37 Years of BIG SMILES
BMW MOTORRAD R 1200 GS “Seeing the excitement in our eyes – that is what it is all about! It’s about having a great ride – then taking your helmet off, with this big smile on your face!”
THE GS HAS PROVEN ITSELF REPEATEDLY TO BE AN EXCELLENT
ON-ROAD TOURING AND LONGDISTANCE MOTORCYCLE. THIS WAS DEMONSTRATED AGAIN ON THE ROADS IN AND AROUND RUSTENBURG AND THE PILANESBERG WHERE ITS OFFICIAL
LAUNCH TOOK PLACE.
This was the answer of Edgar Kleinbergen, General Manager of BMW Motorrad South Africa when asked what the highlights of the 2017 BMW R 1200 GS are.
37 years ago, the BMW Motorrad development team also flashed big smiles when they presented the R 80 G/S at the IFMA international bicycle and motorcycle show in Cologne in September 1980. The R 80 G/S was a new landmark in motorcycle design for both on and off-road use.
Back then, the idea of the universal use of a motorcycle was almost impossible. The concept of a touring motorcycle with off-road abilities was a new phenomenon in the global motorcycle industry, as was single-sided suspension on a largecapacity machine. BMW was on a mission to silence the sceptics. The company was rewarded for swimming against the tide with a wave of success, which has endured for over three decades.
The GS has proven itself repeatedly to be an excellent on-road touring and long-distance motorcycle. This was demonstrated again on the roads in and around Rustenburg and the Pilanesberg where its official launch took place. With the dynamic performance of its flat-twin air/liquid-cooled boxer engine, cranking out 92 kW at 7,750 r/min and maximum torque of 125 Nm at 6,500 r/min, we were grinning from ear to ear.
The grins blossomed into full-blown smiles with the activation of the new “Dynamic” and “Dynamic Pro” road riding modes. With the press of a button, the character of the motorcycle changes according to the rider’s individual needs, exponentially increasing the fun factor.
However, the idea of venturing into the unknown – getting dirty on gravel roads and sand in our teeth, was a daunting thought for many of us. It is here that we were hit right between the eyes; not by a stone, but by the off-road prowess of the new R 1200 GS.
In the “Enduro” riding mode (or “Enduro Pro” for the more ambitious riders), the R 1200 GS reveals its full range of offroad abilities. The ABS characteristics in “Enduro” riding mode are designed to work best with road enduro tyres and could easily cope with loose surfaces. This riding mode gives a gentler engine response, while the Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) allows the rider to intentionally slide the rear wheel, in a safe, controlled fashion.
You need not be an experienced offroad rider to enjoy the R 1200 GS. With
the specialised, “Riding Modes Pro” with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), the Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) settings, Automatic Stability Control (ASC), ABS Pro and even Hill Start Control, the BMW R 1200 GS will be shouting: “Just trust me! I was born to do this!”
Throughout the launch, the GS showed us what riding is all about. Neither rutted gravel roads dotted with loose stone, nor thick sand sections could slow down the big GS. Naturally, not all of the responsibility can be left to your iron horse. As a rider, it is vital to know at least the basic off-road riding principles that include body position, cornering and braking techniques, and more. Riding your GS offroad is a partnership between you and the motorcycle, and it is always advised to attend at least one off-road riding course – presented by the BMW Rider Academy– to strengthen the relationship between man (or woman) and machine.
Of the 25,336 R 1200 GS motorcycles sold worldwide in 2016, the majority will never experience the full potential of what they were created for and never smell the dusty roads of adventure. Here’s to the new 2017 range – may you fulfil your purpose and destiny: to let GS owners broaden their horizons beyond road riding and explore the remotest off-road corners of the earth. Get them dirty, get them working, and above all, get that big smile on their face.