229 KG or 505lbs (Road Ready)
Wind Noise (Much better on the adventure version)
Full ReviewThe first thing I thought when I reached the end of the road on BMW's best selling R1200GS was, what am I doing on this vibey, big, downright weird motorcycle? The second thing I thought after the first corner was....this is a remarkable machine.
The 1200cc boxer twin punches horizontally left and right and if you are not used to riding, twins can be a little disconcerting at a standstill. It feels like you are sat on a twenty year old classic, not a state of the art, piece of Bavarian engineering.
Open the throttle and the ample torque propels you away and you soon forget about the vibes and start enjoying the unique riding experience that is the GS.
The 105 hp engine is more than willing and the 09 model update revs more freely than the last model. It also benefits from a smoother gearbox, moving away from the classic BM kerclunk! It is still there but is strangely more reassuring than annoying.
I have never had a problem with the "funny" BMW indicator set up, using individual switches for left and right, but due to constant criticism (mainly from spoilt bike journos!) BMW are changing these for the conventional Japanese arrangement on their new models (K13/F800R) range and will change them on the next 2010 GS update. For the record I think they work well as do the excellent heated grips.
This model was equipped with Dynamic and Premium Pack, so basically every option including ABS, ASC and ESA. The Electronic Suspension Adjustment works like a dream, just press and hold the button and it sets the bike up for solo, solo with luggage and pillion. It also has off road settings which I didn't use, but should you wish to take your Â£11k + toy down a ditch, it's there.
Once set up the bike feels taught and nimble, belying it's 229kg road ready weight. Tip it into a corner and it picks it's line and stays solid, even over bumpy surfaces, fire it out with some enthusiasm and the ASC (Traction) cuts in and pulls down any silly front wheel nonsense. Flick the ESA onto sports and everything stiffens up. You may not believe me, but hunting down GSXR's and the like on B roads is easy and all the more rewarding! Switch onto comfort setting and the steering slows down, making long distance motorway easy.
One minor annoyance was the screen created buffeting above 50 mph, maybe an Adventure upgrade is required?
Despite being ridden hard the GS' on board computer showed a return of 54 mpg, not bad under the conditions.
If you are looking for something to take a pillion on, have a blast, not do silly top end speeds and use more than 3 months of the year; if you can get past the funky looks, the slight lack of passion (it's no Ducati sat on your drive), than the GS could be the machine for you. It is currently one of the best selling bikes in the country and at the pricier end, that must stand for something.