One of the best-looking versions of the legendary BMW R1200GS, just happens to be one of the best to ride too.
Looking like it just stepped out of a BMW Dakar Rally promo video in its bright blue paint and BMW Motorsport colours, the BMW R1200GS Rallye is the toughest looking version yet of the top-selling R1200GS.
It’s designed to be a go-anywhere version of the GS, but not quite as intimidating for some riders as the R1200GS Adventure, which has super tall suspension, 890mm seat height and mammoth long distance 30 litre petrol tank.
Featuring the same basic chassis and engine as the standard GS, the Rallye uses a new restyled front end shared by all the 2017 BMW R1200GS models and a shorter screen so you’re less likely to head butt it when riding off-road. It also comes with radiator guards, off-road spec footrests with a wider grill to better suit off-road or adventure boots and provide more grip in the dirt. There’s also removable rear passenger pegs, a short seat that’s adjustable with either an 840mm or 860mm seat height. For comparison, the seat height of a lofty GS Adventure comes in at 890mm.
Rallye buyers also get plastic guards to protect the frame near where your boots rub, hand guards, black wheels with wire spokes, an engine sprayed black rather than silver and pannier fittings. And let us not forget that glorious BMW Motorsport colour scheme.
Confusingly, the Rallye colour scheme is available to order on a standard GS too if you don’t want all the Rallye extras.
As you might have guessed, to ride, it’s every bit an R1200GS. The seat is great for everyday use, but if I was doing distance then I’d also buy a comfort seat for longer trips.
No surprises there, but the seat is narrower so your legs feel closer together (a good thing) when standing up on the bike to ride trails, and those pegs should be fitted to every BMW R1200GS. There’s loads of room to move your feet around and they are so grippy compared to standard pegs.
The motor is the same grunty boxer twin that makes 125bhp, with loads of low-down grunt and engine modes that turn it from lazy lump to near sports bike in Dynamic Pro. For a standard bike on a standard exhaust that conforms to every piece of legislation any boffins can throw at BMW, it sounds fantastic too, with a real rasp at 7000rpm.
As standard, the Rallye bikes get a free option of fitting the Enduro Pro plug-in. This gives the bike Dynamic Pro or Enduro Pro options, allowing riders to dial in differing levels of ABS, traction-control and power levels depending on their requirements.
The ABS Pro mode is so good that you can pull the front brake lever fully hard even in gravel and the bike will stop quickly. Off-road, the GS is so accomplished, especially when riding on the optional Metzeler Karoo 3 tyres that the rider is the only thing holding it back. The standard suspension just works, or you can spec it up with semi-active suspension when the bike is ordered.
On the road, the ABS system is incredible. You can work the brakes as hard as you like and only a pro rider would ever feel it kicking in. Even then it’s so subtle you can hardly notice.
Another part of the brilliant electronics package is the gear shift pro system which means you can change up or down the gearbox without using the clutch. It’s fantastic and soon makes you wonder why you ever used a pesky clutch lever. On the GS, you only use the clutch for pulling away or stopping.
It may not be a massive change to the standard GS, but the R1200GS Rallye looks factory, and is set to be a special version in the hearts of adventure riders for many years to come. It even looks confident standing still. The R1200 GS Rallye is a superbly accomplished version of the UK’s most loved adventure motorcycle.