October 25, 2018 at 10:02 pm #16018RadarModerator
A couple of years ago my infamous anti-BMW Boxer/GS bias was very seriously undermined when I rode the then new water cooled GS1200. Unlike previous examples of the GS I had ridden up that point (a 2004 and a 2008 model) this one actually felt like it was packing a 1200cc punch. Not only that the suspension system was really impressive and the bike could be hustled along A and B roads at pace that genuinely surprised me. So it was in this context that I was delighted to have a ride another, later example and see if my initial positive impression was accurate.
Unfortunately the mirror isn’t completely blocking the view of my face…
Well the 2016 model I rode briefly this time did nothing to dispel my positive comments, however there is a but , and it is a big one…We will work our way back to that in a moment. This was a couple of model years later but essentially the same bike and went really well. A crisp (loud!) Arrow pipe added a much needed bark to the1200cc, 125bhp bite. Not surprising as the can was somewhat lacking in the baffles department. However as the owners good lady wife (a vermant non-biker) says “Loud pipes save lives”. So he was only following orders and not enjoying himself in any way…
Once again the suspension impressed me, but more for comfort this time as I rode the GS on much less twisty roads than on my previous outing. This time it was a mix of sub-urban and dual carriageway A roads. The BMW is really well suited to this kind of work. Spacious upright riding position, comfortable seat and ample screen all combine to ensure progress was both smooth and unflustered. This was all orchestrated by logically laid out and clear controls…the maddening indicator switch on BMW’s of old now a distant memory, thank goodness! The bike cornered with a similar calm assurance although in truth I rode the bike gently on these relatively undemanding roads. I am sure that competence will still be evident under more trying conditions. It is a big I can easily imagine riding big miles on and remaining reasonably fresh.
So it’s all good then…the GS rides well, goes well, corners well and sounds crisp….then you come to stop. Well despite only being 2.5 years old this, the bike has worked hard for a living having knocked up 34000 miles mostly on a 50 mile commute. It recently had new discs and pads fitted, all OE parts at a BMW dealer (don’t ask how much…) and while the brakes pulled the bike up well once they cut in the lever travel was excessive and the feel was not exactly confidence inspiring on initial application. Apparently they felt better before all the new bits were fitted…The lad who owns the bike complained to the dealer who did the work, they said they were fine as did another BMW dealer. Odd, I thought they felt like they were from a 25 year old CB250N! They did ultimately work well, but even so? I wonder if some obstinate air was in that complex, combined, ABS, stability control modulator and attendant pipework…
A bit heart-stopping, but they do work well when the cut in
So what we have here is an excellent bike somewhat overshadowed by that brake feel. The owner also reports that it wasn’t always a paragon of reliability and the finish in places wasn’t as durable as you might expect on a machine from BMW. Significantly since I rode the bike the owner has traded it in against a KTM. Tells it’s own story I suppose…October 26, 2018 at 6:06 am #70186HippoDronesParticipant
So like most bikes, it has some good and some bad… I’d def look at re-bleeding the braking system though!October 27, 2018 at 9:43 am #70187RadarModerator
So like most bikes, it has some good and some bad… I’d def look at re-bleeding the braking system though!
Very true Pete, but those brakes had been bled repeatedly by a BMW dealer and signed off as fine!October 27, 2018 at 10:26 am #70188HippoDronesParticipant
That is not good at all!
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