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BMW GS1200 (Water-cooled) - Was ist das Deutsche für Humble Pie?

Radar

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I am not a big fan of the BMW GS1200, despite grade A celebrity endorsement by no less than a Jedi knight, record worldwide sales and many undoubted qualities these bikes have never done much for me: I consider them to be odd looking, big clumpy bikes that lack the grunt that a 1200 twin should boast. I have ridden a couple of them over the years having being always being told by their owners that they are bikes that grow on you over time as the miles mount. Well I must be the exception that proves the rule.


Short bloke, big bike

So when I had an opportunity to ride the latest water-cooled model I was not terribly excited, especially as I just spent the last four hours riding four MV Agustas and a Ducati…a rather tough act to follow. Well how wrong can you be? I rode the GS for around 25 miles and I have to say at the outset it is a major leap forward from the 2004 and 2008 models I had ridden in the past. Fitted with the lower seat option I felt more at home straight away, and the stupid three button indicator switch system has been discarded in favour of a more conventional set up. Much, much better.



The whole bike has been reworked for the water-cooled model, the engine and gearbox are now a unit, the exhaust exits on the other side and a myriad of changes mean that on first inspection it may look similar to previous models, but in reality it is all but a new bike. The 1200 motor now pushes out 125bhp and finally feels like a big twin ought to and the computer controlled paralever suspension was superb on the hillside country roads between Bromyard and Kidderminster. Finally here was the bike I had heard all the hype about. The elevated riding position, wide bars and superb suspension worked in harmony to allow me to cover ground with confidence and speed any traffic I encountered could be despatched with ease. In bends the bike could be hustled in way that I simply not encountered on the earlier models.There are many features of the bike I didn’t try…the trip computer, cruise control and remote suspension setting to name a few.  Some jobs remain for our German friends to sort out, the gearbox being the stand out item, as I feel the change could be better, but that may improve with miles. The indicator switch still isn’t perfect either, being a micro switch rather than one that moves.I have to say I really enjoyed this bike and it represents a quantum leap forward…what’s the German for Humble Pie?
« Last Edit: August 19, 2017, 07:26:03 AM by Radar »



Radar

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Re: BMW GS1200 (Water-cooled) - Was ist das Deutsche für Humble Pie?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2017, 06:39:51 PM »
I suppose they are popular for a reason. What's up with the gearbox?

Radar

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Re: BMW GS1200 (Water-cooled) - Was ist das Deutsche für Humble Pie?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2017, 11:56:00 PM »
I suppose they are popular for a reason. What's up with the gearbox?

Just a little 'clunky' for want of a better word.

I sat on a R1200RS over the weekend, the sports-tourer version of this bike and I have to say it fitted me like a glove and I could 'flat-foot' it. Mind you it was fitted with the lowest seat option


Looks ok too

 
« Last Edit: August 19, 2017, 07:33:07 AM by Radar »

Re: BMW GS1200 (Water-cooled) - Was ist das Deutsche für Humble Pie?
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2017, 09:51:52 AM »
With such big bikes it's all about the seat height - just ask me and Ol  :)

Lowered seat or lowering links: all good as long as you're not off-roading more than gravel trails....   

 8)


Radar

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Re: BMW GS1200 (Water-cooled) - Was ist das Deutsche für Humble Pie?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2017, 07:38:41 AM »
With such big bikes it's all about the seat height - just ask me and Ol  :)

Lowered seat or lowering links: all good as long as you're not off-roading more than gravel trails....   

 8)

I do think bikes are generally getting taller, not sure why as the population isn't!

r6ymy

Re: BMW GS1200 (Water-cooled) - Was ist das Deutsche für Humble Pie?
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2017, 09:59:48 PM »

I'll admit I've never been a fan of the GS - for me it's the iPhone of motorcycles - it seems like nearly everbody has one, and those that do are rather zealous about telling you why it's the best thing ever. Plus it's Fugly.
A couple of friends have them, and I know they are very quick and capable bikes.
As I was looking for a new bike I thought I really should test ride a GS, partly to overcome my irrational dislike of them and see what it's like, and partly because if I didn't and bought something else I'd never hear the end of it from the GS riding friends.

So I went along to BMW Oxford, who kindly let me loose on their GS Rallye demo bike.
Now the Rallye is really rather pretty (for a GS!) with the blue frame and nice graphics.
It didn't feel too tall for me, and felt much less intimidating than my friends GSA.
Once on the move the bike is beautifully balanced, it really feels much lighter than 244kg, and the up/down quickshifter was a joy to use. I headed out through Woodstock, then took the back roads into Charlbury, back towards Witney then the A40 back to Oxford. I felt immediately at home on the bike, chucking it around the roundabouts with ease. It's on the bumpier back roads where the quality of the chassis and suspenion truly shone. It tracked round bumpy badly surfaced corners as if it was on a pristine race track. The demo bike had the ESA suspension, and on the stock Road settings it was a bit too soft for me. Dynamic gave a really good ride, not overly firm, and ironed out bumps far better than my MV!
The whole ergonomice of the bike were excellent, the seat comfortable, the screen did a good job of protecting me without causing any buffeting.

However, the bit I didn't take a shine to was the engine. It delivers good drive throughout the rev range, but in such a totally linear way that it never felt exciting.
It is truly an excellent bike, but sadly didn't light my fire.

« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 10:02:32 PM by r6ymy »

Radar

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Re: BMW GS1200 (Water-cooled) - Was ist das Deutsche für Humble Pie?
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2017, 11:08:19 PM »
Glad I am not the only one who doesn't 'get' the whole GS thing, though as you say they have evolved into a very capable piece of kit. Thanks for the excellent write up!