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BMW R1200GS (2017-on) Review

Published: 27 February 2017

Hugely capable off-road and on with new advanced rider aids

BMW R1200GS  (2017-on)

Hugely capable off-road and on with new advanced rider aids

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

If you decide you fancy a 2017-onwards BMW R1200GS, you’d better be prepared to do some serious research first. There are versions upon versions to choose from. In the road-biased side, you can opt for the standard model, a TE or a TE Exclusive. If you fancy tackling the dirty stuff, there’s the Rallye and the Rallye TE.

Then of course there’s the BMW R1200GS Adventure, which comes in a bewildering choice of five different spec levels of its own.

The standard BMW R1200GS comes with hand-guards, pannier fastenings and switchable riding modes. If you step up to the TE you get electronic suspension (ESA), cruise control, ABS, dynamic traction control (DTC), better onboard computer and a whole host of other goodies. The TE Exclusive has the same spec as the TE, but comes in “Iced Chocolate” paint and gold calipers (a staggering £305 addition).

The Rallye is the off-road biased version of the R1200GS and comes with sporty upgrades to the pegs, seat, screen and wheels. You also get automatic stability control (ASC), radiator and frame guards and knobbly tyres.

The Rallye TE gets you all of that, plus DTC, LED lights… still reading? There’s a complete list of features in the ‘Equipment’ section of the review.

The next generation ESA and DTC both increase comfort and safety, while the automatic pre-load adjuster will make a huge difference if you’re always adding luggage or a pillion. Just when you think the GS can’t get any more advanced, it does. BMW have improved on perfection, and made their flagship GS smoother and more refined than ever.

The Rallye version takes the fear out of off-roading and bridges the gap between the standard GS and the big Adventure. It goes as well as it looks, is superbly purposeful and looks set to be hugely popular with adventure riders but in full spec it’s an expensive bike to risk riding over rocks. 

Still interested? Learn more about this bike and the other BMW GS models.

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

For 2017 BMW have added clever self-levelling next generation ESA and improved the DTC. Previously you could change the damping on the move to soft, medium and hard but now the damping is adjusted automatically, adapting to your riding by reading numerous sensors such as lean angle, brake pressure, speed, pitch and more.

In basic terms the ESA is always re-adjusting automatically and keeping the bike level. Brake heavily into a turn and it will increase damping at the front; accelerate hard and it will increase damping on the rear. Over bumps and imperfections, the ride is truly impressive.

You have two choices: the standard road version or the off-road version, which means opting for off-road biased rubber. You can then add sports suspension, with increased spring rate, longer struts and extended travel that push the seat height to 900mm, 20mm higher than standard.

The taller Rallye with sports suspension increases the ride height and improves the bikes off-road abilities. You have to make allowances for the off-road rubber and tall stance on the road, but it makes perfect sense off-road.

The new self-levelling ESA suspension means all the damping is done automatically and pre-load is automatically adjusted (at a standstill). Off road the new GS Rallye compliments the average rider while more inexperienced riders can rely on the clever off-road biased rider aids. 

However, if you ride hard enough, the ESA makes it hard to feel the tyres working in corners. But you soon learn to trust the cornering ABS or excellent DTC, which is now lean angle sensitive.

Engine 4 out of 5

The partially water-cooled Boxer motor remains unchanged for 2017 despite now being compliant with Euro 4. This mean peak power is still 125bhp@7700rpm with peak torque of 92.2 ftlb@6500rpm.

With its excellent fuelling and drive BMW made a big step with the Boxer engine when they updated it in 2013.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

Re-sale values are high because BMW’s reliablity and service are top level. The new GS continues this high level of quality, feeling robust and secure. 

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

At just over £15,500 the GS TE Exclusive comes fully loaded and the new styling and colours give an even greater impression of sophistication.

The base Rallye starts at £12,730, which is good value for money, but our test bike was priced at a staggering £18,318 – that’s an expensive bike to bounce over rocks. 

Insurance group: 13 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

At £15,564 the TE Exclusive we tested comes fully loaded with a new style package, Dynamic Traction Control, Dynamic ESA, LED headlights, keyless ignition, daytime riding lights, hill start control, on-board computer, shift assist, Dynamic riding modes, GPS preparation, chrome exhaust, heated grips, tyre pressure control, cruise control, hand guards, LED indicators, ABS Pro and fairing fasteners.

The standard Rallye comes with radiator and frame guards, wide enduro pegs, single seat, sports windscreen, cross spoked wheels, riding modes, ASC, hand guards and fairing fasteners.

The Sport comes with additional Dynamic traction control, LED headlights, daytime riding lights, hill start control, additional dynamic riding modes, chrome exhaust, heated grips, tyre pressure control, LED indicators and ABS Pro.

Our Rallye test bike had also been ridden through the accessories catalogue and was equipped with the additional premium package (£1645) which includes Dynamic ESA, keyless ignition, on board computer Pro, GPS bracket and cruise control.

Furthermore, the sports suspension adds £290 and the lovely sounding Akrapovic exhaust adds another £860. Then add the engine protection (£322), cylinder head covers (£188), headlight guard (£87), adjustable back brake lever (£111), milled HP levers up front (£95 each) and it’s starting to look pricey.

The standard model starts at a more palatable £12,730 but our test bike was spec’d to the value of £18,318!  

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2017
Year discontinued -
New price £12,370
Used price £12,000 to £17,000
Warranty term Two years
Running costs
Insurance group 13 of 17
Annual road tax £88
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 125 bhp
Max torque 92.2 ft-lb
Top speed 125 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 42 mpg
Tank range 190 miles
Specification
Engine size 1170cc
Engine type Air/liquid-cooled, 4v boxer twin, shaft drive, six gears
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 850mm
Bike weight 244kg
Front suspension Telelever monoshock with ESA
Rear suspension Paralever single shock with ESA
Front brake 2 x 305mm discs, 4-piston radial calipers, ABS
Rear brake 276mm disc, twin piston caliper, ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 19
Rear tyre size 170/60 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2017: Model introduced

Other versions

BMW R1200GS Adventure
BMW R1200GS Exclusive

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