After 15 years or so of GSing around, clocking up over 150k miles on a couple of them, I thought changing the bike this time would have simply been deciding on colour and what spec the next GS would be! 
However, a casual look around an R1250RT at a bike show generated enough curiosity for us to want to ride one, and thanks to Paul at Arden Motorrad in Tunbridge Wells, back to back road tests of a pair of R1250’s, an RT and the all conquering GSA was planned. I had assumed the RT was going to be good enough to impress, I see a few on the roads when I am out and about and many police forces around the world like them, but I knew the GSA was going to be better, not just for me, but for pillion comfort as well, which is really important to me.
Road test time arrived and we're standing outside Arden's on a very cold and grey Saturday in January, with the mercury only just 1 degree above freezing looking at a brand new 270 kilo RT.  I had a route in mind made up with a mix of fast dual carriageways, some town riding and some twisty B Roads. Off we set and after a pleasant 90 minutes we were back for a coffee, a chat about the RT's pro's and con's, a wee break and swap of keys before jumping on the GSA to repeat my test route.
In next to no time, my mind was made up, the GSA made me feel instantly at home, so familiar, but what surprised me as the test got underway was that the RT was better in just about every aspect, not just in the obvious comfort, but it's agility and overall performance are a step up from the GSA. First, comfort, not just mine, but Debbie’s too, the RT excelled, wind protection, seat comfort, ergonomics all better than the GSA. Handling, the RT is sharper, better poised with more focus and agility. It’s obvious really, the GS/GSA’s are built to tackle all roads, as the name suggests, GS – Gelände/Straße – German for off road/on road. It's built to cope with sandy and rocky roads, as well as tarmac, the head angle is slower than the RT’s, it has a 19″ front wheel and a slightly longer wheel base, all by design to make it stable in a mix of environments, and it's all felt straight away, it’s slower to turn in and slightly less agile than the slightly heavier RT. Don’t get me wrong, GS's or GSA's are not bad, but based upon pure road riding I found the RT better and more rewarding. However this wasn’t why we cut the R1250GSA test short after just 30 minutes or so, no, we were getting cold, I mean really cold. It was still only 1ºC, something we hadn’t noticed on the RT, or not enough to comment on, mostly due to the RT’s faring and aerodynamics keeping both of us comfortable in a pocket of calm. So we headed back to Arden’s for another coffee and a chat about an RT! 
Now 3 months on, do I still feel the same?
Yes! The RT is a excellent road bike, supremely comfortable, fast, not in a sports bike way, but in an effortlessly rapid way of getting from A to B. Observing and planing a bend or two and the RT really rewards, so much more than the spec sheet or visuals would suggest. So for days out the RT is a winner for us. Commuting is also rather unexpectedly easier than you would imagine, it’s not small enough to cut through city traffic with out some advanced planning, but it’s nimble enough to make very good progress. The RT’s touring ability is still to be tested, but plans are coming together for a couple of trips to Germany and later in the year to Tuscany, I’m confident the big RT will not disappoint either of us!

Follow the link to 'Me and Bikes' if want to know a little more about my biking history and some of the bikes I've owned.

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