BMW R1200GS (2013 - 2016) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£320|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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 & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
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…
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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…
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.
|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|
|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|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||42 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£320|
|Used price||£7,400 - £11,000|
13 of 17
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||125 bhp|
|Max torque||125 ft-lb|
|Top speed||125 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||190 miles|
Model history & versions
2013: New model launched
R1200GS Adventure: To be launched in 2014
MCN Long term test reports
MCN Fleet: BMW R1200GS Rallye reaches the end of the road
I’m not a monogamous rider. It doesn’t matter how good a bike is, I really struggle with the concept of only having one. I currently own four (a Ducati 996, Suzuki GSX-R750 ‘Slabby’, Honda VFR800FiW and Honda CB750 SOHC), but if you backed me into a corner and threatened me with the concept of singl…
Owners' reviews for the BMW R1200GS (2013 - 2016)
21 owners have reviewed their BMW R1200GS (2013 - 2016) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£320|
Version: LC TE
Annual servicing cost: £700
I bought this bike with 22k miles on the clock. First 6k miles and first service flawless, 2 weeks after a bearing snapped inside the engine and damaged the whole compartment. Luckily I have a 2 year approved used warranty and BMW replaced the engine and gearbox free of charge, with a newer version. Overall this is an amazing bike, easy to ride, comfortable, fast enough for me as I am not a racer. The bike is being used all year round in any kind of weather, but not off road.
The way it rides is absolutely flawless. You want to ride in comfort or have a spirited one, just flick a switch, it will not let you down. It can pull in any gear and above 2500rpm it just goes. It's nimble and easy to control, I commute in London and I have only a top box, it's absolutely brilliant if you want to move around fast. For me it doesn't seem heavy or big, obviously you can't squeeze like you would do with other bike, but if you have the space, it's as easy as an 125 to ride.
The engine is lovely, sounds great in my opinion and it just pulls in any gear (that's when it doesn't have a major failure).
A major engine failure is not a small issue. To replace everything after 28k miles I think is a bit scary. I don't want to know what would have happened if I was out of warranty. Rear brake pads have to be replaced every 6k miles, which I think it's a bit of a problem. It will go soon for a 600 miles inspection on the new engine and I hope they sort the brakes as well. The bike feels solid, no rust or signs of wear yet even though I am riding all year round(around 15k miles a year), but I do take care of it, ACF50 being my best mate every few months.
When I bought the bike, it had new rear brake pads and tyre fitted. After 6k miles, same story, but now I have the front tyre and pads to change as well next week, an additional £300-400. It is not a cheap bike to service and you need to make sure you do it properly not to lose the warranty.
Heated grips are not hot enough, the back wheel needs a proper mudguard to protect the back of your legs, clunky gearbox (the one before the engine was replaced, the newer one is much better) and sticky buttons. Apart from that, it's hard to find more significant faults.
Buying experience: Buying experience was very good. Basically I have looked for a few bikes around the country that had the same price and specs. I went back and forward with all the dealers until they gave me the lowest possible APR and instalment plan. If you don't ask, you won't have it.
The best branded "All rounder" bike
Improvement in suspension and braking compare to earlier model
Smoothest + torquey 1200 boxer engine in 2018
Build quality not up to expectation
1 keyless control device + 1 spare key only
Buying experience: Authorised dealership
Annual servicing cost: £300
The bike is awesome! Im a little bit concerned about reliability and running costs. I understand I bought a premium bike but for such reason I expect premium reliability. I also think is about time for BMW to increase the power of their engines. Not that the bike needs it, but for the price you pay and taking into account all other adventure bikes manufacturers in the segment are producing engines with around 150hp I guess BMW should do it too.
The ride is awesome, very confortable. The dynamic ESA does a wonderful job setting the bike at every meter. My pregnant wife loves when I take her on afternoon rides. (Yes, the bike can be that soft to ride when it is set on "Road" mode.
Lets be honest! 125HP is more than enough and the boxer engine has more than enough torque to pull incredibly hard in any gear! I have been amazed of how hard it pulls in 5th and even 6th! You barely have to go to lower gears to pass other vehicles... Still as the usual transition goes from Superbikes to Adventure Bikes, I kind of miss the brutal power of my ZX10R (about 180HP to the wheel). Given that other Adventure Bikes are going over or around 150HP. It wouldnt hurt for BMW to update the power of their engines... Not that the bike needs it but it is just freaking cool to open the gas and feel it once in a while... For the price you are paying for the bike, it should have it!
Everything about the bike is very expensive. I would say: "Almost Aerospace grade" expensive.
This comes with more toys you can even play with!!
Buying experience: The bike was pre-sold on me!! I really wanted the bike! It was very easy for the BMW Motorrad staff to sell me something I already wanted to have!
Annual servicing cost: £100
handles great good brakes
Does a lot better on fuel than the air cooled one mine is doing around 60mpg it is a lot smoother and gearchange is improved on the 2016 version.Just completed a round trip to Austria/ Croatia/ Italy 3,600 miles .The hill start assist is great when you are fully loaded. Cruise control brilliant on long journeys or speed limits.
Buying experience: bought from Alan Jeffries Shipley great to deal with.
This bike comes with keyless ignition. BMW in their wisdom only supply one fob key and one plastic wallet key. So if the responder key stops working, gets lost or is stolen you will have to use the wallet key until you fork out £170 for a proper replacement. With the wallet key you have to grovel around under the rear wheel arch to find the responder point and at the same time try to start the bike with the starter switch on the handle. This is not made clear at the point of sale. So if you want one of these bikes make sure you get a spare key thrown in to the deal...
Version: LC TE
Annual servicing cost: £180
Ultimate all rounder - great handling with comfort enough to ride all day. Excellent fuel economy however you choose to ride it whether fully loaded or not.
Stops as good as any sports bike which considering the weight when fully laden is top marks. Wet stability gives confidence in any conditions.
Smooth power deliver through the rev range and more tractable than previous models - high frequency vibration through the bars which is cured with 'grip puppies' - does feel as though there should be another gear?
2nd year service jumps up to circa £300 but includes brake fluid change.
Choice of riding modes to suit all conditions and loading. Gear Shift Pro is great going up the box but lumpy on down shifts. Keyless Go useful once used to it but don't start up on the drive and leave the fob/spare on the hall table - could be embarrassing! Nav V is a great add on.
Buying experience: Bought at main dealer - was able to haggle and got a very fair part ex and discount - always depends when you buy and don't be desperate - I made an offer and left the dealer to consider it by stating that I would buy on the day for the right deal - dealer called within the hour to get me back in. Was £13000 - paid £12500 and got Nav V thrown in (previous owner kept the head unit) £610 retail. Cash sale.
Version: Water cooled
Annual servicing cost: £500
In general an exceptional bike, my first choice after testing all other ADV style bikes. let down by driveshaft failure. No other issues.
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!
12 k yearly = 2 services a year
Buying experience: Dealer
Best of the best
Good choice are spoke wheels.
Buying experience: no comments. Great motorcycle for money.
Maybe i was sold the runt of the litter, but it put me off having another GS!!!
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.
throaty, meaty, plenty of torque and overtakes in top if necessary. a very forgiving bike for new riders or old hands alike.
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.
600 miles initially then yearly. average cost for Beemers.
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
Annual servicing cost: £182
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.
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.
Sounds gorgeous on its standard exhaust. Decent spread of power and the rider modes just adds to the fun factor.
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.
50ish mpg, better if you can lay off the throttle but that 1200 is very addictive.
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.
Covers many bases of what a bike should do. Comfy, sporty, fast, flexible, desireable.
Suspension amazing, totally reassuring, never feels out of sorts, I mean never.
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
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.
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
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.
Annual servicing cost: £280
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!
The test ride sold it to me... Enough to said!
But lumpy in fist two gears at low revs.
One year of ownership no issues thus far.
Expensive to service.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
If you are buying a GS then you can expect to pay premium rates for extras and gadgets
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?
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.
Boxer cylinders sticks out which is not great aesthetics (in my view). Very good performance except in slow traffic
Very good when everything is in place (at a cost)
Annual servicing cost: £180
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!
The beating heart!
Much improved over the 2013 model I had before. That had lots of warranty work, but this one is perfect!
Lots of outlay, but this baby does it all
Quick shift pro and Akropovic
Buying experience: My son sold me it! Adam at Cannon BMW
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.
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.
Happy in the 4-5000 rpm for reasonable pace, run up into red and yahoo.
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!
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.
Such an improvement on the old bike. Versatile, more fun and lots of toys make this the complete do anything and go anywhere bike. Quality of handling and smoothness of power delivery have me looking for bends and avoiding motorways.
Where my old GS felt remote and un-involving, the new one is an absolute hoot. I rode in torrential rain yesterday for 65 miles and the GS felt assured and fixed to the road. The rain 'mode' takes enough power out to smooth the power delivery without it feeling strangled. With the other two modes I can't really tell any difference. Gear shift pro is a revelation. I wondered what on earth it was for, having been riding and using a clutch for 30 years, but it makes gear changes up the box so much smoother. A bit clunky coming down, but now I am getting used to it I am getting smoother down changes as well. Much like the iPad, now I have it it don't want to be without it. Brakes are excellent, progressive with great feel and abs gives plenty of confidence.
More power and significantly better delivery. Water cooling has made a huge difference to the boxer engine. Very good at low speeds, especially good power delivery for slow filtering on the M25, which unfortunately is where mine will do much of its work. As I said above, I can't tell much difference between road an dynamic modes, but rain seems very good.
It has a real feel of quality about it. I have done 1300 miles in four weeks and everything feels and looks good. The improvements over the last model are many, but the sum mean a massive improvement. My 2011 GS had a gear box rejected by Massey Ferguson for being too clunky, and had a major oil leak at the first service meaning I lost the bike for a week. No such problems on the new bike. Too early to talk about reliability just yet.
BMW's are never going to be cheap and I have every bell and whistle. Managed to get the luggage thrown in for free, and the brilliant Navigator VI came free anyway. While you get what you pay for, there is no way you could call a new GS a bargain.
Expensive as they are, BMW's now provide a lot of kit. Keyless ignition, gearshift pro, semi-active suspension, 4 engine modes, countless suspension settings, a brilliant sat nav operated from the handlebar, heated grips, waterproof luggage (thoroughly tested yesterday), and an operating process that helps keep attention on the road and not on the buttons. BMW have raised the game.
Buying experience: North Oxford BMW. Can't fault them. I also have a BMW car and the bike buying experience now matches the car buying experience. Nothing was too much trouble as I tested a few bikes before deciding on the GS. As part of the first service the bike was washed and dried. In the past 20 years bike dealers have improved greatly, but again, these guys have raised the bar considerably.
Annual servicing cost: £250
Biggest "failure" is the cost of BMW extras that need to purchase to make the bike what it could and should be. BMW bikes are now following their car dealership network in taking their own customers for a ride !
Easiest handling BMW I have had in 40 years - great brakes and great comfort
Far more useful (everyday) than previous K1600 or Honda 1000
BMW "Wheel" control (computer) linkage system not operating BMW Sat Nav system.
ASC Pro gives great reassurance and handling is really sharp for an Enduro styled machine. Expanding top box / panniers are excellent ... Although NOT cheap
Buying experience: BMW Park Lane are the only wholely owned BMW Dealership and their prices for nearly used bikes are MUCH cheaper ... How're ever don't expect anything off or included in the sale. I Purchased the GS through the BMW dealer network ... Hard nosed sales techniques - but dealership guarantees. The deal involved getting the essential "extras" included within original price ... and something the dealerships are more flexible on.
Annual servicing cost: £550
Best features overall ability to commute, tour, sports riding or light off road. Worst feature vibration at motorway speeds 80mph
Excellent brakes especially two up with a articulated lorry running a red light!
2014 has lighter flywheel so engine spins up quickly for a big twin. Has power and torque in abundance. Annoying engine vibrations around 5000 rpm will give you a good massage.
Good overall build quality will last if properly prepared and ACF coated for winter. Main stand corrosion though
6000 mile service £220.00, 12000 mile service £280, PR4 Michelin tyre set £195 with offer, running costs on power with large capacity machines; fuel economy 57mpg average
TE version is fully loaded with auto suspension,driving modes, pressure monitor, heated grips, etc. Optional Crash bars are a must to protect cylinder heads. Bike is factory lowered so suits a 29 inch inside leg and the vertically challenged. Optional BMW Sat nav is fully integrated with instruments and provides clear information. Optional Vario panniers and top box make the GS a great tourer.
Buying experience: BMW Dealer was very helpful. Long test rides available. Good PCP deal, though trade in value of old GSA was a little low.
3 weeks into buying the GS LC TE, the kill/starter switch jammed, the unstoppable became the unstartable. Compared with the old air cooled I had, this one is so, so noisy through the fairing, like having a speaker blasting out the sound of a typhoon fighter on afterburners. It may be the tyre choice by BMW (MICHELIN) or a bad design fault. It is certainly noisy. Good points - it feels much more agile (like a 650)and lots of gadgets. Overall disappointing attempt from the Germans. Surprised this was not mentioned in MCN review?
After being persuaded to part ex the Triple Black, I have to say the bike is a major step forward in nearly every way! It will do 2000 miles touring Europe, it does track days well, it does the commute on the famous A12, and quick sprints to the local towns... And if your mates workplace is up a farm track, it does that too... Value? Of course, you only need one bike.. The GS Only reservation is the clunky gearbox in first three gears, the rear pads that only lasted 4500 miles, not even a full service interval, and a bolt on the screen working loose..