BMW R1200GS (2013-on) Review

Published: 02 January 2014

"Fully revised in 2013 and the result has improved the already class leading GS in almost every aspect"

BMW R1200GS  (2013-on)

"Fully revised in 2013 and the result has improved the already class leading GS in almost every aspect"

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

For 2013 the legendary GS (it was the catalyst of the whole adventure bike class back in 1980 and has become BMW’s best-selling bike world-wide) has received its biggest update yet. Almost every component has been changed; it’s more powerful thanks to a new partially water-cooled motor and is laden with the latest gadgets and rider assisting technology.

The result has improved the already class leading GS in almost every aspect. The engine is a measurable step forward right through the rev range yet retains its boxer character. It looks cleaner and neater, is more comfortable and sophisticated and handles better too.

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

Throwing a leg over the new BMW it’s recognisably a GS, but easier to touch the floor on due to the slightly thinner seat. Incidentally the new comfier seat can be moved up and down, you can also change the angle and tilt, even the pillion seat can be moved backwards and forwards. Handling-wise, the new bike is far less likely to wallow and move around whilst cornering over humps and imperfections.  The radial Brembo brakes are really strong and the ABS is excellent. Despite being an Adventure touring bike the GS is rather sporty. Handling is so good you could even take the GS on track and that from a bike which is also capable off road.

Engine 5 out of 5

Power has increased from 110 bhp to 125bhp and there’s a big extra dollop of torque right through the rev range. You can feel the extra torque from 4,000rpm to 7,000rpm. The old air-cooled motor was always a weak point of the old bike especially when compared to sportier competition; however that gap should have been vastly reduced thanks to the new twin. There’s also a lovely bark even from the standard exhaust.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

BMWs haven’t always lived up to the badge’s formidable reputation but we’ve no reason to doubt the new GS yet. It’s classy, quality and rugged. No wonder used values stay so high…

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

In base spec, the GS’s tag doesn’t sound that bad and is on a par with many of its competitors. Trouble is, no-one buys or wants a base-spec BMW and once you’ve ladled on all the ‘vital’, defining extras (ABS, heated grips, luggage etc etc) you’re quickly looking at the thick end of 14 grand or more…

Insurance group: 13 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Our test bike had all the extras, even had the excellent satnav. The new clocks are stylish, informative as ever, typically BMW. There’s an optional new LED headlight, the first on any bike, and all around there are subtle, small changes like the new switch gear . What’s more, as ever there are so many optional extras available you could use their brochure to sink a small boat.

Owners' Reviews

15 owners have reviewed their BMW R1200GS (2013-on) 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 (2013-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.7 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.9 out of 5
Engine 4.6 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.1 out of 5
Equipment 4.9 out of 5
4 out of 5

R1200GSW Driveshaft Water ingress

26 August 2016 by greyvew

In general an exceptional bike, my first choice after testing all other ADV style bikes. let down by driveshaft failure. No other issues. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
let down by driveshaft failure at 21k, water ingress into drive shaft resulting in need of drive shaft replacement. Never been off road, used jetwash or been in deep water. Bike was 6 months out of warranty, BMW would not replace under goodwill. Message in short was that as I did not take extended warranty this was my fault. Very disappointing attitude from both dealer and BMW!
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
12 k yearly = 2 services a year
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Buying experience

Dealer

5 out of 5

Best motorcycle in the world

09 August 2016 by Martin

Best of the best Read more

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
Good choice are spoke wheels.
Buying experience

no comments. Great motorcycle for money.

4 out of 5

Generally good - but watch for lemons.

24 July 2016 by mattblack000

Maybe i was sold the runt of the litter, but it put me off having another GS!!! Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Generally, quality is high and gave a blast either touring or commuting, touring or scratching. Shame it looks as though BMW are stopping the paralever as best suspension set up.
Engine
5 out of 5
throaty, meaty, plenty of torque and overtakes in top if necessary. a very forgiving bike for new riders or old hands alike.
Build Quality & Reliability
2 out of 5
On a tour to Ireland (smooth roads!): barrel lock for GPS completely fell out somewhere, and 3 of the five screen retaining bolts simply disappeared. Upon return to UK, numerous electrical battery fault problems leading to flat battery weekly. Dealer said unusual but no fault could be found - I must have bought the lemon. A very expensive lemon.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
600 miles initially then yearly. average cost for Beemers.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Came fully loaded, as you would expect for the price. The vario panniers are probably the best I've ever encountered, allowing a slim profile without having to take them off when running empty but with loads of storage space when required. No problems in downpours either, at least mine seemed fully waterproof. The LED lights on the TE are probably the best lights I've used, give massive presence to other users and lit Ireland back country roads in the sticks up like a lighthouse. Shame they aren't being used by every other manufacturer.
Buying experience

From Dealer - good service and delivery

5 out of 5

Buy one

23 March 2016 by Greg

You don't need 139bhp when the bike handles like this. Punch out of corners is impressive but the fact this giant beast tips into corners like it's on rails is just something else. The big tank just adds to the fun of riding. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
I've been riding for a long time and had many different bikes but the way this thing handles and stops is very impressive. Took out the wife's MT07 and that was harder to stop.
Engine
5 out of 5
Sounds gorgeous on its standard exhaust. Decent spread of power and the rider modes just adds to the fun factor.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
electric fault with fog light but replaced by BMW FOC. Slight misting on computer panel. Centre stand seems to be taking a beating from the rear wheel chucking crud at it.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
50ish mpg, better if you can lay off the throttle but that 1200 is very addictive.
Equipment
5 out of 5
I've got the TE version so it's only missing the kitchen sink. Tyres can be noisy but ear plugs soon stops that. At 6'3" I needed a taller screen but thats just my fault.
Buying experience

dealer, great service and plenty of coffee. As I was a RAT leader and long time Triumph rider they pulled out all the stops.

5 out of 5

The Jack

05 February 2016 by Hugh

Covers many bases of what a bike should do. Comfy, sporty, fast, flexible, desireable. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Suspension amazing, totally reassuring, never feels out of sorts, I mean never.
Engine
4 out of 5
The engine is mostly great. It does drop in a hole at just after 5k rpm when you just whack the throttle open. If you are progressive it is just fine. I had an HP2 Sport and this is a much better engine. It is quick, not like a super bike, but quick all the same up to around 130mph which suits me just fine
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
The bike is designed and manufactured to a level of what you would expect of a technically advanced luxury product. Everything feels lovely about this bike.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
The hourly labour rate is huge and makes the cost of getting anything done a daunting task. You can get great non BMW services at £50 per hour
Equipment
5 out of 5
This bike has everything you could imagine and it all works
Buying experience

BMW dealers know how to treat a customer. Slick service, never pushy, great experience.

5 out of 5

BMW GS... Not such an old mans bike!

22 January 2016 by Damian F

Best features: comfort, handling, speed/torque, gadgets, pillion carrying. Worst: not the smoothest in first two gears, other people's perception of a 'GS' rider, I'm 29 and it shocks everyone! I would definitely recommend it! Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
The test ride sold it to me... Enough to said!
Engine
4 out of 5
But lumpy in fist two gears at low revs.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
One year of ownership no issues thus far.
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
Expensive to service.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Swiss Army knife of bikes
Buying experience

The dealer I bought from Benham Bikes in Wolverhampton were best dealer I had visited they didn't just shun me because I was young, didn't just assume I was a time waster.

5 out of 5

Great but not cheap

26 December 2015 by AndyT

It's big but remarkably flexible and competent. Touring, off-roading, commuting, fast A roads, you will be surprised what you can do, and how much fun you can have, on this bike. It's a keeper. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
I accidentally ran over some road cones at 40mph and the bike wasn't phased at all, just ploughed straight through. Brakes work well in combination with my Anakee3 tyres
Engine
5 out of 5
I like the engines character. Plenty of torque and acceleration and quicker than most things on the road. The gear range is good for spirited or leisurely riding and the engine modes add interest when you feel bored
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Although the bike is still fairly new I really can't fault reliability. I've commuted, toured, ridden in all weather (after all this is meant to be an adventure bike not a fair weather tart) and never been let down apart from the odd puncture.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
If you are buying a GS then you can expect to pay premium rates for extras and gadgets
Equipment
5 out of 5
Can't really fault the options here. Some people don't like the switchgear - personally I think they are being fussy. The Nav5 is good but is it really worth £600+? I bought mine for less on eBay. I recommend the Vario panniers and top box.
Buying experience

dealer was good at sales but not so great at servicing - my bike was returned with the spark plug cover missing after a minor service. No final visual inspection before leaving the shop?

5 out of 5

20 November 2015 by Finn Borge

Top detail engineering. It is an excellent compromise; very good control on gravel, excellent on curvy roads as well as good on a straight motorway. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
Boxer cylinders sticks out which is not great aesthetics (in my view). Very good performance except in slow traffic
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
Very good when everything is in place (at a cost)
5 out of 5

Best bike in the world

09 November 2015 by Dave

My second LC, and you can feel the development the bike has gone through all over the bike. It just all works so well. Nothing else comes close. Best extra? The quickshift pro, brilliant toy! Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Unbeatable
Engine
5 out of 5
The beating heart!
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Much improved over the 2013 model I had before. That had lots of warranty work, but this one is perfect!
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Lots of outlay, but this baby does it all
Equipment
5 out of 5
Quick shift pro and Akropovic
Buying experience

My son sold me it! Adam at Cannon BMW

5 out of 5

Best bike I have owned by far.

21 September 2015 by KB

Best bike I have owned by far, and that is from almost 40 years on various bikes. Does everything in a very competent manner. Easy 400-500 mile day. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Needed back pads after 5000miles, that was a joke. made from chocolate?! However in fairness to BMW they did not charge anywhere near the price they would normally do for such a change. But as to actual brakes in action, very good.
Engine
5 out of 5
Happy in the 4-5000 rpm for reasonable pace, run up into red and yahoo.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Usual BMW service requirements, part of the ownership when you buy one, but I think helps keep re-sale value. Long term mpg 52mpg, can get down to 38-40 but if I want to just go canny (well did it once) gets 65mpg and the a tank range of about 260 on vapours!
Equipment
4 out of 5
It needs a proper mud guard arrangement, the mod everyone does is get a "mudsling". This should be std on a £14k bike. By far the muckiest bike in wet conditions.
Buying experience

Dealer, all went very well.

Read all 15 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2013
Year discontinued -
New price £11,900
Used price £9,000 to £16,500
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 13 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £320
Performance
Max power 125 bhp
Max torque 125 ft-lb
Top speed 125 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 42 mpg
Tank range 190 miles
Specification
Engine size 1170cc
Engine type Air/liquid cooled, 4v boxer twin, shaft drive, six gears
Frame type Front and rear tubular steel subframe only
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 850mm
Bike weight 238kg
Front suspension Telelever monoshock, preload adjust
Rear suspension Paralever single swhock, preload and rebound damping adjust
Front brake 2 x 305mm discs, 4-piston radial calipers, optional ABS
Rear brake 276mm disc, twin piston caliper, optional ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 R19
Rear tyre size 170/60 R17

History & Versions

Model history

2013: New model launched

Other versions

R1200GS Adventure: To be launched in 2014

Photo Gallery

  • BMW R1200GS  (2013-on)
  • BMW R1200GS  (2013-on)
  • BMW R1200GS  (2013-on)
  • BMW R1200GS  (2013-on)
  • BMW R1200GS  (2013-on)
  • BMW R1200GS  (2013-on)
  • BMW R1200GS  (2013-on)
  • BMW R1200GS  (2013-on)
  • BMW R1200GS  (2013-on)
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