BMW R1200 GS
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.