BMW Motorrad’s dual purpose GS series models aren’t mere motorcycles. The GS line-up is already BMW’s best selling model for over three decades. Say hello to the first GS in India, the iconic R1200GS.
It takes some time to get used to this Beemer’s hulking dimensions. Styling is more industrial, less beautiful, bringing a Hummer H1 on two wheels to mind. There are fine details, the attractive BMW-typical asymmetric headlight among the more prominent of these. The towering, adjustable windshield provides good wind protection. Instruments include an analogue speedometer and tachometer, plus a digital readout. The switches have a nice tactile feel.
A large 21-litre fuel tank provides excellent support to a rider’s thighs, and comes with smart cladding. Riders benefit ample real estate on the GS’ commodious riding saddle.
The fat, bazooka-esque end can looks fabulous, as does the eye catching and completely exposed rear wheel. A small tail light with the carrier positioned just above brings up the rear.
The R1200GS is powered by an air-and-oil cooled 1170cc, twin-cam boxer powerplant. Power is transmitted via a shaft drive. In keeping with the character of a GS, the engine rocks to the right when revving hard in neutral. Performance is stunning. There’s 110bhp at 7750rpm and 12.23kgm at 6000rpm. Opening throttle from standstill results in a tsunami-like roll of power rising all the way to 8500rpm with only minimal hesitation experienced at 4500rpm. The GS can cruise at 140kph all day long with a top speed close to 200kph. Gears shifts nicely on the one-down, five-up box, and the hydraulic clutch is always a pleasure to use.
You sit in a commanding riding position. This is the bike to traverse the subcontinent. Ride remains absolutely flat over even the worst potholes and it gets even better off-road. The GS can charge through all-terrain with a tank-like authority, traction control making your adventure a wee bit safer. The wide handlebar provides good leverage, while handling is always sure-footed.
Key to the GS’ well rounded ride and handling is BMW’s unconventional chassis design. The frame is comprised of front and rear sections, with the engine a stressed member, the piece-de-resistance being a ‘Telelever’ front suspension. The rear uses a ‘Paralever’ suspension.
There is minimal squat on hard acceleration and the absence of dive under hard braking. ABS comes standard on the GS, as with all BMW bikes. The system stays non-intrusive.
There’s no hiding the fact that the BMW R1200GS has us bowled over. It successfully marries the performance of big bikes, with Himalaya conquering off-road abilities, while staying easy to ride in traffic, truly making this a bike for every season. For more details on this capable BMW motorcycle, pick up your copy of Autocar India July 2011.