BMW R1200GS (2017 - 2018) Review
- One of the best adventure bikes around when launched
- Loads of kit and huge array of options
- Built really well, should be strong used buy
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£210|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
If you decide you fancy a 2017-2018 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.
- Related: Best adventure motorbikes
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.
In 2018 the R1200GS went off sale, replaced by the BMW R1250GS.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
For 2017 BMW 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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Re-sale values are high because BMW’s reliablity and service are top level. This GS continues their high level of quality, feeling robust and secure.
Our BMW R1200GS owners' reviews show some very fond owners, but also those who say the bike itself and looking after it are too expensive.
In June 2017 BMW made a change to fix a fault with the R1200GS's fork stanchions. Bikes built before this should have been fixed under warranty when a recall was issued.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
At just over £15,500 the GS TE Exclusive came fully loaded and the styling and colours gave an even greater impression of sophistication.
The base Rallye started at £12,730, which was good value for money, but our test bike was priced at a staggering £18,318 on the launch event – that’s an expensive bike to bounce over rocks.
Group test: BMW R1200GS vs Ducati Multistrada 950 vs BMW F800GS Adventure vs Ducati Multistrada 1200 vs KTM 1090 Adventure R
First published on 6 September 2017 in MCN by Adam Child
In 2017 we carried out an adventure bike mega test to crown our bike of the year in that category. It means pitting the BMW R1200GS against its F800GS stablemate, the Ducati Multistrada 950 and 1200 siblings and the KTM 1090 Adventure R.
The sheer breadth and depth of its versatility and skills means that the KTM 1090 Adventure R is our adventure bike of the year. It dominated the off-road sections and it didn’t let itself down on the tarmac, either. It’s light, fun and punchy, has excellent brakes and is reasonably comfortable.
At just over £12,000 it’s not smashing the budget either. Second spot goes to the Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro. It has more gadgets, more power and more rider aids as standard, but is also the most expensive on test.
Close behind is the BMW R1200GS in third. It’s great for touring and easy to ride on and off-road. Then comes its smaller brother, the F800GS. – it’s punchy, roomy and easy to ride with real off-road potential. And that leaves the Multistrada 950. It may have won its class shootout, but was out-gunned in this test.
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!
|Engine type||Air/liquid-cooled, 4v boxer twin, shaft drive, six gears|
|Frame type||Tubular steel|
|Fuel capacity||20 litres|
|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|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||42 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£210|
|Used price||£10,300 - £14,000|
13 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||125 bhp|
|Max torque||92.2 ft-lb|
|Top speed||125 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||190 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2017: Model introduced.
- 2019: Replaced by R1250GS.
Other BMW R1200GS reviews
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 (2017 - 2018)
4 owners have reviewed their BMW R1200GS (2017 - 2018) 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:||£210|
Version: TE Exclusive
Annual servicing cost: £100
I sold an R1150RT to buy this bike, and I miss my old RT. Having said that, this GS is a lot more comfortable on long rides but I do feel I'm sitting ON the bike rather that IN it like the RT. The engine is light years ahead of the RT in terms of refinement, but it does rev higher than the RT- 3500rpm against 4000rpm at 70mph. Handling on the GS is phenomenal, on my RT, I would always be aware of the sheer bulk when cornering 'low and slow' but not on the GS ! I now hunt down those same corners and roundabouts. Mine has the quick shifter but I never use it so can't comment. LED headlights are fantastic and the spot lights will burn holes through steel if held too close. All in all, I've made a good choice and I love riding my GS
Sensational braking, but a bit too sharp on initial bite. If your not too careful you'll find yourself engaging all the relevant safety systems. The ride quality has to be experienced to be appreciated, it really is an amazing bike to ride. Smooth, comfortable and a feeling of complete safety.
Its a fantastic engine and the power curve is useful throughout the range. I'm not interested in revving the nuts of engines, otherwise Id have bought something else. One gripe I do have though, is my bike sounds very tappety. Not what I expected on this engine at 4000 miles. I shall have a poke under the covers in the spring.
Small amount of corrosion on the main stand after just 4000 miles..not good for a bike costing this much. As another reviewer has said, the switchgear seems very cheap. On my old RT, it felt like it would last forever. On my GS it feels like its come from a Nintendo switch and I can actually see exposed wiring going from the loom to the left switch gear.
I haven't had it serviced yet, but will be doing my own maintenance. I've bought a diagnostic / coding tool to clear any faults or servicing codes. Im not expecting anything major to go wrong.
I bought my bike slightly used. It has every conceivable extra, but my favourite toy is the TFT screen and the BMW Nav 6. I love being able to switch riding modes on the move as well. I got caught in a downpour last summer and switched to rain mode in 2 seconds at 65mph, then back again when the sun came out and the roads dried. Akrapovic exhaust makes a lovely burbling sound on the over run. The original BMW panniers are top quality, but hold a lot less than it looks like they should.
Buying experience: Bought privately for 12k. Original owner paid almost 19k and lost 7k in two years.
Annual servicing cost: £440
Build quality and dealer poor
Comfortable and easy to ride but vibration through bars that should have been sorted years ago
I quite like the boxer engine
Corrosion shouldnt happen on a bike that costs this much
Service costs extortionate and dealer poor
TFT is great, works well on Bridgestone A41 tyres
Buying experience: Bought from dealer, sales guys spot on, service dept a joke
Version: rallye TE
Annual servicing cost: £100
I have been riding motorcycles 34 years now, this is simply the best motorcycle I have ever ridden, certainly the best I have ever owned. A GS is no speed machine but there is torque everywhere, I have no doubt it could tow a trailer,. It's main selling point for me however is comfort I'm 6' 2" and i'm probably on the short side for it, the riding position is just brilliant, leg room, wide bars and a mega comfy seat, it is an ergonomic masterpiece, a real mile muncher. There are only 3 things wrong with this bike; 1keyless ignition, I hate this with a passion, I wouldn't be so distrusting of it if it were at least possible to turn the key off, 2 switches are shockingly cheap for a bike of this price range, when I was given the demonstrator I went back in the shop and told them the switches were broken and I didn't want blaming for it, when he came out and checked he said " no, that's normal.", you really do need to experience for yourself how bad they are. Finally, no.3, they aren't very exciting, if you want the thrill of motorcycling, this isn't the machine for you.
Cornering ABS, suspension adjusts automatically, even when a pillion gets on or off, no dive when braking. Ride quality and brakes are this bikes forte. A real touring bike. Also I know all bikes lose their weight as soon as they are rolling but for a bike weighing nearly a quarter of a ton it is really flickable, it is much more like a 600cc class bike in the handling department.
Not fast by motorcycle standards but loads of grunt, also very smooth throttle/power delivery.
Expensive bike, but you can easily see where the money went. Never had any trouble with it at all, just coming up to 2 years ownership.
£100 run in service and £150 first year service, I thought servicing was very cheap considering it's BMW, plus you can book a loan bike to go home on free of charge.
When I went to look at this bike, I fully intended to buy the base model and thought all the extras were just gimmicky toys. The demonstrators are obviously all fully specced, within the first ten minutes of riding I'd used about half of them and realised I wanted them all. Favourite things, hill hold, electronic suspension gives an unbelievably smooth ride and really exceptional TFT screen. The quick shifter can be a bit clunky on the up change, gets smoother with more throttle, down shifts are lovely with an auto blip on the throttle. As an aside, I have a SENA intercom in my helmet, it will only connect to one none SENA device at a time so if you want instructions from the navigator 6 (sat nav), you cannot connect your helmet to your bike, which automatically connects to your phone, so no phone calls or music. Even though the sat nav is connected to the bike and operated by controls on the bike it is a separate bluetooth connection, it is possible to connect phone to sat nav but you have to go into menu's on the bike and sat nav separately which is a five minute faff about you could do without, first world problems.
Buying experience: Bought brand new from a dealer, Alan Jefferies in Rotherham. BMW customer experience is second to none, salesman was honest about everything up front, I was trading in a bike less than a year old and we came to a favourable arrangement on both sides.
Version: TE Exclusive
Great bike - bought 18 months old with 10k. on clock from a Motorrad dealer in Tunbridge Wells - Cooper. for £12k Did not come with luggage - bought full set for £1000 -well worth it . Impressed with built in Navigation on TFT to be used with the BMW app and easy to pair . Do not feel worth spending £600 on Garmin 6 sat nav though bike is prepared to take it - find use of phone based nav is fine . Automatic tyre pressure adjustment great feature if pillion and variable luggage loads and all very intuitive . Smooth ride (had come from a 30 year old R80 RT so it was transformational ! No regrets about spending this money - wish had done sooner. Am nearly 66 and retired and bike is easy to handle - when its in movement and particularly in slow traffic it is very easy to handle. TFT screen is great with all the information very visible - speed ; revs; gear engaged etc.. Absolutely no bad points Screen protection is good, surprising, as came from a barn door screen on the R80.
quiet and powerful with lots of backup if needed
love the bike - worth getting a good padlock and chain and a cover when parking
tremendous spec on the TE Exclusive could not want for more ...
Buying experience: Brilliant at Coopers Tunbridge Wells Motorrad dealer