BMW

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Road Test -

R1200GS Adventure

A bike this big and this heavy shouldn’t han­dle this smoothly or this con­sis­tently. How, you find your­self con­stantly ask­ing, can this be pos­si­ble?

There should, for ex­am­ple, be a tan­gi­ble dif­fer­ence be­tween how it rides, brakes and turns when fully-fu­elled with 30 litres of un­leaded and when it’s near empty. But there isn’t – it sim­ply takes the ex­tra bur­den in its stride.

Add some week­end lug­gage and a pil­lion and you’d never know either. Tester Bruce was blown away: “I can’t be­lieve how good the BMW is, it’s id­iot­proof. It doesn’t mat­ter what you load it with or how ag­gres­sively you ride... it sim­ply glides along ef­fort­lessly.”

The Dy­namic ESA semi-ac­tive sus­pen­sion takes care of any­thing you throw at it. Each rid­ing mode changes the char­ac­ter­is­tics, but the re­sults are the same magic car­pet ride. While you can feel the Du­cati’s semi-ac­tive sus­pen­sion adapt­ing and try­ing to im­prove the han­dling, on the BMW the ride is al­ways plush and so­phis­ti­cated.

The down­side is that the feed­back from the tyres is one step re­moved, mean­ing the GS asks you to trust in its clever sus­pen­sion and elec­tron­ics rather than the seat of your pants, which takes a lit­tle get­ting used to. En­duro racer Michael didn’t favour the de­tach­ment but agreed the Adventure was al­most id­iot-proof – up to a point.

The Adventure’s so­phis­ti­ca­tion con­tin­ues. The 6.5in TFT dash is one of the best I’ve ever used, hugely in­for­ma­tive yet sim­ple and easy to read. Touches like the adap­tive red­line, which, like the ground-break­ing HP2, moves up the rev range as the en­gine tem­per­a­ture rises, make this bike feel spe­cial.

The GS re­mains the king of com­fort, too, and with big miles to chew was ev­ery tester’s first choice. That 30-litre tank and fru­gal en­gine al­low 250 miles be­tween stops, or over 300 if rid­den care­fully. Flick on the cruise con­trol, man­u­ally ad­just the large screen, sit back and en­joy the ride.

The sense of enor­mity cre­ated by the fuel tank and the boxer’s girth are am­pli­fied by the prom­i­nent crash bars, a con­stant re­minder that the GS is not a bike for dart­ing around town. De­spite be­ing the heav­i­est bike here, it doesn’t feel it as the weight is car­ried low in the chas­sis. But for shorter rid­ers like me, the GS was the hard­est to live with on a daily ba­sis, and though the driv­e­train up­dates car­ried over from the 2017 R1200GS have re­sulted in a smoother shaft drive and gear­box, the changes weren’t as slick as I ex­pected.

‘It’s id­iot-proof – it just glides along ef­fort­lessly’

Ev­ery­one wanted the big Beemer for eat­ing up the road miles

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