BMW R1200GS ADVENTURE (2006-2009) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"The last word in round-the-world motorcycling"

BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Riding

"The last word in round-the-world motorcycling"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

This is the last word in round-the-world motorcycling can do. With a monstrous 33-litre tank, grunty motor, shaft-drive and excellent reliability in all climes and conditions the BMW R1200GS Adventure redefines the giant trailie motorcycle class. And the BMW R1200GS Adventure is a giant – at nearly a quarter of a ton fully-loaded and with a lofty 910mm seat only the brave or foolish will venture far from the tarmac on this motorcycle.

 

Watch BMW's R1200GS Adventure take on the KTM 990 Adventure

Hear Charley Boorman talk about BMW's R1200GS Adventure

Watch the BMW R1200GS Adventure in our on and off-road test

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

On the road the BMW R1200GS Adventure belies its weight and height and handles lightly and surely, though it takes a while to get used to the slightly detached feeling the front Telelever suspension produces. The servo-powered brakes are too powerful off-road, but work well on it, providing you swap the Continental Twinduro tyres to more road-biased motorcycle tyres like Bridgestone’s Battlewing.

Engine 4 out of 5

The new 1170cc, Boxer twin SOHC motor in the BMW R1200GS Adventure is taken from the best-selling motorcycle, the BMW R1200GS. It’s powerful, torquey and well-geared for effortless cruising at motorway speeds. The  BMW R1200GS Adventure's gearbox is pretty indifferent; clunky, with the odd false neutral, especially from second to first. Sixth is no longer the overdrive it was on the older BMW R1150GS Adventure, on this motorcycle the ratio is a normal accelerative gear.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Apart from an early recall over a faulty ABS switch the BMW R1200GS Adventure seems blessed with the same indefatigable reliability as its predecessors. The exhaust is fully stainless, the motor unstressed, the shaft drive is hassle-free and BMW R1200GS Adventure owners tend to keep their motorcycles in good condition and regularly serviced.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

There’s no such thing as a cheap BMW R1200GS Adventure and you can look forward to high prices and high residuals for this motorcycle for a very long time. Find a BMW R1200GS Adventure for sale.

Insurance group: 14 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

As stock the BMW R1200GS Adventure already drips with off-road protection like bash plates, hand guards and crash bars. There’s ABS, a sat nav system and heated grips as optional extras for this motorcycle along with a selection of hard and soft luggage. Find parts for the BMW R1200GS Adventure in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

19 owners have reviewed their BMW R1200GS ADVENTURE (2006-2009) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your BMW R1200GS ADVENTURE (2006-2009)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.1 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.2 out of 5
Engine 3.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.7 out of 5
Equipment 4.5 out of 5
5 out of 5

02 March 2016 by David Marquez

Best aspects: - Balanced engineering, can perfectly cruise, take twisty roads with sport bikes - Comfortable all day long in most conditions - High Quality: in 71kms (44K miles) I have only replaced the telelever union to the fender, and it was... Read more more because it looked dry than it actually failed Negative aspects: - Cruising at 100 mph (160kph) for long distances in straight line it transmits significant vibration - The engine vibrates and only until it gets to 50kms (31K miles) vibrations is reduced significantly - Parts are expensive vs Japanese competitors, but if well taken care off, you won't need much than service maintenance parts.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
3 out of 5

Overrated (by MCN)

25 February 2016 by Blackhill

MCN, who write reviews without apparently knowing anything about the subject matter, should acknowledge that the BMW quality and reliability image are a myth Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Fantastically strong brakes, and the suspension did a good job until the rear damping went south at 15k miles. It's poor quality stuff, but owners gladly spend £1k+ on ohlins, wilber etc. Was this bike cheap to start with? So it was £400 for a hagon shock, which was a good replacement.
Engine
3 out of 5
very rough initially, but smoothed out slightly after 10k miles. Still quite coarse and it's unpleasant to use the engine agressively
Build Quality & Reliability
2 out of 5
When I purchased this bike new in 2006, I reckoned that the high cost (£10+) would be offset by absolute reliability and quality. They are not, and you don't have to ask round many owners or make a forum enquiry to find that out. So, MCN? The key fob failed, once leaving me stranded in France. The driveshaft seal had to be replaced (the leak almost spat me off). the gear position indicator and neutral light failed twice (25k miles from new). rear shock lost all damping after 15k miles, and I'm not even 13 stone and rarely carried a passenger. The fuel indicator sender also failed after 18k miles. These are all common faults, by the way.
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
Servicing costs are probably average, but there are repairs that will need to be done outside that which will double those costs. And I was one of the lucky ones, with no driveshaft or fuel pump issues.
Equipment
4 out of 5
The trip computer was good, until it broke, and the heated grips are nice. ABS is very useful too. Lots of other expensive optional extras are available.
5 out of 5

Brilliant!

23 January 2016 by Jimbo

Utterly brilliant! Love it more every time I ride it. It's got so much character. The equipment levels are good I bought mine 2nd hand but comes standard with grip heaters large adjustable screen, hand guards, power socket, engine protection, on/off... Read more road brake pedal, switchable servo enhanced abs brakes which are absolutely epic btw! It's got a 33L fuel tank giving a 450 mile range on a run and the mapping to run on just about anything slightly flammable, the suspension is great completely adjustable and works perfectly if you know how to set it up, flick a switch and the headlamp adjusts for extra load, the mirrors work, the gearbox is so quiet and smooth riding this bike is an absolute pleasure at low speed it is light and easy to control due to the steering and suspension set up and the fact they've lost 25kg weight over the last model. It's brilliant fun in the bends too and will always put a smile on your face, the torque from that twin is something else! I've got the optional additional headlamps on mine (not that you need it as the standard headlamp is great) but with the the spots on too the lights are much brighter than most cars it runs 3x55w lights on dip beam! It's also got full on board computer even tells you if you have a bulb out which I think is great as many people will ride their bike at night and not realise their rear bulb is out till they get home.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
You have to try them to believe it!
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
It's well made, unfortunately mine was left outside for a year when the old owner passed away so has got a few bubbly spots on it but gave it a spuce just get on and ride it! If you're the kinda person that would rather sit there with a toothbrush, cotton buds, cloths and a box full of polishes than get out and have fun the GSA is not the bike for you! these bikes are built for a purpose and they tick every box they intended to. Most of these bikes do a lot of miles and a lot of people have had issues with bearings ect but these people forget how many miles their doing! If you did 40-50k miles on a jap chain driven bike I'm sure you'd have replaced the chain a few times and be looking at similar issues! Personally mines been fine but I look after it myself and know how to use the spanners
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
3 out of 5

Mr

17 September 2015 by Richard

Very disappointed. I had corrosion issues. The dealer told me I hadn't washed it with the BMW approved cleaner. I had electrical reliability issues. Honestly - on a bike you're supposed to be able to go to Africa on. All in all a big and expensive... Read more disappointment

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
3 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
2 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
Buying experience

I will never buy another BMW after this experience

3 out of 5

Not another one!

25 February 2014 by Arrow

54 months old (not ridden for 6 months due to non bike related arm injury = 48 months), 74,000 miles and have just had to have the third set of final drive bearings replaced i.e. average approx. 25,000 miles per set of final drive bearings. Now if... Read more this was a BMW car ............... Needless to say this is my last and final BMW motorcycle.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Rear Drive.....!!!

05 April 2012 by burrich

Having owned my GSA for nearly two years, I can say it rides superbly, but like so many others the rear drive is a definite weak link. Mine has had two rebuilds and then BMW put a updated one on it. Corrosion is atrocious for a bike of this cost.... Read more Have BM heard of stainless steel fasteners!! Front engine casing...not a problem according to BMW.Other than that, a superb bike.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
3 out of 5

"Shaft drive hassle free"

08 October 2011 by Anonymous

I think that it is about time MCN updated their revue of this machine, stick three words, final, drive and failure into any search engine and see what comes up, pages and pages of BMW final drive failures. The fact that some do 100,000 miles with no... Read more problems and others only 10,000 smacks of poor quality control. The corrosion on the front engine cover is a result of poor design with the water channels behind the cover directing the water over the rigid foam noise insulation behind the cover - not very clever. The fixing bolts tend to rust but I have seen this on most other makes of bike when ridden in all weathers however at this price it shouldn’t be. My engine hasn’t missed a beat so far but in heavy rain water is getting into the electrics somewhere causing the tyre pressure monitoring system to pack up; again not very clever for a bike that is supposed to be an all weather, all terrain motorcycle. Its good points for me are that it has kept going in all weathers, has good weather protection (GSA), it handles really well even when loaded and fully fuelled, reasonably good on tyres and good fuel consumption providing you keep it legal and the finish, at least on mine, has been good although in the winter it has plenty of ACF50 sprayed all over it. Needless to say with 33 litres (actually it is probably nearer 35 if the fuel pumps are correct) the range is brilliant with 300 miles easily achievable ridden hard and over 400 when ridden gently. Overall I have to say I lack confidence in its ability to be fault free and hence took out the insured warranty, which at my current annual mileage will only be for this and another year after which I will probably look elsewhere if I haven’t changed beforehand.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
3 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

gs1200adv

30 March 2010 by gs12

Having owned 43 bikes since 1978 this is by far the best and with committment can be ridden as fast as any bike on the road. I have covered 26,000 miles from new 08 and toured 12 countries! It should be higher than 21st, TOP 5 for sure number 1 for... Read more me now nothing else comes close.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
3 out of 5

Value for money?

06 January 2010 by richardlyz

Great bike let down by poor quality. Good to ride - I did 10,000 miles in a year on mine. The corrosion was atrocious & BMW didn't want to know. Got shot of it while it was still worth something and got a KTM. I'm very glad I did Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
3 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
2 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
2 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Pros and Cons

16 September 2009 by McCabe25

Personally I think the 1200 GSA is a great bike and cant imagine going back to anything else. It's great in the winter or the summer, on short trips or long and you can carry a ridiculous amount of luggage etc etc. My only issue - and it is... Read more quite an important one - is that the build quality of BMWs is clearly not what it used to be. I bought my first Adventure in 06 thinking that I would have it for years and years but have just swapped it for a new one given the problems that I have had with it. If you are paying £12,500 for a motorbike that is built to go around the world (ish) then you shouldn't have to worry about the wheel starting to corrode or the rear suspension failing after a couple of years. The long and short of it is that there is no point owning an Adventure outright anymore as it wont last much longer than 3 or 4 years so just get one on the options scheme that BMW offer and you can get a new one every 3 years. Although there are still lots of reasons why you should buy a BMW - and especially a GS Adventure - they can no longer claim that they produce bikes that are of high build quality.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Read all 19 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2006
Year discontinued 2009
Original price £9,755
Used price £6,300 to £10,000
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £100
Performance
Max power 99 bhp
Max torque 85 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.5 secs
Average fuel consumption 41 mpg
Tank range 300 miles
Specification
Engine size 1170cc
Engine type 8v Boxer twin, 6 gears
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 33 litres
Seat height 890mm
Bike weight 223kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload, rebound
Front brake Twin 300mm discs
Rear brake Single Disc, ABS Optional
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1999: BMW R1150GS - 85bhp, 229kg, six-speed gearbox, twin headlights.
2002: BMW R1150GS Adventure released – 253kg, bigger tank, taller suspension.
2004: BMW R1200GS – 100bhp, 199kg, more powerful Boxer motor, new chassis.
2006: BMW R1200GS Adventure – new motorcycle.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

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  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Instruments
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
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