BMW R 1200 GS review

Posted: 11 Oct 2012

The adventure bike market has exploded over the past four years, with every major manufacturer now having at least one adventure model in its range. We can thank BMW for this because, over the years, it has continually refined it’s GS (Gelande Sport) bikes to be practical, fuel efficient, punchy and reliable – all the requisites required of a bike to be tagged truly multi-functional; which is exactly what the R 1200 GS is.

The GS’s tall and comfortable seat height is balanced with just enough fairing screen to be practical at any speed – and adjustable to accommodate short and tall riders. With built in pannier mounts on the rear subframe, and the additional facility to mount a topbox, the GS is perfect for lugging enough everyday items to make riding holidays a genuine pleasure.

The BMW is not the fastest or most agile of today’s adventure-themed bikes, but its air/oil-cooled flat-twin is full of character that can pull heavy loads from walking speed with ease and keep up with Autobahn traffic on their way home from work. With the right person at the bars it can also put up a good display on a Sunday run with the bike club. Not bad going for a shaft-driven ‘touring machine’ with aerodynamics of a breeze block.

The ride quality of the suspension is perfectly acceptable, but on our test GS it had the £650 option of Automatic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) to enable suspension properties to be adjusted via a simple bar-mounted switch – simplicity in its purest form. But that’s the beauty of the GS: it is simple in styling and in working conditions but oh so effective at getting from point A to B.

With GS aftermarket accessories swamping most accessory catalogues, the GS can be made very personal and tailored to suit your riding requirements. Want to put adventure in your life? The R 1200 GS is, quite rightly, the grand master that will show you the way.

+ points – exceptional workhorse, known quantity
- points – dated performance, dated styling

Price: £11,595 (basic model)
Power: 110bhp, 88.5ft lbs
Kerb weight: 229kg
Seat height: 850/870mm

Colours: Silver, blue 

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