, it had its' shortcomings. At least without ESA, the chassis is good on tarmac, but on bad gravel roads it's like a sawbuck. The GS is agile when riding, but clumsy and heavy to push. During the last two seasons I've testrode V-Strom 1000, Triumph 800 XC, GS-LC and Adventure, KTM 1050, 1290 SA, 1190 R and the new Africa Twin two times. That's of course something I shouldn't have done... must have lighter and more agile bike...
I really liked the KTMs, most of 1050. The wider size of tires made KTM 1290 SA and GS-LC to turn clumsy at tight low speed corners compared to bikes that have 150 size back tire. Also I didn't like the clickicg noise of 1290s' front suspension, even if was otherwise very good. And the endless power! I even didn't have use for the 150 hp of the 1190 R, so good the bike was. So I liked most the 1050. Honda was also very good, felt the lightest and most agile to handle of them all, thank's to good weight concentration. Tank is a bit narrower than KTM and doesn't force the tall riders' knees wide like on KTMs and V-Strom. The build quality ("feel") seems best in GS-LC, Honda second, then Suzuki and the last the KTMs. The greatest con against Honda was the lack of cruise control (and expensive aftermarket CC from McCruise).
If KTM would have better reputation in reliability, I had chosen the new 1090 R. The same agility and good ergonomics of 1050 + 25 hp more, 21"/18" wheels and better suspension. The 1090 R is a few hundred euros cheaper here in Finland, than the new Africa Twin. The KTM is better equipped as standard (center stand, 12 V output, crasbars) and has much cheaper aftermarket CC. But
, I personally know too many owners of 1190 with too many frequent visits at workshop so I ended up to the new Africa Twin.
I got only ridden one tank before winter, but here the comparison to my former 07' GS. Honda really does not have that good crunch of power under 5000 rpm, that GS had (in torque the KTM 1050 felt quite equal to old GS). But the gas dosing is way better and softer at Honda. Not as perfect as KTM 1050, but way better than GS. Also better than new GS-LC. The engine runs so smooth, just the Triumph 800 XC is maybe even smoother. And from 5000 rpm there is enough power.
Even if Honda is just 12 kgs lighter than GS, it feels much more lighter. The weight concentration and ergonomics is near perfect. The only adjustment on ergonomics I made was changing the footpegs to the lower one from Radan
. Time will tell if I need a Sargent seat, until now the OEM seat feels fine.
Compared to 07' GS the chassis of Africa Twin is superb
. I just had time for one real gravel road test ride on October, but allready from the first meter I could feel the difference. No matter how rought the road was it felt like silk after GSs' sawbuck, I could immediately trust to the AT. I swore to ride the Old Alta post road
first and last time at once, but now I have bike that has suspension
, maybe... we'll see...
Also the ergonomics of Honda is very good, but compared to my former, customized GS the comfort isn't yet just as good. Wind protection is however surprisingly good, tie with the GS-LC, bot not in the level of Givi AirFlow on old GS. My bike is the demo bike from dealer, with the Touring pack, center stand, set of 3 cases and touring windscreen. The screen was awfull and the MRA spoiler didn't help much, so I swapped it to MRA Vario Touring, that has got good reviews, better than AirFlow on AT. I've now made two very short testrides, mainly for testing the cruise control, but also noticed the MRA to be much quieter than Honda Touring Screen.
The pre-tax price of new CRF 1000 L in Finland is over 2000 € more expensive as anywhere else. So you would think that at least "mandatory" heated grips and 12 V output would be standard here in Finland, but nope
I tried to sell my GS and would have got the AT from Europe, but then there was this demo bike with travel pack in good price at local dealer so it was gone