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Discussion Starter #1
I haven't posted here in awhile, though I still lurk nearly every day.:D

When I last posted, I was trying to decide on buying a Sprint, which I still feel is probably dollar-for-dollar one of the best and most well-sorted ST bikes on the planet. Because of the the imminent release of the BMW K1300s (and, I suspect, a declining economy), phenomenal deals can be found on the K12S, so I went that route. I have seen a few threads comparing the two, so I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in.

First, let me say unequivocally that there isn't a "winner" between the two, and second, I will always be a Hinckley Triumph fan, and will not be selling my beloved '95 Tiger.

There has been much ado about low-rpm snatchiness on the K12, which after a few miles, I feel to be overblown. The throttle is very sensitive, to be sure, but a smooth right hand and thoughtful gear selection (along with taking all slack out of the throttle cable) has made that issue irrelevant for me.

Having said that, there is no comparison between the two bikes on low-speed maneuvering and throttle-control - the torquey triple wins hands down.

At highway speeds, I enjoy the K12 a bit more, due in no small part to the fact that I like the stability that a longer wheelbase affords, and I'm a fairly big guy (6'2"/225#), so the big K feels a tad more roomy to me. If I were a bit shorter of leg, the comfort issue would be a wash. Advantage for me: BMW by a hair.

In the twisties, I'll have to admit to having more experience on the Sprint through several test rides than I have on my own KS, which I've just gotten. It's readily apparent, though, that they both have their own feel. The Sprint turns in more quickly, and feels just plain sportier. I haven't ridden either bike in extremely tight stuff, but the Sprint would win there, in my opinion. Where the K12 shines is in it's almost magical stability. It really does take sweepers like it's on rails, and I'm firmly on the "love-it" side of the love-it-or-hate-it Hossack front suspension on the Beemer. It's almost TOO confidence-inspiring.

Power - the obvious, on-paper advantage goes to BMW here, but in real-world observation, it's a matter of preference. I've already professed my love of the triple, as I think it's probably the most tractable combination of torque/hp for the street I've ever had the pleasure of using. I have three kids and a lovely wife who expect me to come home from every ride, so I'll never know the limits of the K12S. But what I do like is the effortless passing power and massive range on tap inside of each gear. While not wanting to lug the engine on break-in, I did take 6th gear down to 15 mph, and it smoothly wound it's way right back up as if I'd gone through three gears to do it. Not even a hiccup.

Fit-and-finish, I'd have to say goes to BMW, as it should, for the asking price. It's not a huge margin, either, but it is there.

Which dealer is better? In my case, my dealer sells both marques, so I have the best of both worlds, as I've found the shop to be fantastically trustworthy and service-oriented on the few occasions I've had questions about my Trumpy.

So if there is no clear winner, and I loved the Sprint, why did I choose the S? I guess in my case it boiled down to four things: the extra cockpit room, the slightly better finish, and the fact that I was just ready to try another brand for something different. As much as I don't like to admit it, I'm a bit of a euro-snob when it comes to bikes. I just don't like the generic qualities of the Japanese three, for whatever reason. Motorcycling for me loses it's appeal if you remove the passion from it, and I derive at least a little of my passion from riding unusual bikes. The final reason is simply the amazing deals I mentioned. I paid around $2k more than the equivalent Sprint, I would suppose, but it was worth it to me for the reasons mentioned at this stage of my riding.

At any rate, I just thought I'd post the perspective of a (Triumph AND BMW) guy who isn't interested in my-bike-is-better-than-your-bike people. I don't have to tell you that you ride fantastic bikes - you already know that.:cool:
 

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Good post. I looked at a used K1200S and would've purchased it but was put off by the botched body work. The bike ran fine and handled as you describe. Enjoy!
 

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Funny - I was going to buy a K1200S, but ended up getting a screaming deal on my Sprint, which came out to around half the cost of the K1200S. Not to mention the insurance was considerably less expensive than the K1200S (even though I recently changed insurance, and I wonder how much more it would have been with them).

I came from an 04 R1150R Rockster, and by all means the BMW is lightyears ahead in quality and fit and finish. I like my Sprint, I think the engine is amazing and the bike is damn sexy, but BMW is in a whole different league.

When I am ready to get rid of my Sprint (maybe next spring), it will definitely be for a new K bike. I think the K1200S is fast enough, so maybe I would go for a leftover one of those rather than a new K1300S.

Enjoy the BMW, and enjoy the paralever and duolever suspension, and the driveshaft!



Gorgeous.

- Anthony
 

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Great post!

I really appreciate your unbiassed approach to two very capable and fun high performance bikes. Interestingly, these were my final two when I bought new in '07. If $ is not an issue, I don't think there is a wrong answer- it just comes down to the little things that add up that may tip the balance one way or the other.

My only reasons for not buying the K1200S were 1) the weight of the bike, and 2) the very limited capacity of the optional panniers. Not that the ST's panniers are much bigger, but...
I also did shy away due to the BMW shaft drive horor stories I've heard.

I still have not closed the door to buying a K1200S, especially since I'm become very confident harnessing the ST's power. Initially I was actually a little fearful of the K1200S since I'm only 124lbs and was coming into sport touring from big Harley's. Now, I feel better equipped to "appreciate" the K1200S. I have considered selling my Harley for the K1200S, but it is more likely that I would replace my ST instead. The K1200S and ST are still just too similar for me to have both. Who knows, but for the forseeable future my ST is meeting and exceeding my needs...
 

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That is just an internet rumour that has gotten way out of hand. Under normal street driving you won't have a failure with the driveshaft.

- Anthony
Not true - it's a very DOCUMENTED problem here's my personal experience just last weekend:

 

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Discussion Starter #8
My only reasons for not buying the K1200S were 1) the weight of the bike, and 2) the very limited capacity of the optional panniers. Not that the ST's panniers are much bigger, but...
I also did shy away due to the BMW shaft drive horor stories I've heard.
These are all excellent points, and all three were definite considerations for me when I was agonizing over the decision.

1)The weight of the bike was probably the least of my concerns, because of my size, but it is definitely a big bike. I do like the stability of a bigger bike, and while not as "flickable" as the Sprint, the weight is carried so low, that it feels exponentially lighter than my old Tiger, so it really disappears well.

2) The limited capacity of the panniers is absolutely a problem for me. Not to mention the price BMW would like you to pay for them is fantastically high. For that reason, I did not get the optional panniers from the dealer. I have heard (mostly) rave reviews about this bag:
There seems to be a bit of premium for having the BMW name attached to it :rolleyes:, but I have chatted online with riders of several different brands of bikes who absolutely swear by this thing. It has more capacity than both of BMW's sports panniers combined, so I think this and a tankbag will suffice for my luggage needs nicely, as my wife never travels with me. I'll post a review after I've had a chance to fit/use it a bit.

3) I was MOST concerned about the shaft-drive issues you mentioned. I have read many reviews about it, including a scathing write-up in MCN. I have talked to my dealer about it at length, and to date, he has had zero final-drive failures of bikes 2007 and up. I'm not naive enough to believe that it can't happen, but only that the issue I think had to do with mainly some seal assembly problems at the factory that hopefully have been ironed out. As TPadden noted (sorry about your troubles! What year and model is that?), nobody questions that the issue existed - my point is that I still believe it was a small number of total bikes affected, and if mine turns out to be one of them, I will certainly post that here as well.

Take care!

Doug
 

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..... As TPadden noted (sorry about your troubles! What year and model is that?), nobody questions that the issue existed.....Take care!Doug
It's a 2000 LT; amongst the LT crowd it is a COMMON problem. One LT rally had 6 bikes with failures on the way to the rally. I'd had my dealer check (and I trust Jerry at BMW Bentonville, AR as one of the best BMW dealer/wrenches) and report the rear fine as recently as 15,000 miles ago :(........

I was at a BMW rally in Venice Florida, the failure occured within 6 miles of the campground and 7 miles from Haps (Sarasota) BMW/Honda/Triumph dealer. The LT is still mine and at Haps. I returned to the campground on my new 08 Sprint ST(ABS) :D
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow - sure sorry to hear that, TPadden. :(

I'll be expecting the best from my bike, but getting the worst is always a possibility. Sorry again for your troubles, but congratulations on the ST. What a wonderful bike you have, and I hope you enjoy it for many thousands of miles.

Doug
 

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Doug,

It isn't the worst. The LT served me well, even took my wife and I to Alaska and back, but I no longer trust it for journeys far from home and civilization, and that is what an LT is for.

I own and ride a lot of bikes averaging over 40K miles a year for the last 10 years, still have a R1150RS, but am looking forward to putting some miles on the triple :D.

Tom

 

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I still have not closed the door to buying a K1200S, especially since I'm become very confident harnessing the ST's power. Initially I was actually a little fearful of the K1200S since I'm only 124lbs and was coming into sport touring from big Harley's. Now, I feel better equipped to "appreciate" the K1200S. I have considered selling my Harley for the K1200S, but it is more likely that I would replace my ST instead. The K1200S and ST are still just too similar for me to have both. Who knows, but for the forseeable future my ST is meeting and exceeding my needs...
Or...you could sell the Harley for a Speed Triple and the Sprint for the Beemer. Then you still have a Triumph triple!
 

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I have to say some excellent posts here and as STchick says some nice views from both sides of the fence.

My brief comments are:
BMW have a lot of technology and build quality is well known, but they also have a lot of problems with it at times.
early K1200 S gearboxes were known to be very clunky and had a poor shift, a lot of bike journos complained about this at the time.

The K1200S is a very different type of bike than the Sprint so in same ways it is chalk and cheese.

The Big beemer is a very big bike, I personally hate the dustbin exhaust on them, it is bloody enormous.
Because I do all mountain riding the Beemer has no advantage over my older 955 2004 Sprint ST in fact it is disadvantaged in the tighter stuff due to it's length and slower turn in.

Then there is the fact that in Australia a K1200S is about $10,000 AUD more expensive than a Sprint and the servicing is alos very expensive.

I know people that have them and I have a friend who has the GT model, but it would not be my choice of machine.

DaveM:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you for the kind welcome, Dave. I have admired the thoughtful discussion here for a long time. Triumph riders are clearly more intelligent than the average motorcyclist, judging by what I have learned here over the months. :cool

The Sprint/K12S are certainly different animals to a degree - point well taken, although I must admit I wouldn't place them as far apart on the scale as you have. They are both plenty fast, both sporty by nature, both sublimely capable of high-speed touring in relative comfort.

As I noted, I don't have experience riding either bike on technical roads. There will be no argument from me that for that type of riding, the Sprint is probably the best choice of the two for the average rider. I realize too that motorcycle preferences are a subjective thing, if there ever was one, but I'm interested in how you view the differences between the two. To me, they very much chase the same audience. Chalk and cheese might aptly describe a Sportster/Goldwing comparo, or perhaps a Mike Hailwood Ducati and a DRZ400, but these two? I'm interested in your thoughts! I'm truly interested in how others look at things, compared with how I view them. You mentioned that the K12 isn't for you. Understood, and perfectly valid. From my standpoint, though, while I love the BMW as it really fits me well, if I sold it tomorrow, I would be equally happy with the Sprint, using it for the same purposes.

To me, they are both such well-sorted bikes with so much spare performance for real-world use, that I don't think an average rider (who was accustomed to the handling idiosyncrasies of the bike he was on) on either bike could outrun the other on average curvy roads. Perhaps two GP-level riders at the absolute limits of the machines could find the differences, but that doesn't describe me. :( That's just my humble opinion, and there is no doubt the BMW rider would have to use a little stronger inputs on turn-in, but they are both phenomenal bikes.

I agree that the longer wheelbase means slightly more steering input is required to turn the K bike. Physics would dictate that to be true. I can't for the life of me figure out how the BMW engineers hid the fact so well, though. It is indeed one of the finest handling bikes I've ridden, and being an average-at-best rider, I find the 6 or 7 inch wheelbase difference very hard to detect.

I too read the clunky transmission complaints on the earlier "s" bikes, and many still feel it's too clunky on the 07/08 as well. I guess I would have to disagree with those who say it's clunky on the later bikes (as that's the only K12S experience I have). It's subjective to an extent, I suppose, and largely dependent on how you ride/shift. I can make mine clunky by shifting early/late and managing the throttle poorly. Or I can make it snick through the gears as quietly and positively as any bike I've ridden. And believe me, I'm not insinuating that I'm Rossi when it comes to laying down clean power:eek:

The exhaust can seems to be widely-hated among K12S owners and non-owners alike. I will say it really doesn't bother me, and isn't even on the modification list at this point. Perhaps that says more about my lack of style than anything else.:eek:

I am envious of your all-mountain riding! There are none of those close to me, but I do get a chance to ride some a few times a year, usually.

Lest I sound defensive here I do want to add again that I think the Sprint is perhaps the ultimate all-rounder, all things considered. I don't feel the desire or the need to say that the K is the better bike - because I don't believe it is. Nor am I trying to sell anybody on my choice of bike. It's impossible for me to overstate the high regard with which I view what John Bloor has done with the marque. I still ride a triple, and hopefully always will, so that's my reason for hanging around this excellent site. I do think both bikes are more similar in purpose and delivery than many give them credit for, but my opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it.

Be safe!

Doug
 

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This thread is very timely, as it was only yesterday that I was able to ride both the K1200S and the ST back to back.

A friend of mine took delivery of a new K1200S last week, and since we are planning to ride from Melbourne to Townsville and return next week (about a 6000 km round trip), he needed some clicks put on it so it can go in for its first service this week. He asked me to take it for a ride, and it would have been most churlish to refuse :)!

BMW impressions:
  • Quite a bit heavier than the ST, especially at low speeds;
  • Panel fit and general quality seems better than my 07 ST;
  • Riding position I found to be fairly similar;
  • Instrumentation and switch gear was more tactile and legible respectively than the ST;
  • After initial trepidation, I began to really like the front end. It separates the steering from the braking, and was impressively solid through the bumpy goat tracks that masquerade as roads throughout the central highlands of Victoria. Taking sweepers at an enthusiastic pace saw it tracking through them as if on rails. Bumps and potholes were simply swept aside;
  • The ESA suspension worked very well, with definite differences in suspension perfomance amongst the different modes;
  • The motor certainly grunts out a huge amount of torque and power - it sort of reminds me of a steam engine - it just surfs along on a wave of torque. It certainly gets you to "go directly to jail" speeds very quickly.
  • Having owned 5 BMW's previously, I was expecting the old torque reaction from the shaft drive. Not there. Nothing. BMW have certainly sorted it out :eek::
  • The panniers at first glance appear smaller than the ST's but they do expand, and will hold appreciably more, I think.
VERY SUBJECTIVE EVALUATION...my 2c!
:p
GREAT BIKE! Would I buy one? Probably not. I prefer the sharper handling of the ST, and also love the sound and feel of the raspy triple. My suspension is not that far behind the ESA system, and I wonder about the cost of servicing and repair of the system should it fail. Also, the BMW motor, whilst undoubtedly more grunty than the 1050 motor, produced its power in a sort of "sterile" fashion than the ST motor - which snorts, growls and pops, even with the standard exhaust system - let alone a Wolf system or the like.

As Dave M pointed out, the K1200S is also very expensive - whereas I can get an '08 Sprint ST on the road for about A$17,000 or so complete with panniers, the K1200S that I rode did not leave any change out of $30,000. The K1200S does some things "better" than the ST - but not others. Certainly not enough difference to wean me off my ST!!!

PS - I also had a ride on the Victory Vision Tourer yesterday- which has just been released in Australia - what a great ride - screaming around sweepers at sprited speeds on a full dresser tourer - and overtaking a couple of sports bike riders around sweepers with this behemoth of a bike. Tell you what, it could be a future addition to the garage! :D

Cheers,
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Niltime - great evaluation. I too love the sound of the triple - nothing like it on earth.:cool: Parking lot handling IS a bit strange on these K's, without a doubt. I'm quickly becoming accustomed to it, and can do slow-speed U-turns with ease now, but it is like nothing I've ever experienced. Thought the front tire had lost air pressure when I first test rode one.

I have no experience with ESA, as I bought my bike without it. I've read of many riders who enjoy it immensely, but I felt it was too complex, and too costly to replace ESA shocks when they eventually do wear out. Once I have the suspension set up to my liking, I rarely fiddle with it anyway. A couple cranks of preload for luggage, maybe, but that's about it, and I never have a pillion.

Expense has always been a detractor from BMW bikes for me, too. There was zero chance of me deciding on the K12S over the Sprint had the current incentives not been in place, and even then it was a close call. Candidly, I bought mine new for US $11,300 before tax (and tax IS paid on the $3000 rebate being offered right now, so that's a factor too), equipped with ABS and the onboard computer, and including both the low and standard seats - but without heated grips and ESA. The heated grips were important to me, but my dealer had this bike equipped otherwise exactly how I wanted it, and I'd rather give him the business and worry about the grips later (an expensive proposition with the CanBus system, I know). I never negotiated on a Sprint with my dealer, so I don't know what I could've bought an '08 ABS for.....I'm guessing around $2000 less. Worth it on paper? No. Worth it to me? Yes - but barely.

Thanks for your view of the K/S - enjoy that fine bike you have, and I wish I could come down and ride that beautiful countryside with you some day.
 

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Great thread!

This is exactly what is so awesome about this site.
Intelligent and passionate contributors who are respectful of multiple points of view. And of course I absolutely dig the international flavor around here too.

It's just so nice to have a friendly discussion about likes and dislikes of all kinds of bike without the vast majority of folks not getting their "panties all in a wad!" My mountain biking site has so many a-holes and ego's it's just nice to hang here when I have the time!

Thanks Unleaded and all the other contributors, I've really enjoyed this thread...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
It's just so nice to have a friendly discussion about likes and dislikes of all kinds of bike without the vast majority of folks not getting their "panties all in a wad!" My mountain biking site has so many a-holes and ego's it's just nice to hang here when I have the time!
Couldn't agree more, STChick! :thumbsup: I'm a bicyclist too - and I think I could name a site or two just like the one you're talking about. That garbage gets old in a hurry, and I too appreciate the thoughtful people on this site. I visit a fair number of MC sites for info, and this is my favorite, hands-down (even though I mainly have just lurked, it's still refreshing to read rational conversation rather than a bunch of ridiculous posturing).

To me, this site's a good representation of most of the true motorcyclists I've met on the road - honest, thoughtful - just all-around good people. I think that's the part I love the most; being on the road and meeting all the great people who ride out there. Just something about that common passion.....

Take care!

Doug
 

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Unleaded, my dad has that bag on his 08 and it really is great. Hard to imagine how much junk it actually holds until you unzip it and start filling it. I love my Sprint and I really love my 675, but that K1200s is an amazing bike to. Congrats on the purchase!
 
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