BMW R1200GS Adventure
2015. 1,170cc, DOHC, air/liquid-cooled, horizontally-opposed (boxer), adventure bike
Engine: Tough. Oodles of grunt. Power without corruption.
Stability: It's like a gyroscope. Spin it up. Take a nap.
Comfort: Take the long way anywhere.
Versatility: It's a clever compromise, but it is a compromise.
Braking: An iron fist in a velvet glove.
Cruise control: On a long haul, you'll learn to love this feature.
Rider modes: Push button motorcycling.
Build quality: Excellent.
Finish: Nine out of ten, but needs regular TLC.
Shaft drive: Long distance reliability.
Suspension: As good as it currently gets.
Headlight: Powerful LEDs promote fast night rides.
BMW R1200GS: Cons
Height: It's a divisive bike. It divides the tall from the short.
Weight: 570lbs wet. Enough said?
Complexity: Your life in BMW's electronics.
Looks: Technically beautiful. Aesthetically ugly.
Rider modes: Welcome to lazy biking.
Parking: It's awkward to shift in tight spaces/sheds/garages.
Maintenance: Throw away your spanners. It's complex.
Cleaning: You'll need a jet wash and a lot of patience.
▲ BMW R1200GS for 2015. Theoretically, there has to come a point when BMW engineers run out of ways to make this bike significantly better without some radical design changes. But so far, it's found a very comfortable niche, and despite some fierce competition it's the leader in its class. But it's still too tall and heavy for many, and it ain't cheap at between £12,000 - £15,000 depending on which model you opt for.
▲ BMW R1200GS. Said to be the first production motorcycle with LED headlights. But that's not the bike's only claim to fame. It's just the latest. We liked it from a practical, utilitarian point of views. But it's maybe a little too refined for our tastes, and it isn't our first choice in this sector. What is? We prefer Triumph if only for the feel of that motor.
▲ BMW has been working the Boxer twin concept for decades. The firm must now be the world's leading exponent of the flat twin engine, at least as far as its application to motorcycling is concerned. These latest air/liquid-cooled lumps are currently as refined as it gets. But some feel that they're a little too refined and lack the grit and grunt of some other engines. Our advice? Give these bikes the longest test ride you can. A couple of hours in the saddle will probably sort it out one way or the other. And make sure you try them at high speed and check your eyelids for droop. Some bikes keep you awake. And some don't.
▲ For a bike as wide as this 2014 model, the R1200GS Adventure is actually pretty light-footed. BMW has certainly done what it can to keep the weight and saddle height down. But it's still tall and heavy. So okay, on the move that's not a problem. But sooner or later you've got to come down to earth. Keep it in mind.
▲ For 2016, the BMW R1200GS Adventure has been mildly updated with this TripleBlack Special Edition with an Agate Grey frame and matching engine, gearbox and swinging arm. It looks mean, but it's a big pussycat when you want it to be.
2015 BMW R1200GS Adventure - Specifications
Mixture control/engine management: Electronic intake pipe injection
Emission control: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-3
Maximum speed: 140mph
Charging system: Three-phase 510 watt alternator
Front suspension travel: 210mm / 220mm
Rear suspension: Single-sided swinging arm, BMW Motorrad Paralever, pre-load and rebound adjustable
Rear rim: 4.50 x 17-inch (cross spoke wheels)
Front tyre: 120/70-R19
Front brake: Twin 305 mm, 4-piston radial calipers with floating discs (with switchable ABS)
Length: 88.6-inches (2,255mm)
2015 BMW R1200GS Adventure - Prices
Two years on (2016), BMW was offering this motorcycle at around £13,000. Expensive, but still good value for this class leader. That was the base price, and once again you'd be wanting to shell out for accessories. A luggage kit was offered for around £1,350. However, you'd need luggage racks for that at maybe £600.
For 2017, the £13,000 (or so) base price has been held. BMW has in recent years been facing fierce competition from the likes of KTM, Ducati, Aprilia and Triumph (not necessarily in that order). But the Germans have been pretty much holding their ground, and the GS is still viewed by many as the one to beat, not necessarily in all areas, but just generally speaking.
2016 model: TE (Touring Edition), full luggage, cruise, etc, 2,600 miles, £14,500
2015 model: TE (Touring Edition), 28,500 miles, £12,000
2012 model: 28,000 miles, plenty of accessories and luggage, £8,400
2011 model: 35,000 miles, extras, Touratech luggage, £7,199
2010 model: 20,000 miles, accessories and luggage, £8,500
Note that these are asking prices, not necessarily selling prices. But with these figures, we wouldn't expect too much room for haggling. The prices refer to bikes in generally good all-round condition, ready to roll. And note too that we're offering these numbers in good faith as a general guide only. As ever, do you own in-depth research.
BMW R1200GS Adventure
review & road test
Copyright Sump Publishing 2015