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BMW R1200GS ADVENTURE (2018-2019) Review

Published: 15 November 2017

Updated: 27 November 2019

Get the spec right, and the Adventure is addictively superb.

Riding a crest on the BMW R1200GS Adventure

Get the spec right, and the Adventure is addictively superb.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Whatever your preconceptions are about BMW’s ubiquitous R1200GS, there’s really only one reason for its success: it’s devastatingly effective at doing its job. And the Adventure model just got even better – albeit through the introduction of key new optional extras.

Following a year behind the standard GS and Rallye models, the new-for-2018 Adventure is available in five model variations in the UK, from the stock model (£13,400), up to the heavily spec'd Rallye TE (£17,670), which ticks all the major upgrade boxes.

The ride is dominated by the new automatic Dynamic ESA which takes the already clever electronic suspension to a new level of refinement and effectiveness. The view is dominated by the Connectivity dash, which adds a level of modernity to the GS that utterly transforms it. Both of which are optional extras – but if BMW, and the bikes on the used market, are evidence enough – no-one buys a standard BMW these days.

The TE or Rallye versions are our hot picks – anything less will require a big extras list to get the bike you really wanted. But get the spec right, and the new Adventure is addictively superb. Comfortable, fast enough, wildly clever, versatile, and unstoppable.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The only tangible downside of the Adventure compared to the standard GS or Rallye is the width of the 30 litre fuel tank. The flanks are so flared that for my 5ft11in stature I find it pushing my knees apart like a birthing mother’s. It’s absolutely fine when riding casually, but gripping the tank with your knees under braking is a splayed-out affair. I love the huge tank range though.

And you can ride it hard, too. In the 296 miles I rode around South Wales over two days, I was moving between and through corners with the same pace I would on any more powerful large sports or touring bike. In fact, when the going gets tough I genuinely believe I could get across the Brecons faster on the GSA than a litre sportsbike.

Making a splash on the BMW R1200GS Adventure

The power delivery doesn't overwhelm, allowing you to use everything available, while the handling, brakes, and electronic assistance are all as impressive as you could hope for. The Dynamic ESA, which automatically adjusts to the load on the bike and keeps it within its optimum operating window, is also superb.

Not only does it manage to keep you comfortable and composed, but it also irons the road flat under your wheels. The only negative I can aim at it is the GSA's propensity for becoming detatched from the ground. Over bigger bumps and sharp crests it gets airborn very easily – which is fine if you're expecting it and riding aggressively, but can also catch you unawares. 

Engine 4 out of 5

Already treated to a half-upgrade for 2017, when it adopted the current GS drivetrain modifications for smoother final drive and gearbox operation, the 2018 model also gets a revised exhaust system and engine mapping to make it Euro4 compliant – while maintaining identical performance figures. 

This subtle evolution ought not be overly obvious in motion, but there is a notable improvement in the smoothness of the drive over pre-17 models, especially low in the rev range. The pick-up and surge of vibe-free acceleration from as low as 2500rpm is impressively creamy, and the gearbox feels crisp and precise – especially though the optional bi-directional quickshifter.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Despite excellent build-quality, a three-year warranty from new and a strong dealer network, the final BMW R1200GS Adventure was subject to a recall, with up to a thousand BMW bikes sold in the UK across 2018 with spoked rims at risk of multiple spokes working loose, leading to compromised wheel integrity.

While each repair case was considered on individual merit, wheels with seven or more loose spokes were replaced with a new wheel under warranty.

BMW R1200GS logo

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

BMW haven’t re-written the rulebook with the new GS, but all the small changes have made a huge difference and certainly made the book a more engaging read.

The handling is outstanding considering its size, and the comfort is class-leading. It’s the best adventure bike of this kind, but then in full-spec mode it does cost close to £20,000.

BMW R1200GS Adventure and its closest rivals

Equipment 4 out of 5

The real story for 2018 is not so much the baseline improvement, but what optional extras you can bolt to the new Adventure (and the rest of the GS range).

Our already well-spec’d test bikes (in TE trim) had all the benefit of heated grips, hill start control, keyless ride, Pro riding modes and the phenomenal Dynamic ESA semi-active suspension – plus much more – but the headlines are the new Emergency Call system, and Connectivity, BMW’s new multi-media supporting 6.5in TFT dash.

The Emergency Call system is a great safety aid, which now has no annual costs once fitted, and provides an intelligent emergency response system which, amongst other functions, will call an ambulance to your exact location for you if you crash and are incapacitated.

It's not a simple 'you've crashed you numpty, I'm calling an ambulance' system, but instead works through a series of contact attempts and protocols to ensure you need assistance before it's sent.

But best of all is the new TFT dash. From clever simple tools like the adaptive redline indicator which gives a moving redline based on engine warm-up progress, to invaluable functionality that includes full wireless multimedia connection to your phone for calls and music, a simple satellite navigation function, full Connected App support, Bluetooth helmet connectivity, and rafts of bike information screens that provide every detail about your bike’s status – which are also paired to the App. 

BMW R1200GS Adventure TFT dash

In use it takes a few minutes and menu mis-navigations to get used to it, but once you have - it's entirely intuitive and adds a level of refinement and support that positively affects every mile you ride. 

It costs a steep £595 extra, but it’s worth every penny for ownership pleasure, and will positively impact on the bike's resale value. You could also consider it as a cheaper upgrade than the firm's NavigatorVI satnav (£625), which – while it boasts more functionaliy – is made somewhat superfluous by the Connectivity dash's navigation ability in conjuction with the dedicated phone app. Nonetheless, it’s a shame BMW haven’t elected to make it standard equipment.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2018
Year discontinued 2019
Original price £13,400
Used price £6,300 to £15,800
Warranty term (when new) Three years
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost £180
Performance
Max power 123.4 bhp
Max torque 92.2 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 299 miles
Specification
Engine size 1170cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled boxer twin
Frame type Steel tubular
Fuel capacity 30 litres
Seat height 890mm
Bike weight 263kg
Front suspension Telelever, 37mm fork, non-adjustable monoshock
Rear suspension Paralever, monoshock with rebound/preload adjustable
Front brake 305mm disc, 4-piston Brembo calipers
Rear brake 276mm disc Brembo 2-piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/70 x 19
Rear tyre size 170/60 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

The first BMW GS Adventure arrived in 2001 ahead of the 2002 riding season, based on the R1150GS. This was updated to the R1200GS platform in 2006, before gaining twin cams in 2010. The last big update arrived in 2014, when the GSA followed a year behind the GS with its upgrade to the water-cooled engine.

Other versions

Alongside the Adventure models, there is also a standard BMW R1200GS, too.

Owners' Reviews

1 owner has reviewed their BMW R1200GS ADVENTURE (2018-2019) 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 (2018-2019)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 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
5 out of 5

2019 R1200GS Adventure

14 February 2020 by Neil Gardner

Superb all-round machine, used daily to commute 80 mile round trip

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Ride can seem a little disconnected from the road but I guess thats down to the nature of the bike and the Dynamic ESA
Engine
5 out of 5
Plenty of power and torgue makes it a pleasure to ride especially round the twisties
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Still early days but quality seems good
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Initial service cost was higher than anticipated
Equipment
5 out of 5
Surprisingly does not include an alarm system as standard, otherwise everything but the kitchen sink included
Buying experience

Purchased as a pre-registered machine with only 5 miles on the clock, got a reasonable discount and the side panniers included within the deal.

Photo Gallery

  • Riding a crest on the BMW R1200GS Adventure
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure logo
  • Cornering on the BMW R1200GS Adventure
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure and rivals
  • A static view of the BMW R1200GS Adventure
  • Riding the BMW R1200GS Adventure on the road
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure switchgear
  • Splashing through water on the BMW R1200GS Adventure
  • Engine protection on the BMW R1200GS Adventure
  • BMW R1200GS Adventure dash
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