Buying advice, best year to look at & Finish & Corrosion

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Biker767
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Buying advice, best year to look at & Finish & Corrosion

Postby Biker767 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:57 am

I visited a dealership today, involving a 100 odd mile round trip to look at a 2013 R1200RT. It was described as good for the year and low miles so sounded promising (90th Anniversary model). I had been advised to look at 2013 bikes with a budget of around £9K total.

I was pretty stunned by the condition when I arrived...the photos didn't pick out the issues at all. Front engine casing all corroded and pain de-laminating from aluminium surface. All Allen headed bolts rusty. Rear peg sub-frame and hangar badly corroded. Welded lugs under tank badly corroded, one of them had actually split. Centre stand and pivot very badly corroded. Pain finish dull.

My Harley sat next to it and looked (as normal) show-room condition by comparison....in fact the Harley seemed to be way better finished than most of the beemers that I looked at today which was a little disappointing. Don't get me wrong, bikes are made to be ridden but the standard of finish looked truly appalling. I looked at several more RTs and only one was in any way acceptable, as the owner had taken more care with it, but cylinder head casings were starting to corrode badly and passenger footpeg hangars were corroded plus paint to the fairing next to the footpegs was pretty badly worn on all of them.

Is this generally the case with RTs of recent years? My 1980s R series bikes seemed to be finished to a far better standard! I looked at a newer 2014 model which looked to be much better finished. Would the general consensus be to save a few extra pennies for the 2014 model or would this be a case of avoid first generation of the new LC models until all issues have been found/rectified on the intro model bikes? Happy to buy a 2013 one, just struggling to find one in the condition I'd expect for the money.

gogs01
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Re: Buying advice, best year to look at & Finish & Corrosion

Postby gogs01 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:19 pm

My advice ? Keep looking.
My 2013 was close to showroom standard when I traded it and I have a friend with a 2009 RT LE which is immaculate too. A fussy owner won't accept a bike deteriorating like the one you looked at, whether it's a BMW or a Kawasaki, Yamaha, etc. You know what you're looking for, you just need the patience to find it. There are nice bikes out there.
Current BMW : 2017MY R1200RT LE in Platinum Bronze :smile:
Previous BMWs : R1200RT SE (2007 then 2010), R1200RT 90th Anniversary model (2013). :smile:

Biker767
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Re: Buying advice, best year to look at & Finish & Corrosion

Postby Biker767 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:47 am

Thanks, yes I have found two immaculate GS TE bikes and two LE spec R1200RT bikes (LC versions). Lots of cash though and despite best efforts, two people I know (one with an R1200RS LC and one with a GSA) have run theirs for 3 seasons for the past two years and these are guys that look after their machines, but they couldn't arrest some of the corrosion from wet weather and salt on roads. I've managed to keep Aprilias and KTMs on the road year round without these issues (ACF50 is your friend as are proper casing finishes) so can only conclude that no modern bmw is immune due to the EU changes in coating materials permitted to be used.

The decision has been made anyway as for a lot less than the cost of the R1200RT's or GS bikes I was looking at, yesterday I looked at (and was very impressed by) a late model Triumph Explorer with all the bells and whistles (including heated seats) which came in at a fraction of the cost, so will be doing a deal on that instead. It was just better finished imho than any bmw that I looked at and with greater attention to detail everywhere. Great performance and handling for such a big lump too and the comfiest bike that I've ever sat on (in?).

gogs01
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Re: Buying advice, best year to look at & Finish & Corrosion

Postby gogs01 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:36 pm

Good luck with the Explorer - Triumph make great bikes.
Current BMW : 2017MY R1200RT LE in Platinum Bronze :smile:
Previous BMWs : R1200RT SE (2007 then 2010), R1200RT 90th Anniversary model (2013). :smile:

Biker767
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Re: Buying advice, best year to look at & Finish & Corrosion

Postby Biker767 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:54 am

Thanks gogs01. It was a difficult choice as I also had a deal offered on a very tidy low miles RT LE but the Triumph will probably suit my needs a little better and just offered far more vfm. It came as standard (in the XC model anyway) with heated seats, heated grips, TC, ABS, trip computer, 12v charging sockets, full luggage, spots, sump bash plate, engine crash bars, the list goes on. Looks very nicely bolted together but, as with the beemers, there's a few corrosion-prone areas to keep an eye on including rear disc mounts, front engine casing fixings etc which have little protection.

I will treat it liberally with acf50 and keep it well maintained. Hope I've done the right thing and won't regret not buying that lovely RT but cost was a factor and I couldn't justify 2K more for the RT.

andys
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Re: Buying advice, best year to look at & Finish & Corrosion

Postby andys » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:00 pm

I really don't think you can quantify this because a bikes condition is largely dictated by the way it's been looked after.

Brickboy
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Re: Buying advice, best year to look at & Finish & Corrosion

Postby Brickboy » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:38 am

I've ridden BMs for 30yrs+ and feel that there has been a marked deterioration in both the reliability and standard of finish. I've had getting on for 20 airheads and early K bikes (the Bricks), all utterly solid, reliable and largely corrosion resisitant despite all-year riding and frequent cosmetic neglect - all were passable barring the odd bit of rust on passenger footpeg hangers and frame scratches when kept outside. I would still happily buy and ride and a pre-monoshock airhead as a daily rider, tourer or anything else, and I think they were probably the best made, simplest and most reliable bikes I've ever seen - and I've had everything from 1930s Triumphs to a ZZR1200. In fact, on a trip to Spain eight years ago, having planned to take my long-term K1100LT, I was seduced by an ad for a K75S in my local Sainsbury's. Went to have a look: no MoT, off the road for three years but only £650. I bought it, MoT'd it the next day and thrashed it to work for a week. Then off to Spain where it was unceremoniously blasted at 80mph+ for days on end, thrashed up mountain passes in pursuit of my mate on an F800GS and even taken off-road into the hills - it was cheap, after all. I'd never do that with any of the modern BMWs.

Here we are at the top of a very steep track in the Picos: panniers and tank harness from the LT so it looks a mess in the colour-co-ordination stakes but 100% reliable on Shinko tyres and without even an oil change before we left. I rode it for two years afterwards as a commuter/tourer.

Image

Even though they require more 'owner involvement' in the riding, and are therefore more fatiguing to ride, I'd have an airhead with 100% confidence. In fact I do ride the last airhead - an R100R Classic - and it has all the qualities of the breed.

I've also had two R1100RTs, both great until you look below the fairing's gloss where you will find corrosion enjoying its meal. I also currently have an immaculate R1150GS, which is actually a fine machine (but god it's big, even though I'm 6'4") although mine has definitely not enjoyed any winter miles. However, one of my RTs started the third gear destruction thing, quite a few 1150GSs eat their input splines (mine seems ok in that respect). As far as the 1200 is concerned, the CANbus system is a triumph of marketing, not as dangerous as a failing servo-ABS on the 1150s, but a great way of ensuring dealers make a profit - it's the bike that keeps giving... profits to the company!

As long as people buy the bikes BMW will continue to make them to the standard they do. Bikes are, lets face it, toys these days and boy do people seem to have a lot of money for 'extras'. No-one would accept cars of such eager unreliability. I can tell you, definitively, that it all began when they decided to swap the adjustable gearchange linkage on the airheads for the little bent 5mm steel rod and clips (that fall off) on the 1981 models. The first cheapening of the brand, and it wasn't very reliable! Those few years where the Brembo brakes made such an improvement and the flywheel was lighter with an easier gearchange, were the best, but contained the seeds of the future direction of the marque. In my jaded, elderly view, it's been an inevitable decline from there: the power, smoothness, handling, ergonomics and electronic improvements (electric screens, what a joy :) )have been the surface covering masking less concern over longevity and reliability, and, if you are really cynical, an opportunity to ensure the customer keeps on coming to the service dept. Ask yourself if you'd buy a 1200 or any other current model out of warranty, and then ask yourself how much you'd worry on a 40yr old airhead.

I think it no co-incidence that Ted Simon, in his 70s, retraced his world tour using an airhead GS.

So, perhaps I've reached the age/stage of 'disgusted of Tunbridge Wells' and Victor Meldrew is my secret brother but I always smile as I maintain pace on windy roads with most modern BMWs and sit on the R100R whilst doing so.

Simon

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milleplod
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Re: Buying advice, best year to look at & Finish & Corrosion

Postby milleplod » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:49 am

Gone are the days when 'quality' marques fanfared that quality with an expectation of very high mileages and very few component failures. I'm convinced that those manufacturers now produce nothing that's designed to last longer than a given warranty - where's the incentive to turn out a bike, or car, capable of covering 100k miles on a diet of basic, common-sense maintenance and care? There isn't one. And I'm not harking back to some pie-in-the-sky memory of 'better times' that in reality were anything but - those vehicles existed, and were everyday products, certainly not things viewed through the rose-tinted spectacles of old (ish!) gits having a grumble about all things modern! :lol:

I refuse to buy a new bike or car, because I know I'll then be in the cycle of having to swap every few years for fear of a ruinous, out-of-warranty bill when some electronic nonsense component fails - a friend recently bought a new E-class Mercedes, beautiful thing.....until a warning light came on and it went into 'limp-mode' because the Adblue system wasn't talking to the engine ECU. It took Mercedes 6 weeks to sort it out, under warranty, obviously - but had that issue manifested itself at 4 years old with 40k miles recorded.... :-k It needed a new ECU btw, £3.5k's worth. :shock:

Quality and standards have definitely fallen, driven by the market I think - I'd venture that your 'average' new RT or GS buyer won't be someone who keeps a bike for donkey's years, they just don't care about product longevity. :sad:

Pete
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andys
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Re: Buying advice, best year to look at & Finish & Corrosion

Postby andys » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:05 pm

Is there any actual evidence that motorcycles are failing more than they did say, 40 years ago.
Hmmmm.
I think some people need to remove the rose tinted specs.


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