BMW R1200GS - Is it The Best Motorbike Ever Built?
It is a constant: every time you look for the best adventure bike in the market, the BMW R1200GS will lead the charts. I've done it many times with the same result, but unlike many people, I am one of the lucky ones that rode on one. Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman chose this bike to go on endless journeys knowing very well they could afford any bike they wanted. If that is not proof enough that we are before a one-of-a-kind machine, please read on and check all the facts. We will also drop in the review of some accessories that are a great addition to any bike, including your BMW R1200GS.
BMW R1200GS Review
At the moment of its release in the market, the BMW R1200GS made a sales record almost immediately. We are talking about a legendary motorcycle today, but its fame got more significant and more prominent at the time. Let me take you back a little bit in time to when it all began.
To demonstrate, the year the first BMW R1200GS saw the market was 2004 replacing the 1150cc model. By 2007 and after exceeding the 100,000 units sold mark, it became BMW’s best-seller. To point out, this trend would continue next year, reaching a staggering 22,845 units sold only in 2008. By the year 2012, the prestigious publication Cycle World named the BMW R1200GS the most successful motorcycle of the past 25 years. In addition to that, they also attributed to this machine the invention of the adventure-touring category.
However, by 2016, the numbers of the BMW R1200GS rose exponentially to more than 30,000 units in one year. The reputation for being the perfect bike and the most flawless German creation in the motorcycle world remains strong. Even though the BMW R1200GS is the predecessor of the BMW R1250GS with some minimal changes apart from the augmented cc in the engine, the legend lives on with a different name and a different displacement. Let’s take a look at what the BMW R1200GS feels like from the rider’s point of view and the specifications that make it a legend.
BMW R1200GS adventure
To point out, the adventure version is also known as BMW R1200GSA and is what made BMW Motorrad what it is today. The adventure version of this classic bike is the perfect option to choose if you want to go across a continent. It is easy and comfortable to link London and New York or Scotland and South Africa as Ewan and Charley did and filmed. Although, it is now discontinued in favour of the BMW R1250GS, getting a 2018 model can help you save and keep most of the features.
Firstly, when you come across a BMW R1200GS Adventure you will notice that it is a big bike. By big, I mean in size of the engine, applied technology and chassis. It generates a great mix of adrenaline, respect, fear and an urging desire of jumping on it and start it immediately.
Engine tuning is perfect to excel in every scenario. When riding on the pavement on a straight surface, you’ll notice that the BMW R1200GS can very well be a road bike. However, its massive appeal around the world is directly related to this fact and that you can just take a turn, leave the road and expect the same perfect response. Taking curves and accelerating to move out gaining speed is just as soft and smooth as jumping on a dirt track. Moreover, the engine of the BMW R1200GS can take this effort and also some more sounding completely impeccable at all times. In fact, the more you push the RPM on this bike, the more you’ll be pleased by its sound.
The handling of the BMW R1200GS was completely flawless too. This bike is big and heavy but doesn’t feel like that at all when you are on it riding. However, the delicate touch to the ground and the riding position make it very easy to handle. The BMW R1200GS Adventure is the perfect companion for going on a long trip to the other side of the world or a weekend of fun. Nevertheless, even if you are not tall, you might have some difficulties touching the ground with both feet. You can always ask a lower seat option for some extra money.
Following, the dynamic suspension that comes as a standard for the BMW R1200GS Adventure edition is the next level in suspension technology. While most bikes have modes for taking people and luggage, this version created by BMW is dynamic. To clarify, this means that the system will detect your needs and adjust automatically to the best setting. This will make your experience with the bikeway friendlier along with the hill starter control, heated grips, quick shifter and more.
To point out, the Brembo monoblock brakes deliver the perfect mix of power and control that you need to be confident and safe. The BMW R1200GS Adventure is loaded with a four-piston model that only needs a finger to operate all the way. In addition to that, the ABS Pro (optimized for corners) is a game-changer for difficult roads.
Finally, the TFT display that links to your phone is a great addition to bring the BMW R1200GS to the present. The connectivity feature is great for all features including streaming music, collecting bike info and using GPS. For a little extra you can even configure the bike to make emergency calls in the case of an accident. Nevertheless, you might get the full extent of the features on this system by getting a Bluetooth helmet. From directions on the road to your favourite music, everything is going to be one click away.
To point out, the BMW R1200GS 2018 is a great bike to buy; you will not regret the purchase or a cent of what you spent.
BMW R1200GS Rallye
Undoubtedly, this version of the BMW R1200GS is dedicated to those who like to take the adventure a little further than normal. The differences between this model and the traditional BMW R1200GS are the following:
- Dirt-oriented components – The Rallye version of the BMW R1200GS features cross-spoke tubeless wheels to have a better grip on dirt as well as wide and serrated footpegs. You won’t be falling anywhere with those below your feet. Finally, the steel radiator guards that BMW placed on the bike make a lot of difference on the most difficult tracks.
- No centre-stand – Removing the centre stand and adding in its place the side stand helps the bike be lighter and more track-oriented.
- Seat and windscreen – The flat one-piece seat that they added for this model is perfect for dirt competition. Also, the smaller, shorter windscreen is closer to an enduro than it is to a cruiser/adventurer. The off-road feel and look of the bike are undeniable.
- The sports suspension – The BMW team added 0.8 inches of suspension travel and stiffer springs. However, these additions will make the world of difference when you want to take on a heavy dirt track or any other rougher terrain.
These differences and additions make the BMW R1200GS Rallye the perfect machine to go on hours of dirty fun.
BMW R1200GS Rallye Specs
These are the specs for a 2018 BMW R1200GS. Yet, they might vary if you encounter a different incarnation of this classic bike.
- Displacement: 1170cc
- Type: Horizontally opposed the twin
- Maximum power: 125 horsepower @ 7750 rpm
- Bore x stroke: 101 x 73mm
- Maximum torque: 92 ft/lbs @ 6500 rpm
- Valvetrain: DOHC, 4vpc
- Compression ratio: 12.5:1
- Transmission: Constant-mesh 6-speed w/ helical gear teeth
- Cooling: Liquid and air
- Final drive: Shaft
- Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable BMW Telelever 37mm forks w/ central spring strut; 8.3 inches.
- Frame: Continuous tubular steel bridge-type
- Electronic active suspension: Optional
- Rear suspension; travel: BMW EVO Paralever and WAD strut w/ spring-preload and rebound-damping adjustable shock; 8.7 inches
- Rear-wheel: 4.50 x 17; wire cross-spoke
- Front-wheel: 3.00 x 19; wire cross-spoke
- Rear tire: 170/60 R 17
- Front tire: 120/70 R 19
- Rear brake: 276mm disc, with dual-piston floating calliper
- Front brakes: Dual floating 305mm discs w/ four-piston fixed callipers
- ABS: Standard (defeatable)
- Rake: 24.5°
- Wheelbase: 59.4 inches
- Curb weight: 580 pounds
- Seat height: 35.0 and 35.8 inches (standard choice); various optional seats available
- Trail: 3.6 inches
- Fuel consumption: 47 mpg at a constant 55 mph
- Fuel capacity: 7.9 gallons
To sum up, this is the predecessor to the BMW R1200GS and has a different engine. The 1,130cc flat-twin horizontally opposed engine with a shaft drive really pushes this machine forward. It saw the market for the very first time 20 years ago, in 1999. Moreover, its first version went from that year until 2004. From 2004 to 2006, the BMW R1150GS and the BMW R1200GS co-existed as two options to buy. From 2006 onwards, the best-selling, award-winning BMW R1150GS was finally retired from the market.
To point out, by the year 2000, Cycle World Magazine named it the best sport-touring bike in the market. Also, in 2005 RiDE Magazine named the BMW R1150GS Adventure model the best trail lie in the market.
However, the legacy of the BMW R1150GS is still alive today in its final incarnation, the BMW R1250GS.
BMW R1200GS accessories
Finally, we are going to go through an accessory kit for the BMW R1200GS and two extras that will change your life.
GS Trophy Bike
Furthermore, for those who want to take their BMW R1200GS to the extreme, this accessories kit is the perfect way to go. To point out, they were designed specifically to transform each bike into a real rally bike that can handle any and all kinds of terrains. This is a one-item purchase that will transform your motorcycle. Among the things you will get with the kit are:
- Footrests adjustable to the rider
- A guard for your headlight
- Adjustable gear shift levers and footbrake
- A cover guard for your cylinder head
- A protection bar for the engine
- Luggage carrier made of stainless steel
- A large first-aid kit
- Radiator cowl
- ADVANTEC Ultimate
- Enduro gloves, goggles and a Rallye suit
- Duffle bag with a long haulier
- Fleece hoodie and ROM jacket
- Toolbox backpack
This is, perhaps, the most extreme kit you can buy for your BMW R1200GS and transform it into a completely different machine.
If you’re like me and love riding solo, this is a must-have motorcycle accessory. Namely, it gave voice to my two-wheeled beauty. Whenever I make a stop, I know I’ll get a notification if someone were to steal her. In that case, theft could be prevented. In addition to that, If I happen to have a crash, Vigo would activate the automatic SOS notification.
Another great feature of Vigo Smart Track is that it records and scores your rides. In that way, you can compete with yourself and improve your riding skills. In addition to that, it will keep track of all of your amazing rides.
The Smart Brake Module is an excellent addition to big bikes especially. Moreover, motorcycles that have an engine above the 300cc take down and up gearing very well and make the transitions smoother. For example, you can be on the open road and just decrease your speed without touching the brakes. This is dangerous in the sense that it doesn’t tell other drivers and riders about your intentions because the stoplight will not engage. This little addition can do exactly that for you: engage the stoplight when it senses you are losing speed.
Another invention from the same company is the Smart Turn System. If you are like me and drive a car beside a bike, you might find yourself leaving the turning lights on at all times, because the car disengages them by itself and the bike doesn’t. This can potentially be dangerous besides annoying for other drivers and riders. To point out, informing a false manoeuver on the open road can lead to people taking measures to avoid you. Also, in the city, you can make people wait for you or do extreme manoeuvers to avoid you. To conclude, the STS will disengage your turning lights automatically when it senses you have completed the turn.
Check out if these two motorcycle gadgets are also compatible with your bike by filling the form in:
To summarize, isn’t the BMW R1200GS the best adventure bike ever manufactured? To point out, there is nothing about it that can be a potential drawback. No matter how much you ride on it, the comfort, features, and ease of use are completely uncanny. It is a big bike but feels like a feather and drives like butter. To point out, all the add-ons that you can get with the different models are just to make it even better. We’ll see what the future brings, in the meantime, this best-seller BMW R1200GS is the best Adventure bike you can buy.
Did you like our take on this iconic bike? Feel free to comment on what you like about it and share it with your rider friends.