Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2003 9:42 am Posts: 1294 Location: Northern California
Two weekends ago my local BMW dealer had an open house and I took a test ride on the R1200ST. The ride was very short and was only on city streets. I would have liked a much longer test ride but there were a ton of people signed up for test rides so I can understand they had to keep it short.
I liked the ST but I wasn't comfortable in the more sport bike riding position. A few people have told me that it wasn't a fair test ride because at speed you'll be more comfortable as the wind will give you a nice push back. I don't know for sure but a longer test ride would have helped with that I guess. I found the seat on the ST to be about 1000x more comfortable than on the CS, that was nice. The F650 CS seat is pretty much the same as the F650 GS dual-sport bike they just don't offer a lot of comfort. As soon as I started up the bike I felt the boxer motor torque the bike side to side. That was a neat feeling. I actually shut off the engine once in the parking lot before taking off just so I could startup the bike again. "Hee Hee" I don't get that with my single cylinder thumper. I guess the extra 549ccs make a difference too. The engine was very smooth and the transmission was much more definite than the somewhat spongy gearbox on the CS. I'm sure there are smoother running 4 cylinder bikes out there but the Boxer is still a big difference over the thumper.
The ST felt a lot more "technical" than the CS and I think that feeling comes from the fact that the suspension is a lot firmer on the ST. I didn't mind the harshness of the ride. It certainly wasn't enough to bother me and I think it would inspire more confidence in the twisties. Don't get me wrong I think the CS is very capable of tackling the corners. The optional bags for the ST are a nice addition too. If you know anything about the CS you know it's not really built for touring. Sure it can be done and more power to you if you do it yourself but the extra luggage options on the ST are a nice thing to have.
One thing that has concerned me about the prospect of upgrading to a newer bigger bike is the weight. I found that the added weight on the ST was no problem at all. That makes me feel better about considering bikes that might be even heavier than the ST.
As for making an upgrade. Well, not right now. $17K is a lot of money for a bike and I still like the CS. I think I'll be keeping the CS for a while longer, building my confidence and learning how to ride. I have 3500 miles under my belt now but I know I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn.
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