BMW R 1200 GS Adventure | Review
BMW R 1200 GS Review
As a motorcycle journalist I am in the enviable position of being able to ride the entire range of offerings from virtually all the manufacturers. So it is with some perspective that I say; the BMW R 1200 GS is my favorite all-around motorcycle. That wasn’t always the case. Not all that long ago that I didn’t quite get the BMW GS motorcycles.
At one point, I thought BMW motorcycles were ugly ducklings, given to strange leanings by sentimental (read: conservative) riders. With all the beautiful, nasty, sleek motorcycles out there I couldn’t understand why anyone would choose one of the little baby Pachyderms.
So, what changed my mind? The press intro in South Africa for the new BMW R 1200 GS a few years back. Four days thrashing about in the bush and winding over mountain pavement and gravel fireroads gave me a new perspective.
I returned to South Africa a few years later to ride the new BMW 1200 GS Adventure motorcycle, traversing the famous Baviaanskloof. I’ve now racked up miles on BMW 1200 GS motorcycles on three continents–Europe, Africa and North America.
The longest stint was 30 days in Spain. One day we went from steep, winding mountain roads, to open freeway, stop and go traffic in a large city, and ended up running up a gravel road to see the ruins of a castle. It was sitting at that castle, watching the sun set over the plains of La Mancha, that I fell in love with the BMW 1200 GS. It was then I realized the versatility of the motorcycle. It does a lot, very well.
As for versatility and sensibility; a competent rider aboard a 1200 GS can keep pace with most riders on sportbikes in canyon twisties. The motorcycle is comfortable all day in the saddle, riding alone or two-up. It’s tall enough to be able to see over most standard cars (a plus in thick traffic) and it’s virtually bulletproof.
Add to that the simplicity of an air-cooled motor and shaft drive-which eliminates a lot of maintenance hassles on the road-and you have the makings for the essential peace of mind when traveling; either close or far from home.
Each time I’m graced with a BMW 1200 GS for a review I am swept up into giddy excitement and immediately start planning a trip somewhere. In fact, it recently occurred to me that I have the same fondness for the BMW 1200 GS that I had for my first motorized love: a Honda MiniTrail 70.
For me, I’m tending to reserve the new generation of sportbikes for the track and continually return to the good graces of the GS. Am I getting old – or just smarter? I’d be interested to hear your particular GS story.
|Type||Air/oil-cooled flat twin|
(‘Boxer’) 4-stroke engine, two camshafts and four radially aligned
valves per cylinder, central balancer shaft
|101 mm x 73 mm|
|110 hp (81 kW)|
at 7,750 rpm
|88 ft-lb (120 Nm)|
at 6,000 rpm
|12.0 : 1|
control / engine management
|Electronic intake pipe injection / BMS-K+ digital engine|
management with overrun fuel cut-off, twin spark ignition
3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-3
Performance Fuel Consumption
|over 120 mph (200|
consumption per 100 km at constant 90 km/h
|City: 43.3 mpg (4.6 l Euro)|
consumption per 100 km at constant 120 km/h
|Highway: 51.1 mpg (6.1 l Euro)|
|Unleaded super and|
premium, octane number 91-93
|Alternator||three-phase alternator 720 W|
|Battery||12 V / 14 Ah, maintenance-free|
|Clutch||Single dry plate clutch,|
|Gearbox||Constant mesh 6-speed gearbox|
with helical gear teeth
Chassis / Brakes
|Frame||Two-section frame consisting of|
front and rear sections, load- bearing engine-gearbox unit
wheel location / suspension
|BMW Motorrad Telelever; stanchion diameter 41 mm, central|
spring strut, spring pre-load with 5-position mechanical adjustment
wheel location / suspension
|Cast aluminium single-sided swing arm with BMW Motorrad|
Paralever; WAD strut (travel-related damping), spring pre-load
hydraulically adjustable (continuously variable) at handwheel, rebound
travel front / rear
inches (210/220 mm)
|Wheelbase||59.4 inches (1,510 mm)|
|2.50 x 19"|
|4.00 x 17"|
|110/80 R 19|
|150/70 R 17|
Dimensions / Weights
height, unladen weight
inches (890 / 910 mm)
leg curve, unladen weight
|1,960 / 2,000 mm|
weight, road ready, fully fuelled 1)
|564 lbs (256 kg)|
|491 lbs (223|
(with standard equipment)
|482 lbs (219 kg)|
|Reserve||approx. 1 gallon (4.0 l)|
According to guideline 93/93/EWG with all fluids, fuelled with at least
90% of usable tank volume
2) Unladen weight without fluids