If you don't care about why others buy what bike, stop reading now.
For the last 3.5 years, i was riding a 2015 BMW R1200RT with much joy, a
little over 10tkm per year on that one. It was the easiest bike to ride
i ever have ridden, and it is probably one of the best touring
motorcycles ever build. I did really long trips with that one (like
Marbella -> Zurich in one go, took 22 hours) and i did not hurt too
badly when i arrived home 🙂
The RT had a lot of good points:
I want to do gravel again in Africa, and the RT is not the ideal machine for that, due to the luggage option, the fairing that just does not want to be scratched and the available tyre options.
So the idea of going BMW GS again, or similar. After 4 BMWs in a row,
i felt it was time for a change. They ride great, but all 4 of them had significant issues (during warranty, but still, in the shop, and some of it might have been dangerous if not caught in time) - the QA is lacking imo. And, in all seriousness, in Europe, you go to any Motorcyle happening, if you ride BMW, you have to RFID tag YOUR bike to find it again among all the other bikes looking exactly like yours.
I considered KTM and Ducati, but i don't like the KTM look personally, and the nearest Ducati dealer is rather far away. The Triumph dealer (which i bought a Thruxton R from 2 years ago and am very happy with) was just around the corner of the office.
I always like Triumph, but the last time i rode an Explorer, the
cockpit was kind of ugly, and the machine just felt too high compared to
the GS. So back then (7? years ago), i went with a GS that i happily
rode for a few years.
In March i did a 3 hour testride of the newest Tiger 1200, and i liked it enough to buy one on the spot. Lucky for me, they delivered my machine before Brexit becomes a reality over here, I do hope they sort this out before i need spare parts 🙂
What i noticed so are about the machine, compared to my GS and RT:
On the negative side:
The non spoke wheel Xrt version is as “dirt” ready as the Xca, but yes, if you hit a rock, you probably break the wheels. I don’t plan on doing that (i do gravel, but normally i don’t cross dry river beds, especially not alone on a big bike like that), and the non Xrt is 10 pounds lighter than the Xca. Also, you can only get a red bike as an Xrt 🙂
So far, only 6 hours of riding in, but i enjoy the bike, it has (beside emergency call) anything i would want in a bike and i am looking forward to going to Africa again next year.