When it’s wet, foggy, slippery and greasy on the roads, there’s nothing like a BMW R1200GS Adventure to make you feel like a riding legend.
It cuts along bumpy back roads covered in a layer of mud like you’ve been given the riding talent of a Dakar god, but seemingly without effort.
I tested the 2018-spec BMW R1200 GS Adventure with fellow motorbike journalist Jon Urry following me on some of Northamptonshire’s most challenging roads.
On the same route, when riding the BMW R Nine T Racer and the BMW K1600 Bagger, keeping your eye on grip levels and traction felt like hard work. On the GS-A, it felt like you were cutting your own heated path through the slime.
The way the new, updated, smoother, EU4-friendly motor finds power and mid-range grunt is phenomenal. The way the electronic semi-active suspension finds the perfect damping to make it feel like there are no bumps in the road. The way the high-commanding riding position sits you on the bike means that even in fog you could ride over any tractor that dares to pull out on you.
If there’s a bike to ride everywhere in all weathers, in all seasons, the GS Adventure is it. Stick the heated grips on, point and go. But that doesn’t mean it’s not exciting. It pops and bangs on the over run when using the optional BMW ride assist, or quick shift up and down, and is more than quick enough for most UK roads, and riders. It is no surprise that the GS Adventure is outselling the standard bike this year.
Okay, so you may have read a test of this bike in Motorcycle News, and all the headlines have been about that full colour 6.5-inch TFT dash. It brings car like technology to motorcycles for the first time on a BMW. The screen is mesmerising and features BMW’s optional connectivity package so that you can connect your phone and make and receive calls when your helmet is connected to a headset,
The display is the best in motorcycling, no question, it’s so easy to use with a roller wheel on your left thumb, and as intuitive as an iPad. There’s also optional BMW Emergency call system which will automatically dial BMW’s central helpline if you get in trouble. Have a big crash and it automatically dials the police.
But while the new windscreen may be the most obvious change, actually this GS Adventure also gets mid-year changes to the gearbox, Euro 4 friendly mapping and exhaust, and fuelling changes that were also given to the R1200GS and R1200GS Rallye earlier this year.
The whole bike is only mildly tweaked, but it manages to bring all those little changes together to make it feel even more the ultimate round the world adventure bike than it was before. Lower down the power is punchier and smoother, and the whole bike feels more refined than ever.
The tank is 30 litres and will do 300 miles before needing to top up, it’s massively comfortable, the pillion seat works, the screen is easily adjustable using your left hand (so you don’t have to take your hand off the throttle), and it has so much presence on the road.
I’m often asked if I could just have one bike to do everything on what I would buy? It’s a big question that I’m not going to fully commit too, but I’m 98% certain that if I could I afford the £17,000 plus price of the TE-spec R1200GS Adventure we tested it would fulfil any role I’d want to chuck at it.
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