BMW R1200 GS

Mercury (Hobart) - Motoring - - NEWS / WHEELS -

WITH the in­tro­duc­tion of the wa­ter-cooled R12000 GS, BMW redefines the bike that de­fines the brand.

The pro­trud­ing cylin­der heads of the R Se­ries are an em­blem of the BMW Mo­tor­rad line-up. It was last over­hauled in 2004 and the com­pany has pro­gres­sively up­dated the dual-pur­pose ma­chine.

Last year’s changes amounted to a rev­o­lu­tion — BMW re­placed the air-cooled en­gine with a wa­ter-cooled job and ev­ery other fea­ture was com­pletely over­hauled.

The re­sult is a ma­chine that will still tackle the most daunt­ing ter­rain but is now far more ca­pa­ble on bi­tu­men.


At $21,250 the R Se­ries is dearer than a com­pa­ra­ble Ja­panese sports­bike, tourer or du­alpur­pose ma­chine. In ef­fect, though, buy­ers are get­ting all three styles in the one pack­age. This is the first GS to have gen­uinely in­sane on-road pace and poise.

BMW Mo­tor­rad spokesman Miles Davis — who can ride a bit — rates it 25 per cent bet­ter on the road than its pre­de­ces­sor.


A soft­ware suite to con­trol the throt­tle, sus­pen­sion and ABS thresh­olds lets own­ers flip from en­duro riding to dy­namic tar­mac cor­ner­ing with a press of the switch on the left bar.

The elec­tron­ics have to be ex­pe­ri­enced to be ap­pre­ci­ated. Even then, it is still be­wil­der­ing that such a tall bike can be so adept.


Flip a cou­ple of lugs un­der the seat and the ride po­si­tion drops by 20mm, mean­ing even rel­a­tively short rid­ers can put a foot down on the R1200 GS.

Un­der way, the re­designed chas­sis and steer­ing ge­om­e­try give a solid plat­form at carpark speeds and im­prove as the pace picks up.

ABS-backed Brembo monoblocks pull the big girl up with very lit­tle front-end dive and the ride po­si­tion is stress­free, aided and abet­ted by a wind­screen that ad­justs with the twist of a knob.

Niceties such as cruise con­trol and heated grips un­der­score the bike’s tour­ing prow­ess.

When the go­ing gets twisty, PRICE $21.250 WAR­RANTY 2 years/un­lim­ited km EN­GINE 1170cc twin‒cylin­der boxer, 92kW/125Nm TRANS­MIS­SION 6‒speed, shaft-drive SUS­PEN­SION 37mm Telelever forks; Par­alever swingarm BRAKES Twin 305mm discs, four‒pis­ton calipers (fr); 278mm disc, twin‒pis­ton caliper (r); switch­able ABS DI­MEN­SIONS 2.2m (L), 950mm (W) SEAT HEIGHT 850mm WEIGHT 238kg TANK 20L (95 RON) the boxer en­gine is up the job. And it likes to rev: peak power comes at 7700rpm and top torque is at 6500rpm.

Head off-road and sim­ple touches like the flip-down ex­ten­sion on the rear brake lever make stand-up riding a much more com­fort­able propo­si­tion.


The R1200 GS isn’t so much a re­design as a rev­o­lu­tion.

The off-road leg­end is now an all-ter­rain ve­hi­cle ca­pa­ble of sham­ing more than a few sports bikes.

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