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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.