Everybody knows the R1200GS, or at least everybody should. If you are South African, chances are you have seen a R1200GS before or have at least one this past week. There is a reason why they are so popular and I’m going to tell you why, in a minute or so.
The previous model 1200GS we rode was the single overhead cam variant back in 2009. While this was great and the package was still very good, BMW stepped up the game a little more so and upgraded the wonderful boxer motor to a double overhead cam. This gives the bike 81kw and 120nm. The power is still very linear, although the engine does not feel as lazy anymore. The new engine feels snappy and there is plenty power available everywhere throughout the rev range. I must say that going with the DOHC setup really brought the boxer into the 21st century and up to par, in terms of excitement with the other brands.
The 1200Gs is still a very good motorcycle despite its size. The boxer engine gives it a really low centre of gravity and you will only feel this after riding a few trails with it. The telelever and paralever makes gravel roads a breeze and the anti-dive system is really something to behold. I thoroughly enjoyed the ESA (electronic suspension adjustment) system. I could switch from comfort to normal and to sport with the push of a button and believe me, comfort mode activated on a corrugated gravel road is like driving in a Rolls Royce. The ride is soft and forgiving. Traction control and ABS is standard, but can also be disabled. ABS can only be disabled while the bike is stationary, but traction control can be activated and deactivated while moving. There is also a sport mode which allows a little bit of tire spin, and obviously a lot of tire spin with it disabled. If the mode is enabled, it will cut the power as soon as wheel slip is detected. It will also make sure the front wheel stays on terrafirma by cutting the power as soon as it starts to lift. It’s a really good system and will be very helpful to new riders starting out on gravel riding. I can just imagine what traction control will do for riders on a wet, slippery road.
The front 110/19 and the rear 150/17 are BMW mag wheels and are fitted with Tourance EXP 2 Tires. They prove to work very well on the tar but, as you can guess, struggled on rough gravel and off-road. The first thing I would do on a motorcycle like this is fit a set of Mitas or Heidenau 50/50 tires. They usually give the same sort of km per set.
After spending a good amount of time with the 1200GS I understand why there are so many on the roads. It’s really a brilliant motorcycle and is currently the benchmark for adventure touring. I’m really excited to test the Honda Cross Tourer a little later this month and see how it compares!
The R1200GS is available nationwide and a suggested retail is R 137,950.00.