BMW R1200GS Overview
A popular bike long before thespian pals Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman went the Long Way Round, Down — and possibly back up again — aboard R1150GS Adventures, the GS series has enjoyed showroom success of epic proportions as the two actors inspired a generation of bikers to get adventurous with their motorcycling. With sales of this bike consistently high over the last decade, it’s pretty easy to find a tidy used example.
The boxer-twin powered GS has been around in various guises since 1980 so large, rugged dual-purpose bikes are well ingrained in the GS DNA. It’s a long evolution that has resulted in a bike that while unique to ride has a massively broad appeal with all manner of riders favouring the GS, from dispatchers to commuters, to touring types and fire-road fanatics. It’s been dubbed the ‘two-wheeled Range Rover’ with good reason.
The boxer twin motor is the result of years of development and has a well-earned reputation for reliability. Performance has crept up over the years too, with later liquid-cooled bikes (from 2013-18) putting out 125bhp with 92lb/ft of torque — sportsbike figures not all that long ago.
The Paralever/Telelever suspension is unique to BMW and while feeling a little quirky at first delivers surefooted handling and inspires confidence on wet roads and poor surfaces, a nod towards it’s off-road capabilities where stability and feedback are key.
If it’s a do-it-all bike you’re after, that can cope with all manner of byways and highways, then without question this bike should be towards the top of your list of bikes to try. Residual values are good too, meaning many owners will enjoy several years of GS ownership before trade-in time, often having made several choice modifications to their machines. The used GS market is both buoyant and diverse.
Take a look at this review of the BMW R1200GS…
BMW R1200GS Spec
- Capacity1170 cc
- Top speed133 mph
- Weight205 kg
- Average fuel consumption41 mpg
- Seat height850-870 mm (adjustable)
- EngineFour stroke, DOHC, 4v
BMW R1200GS Insurance
BMW R1200GS Gallery
The perfect riding position with winglets to steer the breeze past your shoulders and a gel seat pad fitted.
Not a blemish in 15 years. Kept clean and garaged of course.
Superb feel and power from servo assisted brakes. One finger pressure is plenty but there’s ABS of things get skiddy.
Not a scratcher but it goes where you point it very tidily. Drag the back brake a bit to get round those Alpine hairpins
My first bike gave 10 bhp and I thought it went like a rocket! This bike gives 100bhp which is absolutely all I need!
I bought the bike in 2007 for £5000 and it’s worth nearly that now. An annual BMW service, tax tyres and other consumables plus Devitt! Insurance come to about £5 per week. It has never, ever broken down. That’s cheap biking!
Very comfortable riding position with great seats
Very solid bike, starts first touch of the button and very reliable
ABS is superb
Once you pull away the bike feels really light and maneuverable. Really positive rider feel
Very smooth power delivery and has plenty of torque
Very economic and usually delivers 60 to the gallon.
The smoothness of acceleration and ride quality are excellent even on uneven and off-road surfaces. The bike feels much lighter than its kerb weight suggests it should. Steering and clutch are light. Turning circle is brilliant. Electronic interference is noticeable sometimes. My only real gripe is the clunky nature of the gearbox from 1st to 3rd and the noise which is enhanced by the screen (but this may be because I have never has a large screen before. On the plus, the screen gives brilliant protection and the height can be easily adjusted while on the move
I think the power is ideal for the intended uses of the bike. The rider modes are excellent and work well. Overtaking is a dream because the responsive 120+ HP engine and rapid pickup / torque is more than enough to propel you quickly past any vehicle
Great fuel economy. If ridden gently 70mpg is achieveable. Ridden as intended this can drop to a still respectable 55/60mpg. BMW Motorrad service costs are also very reasonable and, the dealership I use has mechanics you can talk to and trust. Being and 'older rider' my insurance costs are low too - fully comp with everything is £126
Typical German build quality - excellent all round. However, I would like to see all the 'holes' in the frame etc. filled with removable soft plugs to stop dirt getting into these harder to clean areas
The Brembo brakes are powerful stoppers and bring you smoothly to a rapid standstill and when necessary, aided by the ABS without noticeable loss of grip
It's planted, takes corners well and fills you with confidence
It's all you need for riding on the road and keeping your licence
60mpg+ on a run, servicing so far £200 @ 6000miles
Centre stand has been replaced, the original one went rusty quite quickly.
Brembo brakes, very good
For heavy bike it feels light and corners better than you would expect (the bike is better than me when it comes to cornering!).
It's noisy and unrefined but nevertheless is not vibey at all and is very easy to ride on even the longest journeys.
The fuel economy is amazing for such a large bike. I have averaged about 54 mph since I bought it but can easily achieve 60 mph+ if I'm careful.
I had to have replacement spoked wheels due to a faulty batch and a new water pump, all under the excellent warranty. The leaky pump surprised me after just 2500 miles.
It depends with what bike I compare. Generally I'd say they are OK. When I ride my friends Ducati Supersport his brakes are on a different level but the GS brakes are much better than any other bike I've owned in the past 15 years (Yamaha XJN600, Honda Transalp as examples.
Again - very good. I have the partial active suspension on my bike so you push a button, set it up and off you go! Low centre of gravity helps with tipping it into a corner and it just grips. I am no MotoGP star but it does what it says on the tin!
Very nice. Lots of low down power and plenty when you need it at speed. Sometimes sounds like a bag of bolts (particularly when cold) but improves. Never felt it needed more grunt!
Um….. Maybe BMW service costs
Pretty good. Had to have switchgear on both bar ends replaced under warranty and this is a known fault. Crappy quality for a premium brand. Rest is fine though I don't ride much in winter so can't comment on salt erosion.
Again very good. Wear on the rear is heavy but I think that has something to do with the linked system (and riding style). Plenty of bite when you need it.
Once the steering dumpper was fitted (didn't come with one as standard) absolutely superb. Without steering dumper felt a bit light on the front end
Not great for filtering in London traffic, too wide.
Not a single problem from day 1. Been off road, long 6000 mile journeys without any issues.
Just brilliant. Read brakes don't last as long though but great feel.
The traction control and ABS add rider safety and prevent any over acceleration. Engine is smooth through the gears and extremely well balanced.
ABS and traction control with linked brakes works well
A standard 12v power socket not the small one it has where you need an adapter.
Bike has been excellent with no problems but optional expandable panniers have been troublesome as won't close without force when unexpandable
Presence and style on the road
It's so well built and solid, a couple of points that need you to keep an eye on but that's a good point
Purrs like a cat and goes like a locomotive... just pure fun, or a relaxing Sunday stress buster
The indicator system
An amazing well built bike, solid and a pleasure to maintain
The best, allows confidence and safe rides as well as a good blast
Even fully loaded, two up, it handles brilliantly
Only 80bhp but doesn't feel under-powered
Battery life is too short
Even for its size, I still can't believe you can throw it around as if it was a smaller bike.
More than adequate for my needs, just nice to know that if you need power quickly its on hand and that's with 2 up and fully loaded
No problems and this is my 3rd GS
If you have to brake hard, the nose dive effect does not kick in due to the front suspension and you feel in control, which is very comforting.
Lovely to ride on B roads, doesn't like city riding as gearbox clunky
Good torque and very usable power
Seems to rust very easily
It's well made, but doesn't stand up well to salt corrosion on the engine and gearbox and wheel hubs
Very strong and doesn't dive under hard braking due to type of forks
I take it easy with most corners
Power is great. More than enough for me.
One thing that can improve is for Motorrad BMW dealers to except they have made some mistakes on these models and put it rite on their costs.
ABS broke (expensive to fix). Heated grips stopped working (expensive). One tire monitor broke. Expensive fix. All these happened before it had 20,000 miles on it. Excellent otherwise.
Braking is great. ABS gives me both peace of mind and confidence.
Good, can be altered from soft, to normal, to hard (I reckon hard is for track use only)
Revs well, plenty of power
No problems so far (fingers crossed)
Smooth engine compared to earlier Boxer engines. Gearbox is clunky between neutral and 1st and 1st to 2nd but once you get used to it, it’s fine. Beautifully balanced and handles really well either rider only or fully laden.
For a 1200 boxer twin it’s pretty quick and responsive. Not designed to be a performance bike but is certainly powerful enough to get from A to B very quickly
This is more expensive to run than any other machine I’ve had but, this to be expected when you buy a bike like this. For a 1200 it’s good on fuel and has been averaging just under 55 to the gallon since I bought it
Very good build quality, what you would expect from BMW
The braking system is brilliant. ABS works well and will certainly save a few riders lives.
Electronic suspension deals with whatever is thrown at it
Great torque, great sound with plenty of character
Parts and servicing not cheap
It’s a BMW
Brembo’s with cornering ABS, simply brilliant
Compared to others it lacks mid to top end power. All low end
Switch gear broke but gone under warranty
smooth and comfortable ride and handles well considering its weight. Gearbox very clunky. Can be a heavy weight when loaded up as the standard vario type luggage is a bit on the heavy side before you put anything in it.
Plenty of grunt for one up or two up with luggage for touring. Does not feel as quick as it is and could do with a little more zip to really enjoy the riding.
60MPG easily achieved unless pushing on a bit. Even two up and pushing will get over 50MPG. Spare seem more expensive than some other makes. Parts are generally good quality except for some nuts etc. that go rusty.
In the first two years of it's life it has had a new water pump, battery, two panniers, drive shaft and wheel bearings. Then a new engine and drive shaft because of corrosion. Within a year the engine and drive shaft have started to corrode again.
Strong in use if a little grabby at slow speed, ABS works well and is not intrusive.
Not the lightest on the market at 230kg but the wide bars and clever electronics (three different engine modes with the ability to map traction control for the engine setting and adjust how the engine responds) combined with electronic suspension that sorts it out for you on the road.
1200cc Liquid cooled Boxer – incredibly lively when you want it to be, and refined when you don’t.
230 miles to a tank, and the insurance premiums aren’t high for a £19k bike.
One recall for fork stanchions – they are made to travel the globe so my daily commute on the M25 and scratching on the A/B roads hold no fears for it.
Brembo with Bosch cornering traction control – high quality with peace of mind.
ESA and tele lever are superb.
Loads of torque, any gear will do.
60+ mpg. Insurance premium halfed from brand new to a year old.
Quality fasteners mean it's easy to self service.
Cornering abs as standard, but so much grip I've never got it to cut in.
Has enough for me
A bit steep on fuel but self servicing does keep costs down
No issues to date
Great feel and action