This week’s edition of Motor Cycle News (30 Jan 2013) features a 7-page first test of the all-new BMW R1200GS, which was launched in South Africa last week.
Senior Road Tester, Adam Child, was highly impressed by the new partially water-cooled all-roader, grab your copy now to read his thorough appraisal of the new bike.
Adam invited your questions before the launch; here are his answers.
Your questions answered by Lee Nicholls - BMW Motorrad UK:
When will the bikes be arriving in the UK?
The worldwide dealer launch will be the 2nd March; they should be in dealers just before that. Each dealer will have a demo for test rides and each dealer will have every colour on display.
How many orders have you taken so far, and is there a back order?
We have already taken 500 orders of the new GS in the UK. If you order a bike this weekend it will be delivered for late spring.
Are most customers going for the standard bike or the fully spec’d TE option?
In the UK we are going to have three different models, the standard model at £11,395, the GS TE at £13,815 and the GS Enduro £12,435.
So far 80% of our orders are for the TE model which is a UK specific bike that comes with heated grips, tyre pressure control, LED white indicators, ASC and riding modes, Dynamic ESA (semi active suspension) LED headlight, on-board computer, GPD bracket, chrome exhaust, cruise control, hand guards and L+R fasteners.
When can we expect a new adventure model?
We haven’t said anything official, but looking back at history we usually launch the Adventure model 12 months after the standard GS. The existing Adventure is still available.
How about seeing the new engine in other models like the RT?
Again, I can see that happening and looking back at BMW history you could assume that will happen, but there is nothing official at the moment.
If a die-hard BMW fan wanted an air-cooled GS are there still bikes available?
We’ve ended production of the now old air-cooled GS and have completely sold out, we had a handful left in December but they all went pretty fast.
We only have the current air-cooled Adventure still available.
MCN’s Adam Child answers your other questions:
Does it feel ‘tough’?
I’d say yes, obviously a long-term test will tell us for sure, but the build quality seems high and nothing feels flimsy. There are additional crash bars and hand guards plus an under slung bash plate for more serious off road riding.
Real power? Because some mechanics say that 125 (and even 110 and 100?) are "bloat" for this kind of engine and are not really there.
BMW are quoting 125bhp and 125Nm torque, which will be at the crank - not the back wheel. We can’t give you a definitive answer until we get one on our dyno in the UK, but we’d expect to see around 114bhp at the back wheel.
Some say it should be more off-road capable than the current model (although a bit heavier).
BMW have specifically increased the off road capabilities of the new GS, both for novices and more advanced riders. There are two additional rider modes; Enduro and Enduro Pro.
The Enduro Pro mode is specifically designed for more experienced riders using special off road tyres. The Enduro Pro suspension travel is longer, ABS and ASC is less intrusive and you can lock the rear wheel.
Despite the addition of water-cooling it’s actually the same weight as the old model.
Is there a difference in the handling (especially with new tyre dimensions)? Is anything worse than the old model?
Without both bikes present it’s hard to categorically confirm how much better the new model is over the old model. However I would say handling has been improved, so has the engine and the overall package.
I can’t think of anything better on the old bike than the new. ABS is now standard - so compared to the old bike, like-for-like, the new bike is also cheaper.
My old R1150GS could be dropped without damage at low speeds. The 1200 can't. With this new one, if you just get let go of the bike at standstill and let it fall over, does anything break or scrape?
It’s hard to say and also depends if it’s off road or on road and which side. The GS feels robust as usual but the old 1150GS was made of very tough stuff.
There is more plastic which may break and now you have to worry about radiators on either side. However, the BMW designers assure me the bar end and engine case hit first before the side mounted small radiators.
Additionally large crash bars are an optional extra, which should take most of the damage after a low speed topple, there are also hand guards.
For high mileage riders who don't fancy servicing themselves, does the new engine promise reduced servicing, and improved economy versus the old model?
Service intervals are actually the same as the old model, 600 mile first service then every 6,000 miles thereafter.
According to BMW the mpg has been improved, only a full UK comparative test will tell us for sure.
I have owned a number of BMW's over the years including two GSs. I know from experience that there will be 'issues' with the first of the new GS models, so should I just wait until the second year of production?
The new GS has been a six-year project with a huge amount of testing. They’ve completed over one million km of test miles in total. The GS is a huge model for BMW, and they believe they’ve got it right first time around.
Will the new GS be matching Triumph Explorer’s service intervals of 10k for minor and 20k for major servicing?
Sorry, no. The service intervals are the same as before – so every 6,000 miles
I understand the bike will be 65% air cooled and 35% water cooled. If the water cooling system springs a leak will the motorcycle still have sufficient air cooling to get you home?
The official answer from BMW is no, without partial water-cooling you will damage the engine. The bike will obviously still start and run, but not for very long!
Can you turn the ABS off so you can do stoppies?
Yes, you can turn the ABS off and it can be done on the move from the left bar. Unsure about stoppies! With very little fork dive it would be hard work. Good luck with that one!
Will they fit a lower seat?
The new standard seat is narrower at the front and the tank is slightly thinner which means it’s more accessible for shorter riders. There is also an optional lowering seat kit, which takes the seat height down to 790mm
How good is the semi-active suspension?
It’s really impressive - there is far less yaw and wallow. It’s not so much a performance gain, more of a comfort improvement. However, in Dynamic mode, the sportiest of modes, the new GS can really surprise you.
It handles far better than the old bike, much more controlled, and the large 19inch front wheel almost feels like a 17.
When it falls over how many of your camera crew does it take to pick it up again?
Despite the addition of the extra radiator and new rider aids the new bike weighs the same as the old bike, and with the right technique, it’s a doddle to get it upright again.
What will it be like in UK weather?
Heated grips come as standard and so do the hand guards in the UK, which should keep your hands warm enough. There’s a rain mode too, which gives a gentler throttle response and enables the traction control to kick in early. ABS also comes as standard now.
Does the new screen actually deliver a quiet ride? After years of trying and failing with aftermarket screens, mounting modifications to get a GS where my ears can stand to go as far as the bike can it is my one big question.
BMW claim the bike is 5 decibles quieter than the old model due to a more efficient airflow over the new screen and bodywork.
The screen can me manually raised or lowered on the move and with the screen fully upright wind noise is reduced. There’s certainly less turbulence, you can ride at 75mph with your visor open, and not have streaming eyes.
See the full launch report in this week’s MCN.