Connect With Us!

2013 BMW R 1200 GS – First Ride

BMW R 1200 GS action featured2

Photo Credit: Daniel Kraus & Courtesy of BMW

Greg Drevenstedt
January 28, 2013
Filed under BMW Motorcycle Road Tests: Reviews on BMW Motorcycles, Dual-Sport + Adventure Motorcycle Reviews, Featured Road Test, Latest News, Road Tests, Top Stories

Bookmark and Share

Redesigning a motorcycle that established and continues to define a robust market segment, one that has been a perennial bestseller, inspires fanatical devotion and is the culmination of a design philosophy that has endured for nearly a century, is a major undertaking. After setting new standards among sportbikes (with the S 1000 RR and HP4) and luxury/sport tourers (with the K 1600 GT/GTL), and posting record sales for the past two years in spite of a persistently sluggish global economy, for 2013 BMW has popped the cork on its 90th anniversary with a gift to the world: an all-new R 1200 GS.

Now in its 33 year of ever-evolving production, the all-new R 1200 GS has received a stem-to-stern overhaul for 2013. From a much more compact, liquid-cooled boxer engine to new technologies such as riding modes and Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment, all of the changes catapult the venerable GS forward into a new era.

Now in its 33 year of ever-evolving production, the all-new R 1200 GS has received a stem-to-stern overhaul for 2013. From a much more compact, liquid-cooled boxer engine to new technologies such as riding modes and Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment, all of the changes catapult the venerable GS forward into a new era.

To maintain a competitive edge, particularly in the face of new, aggressive foes, evolution is imperative. In recent years the Ducati Multistrada, Triumph Tiger Explorer and Yamaha Super Ténéré have come on strong in the adventure touring class, leaving BMW’s R 1200 GS vulnerable even though it has been updated twice since it debuted in 2004 and enjoys a cult-like following. To stay at the forefront of performance, technology and safety, and meet increasingly stringent emissions and noise regulations, nearly every part of the GS—engine, chassis, electronics, ergonomics and styling—has been redone, with exceptional results.

At the world launch for the new R 1200 GS in South Africa, we rode a fleet of kitted-out test bikes from the cool, green coast facing the Indian Ocean to the sweltering, parched desert near Baviaanskloof (Valley of the Baboons). The route included paved and gravel roads plus a special enduro section, giving us an opportunity to evaluate the GS in its natural habitat, a wide-ranging, diverse area that challenged the capabilities of both bike and rider. From the first effortless release of the clutch—now a wet, multiplate slipper design instead of the previous dry, single-plate setup—and big handful of the new electromotor-actuated throttle, the GS’s big evolutionary leap forward was immediately obvious.

The latest-generation boxer twin is much more compact. The 6-speed transmission and new wet slipper clutch are now integrated into the engine cases, saving space to allow for a longer swingarm that improves traction.

The latest-generation boxer twin is much more compact. The 6-speed transmission and new wet slipper clutch are now integrated into the engine cases, saving space to allow for a longer swingarm that improves traction.

Improved engine performance was a top priority for the new GS. At 1,170cc with a bore and stroke of 101.0 x 73.0mm, displacement and dimensions of the R 1200 boxer twin are unchanged, but nearly every other aspect of the engine has been revised. The most talked-about change since the new model was unveiled is the move from air and oil to air and liquid cooling, essential to reach targets for performance, fuel economy and emissions. Cooling is a big deal among BMW boxer devotees, a group that’s been as divided as red vs. blue states—in this case, Airheads vs. Oilheads—since oil cooling was introduced in 1994. Drawing upon a concept from Formula 1, “precision cooling” routes coolant only to the most thermally stressed parts of the engine—the cylinder heads and between the valves. Air cooling still does the heavy lifting—now 65 percent of total cooling compared to 78 percent previously—so the new dual radiators are compact and the boxer’s iconic cooling fins remain.

The new GS uses “precision cooling” to route coolant to the most thermally stressed areas—the cylinder heads and between the valves. Air still accounts for the majority of total cooling (65% versus 78% before), which allows the dual radiators to be small and well hidden.

The new GS uses “precision cooling” to route coolant to the most thermally stressed areas—the cylinder heads and between the valves.

In addition to the new cooling arrangement, intake and exhaust flow has been changed from horizontal to vertical, allowing for identical-length intakes for both cylinders, better fuel injector positioning and separate intake and exhaust camshafts. A conventional valve arrangement with 1mm-larger valves replaces the previous radial valve setup, the throttle bodies are larger (52mm, up from 50) and compression has increased from 12.0:1 to 12.5:1. Overall, the engine is much more compact, featuring vertically separated cases with open deck construction, low-friction cylinder liners and a lighter, stiffer crankshaft. The win-win results of these changes, BMW says, are higher power and torque throughout the rev range and better fuel economy. Claimed output is 125 horsepower at 7,700 rpm and 92 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm measured at the crank, sizable gains over the previous model (110 horsepower and 88 lb-ft). The added thrust was apparent in any gear, with smooth, linear power delivery. Vibration has been reduced thanks to a new, hollow counterbalance shaft that houses the clutch shaft, and the redesigned exhaust system—with the silencer now on the right side—is quieter, neither of which sacrifices the boxer twin’s distinctive character.

With much more power and a new chassis but just a few more pounds, the new R 1200 GS handles better than ever.

With much more power and a new chassis but just a few more pounds, the new R 1200 GS handles better than ever.

Integrating the 6-speed transmission and clutch into the engine housing saved weight and space while also improving weight balance and torsional response. Transmission internals were revised for smoother shifting and gear ratios are slightly different. The new setup, including the smaller-diameter, eight-plate wet slipper clutch, worked like a charm, with crispness at the shift lever and much less effort at the adjustable clutch lever—one finger is all I needed to feather the clutch during tricky off-road riding.

Other design objectives for the new GS included enhanced touring and off-road capabilities, improved suspension compliance across a range of conditions, and increased safety. First introduced on the K 1600, BMW’s E-gas throttle-by-wire system works in conjunction with BMS-X electronic engine management to provide more precise throttle control, smoother engine operation and less twist grip angle. Throttle response on the R 1200 GS has always been spot-on, and this latest version of E-gas nails it, with barely a trace of artificial feel. E-gas opens a door to new-to-the-GS factory options such as cruise control, riding modes and semi-active Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA), as well as an updated version of Automatic Stability Control (ASC, BMW-speak for traction control). The test bikes we rode were loaded with all of these options and more, and BMW projects that most buyers will want most if not all of them.

New switchgear on the left grip sets cruise control, ABS, ASC, Dynamic ESA, onboard computer and more. Optional Multi-Controller with GPS preparation controls the accessory BMW Navigator IV.

New switchgear on the left grip sets cruise control, ABS, ASC, Dynamic ESA, onboard computer and more. Optional Multi-Controller controls the accessory BMW Navigator IV.

A button on the right grip toggles among the five riding modes—Road, Dynamic, Rain, Enduro and Enduro Pro—which can be changed on the fly. Each mode optimizes throttle response (full power is available in all modes, but how it is delivered varies) as well as ASC, ABS and Dynamic ESA settings for different riding conditions. Road is for riding on dry roads, Dynamic is for sport riding and Rain is for slippery conditions, and there are two off-road modes: Enduro, for mild terrain with street-biased tires, and Enduro Pro, which requires a special chip, for technical terrain with knobbies.

Though complex in design, the integrated electronics are easy to use, work well and can be personalized or overridden. Dynamic ESA can be adjusted, preload can be set (that’s the “semi-active” part, since the rider must specify load), and both ABS and ASC can be turned off. Dynamic ESA, a version of which was introduced on BMW’s HP4 superbike last year, uses electronic valves to automatically adjust front and rear damping in response to changes in wheel travel and speed, ABS activation and other parameters. We hammered the GS on a variety of roads, including several deeply dipped water crossings that fully compressed the suspension, and the ride never felt harsh, the bike never got out of sorts. Suspension should keep the chassis stable and the wheels in contact with the ground, and Dynamic ESA excels at both. Suspension travel is unchanged (7.5/7.9 inches), but ground clearance has increased by 0.3 inch.

Dual, opposed, radial-mount 4-piston calipers squeeze 305mm discs. Semi-integral ABS is now standard and offers multiple modes. Cross-spoke wheels are optional.

Dual, opposed, radial-mount 4-piston calipers squeeze 305mm discs. Semi-integral ABS is now standard and offers multiple modes. Cross-spoke wheels are optional.

Semi-integral ABS is now standard and offers an on-road setting (for Road/Dynamic/Rain modes) and two off-road settings (for Enduro and Enduro Pro, the latter of which severs front-to-rear linking and turns off ABS at the rear wheel), plus ABS can be turned off. New Brembo radial-mount, 4-piston front calipers squeeze 305mm discs as before, while the single, 2-piston caliper squeezes a larger 276mm rear disc. Braking strength and feel have always been good on the R 1200 GS, and the new model is even better. Speed can be scrubbed off incrementally or the bike can be hauled down to a stop abruptly, and although braking power has increased, it’s easy to modulate in loose conditions where finesse is essential.

Chassis refinements are many. The tubular steel bridge frame is torsionally stiffer, has a more rigid steering head and swingarm pivot, and a bolted-on rather than welded-on subframe. In front the Telelever suspension has new geometry, a more rigid trailing arm and narrower, 37mm fork tubes (down from 41). Also, thanks to the more compact engine, the single-sided EVO Paralever swingarm is longer for better traction and redesigned to protect the rear shock. The swingarm has been moved from the right to the left side of the bike, a major change necessitated not by the logic of German engineering but by two rather simple reasons. First, with the swingarm on the left and the exhaust pipe on the right, riders are less likely to melt the pant leg of their textile suit on the hot exhaust when mounting, dismounting or pushing the bike. And two, the pipe and wheel look better on the right side when the bike is leaned over on the kickstand.

For technical off-road duty, bikes were equipped with knobbies, engine guards, Rallye seat and a special chip that enables Enduro Pro mode.

For technical off-road duty, bikes were equipped with knobbies, engine guards, Rallye seat and a special chip that enables Enduro Pro mode.

Half-inch wider wheels are shod with wider, lower-profile tires, providing a bigger contact patch and less tire flex. Cast wheels are standard, but bikes at the launch were equipped with optional cross-spoke wheels. All-new Metzeler Tourance EXP radials performed well on- and off-road. For the brief enduro test, we switched to bikes outfitted with the latest in ADV couture—new Metzeler Karoo 3 knobbies, engine guards, off-road pegs and a taller, one-piece Rallye seat, plus the Enduro Pro chip. With claimed weight (525 pounds) just a few pounds above the previous model and the inherent balance and low center of gravity of the boxer twin, the new GS upholds the model’s reputation for agile handling regardless of conditions.

Enduro riding is a big part of the R 1200 GS model’s do-it-all image, but most never leave the pavement and are more commonly used for general-purpose touring and riding on the street. BMW sought to enhance comfort for a wider range of riders by slimming down the center of the bike, with a reshaped tank (fuel capacity is unchanged at 5.3 gallons) and narrower seat that make it easier to grip the tank while seated or standing as well as reach the ground. As before, the rider’s seat is height adjustable, but tilt can now be changed and the passenger seat can be adjusted fore/aft. The handlebar is stiffer and adjustable, and the windscreen has been reshaped and now has a one-hand height adjustment knob. Overall, the entire ergonomics package is well-designed and makes a comfortable, versatile bike more so.

New LED main headlight and daytime running lights are optional.

New LED main headlight and daytime running lights are optional.

A major update to the GS wouldn’t be complete without new styling, which is now more angular and severe, like the glasses you’d expect to see perched on a German engineer’s nose. Pointed shrouds on both sides hide the new radiators. The standard headlight is more efficient, and optional LED daytime running lights and main headlight are available. There’s new switchgear with single-button turn signals, an optional Multi-Controller on the left grip with preparation for the accessory Navigator IV GPS, and a new instrument panel with standard onboard computer and customizable display. Of course, as with any BMW, numerous accessories are available.

Having ridden thousands of miles on R 1200 GS motorcycles in nearly a dozen countries—solo and two-up, loaded and not—I’ve developed a deep respect for the bike’s well-rounded abilities. No wonder it’s BMW’s top-seller and commands respect the world over. The new, more highly evolved R 1200 GS is better in nearly every way, and in those ways in which it isn’t BMW left well enough alone. Exactly when the new GS will be available is still unknown; we’ll have a full test as soon as possible.

2013 BMW R 1200 GS Specifications

The new R 1200 GS offers better wind protection, more versatile ergonomics and more aggressive styling than its predecessor.

The new R 1200 GS offers better wind protection, more versatile ergonomics and more aggressive styling than its predecessor.

Base Price: $15,800

Price as Tested: $18,870 (Premium Plus Package) – click here for more details on pricing, options packages and colors

Warranty: 3 yrs., 36,000 miles

Website: bmwmotorcycles.com

Engine

Type: Longitudinal, air/liquid-cooled flat opposed twin

Displacement: 1,170cc

Bore x Stroke: 101.0 x 73.0mm

Compression Ratio: 12.5:1

Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.

Valve Adj. Interval: 6,000 miles

Fuel Delivery: Fully sequential electronic fuel injection, 52mm throttle body x 2

Lubrication System: Wet sump, 4.2-qt. cap.

Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated wet slipper clutch

Final Drive: Shaft, 2.91

Electrical

Optional Dynamic ESA, with front and rear shocks built by Sachs, automatically adjusts damping based on riding conditions.

Optional Dynamic ESA, with front and rear shocks built by Sachs, automatically adjusts damping based on riding conditions.

(This article 2013 BMW R 1200 GS – First Ride was published in the April 2013 issue of Rider magazine.)

Ignition: Electronic (BMW Engine Management System or BMS-X)

Charging Output: 620 watts

Battery: 12V 12AH maintenance-free

Chassis

Frame: Tubular steel space frame w/ engine as stressed member & single-sided BMW EVO Paralever swingarm

Wheelbase: 59.3 in

Rake/Trail: 25.5 degrees/3.9 in.

Seat Height: 33.5/34.3 in. (optional low seat, 32.3/33.1 in.; optional low suspension, 31.1/31.9 in.)

Suspension, Front: BMW Telelever w/ 37mm stanchions & single shock, adj. for spring preload & rebound damping w/ 7.5-in. travel & Dynamic ESA (as tested)

Rear: BMW EVO Paralever w/ single shock, adj. for spring preload & rebound damping w/ 7.9-in. travel & Dynamic ESA (as tested)

Brakes, Front: Dual 305mm discs w/ opposed 4-piston radial-mount calipers & semi-integral ABS

Rear: Single 276mm disc w/ 2-piston pin-slide caliper & semi-integral ABS

The EVO Paralever single-sided swingarm was moved to the left side of the bike and the exhaust pipe was moved to the right, making the rider less likely to burn himself on the hot exhaust and giving the bike a more attractive look when parked on the sidestand.

The EVO Paralever single-sided swingarm was moved to the left side of the bike and the exhaust pipe was moved to the right, making the rider less likely to burn himself on the hot exhaust and giving the bike a more attractive look when parked on the sidestand.

Wheels, Front: Cross-spoke aluminum, 3.0 x 19 in. (as tested)

Rear: Cross-spoke aluminum, 4.5 x 17 in. (as tested)

Tires, Front: Tubeless 120/70-R19

Rear: Tubeless 170/60-R17

Claimed Wet Weight: 525 lbs. (90% tank volume, as tested)

Load Capacity: 467 lbs. (as tested)

GVWR: 992 lbs.

Performance

Fuel Capacity: 5.3 gals., last 1.0 gal. warning light on

MPG: NA (89 PON min.)

Estimated Range: NA

Indicated rpm at 60 mph: 3,500

(This article Great Leap Forward: Ridden & Rated 2013 BMW R 1200 GS was published in the April 2013 issue of Rider magazine.)

Comments

21 Responses to “2013 BMW R 1200 GS – First Ride”

  1. John on February 1st, 2013 4:34 pm

    Reading this story is like reading a military technical manual with all the cutesy little code words for something equally boring. Evolution is good in many ways, but BMW is destroying the real reason most folks are still buying this thing: longevity.

    BMW has learned that the high tech LOOK is much more sale-able for what young riders want. But the hefty price tag that goes with the LOOK will keep most real-world buyers away from the showrooms, except of course, for yuppies who LOVE the LOOK.

    Also, all this new hardware goes against the grain of what traditional BMW buyers seek: simplicity and reliability. BMW is grossly guilty of adding complexity for the sole purpose of style, and is betting heavily that the yuppie buyer will unloaded it before things really start to go wrong–and they will in typically very expensive German-like ways.

    Really……a 600+ pound bike for off-road??? Well, anybody who actually owns one would NEVER take it on the dirt and risk breaking something.

    [Reply]

    Andrew Reply:

    “Really……a 600+ pound bike for off-road??? Well, anybody who actually owns one would NEVER take it on the dirt and risk breaking something.”

    Wrong, so very wrong. While this bike is 600 (ish) lbs, it is definitely capable off-road. Sure, you can’t (or shouldn’t) launch up a dune and expect a soft landing, but that’s not the type of riding it was meant for. I own one (2012 model), and I can absolutely say it handles well off-highway.. that is, as long as the rider is an experienced OHV rider. If the only time you’ve been off pavement was when there was construction on the road, and you had to drive over dirt/gravel (in a straight line), then you should probably consider taking it easy the first time off the beaten path. If you are accustomed to dirt bikes (riding standing up, leaning (the bike only; not your body) in turns, leaning forward going uphill and back going down, and importantly – falling correctly so as to reduce/eliminate injury), then it will not be a stretch to figure this bike out. Is it expensive to repair? Yes. Is it expensive to replace the fairing every time it’s scratched? Yes. So don’t replace it, and leave the “battle scars” on the bike. I think you are incorrect when you state “traditional” (by which I’m assuming you mean “older”) BMW owners look for simplicity. Tell me, what BMW motorcycle/car is “simple”? More so than, say, a Kawasaki or a Ford..? No, they are some of the most complex machines on the market. Which, when maintained correctly, increases their longevity.

    [Reply]

    John Reply:

    I have both dirt and road bikes, and the “twain” never meets expectations. For a mfr. that suggests knobby tires would be a good choice, they’d have to hack off at least 200 lbs to keep folks from laughing. And please don’t say that a rider needs to learn how to fall off correctly. You need to learn how to stay upright, which you can’t do on this bike–it’s geometry and ergonomics are all wrong for either mission. It’s all about the look–that’s it.

    A 1998 RS is the last one that I considered to be a simple and reliable machine. The new ones (either version) will never come close to those abilities.

    [Reply]

    Mike Reply:

    I bought a new Water Boxer. I had a 2008. I have been riding offroad for a long time now. If you know how to ride, the bike is a blast off road. Yes they are pricey but what isn’t that is worth having. Go get a KLR or a VStrom and you will get around but not like you will on the GS. If you can not afford to fix it if you break don’t buy it. But don’t put down the bike if you can not. I am speaking from experience, not jealousy. There really is nothing complicated about the motorcycle. I had all the bells and whistles figured out in a short time and they are all very functional. So say what you want. But until you ride one don’t bad mouth it.

    Christopher J Harris Reply:

    ditto

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    Yeesh John, you sound quite offended.

    So don’t buy one, but let others who DO have the money and skill to enjoy one just do so.

    [Reply]

    John Reply:

    I was a design engineer for 32 years and can buy whatever I want. I’ve also owned and ridden many bikes for 40+ years, and know what works and what only appears to be good on the outside.

    Usually folks ask the experts what they think about machines before plunking down their money, but in this case, buy what you think looks good. I’m sure you’ll be very happy with “The Look”.

    [Reply]

    Kristian Reply:

    John, you sound bitter.

    Its spelled EVOLUTION.

    Im 100% sure that BMW want to reach new markets and that the number of “traditional BMW buyers” you mention is decreasing. Do you think BMW want to bild bikes for a decreasing market? I dont think so.

    Still, since you seem to be of one of those old “traditional BMW buyers” there are plenty of others less-tech bikes suitable for you. Get yourself a used 1150 or something and be happy!

    [Reply]

  2. Tom Wilson on February 1st, 2013 10:04 pm

    Being a Mechanical Engineer, I have an orgasm everytime I bath my eyes over each design feature. And like cars and airplanes, motorcycles are lasting much longer these days because continously improved quality is engineered and manufactured in which mitigates the risk of the growing complexity necessary to expand capability.

    [Reply]

  3. Bob on February 2nd, 2013 8:57 pm

    I agree with everything the previous writer said. Like all the premium European marks, if BMW excels at anything, it excels at novel ways of separating customers from enormous amounts of their money (at the time of purchase, and for service/maintenance). In addition, the electronic gimmickry and complexity of an ever-growing number of today’s ‘advanced’ motorcycles makes me nervous. For now, I’ll stick with relatively simple and affordable bikes that provide me with all of the fun without the headaches – bikes like my 2003 Honda Interceptor and 2004 Yamaha FJR1300..

    [Reply]

  4. Morris Bagnall on February 3rd, 2013 12:40 pm

    I find it sad that you did not make mention of the fact that a wonderful journalist died during the Cape test.

    I recognise this was a technical piece but a short paragraph to mark the passing of Kevin Ash would have not been out of place in my opinion.

    [Reply]

    Rider Magazine Reply:

    We have a separate article about Kevin Ash here. http://www.ridermagazine.com/latest-news/moto-journalism-loses-a-legend.htm/

    [Reply]

    Morris Bagnall Reply:

    Thank you for directing me to the article.

    [Reply]

  5. Rob Roth on February 9th, 2013 2:34 pm

    The new BMW 1200 GS sounds wunderbahr-but I still hear the sound
    of-”what went wrong?” and we’ll fix it in two-weeks…and the ever popular-
    …Ca-ching of the cash register. I’ll match my 84 R80 G/S against any
    of the “newbies”. In Italienne…itsa too mucha!

    [Reply]

  6. BMW Motorrad USA Announces Pricing for 2013 R 1200 GS | Rider Magazine on February 20th, 2013 1:25 pm

    [...] Check out Rider magazine’s First Ride review of the 2013 BW R 1200 GS here: http://www.ridermagazine.com/top-stories/2013-bmw-r-1200-gs-first-ride.htm/ [...]

  7. Alpinestars Durban Gore-Tex Boots | Rider Magazine on February 28th, 2013 5:06 pm

    [...] a head-scratcher. Maybe the name sounds cool. But, as it turns out, I was in South Africa—for the BMW R 1200 GS world press launch—while testing a pair of Alpinestars Durban Gore-Tex Boots. Not anywhere near Durban, mind you, [...]

  8. One World, One R 1200 GS Tour USA | Rider Magazine on March 7th, 2013 2:27 pm

    [...] all-new, air/liquid-cooled R 1200 GS, I’ve had a jones to ride the bike again. As I wrote in my first-ride report, “The new, more highly evolved R 1200 GS is better in nearly every way, and in those ways in [...]

  9. Black Inazuma on March 18th, 2013 7:10 am

    Only 600 lbs? I thought by now the old 1200 should be well up to 1000 lbs in weight what with all the lovely technology features and all. Just the kind of bike one can fill nice heavy, steel-framed, huge aluminium boxes with gadget junk and then travel to remote places like Kenya covering about 1000 miles a day on average at the fastest speed one can do without wrecking the rear frame and making the local children scream with excitement as one rides through in a cloud of dust.

    [Reply]

  10. Bruce McKenzie on April 6th, 2013 7:20 am

    I am a lapsed motorcyclist and keen to get back into Adventure Biking. I like both the New BMW 1200 GS and the KTM Adventure.

    However I am concerned about the stories circulating about a possible steering wobble issue when off road at speed with the new BMW (Cape Town launch event). I have no idea if these stories have any validity and feel BMW would never risk launching a bike with any safety concern.

    I hope if true, BMW has addressed the theory that it may be a steering damping issue. Either way for the moment until greater clarity I will take a closer look at the new KTM adventure bike.

    [Reply]

  11. Angeloa on June 12th, 2013 7:48 pm

    Rules are simple….. Never ever buy the first of the series of anything. I made that mistake when BMW released those stupid servo assist brakes.

    Im really keen to buy the new wasser boxer but Im refrained this time around and waiting for all issues to be addressed. What’s more I’m sure this’ll be my fifth and last GS….

    Im sorry for the loss of Kevin Ash, the fact also that the exact details of his accident will never be revealed…very sad.

    [Reply]

  12. Arden Kysely on June 14th, 2013 12:18 pm

    I bought the first F800GS that showed up at my dealer’s and haven’t regretted it for a moment. Yes, it had a few teething problems, but they were all fixed for free and the bike has never let me down. And yes, I had the opportunity to ride the bike at the international press launch before buying, but my dealer had a demo model available not long after the bikes started shipping to the US for those who wanted to give it a try before plunking down their money.

    I’m pretty tired of the “it’s not a dirt bike” argument against the GS’s and other big duallies. They don’t claim to be dirt bikes, but they do allow you to enjoy both off-pavement and street riding on one motorcycle. I rode hundreds of miles off the pavement in Patagonia earlier this year on an R1200GS and had a blast on the bike (see my blog on this site). We used Heidenau K60′s – not quite knobs, but a great all-surface tire.

    Don’t expect to do technical trails on a GS, but do realize they are quite capable of taking you far off the pavement over some very rough and tumble roads — after a long and comfortable ride on the highway. I had two KLRs before moving up to a GS and bought the GS for its ability to make a long ride in comfort (and quickly), then explore the back country for several days. The GS is heavier, but handles better and has taken me to some pretty remote places without a problem.

    If the GS doesn’t float your boat, that’s fine, but don’t diss it just because you don’t “think” it will work as advertised — it does just fine. You just have to learn how to ride one. And while there are plenty that don’t see the dust and mud, there are plenty more that do.

    There are bikes out there for everyone; find one that suits you and enjoy life. That’s why we ride.

    [Reply]

Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!





Name:

Address:

City:

State:

ZIP: