Some bikes just get under your skin, and for me the R1200GS is one of them. I’ve done a lot of miles on GSs over the years – including a Land’s End to John O’Groats double and a lap of the coast of Ireland, and I had the first liquid-cooled one in 2013, covering over 15,000 superbly entertaining miles on it in six months. The highlight of that year was a three-day blast to South East Germany, riding from Stamford to Chemnitz in one 739-mile hit, grabbing some kip, then enjoying a full day on track at Sachsenring dicing with GSX-Rs, before the schlep back home in one hit the following day.
I thought I’d pretty much scratched my GS itch, but when I first clapped eyes on the new Rallye edition, I felt a dizzy sensation in my guts. That stunning blue HP-like frame, and aggressive graphics really float my visual boat, and those drivetrain mods should deliver a smoother and judder-free drive, too. BMW have changed the feel of the GS with the Rallye, and I really like the mods, which include: the shorter Rallye seat, sports windshield, radiator and frame guards, wide enduro footrests and cross-spoke wheels. Suspension upgrades are also available if you want to really go tonto off-road. You can also remove the luggage bridge and passenger footrest – blanking off the resultant holes with covers that are provided with the bike, giving it a more sparse-looking rear-end that reminds me of the early R80G/S models (which is surely no coincidence).
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I’ve always like the rugged attitude of the GS Adventure models, but preferred the dimensions of the stock GS – effectively making the Rallye the best of both worlds.
But choosing it this year goes beyond simple attraction. My riding demands a lot of versatility these days, so being comfortable over distance while also being able to have fun on fast road rides are requirements I’m not willing to compromise on – and that tends to push me down the route of adventure-sports or sports-touring bikes (although for weekend blasts a superbike is still my soul-food). Having had KTM’s nuts 1290 Super Duke GT in 2016, I feel like it’ll be hard to find a bike that’ll suit me more perfectly – and that pushed me away from the sportier options to something that’s more adventure orientated. Any direct competitors for the SDGT are only likely to leave me feeling disappointed.
The choices are numerous now in the adventure-sports/adventure sectors, but personal predilection keeps me away from the inline-four options, while I’ve never liked the Multistrada 1200 (although I do like the new 950). The Africa Twin is superb, but lacks the fun-factor, along with Suzuki’s V-Strom. And having a KTM 1290 derivative again would be too similar, too soon. The more I shut my eyes and tried to come up with a clear winner for my affections, the more the Rallye kept playing across my mind’s eye.
I’m stupidly excited.
BMW R1200GS Rallye Tech Specs
BMW R1200GS Rallye, £12,730 / BMW R1200GS Rallye Sport, £14,625
Engine 1170cc boxer twin
Claimed power 125bhp @ 7750rpm
Claimed Torque 92.2ftlb @ 6500rpm
Frame Tubular steel
Seat Height 850-870mm (900mm with sport suspension)
Suspension front Telelever front, Rear Paralever (both with ESA)
Brakes 2 x 305mm discs with four-piston calipers; 276mm rear disc with two piston caliper
Weight 244kg (kerb)
Fuel capacity 20litres
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