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BMW R 1200 GS Adventure

BMW R 1200 GS Adventure

4.4 from 12 reviews

Best bike I have ever owned!

I purchased a 2017 R1200GS Rallye Low in June 2017 (delivered August 2017) from Southbank Motorcycles, as an upgrade to the R1200R. I was familiar with the motor, but wanted more wind protection and different accessories, as my riding has gone more towards touring. I don't go off road, but the GS is a very capable touring bike and so much lighter than a RT.
The bike is now accessorised, has done 11,000km in just under a year and has not missed a beat.
Despite all the horror stories out there, it is a great bike and I would purchase it again.

Date PurchasedJun 2017

A perfect bike made better than before.

This is my 3rd BMW GS motorcycle I purchased new. I travelled to Melbourne to purchase it and paid cash. The dealer offered and instant $2,000 off the retail price. I travelled to Ballarat, & Leeton before returning to the dealer for it's first service. No cost at all!! On the Spirit to get home & the bike has remained completely problem free. It loves dirt roads as I do. It's a bit heavy to take in the trees and over steep terrain but for the cruising and back road riding I do, it's perfect for me. 2 up, great. I love my new BMW and could not fault it at all.

Date PurchasedDec 2016

Amazing Versitility and a Dam Good Bike!

I was very hesitant when purchasing an Adventure bike not because it was a bike bore adventurer but just because there are so many good bikes on the market! I test rode a few of my top picks but i wasn't comfortable and impressed until i took out the F800GS by BMW. Now i know it's not the same but then and there i found BMW were the right one for me. (So i purchased the R1200GSA Triple Black).

Everything about the bike i love! From the comfortable seating, to the manoeuvrability and Agile for the size of the machine. Offroad it's a dream and i can follow any road with confidence that im prepared. Of course im not going to chase 450cc through the canyons but it works for me.

I love the torque range through the all points of the RPM. the bike just wont die and will pull away in any situation without hesitation! When you whack it into Dynamic mode with hard on the ESA then the bike really comes alive! Ive been chasing 650cc Super Sports around town and through some corners and not letting up on them! (They murder me in the high revs but still its fun).

Now ive been having some issues with the Quick shifter but ive found its more of a disagreement between myself and the bike. I had Motorrad reset the learning capabilities of the quick shift and it was working brilliantly then but now im getting mild cases of the old issues again, which was just rarely not changing from 3-4 up and down. I think the software updates need some few tunes again.

It is a big heavy bike but thats no issue on road!!! God i weigh in at 75kg and i have no issues manoeuvring it! (Make sure your tall enough though!)

Anyway it is so comfortable on big trips with all the gear on and honestly sometimes i forget the gear is on! Its been very reliable for me and i definitely will be holding onto it for sometime!

12xxxkm in 6 months is big for me!

And dam its a sexy bike! (Prepare for many people looking at it)

Date PurchasedApr 2017

Class leader - maybe not Off-Road!

I’ve just sold my GS and did 40,000k on it - only to go out and buy the new BM GS Adventure, because I love these bikes, – until I test rode the Trumpy and the Super Tenere . Went off the Trumpy early, as the weight of the thing put me off.

I'm only interested in the bigger adventure bikes as they offer more load carrying capacity, and comfort over long distance. ie Sydney to Cameron Corner and the like.

To my surprise I think the Super Tenere is the better bike for what I do. Am privileged to have been able to spend a day riding the 2016 BM and a 2015 Super Ten on the same roads and tracks. The following is my criteria, as to why I will likely buy the Super Ten over the GS. It might be a mistake - and I may go back to the BM - but that's another 40,000 k away.

Most of my analysis is based on whats best on dirt roads and single track, because for me, the adventure really starts when you hit the dirt.

1) Dirt roads and some single track – I could predict the Super Ten's handling better, and therefore rode faster with more confidence. Its really an obvious difference to a dirt rider to me! Was the suspension better on the Super Ten? - maybe only just. Maybe its Yamaha’s unprecedented reputation with dirt bike design coming through. The Super Ten just feels more "dirt" then the BM to me. Mad Mick the guy I rode with, also agreed. Only negative could be slightly less ground clearance on the Super 10?

2) On road comfort and performance – I found they were on par with each other. The Super maybe needs a different seat – could just be me though.

3) Power and torque favored the BM but I could not really notice this on dirt or road. On the dirt we had about a dozen “off the line drags” The Super Ten generally edged out the BM. The Yam just felt more low down torquey. We judged the tyres to be of fairly equal off road capability too. This really surprised! We didn't get to drag testing on the tar - perhaps we should have?

4) Electronics – generally on par with each bike. Couldn’t turn ABS off on the Super Ten but the 10’s abs seems to be set up still to skid and dig in, so I felt the ABS actually worked on dirt. Both have heaps of "on the fly" suspension settings heated grips, cruise control etc etc etc.

5) The one thing I do like about the super ten when it come to suspension settings. They use terms like "hard", "soft", and then there are increments of hardness and softness. So as an experienced rider I can set my bike up the way I would like using these increments. The super Ten remembers these settings as a base line to refine from on the fly. I am not so happy with the trend where you just select "offroad' "sport", "cruise" that preset to BM's idea of what is correct. Riders that set suspension this way probably don't fully understand or feel what settings are actually optimum - they just accept "off road" or "sport" as the answer to all suspension questions! (cause BMW said!)

6) I am led to believe the load carry capacity is the same as the GS. I could see the Elect Suspension has some very heavy settings.

I have a fair bit of competitive off road experience, and feel the Super Ten is better off road. Are we stuck in a rut where we just keep buying the GS cause that's what we do?? I almost did until I rode the Super Ten hard in the Aussie bush, and was quite surprised.

Date PurchasedFeb 2015

325,000 k's and still strong

2008 R1200GSA
PROS
My GS has just clicked over 320,000 ks and is seriously in as good a condition as it was when new. Only repairs were new valve stems seals, new clutch and rear wheel seal.
Averages 5.3 lphk with a 50/50 mix of urban and highway (commute 150k's per day).
You can drive it like a tractor but when needed or wanted the power is great.
We ride two up and travel on ours and it suits that role perfectly.
CONS
This thing is BIG. At 50, 5'11" and 85kg I struggle with it sometimes. Once you are moving it feels fine, but slow speed and stationary its BIG and HEAVY.
It is great for unsealed roads like national parks and forests and 'getting away from it all" but I always have the feeling or worry that if I do get stuck I am not getting out in a hurry. I am an experienced dirt rider and this is the first bike I have felt that way. My wife and I are going touring OS by bike in 5yrs and I am not 100% sure this is the bike to take. Being a little older by then I wonder if the size is simply too much.
If I were buying another big adventure bike I would seriously consider the F800GS instead.
But overall, I love the 1200GSA. If you are thinking of buying one organise a LOOOONG test ride. You are forking out serious $$$ so push the point. You want a few hours on one.

Date PurchasedJun 2008

The only bike to have

This thing is the Land Rover Defender of the bike world...it's tough, goes anywhere and bloody cool. 90% of the time this thing can keep up with sports bikes as GS riders can generally out ride the heavily tanned, immaculately dressed, meticulously preened, beautifully plucked boys who are expensively kitted out with leather jackets stamped with 'Ducati'. Sportsbike riders sat on a GS wouldn't even be able to keep the bike upright when static let alone ride the thing.
If you have gonads the size of tractor back wheels and you can get the front wheel up on a GS, you will look like one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse; it resembles a huge thoroughbred beast when you pop a huge mono.

On this thing you can ride through Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan & a*%e endoftheworldistan without a hiccup. You can ride up steps, ride down steps, plough through mud, eat up gravel tracks and feel confident doing it, pack 2 tonnes of camping gear on it & head bush, hoof along the motorway at a comfortable 150kph (don't forget to bend your back number plate up ;) On this thing you can conquer the world and look ace doing it.
Buy one....now.
Big, tough, surprisingly fast. Eats long distances. Fuel tank holds the same amount of fuel as the Amoco Cadiz.
Don't drop it otherwise your spacehoppers will be popping through your backside when you try to lift it. It overheats in the summer...which is strange considering it was designed to chug around in the desert. It leaks oil from most gaskets. It rattles a lot and the mirrors constantly shake loose.


5 years on and still going like cut snake!

I first wrote about this bike two years ago. She is now 5 years old and is still traveling reliably around the tracks. Recently returned from Trip to Isle of Man and GB and the old girl never missed a beat. Whether I was trying to emulate the legends at the TT at warp speed on the roads around the Isle of Man or taking it ever so steady on the roads of Ireland and Scotland with the child bride on the back she was steady and reliable.

The only major changes I have made is replacing the rear disc ( buy it overseas at half the price of Aus) and the fitting of Wilber's ESA (WESA) because the standard setup just wasn't right for the two of us and our gear.

The WESA has breathed new life into the old girl and finally eliminated the issue with the mud flinger bottoming out and breaking every time we went over really rough roads or tracks. best $2000 I have ever spent. 80000kms on her now and really looking forward to the next 80000.

Have averaged 5.6litres per 100kms over that 80000kms and that is heavily laden most of the time.
ability to adapt to heavy or light loads on fast or slow tracks. overall smoothness and comfort outstanding for two up travel
She is heavy to pick up. The design of the mudflinger is rubbish. Take it off and throw it away!


Versatile all-rounder

I am 6'6" tall, so this bike is great for me!

I love the flexibility, being able to tour bitumen and dirt roads. I've even ridden in through rough bush track on dual-purpose tyres.

You can load up a heap of gear and do some big distances. Others may criticise the weight, but with smaller bikes you can't carry as much, and it won't be as comfortable. Horses for courses - this is a bike to ride around Australia on.

The twin cam motor is a vast improvement over the 2009 model (much to the annoyance of a mate who has a 2009 GSA). Lively motor and fantastic sounding exhaust.
magic engine and exhaust note!
accessory prices


Go anywhere - Almost!

"She likes it rough. And with a firm hand and confident master, this trusty steed will see you through many adventures - just don't let her see any fear in your eyes, or she just might turn on you."

I purchased my bike 2nd-hand, a Jan09 model, with full options (ESA, ABS, Traction Control, Tyre pressure sensors). It had 11,800kms on it, and had already seen some descent dirt action.

Although a 267kg machine when fully fuelled (33L)l, it rides surprisingly light on road, as the centre of gravity is quite low. Seating ergonomics is very comfortable (I am 6"2', 100kg), especially for the longer road hauls.

Road riding: For best handling, the suspension settings are best kept to the lower, tighter ride positions. It turns in well, and can be ridden almost as hard as a road bike through corners. The engine behaves more like a diesel - very torquey, not designed for high-revving power - this really comes into play on the dirt. The front brakes are very powerful, giving good bite as soon as the callipers start biting. The screen is too low for my height, so I have put on a Wunderlich screen extender, which is fantastic. The lower screen setting does cause some fouling with the mirror stems at full lock - more of a dirt-riding issue. Lighting is good at night, especially with the help of the driving lights. The pillion seat is nice and thick too. There's also ample room for lots of luggage (I have the BMW Aluminium top box).

Off-Road: First rule of thumb going off-road with these is "ABS off!", second is "Traction control off!" On dirt, you will rely heavily on the ability to have wheel slip - both under braking, and under acceleration. This bike eats up the smoother dirt roads with ease. Once you get used to the subtle squirming going on underneath you as it finds traction through the loose gravel, you can sit at reasonably good speeds - allowing of course for longer braking distances. When getting into the more technical riding, you do become more aware of it's weight, especially when trying to paddle your way though soft sand, or rough rocky sections. These are times you don't want it on the highest suspension setting - and you must push yourself to learn to stand on the pegs when doing this more technical stuff, as the bike will be a lot more stable. When travelling with a reasonable load (panniers, swag etc), make sure you're not on your own - if this bike goes down, loaded, you'll definitely need two of you to pick it up. Which brings me to the next point - the crash bars do a fantastic job. They protect the bike well when it goes down. The only thing I would suggest here, is if you're planning some rough riding, take the driving lights off, because they are pretty vulnerable, and it can get costly replacing the plastic housing all the time. (I'm looking at mounting ming OVER the light bar, not under as standard).

Tyres - mine arrived with the Karoo (T) knobbies on, and were pretty worn. I now have a Conti TKC80 on the front, and Heidenau K60 Scout on the rear. So far, I'm very happy with the combination - I prefer to be set up more for dirt than road. Can't comment on the more road-biased tyres.

I use the Enduristan Monsoon panniers (total 60L), and a combination of the 10L/20L Kreiga bags. I don't use the aluminum top box for longer off-road trips (my swag goes there), but instead more for commuting.

Being tall, I find I need risers for when I'm standing on the pegs. It gets tiring on your back, when riding on the pegs, having to bend down a little all day. If you're not going on dirt, then this may not be an issue - but then again, why would you buy one of these and NOT go finding some dirt tracks.

Overall, if you're going to be taking this off-road, and you're not tall, and strong, with a dash of aggressiveness, and short on hesitation (or be willing to learn these virtues), then perhaps go for something lighter and smaller, like the F800GS. To use this bike only for road riding would be such a shame, given so much of its design has gone towards it's off-road cred.

Whilst it appears somewhat agricultural, especially when parked against my mate's Moto Guzzi Stelvio, you soon realise that this is by design - she's not meant to look 'shiny and pretty' - she's a work-horse meant to do a job. The more covered in mud they are, the more at home they look.

Would I buy one again? Absolutely.
Reliability, torque, off-road ability, luggage volume able to be carried, overall comfort, looks dirt-ready.
Sheer size if you're not tall & physically strong.

2 comments
Really good review and helpful. Thanks.I agree with everything you wrote,i recently rode around oz a lot of off rode on a gsa, its a fantastic bike..

OK

B.M.W won,t admit there could be anything wrong with there bikes or there computer/technicians . Has anyone had similiar problems
good on the road and forest tracks,but nothing to heavy
2009 model Had problems with the engine labouring when under load,e.g your in 3rd and open the throttle going up a hill the engine labours and is pinking . B.M.W say its o.k !


Bad

Electrical system (EWS) immobilisation activates requiring dealer contact. Risk of bike not starting anytime, anywhere is a constant concern and limits the freedom this bike is built for.
Everything mentioned in all other positive reviews
Electrical system not reliable.

2 comments
Rode mine around Australia for four months with a mate on same bike, mostly hundreds of kay’s from anywhere, only time it stopped was when I drowned it. Drained water, changed oil, cranked it over, replaced plugs 10,000k later still all good. You were V.unlucky. My fuel level sender unit on my 2009 GS / A needed replacing @ 23490 klms , was told this is a common fault in my model . $350.00 later , all good , thats the only drama ive had from new . These are great machines that you can do big klms on loaded up every day , day in day out . Ride safe .

Excellent

The best bike ever built
Good because you can carry stuff like a truck.
Good for trips
Good on petrol

engine pinging under load especially with petrol 95 from BP or CALTEX. I tried with 98 octane from mobil and is way better

1 comment
Your right there what you say about the pinging under load using a lower octain , I have a 2009 GS/A , and always try to run it on the highest octane as they run so much better , and get better fuel economy . Ride safe .

Questions & Answers

Hi Guys I currently own a R1200RT. It is a awesome ride on a highway. ... but i stay in town now and the bike is really like a bus. Im planning to tour Australia for 6 months in January. I am thinking to switch over to a GS1200. But will it tow a trailer as good as my trusty RT. Is the ride also comfy like a RT. Has anyone rode both and can tell me what they think. Cheers Battleaxe
3 answers
Depending on the model of course, it is basically the same engine so....if you want to tow a trailer, nothing much will change except the setup. Yes, I have owned both and they they largely do what they are designed to do. The RT is a great mile muncher as long as it is bitumen predominately. I had a GSA and rode it across Russia and Europe and found it to be absolutely ideal in everything except mud. It carries the world easily and is pretty happy on dirt tracks, tight terrain and autobahns. In hindsight, the GSA just gave me more options but it was a bit harder for my wife to get onto. Go with the GSA for trekking around AUS!I haven't ridden the RT before, but I'd say you're basically running the same machine between your legs, so little difference in towing is likely. The bottom line is if you plan to go off-road or not (i.e. more than compact dry dirt roads). I'm 6"2, and use a screen extender, along with an AirHawk seat for longer touring, and I'm comfy all day. Having said that, I mostly ride my GSA off-road (probably in places a 1200 has no right to be!). Off-road option? Definitely the GS/A Sealed/easy dirt option? Either Keep in mind, the GSA will chew through rear knobby tires pretty quick(about 4-6K kms, depending on riding style/surfaces), so if you're only allowing for 'occasional' off-road, then stick with an 80-20 tyre for the range (Heidenau Scouts are worth a look too). Given you'll be towing, I expect you'll have a reasonable budget for rear tyres anyway. Perhaps figure you're itinerary/destinations first, then decide what bike you'll need. Otherwise, just go straight for the GS/A and that way you'll have more options. Having done a lot of outback travel myself, I'd definitely go the GSA...........absolutely!Thanks everyone I appreciate all the valuable comments. I know the motor is the same........ i was actually referring to the weight and menouvering of the bike itself . But i get the picture it is a great bike. I would definitely take the GSA for a test ride. Will let you know what I think. Cheers Battleaxe

planning a trip in Simpson désert with a 1200gsa, have soft sand experience with motorcycle half this size but never with a 1200! how this truck respond to soft sand dunes? do y ou need to reduce tyre pressure ?
3 answers
If you are planning to do the French line Rd, you'll be cresting hundreds of soft chewed up sand dunes. I've seen legends like Miles Davis and Darryl Beattie struggle with this big bike on that sort of stuff - and that's without luggage! Honestly, I think it would be an extremely difficult challenge, especially in 35degree heat, trying to ride it though that kind of stuff. If you had a backup vehicle, (to carry your luggage), and at least one other person ready to lift you out of the softer sand where you've dug in, then go for it!! Go to my YouTube site (search for 'gonescratchin') - the last video uploaded shows me dug in to the rear hub on the beach, and that's on sand much firmer than you'll be dealing with. (In case the link works, go here - http://youtu.be/cRe8xzLb5T8). I don't drop my tyre pressures below about 23psi, to protect the rims of such a heavy bike.Hi Andre, go with a lighter bike is the short answer. The 1200GSA is a handful to keep picking up. On the bright side you could become really good at lifting the bike up or just take a lot of friends to help. I am wrestling with the same concern on a trip across the desert next year!Andre, almost forgot, yes you will need to drop the pressure to about 20lbs so take a pump!

Details

R 1200 GS Adventure
Price (RRP)17000
Release dateMay 2007

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