Skip to content

BMW R1200GS Adventure Motorbike Review

Find By Make/Model

1 of 4
BMW R1200GS 6
Click to enlarge
Previous image Next image

MCN overall verdict rating is 5

The BMW R1200GS breezed into the motorcycle world in 2004 and changed it forever. It’s a genuine all-round motorcycle that’s equally at home on a trackday as it is on a grand tour. The BMW R1200GS' 1170cc Boxer engine is a pleasure to use, while the handling, braking, usability and comfort put this motorcycle in a class of one.

 

Watch the BMW R1200GS take on the Moto Guzzi Stelvio, KTM's 990 Adventure and the Triumph Tiger

 

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

The BMW R1200GS' trusty oil/air-cooled SOHC Boxer motor is flexible, punchy and revvy all at the same time. The motorcycle's throttle is light, the response is instant and the power is all you could hopefully use in the real world. There are pleasantly few vibes, too, thanks to new-for-BMW balance shaft fitted to the BMW R1200GS.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4

The BMW R1200GS exudes perennially unflustered excellence. The chassis is superb. The Telelever front end initially feels remote, but once you’re dialled in to the motorcycle and confident the BMW R1200GS can be leant and leant and leant. It’s 30kg lighter than the preceding model, the BMW R1150GS, and the servo-assisted brakes and (optional) ABS help haul the BMW R1200GS up with ease.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

A man could beggar himself lavishing kit on his BMW R1200GS. Heated grips, ABS, crash bars, hard and soft luggage…but at least you get an ignition-based immobiliser and a height adjustable seat as standard on the BMW R1200GS. Compare and buy parts for the BMW R1200GS in the MCN Shop.

BMW R1200GS (2004-2012)

Detail Value
New price £10,550
Dealer used prices
£5,380 (2004) - £10,920 (2012)
Private used prices
£4,570 (2004) - £10,020 (2012)
  View full used price info
Engine size 1170 cc
Power 100 bhp
Top speed 136 mph
Insurance group 13 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 5 rating is 3.5
Engine rating is 4 rating is 3.5
Ride & Handling rating is 5 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 3
Value rating is 4 rating is 3

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3

BMW motorcycle reliability is legendary, but it’s as much down to the comparatively gentle use the BMW R1200GS tends to get and the meticulous attention to the service schedule of  BMW R1200GS owners . Avoid any motorcycle that can’t back up its history with a full, dealer-stamped, motorcycle service book.

Value

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3

BMW R1200GS typically command top dollar for either new or secondhand motorcycles. But the good news is that you get back much more of your money when you sell the motorcycle than virtually any other motorcycle brand. Mileage is normally the bugbear of residuals, but BMW R1200GS buyers are much more tolerant, with only motorcycles showing over 50,000 considered high mileage. Find a BMW R1200GS for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 13 of 17

Compare motorcycle insurance quotes now

Model History

2004: BMW R1200GS motorcycle launched.

Other Versions

BMW R1200GS Adventure (see separate listing).

Specifications

Top speed 136 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.4 secs
Max power 100 bhp
Max torque 85 ft-lb
Weight 199 kg
Seat height 850 mm
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Average fuel consumption 47 mpg
Tank range 206 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 13 of 17
Engine size 1170 cc
Engine specification 8v Boxer-twin, 6 gears
Frame Steel trellis subframe
Front suspension adjustment Preload
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, rebound
Front brakes Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 110/80 x 19
Rear tyre size 150/70 x 17

See all BMW R1200GS motorcycles for sale

BMW
R1200GS

10337 miles

£6,299

BMW
R1200GS

10500 miles

£11,995

BMW
R1200GS

17626 miles

£8,995

BMW
R1200GS

5841 miles

£9,995

BMW
R1200GS

1918 miles

£12,250

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 3.5(22 reviews)

  • I wanted to like it

    RoadcraftNottingham

    Average rating rating is 3

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Bought this bike as I'm an instructor and wanted an all round bike to replace my Fazer 1000 and Pan European 1100. At higher speeds and handling it's superb but due to the lean fuel injection mapping, it's terrible in town and at steady throttle setting. I tried de catting the headers, fitting a boosterplug electronic richener amongst other things and the local dealer said this is how they are so I sold it and kept my other bikes. If you like the smoothness of a Jap 4, leave this bike alone and if you say you don't like it in a review, you'll upset a lot of blinkered BMW owners.

    20 July 2011

  • UNRELIABLE?

    joe1964

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I really don't understand when people slag-off the GS. The bike is the "ULTIMATE IRON HORSE". It was built for high mileage in comfort with enough power to take you and your luggage almost anywhere. It comes standard with steel hoses, hydraulic clutch, spoked wheels but tubeless and unique front suspension. It's a big bike but it weighs less than a Suzuki bandit and all the weight is in the lower part of the bike. Why do you think all the other manufacturers are TRYING to copy it? BMW have never claimed the bike can do what a trail bike can, it is for doing serious miles, ask kevin Sanders whom I think is the king of adventure biking, do you think if he thought the bike was unreliable he would set off from London to China on it? Get off your high horse and get on the iron horse mate! :)

    11 November 2010

  • Unreliable

    JosephYossarian

    Average rating rating is 2.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    1 word sums up - Unreliable. Engine - sounds like a sewing machine but is surprisingly useful. Annoying flat spot though. R&H - Handling surprisingly good. You get used to telelever very quickly. Ride - standard sreen buffets your head. Equipment. Good, if you spend a bundle. Heated grips hotter on one side than the other. Q&R - Disasterous. Will never buy another BMW. Fuel pump relay issue appears to have finally been addressed. Only left me stranded 3 times (that point - add in all the other failures and it's the most unreliable machine I'veever owned) Value - Given Q&R, very poor. Quite a laugh on dirt tracks too, nut better if its OPM (other peoples machine)

    09 April 2010

  • bmw 1200 gs

    bigklar

    Average rating rating is 5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    6 words sum up this machine the best bike in the world

    15 October 2009

  • Chuffed To NAAFI Breaks

    andy2210

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Mines a 2007GS. 30k miles. Owned from New.Excellent machine. Only one Nark, Its easy to get the front seat off but try re-fitting it on the quick. What a twat!

    29 April 2009

  • Well pleased

    kaybe

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Can do most things, and so a bike for all seasons. Very comfortable and in the twisties can easily keep up with most sports bikes. Loads of ways of personalising the bike, and support from a well subscribed dedicated web forum. Should have done it years ago. Mine is a 54 plate, in terrific nick.

    28 March 2009

  • A good bike

    Mjollnir

    Average rating rating is 3.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Ok if you can get around the stigma of either being accused of being old and wearing slippers, or being a Charlie and ewan wannabe, then this is quite a nice bike. it is very comfy and will go for miles and miles without any need to stop, unlike most bikes with a large tank, you can actually ridit for a full tank load. I still hate BMW switch gear though. burns a bit of oil if you park it up on side stand, but then most BMW flat twins do that. Build quality wasn't quite what I would have expected from the hype of BMW, but it wasn't bad.

    05 August 2008

  • Brilliant - just a couple of niggles

    rick-hard

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    My 56 plate bike was only a year old with 4500 miles when I purchased it from a main BMW dealer. The Gripes - So far only the original battery needed replacing under warranty. Anyone in the mid 5' range will have trouble putting both feet on the ground. It my opinion this will limit the sales appeal of this great machine. Being 6'1" I found the bike easy to mount/dismount ( with the seat in the lowest position) and both feet are flat on the ground I love the upright riding position which keeps me free from back and neck aches, and is great for long journeys. The boxer engine delivers a huge amount of torque at low and mid range which means if like me you are lazy, there is no need for too many gear changes - just leave it in 6th and open the throttle !.The claimed 100bhp is more than enough for every day use. With the panniers full, and 2 up the trottle response is still startling. With the original screen in the fully forward position, my shoulders and the top of my helmet tended to get plastered with bugs. I have now fitted a Wunderlich screen which is about 6" higher and makes all the difference. I was not that impressed with the dipped beam headlight, so I fitted an HID unit which has completely transformed the night vision. The exposed cylinder heads are very vunerable to damage if the bike falls over, and are veeery expensive to replace. Mine nearly fell off the stand in soft tarmac - so I fitted a set of engine bars just in case. In my opinion the R1200GS is a brilliant bike to ride, own and enjoy + the depreciation is very low compared to most Jap bikes.

    20 May 2008

  • Disappointed

    Ted Edwards

    UK

    Average rating rating is 1.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Having read all the reviews ownersMCN included and watched Boorman and Mc Gregor I really wanted to like the bike when I took it out fora test ride today. Owning a Blackbird I was well prepared for to make allowances for the difference in performance etc. But although I only rode it for 50 miles I just could not get dialed into it at all. I loved the ability to be able to look at the scenery but the vibes and roughness of it just did not suit me at all.To be fair even though I have been riding for over 40years I did not feel that I had the capability to ride it how it should be ridden and I wonder if I should have been ringing its neck more.Each to their own though so if you do enjoy riding a GS good luck to you as for me I was glad to get back on my Blackbird.

    29 February 2008

  • Great bike

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I'm on my third GS from new, one 1150 and two 1200's. The 1200 is a lighter and more agile motorcycle. An off-roader it ain't. Firstly it is too heavy and it gets heavier each time you pick it up! I spent a muddy wet day in the Brecon Beacons with Simon Pavey(BMW Off-Road Skills) and a 1200GS and by lunchtime I was fantasising about small, cute F650's and crying for my Mammy! Secondly its too expensive to be thrashing around the woods. The off-road capability isn't wasted however as the bike is supremely composed on poor road surfaces. It vibrates, this takes a bit of getting used to if you've come from a 4-cylinder. It goes around corners in a way that flatters the average rider. Of the five BMW bikes I've owned, my current GS is the only one to have caused problems - battery failure(a software problem according to the dealer) and a fuel pump sensor/widget(water damage - a common problem on the GS1200 and sorted on later models) The standard screen is a disgrace and vibrates intrusively at all engine speeds. I changed mine for the Adventure screen which is a huge improvement. Other mods are Wilbers shocks giving the bike a more planted feel and Akrapovic exhaust which gives a meatier sound. In Ireland the bike has been a victim of its own success with so many used models about that prices for second-hand bikes have become quite depressed. Overall I love it despite the flaws. If you have never ridden one, take one for a test ride and don't give it back until you have put 100 of the twistiest of your favourite miles on it. If you still don't get it then its not for you.

    26 February 2008

Page

Discuss this

Add your comment

There are currently no comments

Most popular

Rate my bike

Related News