Feel the ride
  • IT FEELS “NEW” – BMW R1200 GS
  • IT FEELS “NEW” – BMW R1200 GS
  • IT FEELS “NEW” – BMW R1200 GS
  • IT FEELS “NEW” – BMW R1200 GS
  • IT FEELS “NEW” – BMW R1200 GS
  • IT FEELS “NEW” – BMW R1200 GS
  • IT FEELS “NEW” – BMW R1200 GS
  • IT FEELS “NEW” – BMW R1200 GS
  • IT FEELS “NEW” – BMW R1200 GS
  • IT FEELS “NEW” – BMW R1200 GS


There are models that have undoubtedly marked the automotive history, so when a Brand decides to change the basic characteristics of these models we hear it clear and loud.

However, funny enough, sometimes these historic changes come almost unnoticed.

I am sure that if I’d speak about the new water-cooled engine of an historic German vehicle, that built a good part of its heritage on the air-cooled boxer engine, then you’d think about the 996 generation of the Porsche 911 that broke the tradition back in 1998. However, in 2013 the history almost repeated itself with the “new” BMW R1200GS. As Porsche did, the BMW GS also built its thirty-years lasting reputation on a famous German air-cooled boxer engine.

Unlikely the 996 Porsche though, the new engine of the BMW Motorrad flagship didn’t make that much noise when it finally came to the market.

Maybe this revolution wasn’t advertised by BMW as such of a big deal since for the brand it simply wasn’t, if we consider all the new categories of different engines and classes that have been launched in the past few years and have never been part of the Brand’s history.

And again maxi-enduros are nowadays the strongest motorbikes trend, like SUV and CUV for cars so if we consider the market target of the BMW R1200GS, we cannot solely rely on actual Customers. The market is actually full of new and old competitors that generation after generation are becoming better and better. And even though the BMW managed to stay right on the top of its segment, it had to offer something more than its name, badge and heritage, something new.

The water-cooled boxer is actually almost completely new from top to bottom, bore and stroke are still exactly the same of the previous air cooled 1200 but the rest, from the brand new twin cams heads to the single block that now hold both gearbox and the all new wet multiplate slider clutch unit, is a league ahead from the old one.

On the other hand all Manufacturers know well the lesson “you never change a winning team”, so at the first glance the bike hasn’t changed a bit. Then looking at the details you realise that the general lines remained the same but somehow the bike is all new. We spoke about the engine, the clutch and the gearbox, also the tubular chassis, the Telelever brand new Evo Paralever have been updated.

Enough said, now it’s time to ride.
The sun is shining the asphalt is warm and the road is the right one.
I sit and I instantly feel a urge to put thousands of kilometres behind my shoulders. The position let you feel you’re in the right place for a long cruise. Weirdly enough last time I had this feeling was when few years back I got to test a Ducati GT1000.

We know the GS is undeniably a globetrotter but as it grew to this latest form it got packed with gizmos that made a lot more of it. The new ESA electronic suspensions and of the engine management allow to radically change its character and let it feel now a cruiser, then a maxi-enduro with excellent off road abilities and then again a sport bike for crazy-solo excursions.

There will be a time and a place to test every setting, but today is a good day and I want to test this R1200GS in its most “dynamic” form. That’s the most brutal engine setting you can select and it goes hand to hand with the ESA set on hard. Yep, I said brutal because that’s how it feels.
Tips on the footrests and all my body weight pushed ahead, in a position you’d expect to use on another kind of bike, well this huge machine really doesn’t care and relentlessly pushes up in the air whatever is above it.

First and second gear are a proper torque rage and you could keep it up, even through third and fourth but then it’s when rationality stops and we need to get down to a more composed reality.
That was just a “starter” that got me ready and excited too, for the “main” that was about to come.

Straights are those things that bother a biker between a corner and another. So corners are what we’re looking for also because we know that a great quality and advantage of the boxer engine is a very low centre of gravity that is ideal to “dance” between corners. Given this expectation, this new GS will also have to deliver something more from all the technology and innovations it is packed with.

It can definitely dance and the astonishing smooth torque deliver, even with the dynamic mode selected, helps quite a lot to avoid gear changes. I can just select fourth and use it down from a thousand rpm or up to 9000, but the ideal range is definitely between five and eight thousand, where with my right hand I can either have a rewarding and sleek ride or a more aggressive one.

Today I like this last one, I really want to bring this BMW to the extreme, out of its ideal territory and use it as I’d do with a RR superbike, hard on the throttle and hard on the brakes. In fact, enough I said about the brand new engine, strong of 125hp, but I also must mention the new monoblock front radial Brembo four pot calipers that work on 305mm floating disks. So if for a moment I forget about the weight, well above 250kg, and consider that here I’m dealing with a proper fun bike.

Just few corners and I get all the feeling I need to start pushing hard, it is an open book this bike, it shows you its limits whatever you want to do with it. Just the aforementioned new Telelever requires few moments of adaptation, since it doesn’t dive as a “normal” fork, under braking.

This feeling doesn’t take anything away from the whole experience, the fact is that I’m enjoying the moment almost as I would with a sport bike, I get to use the knee sliders on a public road and that alone is a statement for the ride.

We new that this new GS was going to perform as the class leader it is, if tested off-road or on motorway long journeys, but we also knew that the new more powerful engine had another new aim for those new more sporty competitors that came to bother its kingdom.

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