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!”

Driven - - Motorcycling -

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.

LAST WORD

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.

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