BMW R1300GS (2023 - on) Review

Highlights

  • 1300cc, 143bhp flat twin
  • 12kg lighter than R1250
  • New chassis design

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 3.7 out of 5 (3.7/5)
Power: 143 bhp
Seat height: Tall (33.5 in / 850 mm)
Weight: High (523 lbs / 237 kg)

Prices

New £15,990
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
5 out of 5 (5/5)

BMW’s new £15,990 R1300GS is the lightest, punchiest, most compact and powerful GS there’s ever been. The popular adventure bike has a higher level of standard equipment, a new face and a bewildering array of optional extras, including an electronic ride height device, semi-active suspension with variable spring rates and a collision warning system that’ll dab the brakes for you in an emergency. That’s on top of a selection of front and rear seats, screens, levers, new luggage options, longer travel off-road suspension…the list goes on and on.

It's no surprise BMW have gone to such lengths to polish the jewel in its crown that’s been so instrumental to their success. The new breed of big adventure bikes, like the Ducati Multistrada V4, Triumph Tiger 1200, KTM 1290 Super Adventure S and Honda Africa Twin have also been nipping at the GS’s heels for the past few years, so it’s time for change.

BMW R1300GS ridden on gravel track by Michael Neeves

The new 1300 is still unmistakably a GS, albeit a smaller, smoother, lighter, more agile and refined version of its old self, the BMW R1250GS. Despite the changes, the higher level of spec, huge array of accessories and even a sophisticated new robotic production line at BMW’s Berlin plant, it’s more of a subtle evolution than revolution. Rather than it offering a completely new riding experience the new GS is simply a machine for more riders to enjoy in more situations.

It’s still unlikely to be a KTM beater off-road, won’t handle tarmac with the easy accuracy of the latest Triumph Tiger 1200 or be as superbike-fast as a Ducati Multistrada V4, but the old GS never needed to be any of those things to be successful and still doesn’t now. The new R1300GS is a superb off-roader, tourer and scratcher all rolled into one and that’ll take some beating.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

It’s out with the GS’s old tubular steel chassis and in with a compact pressed steel shell that uses the engine as a stressed member. The subframe is now cast aluminium. The tried and tested Telelever front end and Paralever shaft drive rear are lighter and stronger with improved flex properties. A 2.5kg lighter lithium-ion battery is standard.

Styling is the first big departure from the chunky, decade-old R1250GS. It’s a case of ‘Honey, I shrunk the GS’, because despite its bigger engine the new 1300 feels like a much smaller bike. It’s slimmer and has a lower, narrower fuel tank that’s a litre smaller than before. But despite its ground-up transformation the GS is still instantly familiar the second you climb aboard, from the shape of its wide handlebars to the colour dash that contains a host of new functions, including a sports display.

After day in its plush saddle at its world launch in southern Spain, the 1300 still does what a GS does best. It’s still an accomplished adventure-shaped touring bike and one you’re happy to spend big miles on. It’s every inch as spacious and comfortable as its predecessor and there are lots of nice little detail touches that quickly get your attention, like the new cubby hole for your phone on the tank, the textured finish on the rocker covers and fuel tank and a retractable centre stand tab to make the heavy lifting easier.

Michael Neeves cornering quickly on the BMW R1300GS

Its new manually adjustable screen has a slippery new shape that’s blissfully quiet at speed, which is a big tick for an adventure bike and for the first time on a GS you can opt for an electric version. The screen operation, together with the heated grips control and options like heated seats, radar cruise and electronic suspension can now all be controlled by a single switch without having to dive into layers of menus on the dash.

Although it has a new chassis the new R1300GS rides similarly to before. It’s still stable and forgiving with superb ride quality. It was never and still isn’t the fastest steering bike in the world, but it’s that bit more agile, accurate and roadster-like than before. It lets you place the big Beemer where you want through corners and takes a lot of the effort out of muscling a 237kg bike about. The suspension can still bounce around on and off the throttle, even with the damping ramped up and doesn’t quite have the composure of a machine with more conventional suspension, but as before it digs in hard and confidently through corners, especially on its sticky new Metzeler Tourance Next 2 dual purpose tyres. New front calipers and bigger diameter discs provide strong, progressive braking, backed up with a powerful rear.

Spring change system

BMW’s optional semi-active suspension gets an overhaul, too. The previous system altered the front and rear shock’s damping settings on the move and through the riding modes to give the rider the choice of comfort or control. It gave the feeling of a firm or plush set-up, but now the GS really does gives you the choice of soft or hard springs.

BMW R1300GS front suspension

In the lower riding modes the suspension uses its soft main springs for comfort and in its sportier mode the extra springs located in the piggy back shocks come in to play to provide more support when you’re cracking on. The difference between the hard and soft set-ups aren’t night and day (although the range is adjustable) and doesn’t turn the GS into an S1000RR, but it’s another tool in the GS’s armoury to be the ultimate all-rounder.

The electronic suspension still has a self-levelling rear and now features a ride height device that drops the seat height by 30mm, from 850mm to 820mm coming to a stop and raises it when you get going again, which will be a godsend for smaller riders.

It has a taller 870mm rally seat, radiator grill guard and spoked wheels for an extra £830. Our test bike also had the £1600 Dynamic Package fitted (quickshifter, semi-active suspension, extra riding modes, uprated calipers), a £600 Enduro Pack (engine bars, bar risers, adjustable footrests and levers) and adaptive headlights (£460).

BMW R1300GS can conquer challenging off-road trails with ease

With the way it monsters its way up, down and around the world, the old GS’s off-talents were always impressive, despite its size. The new 1300 is still a big bike, but with its more compact layout and lighter weight it’s easy and fun to play in the dirt. That said, a middleweight adventure bike, or smaller would still be a lot more manageable for the less experienced. BMW haven’t talked about an Adventure version yet, but it’s bound to be waiting in the wings...

Engine

Next up: Reliability
5 out of 5 (5/5)

It’s still a boxer twin, but that’s where the similarities to the old R1250GS end. The new 1300cc air/liquid-cooled motor is BMW’s most powerful production twin, but more importantly for road riders there’s more torque right the way through the revs, especially between 3600rpm and 7800rpm, despite its new oversquare layout. Bore is increased from 102.5mm to 106.5mm and stroke down from 76mm to 73mm. Peak power is up from the 1250’s 134bhp to 143bhp at the same 7750rpm and torque rises 4lb-ft to 110lb-ft at 6500rpm (250rpm higher than before).

The redline is at a giddy-for-a-boxer 9000rpm. The engine still uses the variable ‘ShiftCam’ valve timing system debuted in the GS in 2019. Its inlet cams run on mild lobes under 4000rpm, for lowdown grunt and fuel economy and high-performance lobes above, or when you ask for a significant dollop of power. The motor breathes through a new stainless-steel exhaust.

BMW R1300GS monsters its way through the countryside

Not only is the new engine more powerful, but it’s also 3.9kg lighter and more compact (allowing a longer swingarm for more rear wheel grip) thanks to a new gearbox now mounted beneath, instead of behind the motor. The new powertrain is 6.5kg lighter.

Its new short stroke engine still has its distinctive deep burble at low revs and roars angrily when you turn on the taps. Its rorty character is still at odds with the sensible trousers the GS is perceived to wear, but the old R1250GS always accelerated with surprising venom. The 1300 is more of the same with a little extra sparkle thanks to a 9bhp boost (bringing power to 143bhp) and 12kg less weight to lug around. 0-62mph is dispensed in a claimed 3.4 seconds, which is rapid, but the GS’s strong point was always about how it behaved low down and it’s still as urgent now. On the move you don’t need the bottom gears. Just crack the throttle wherever you are in the revs in whatever gear and the GS will gird its loins and fire you forward.

The BMW R1300GS's boxer engine

Power is delivered more smoothly and predictably and while BMW isn’t interested in chasing the headline grabbing power figures of a KTM or Ducati, the motor is beautifully flexible and friendly at road speeds, where you need it most. There’s a fair amount of engine braking off the throttle at high rpm, which can’t be electronically adjusted, but its gentler lower in the revs in the motor’s sweet spot anyway.

The new gearbox has a crisper, more accurate action than before, especially with its optional up/down quickshifter. We couldn’t test fuel economy, but BMW claims 59mpg.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

It’s too early to say how robust the GS’s new engine, chassis and electronics will be, but you can take comfort in the fact that BMW have over 100 years’ worth of experience building boxer twins.

BMW R1300GS fuel tank graphic

Going on the previous BMW R1250GS, MCN’s Owners’ Reviews reports of recalls, occasional electrical problems and mechanical glitches, but the overall owning experience is problem free with a reliability rating of a reassuring 4.3/5.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Even in base trim the R1300GS isn’t a cheap bike and with option extras and packs added the price shoots up even further. But it’s in the ballpark against rivals like the £16,599 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S and £16,995 Ducati Multistrada V4, but the £14,995 Triumph Tiger 1200GT and £14,749 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports are more affordable.

BMW R1300GS has some impressive rivals

Equipment

5 out of 5 (5/5)

Standard equipment includes four riding modes, traction control, ABS, a manually adjustable screen, new handguards with integrated indicators, LED lights and X-shaped running lights, heated grips, keyless ignition, hill hold control, two power sockets and a lithium battery.

BMW R1300GS clocks

Our test bike is the £18,465 TE version with the Dynamic pack, Touring Package (central locking, handguard extension, pannier fastenings, GPS holder, chrome exhaust), Pillion Package (comfort pillion seat, peg and luggage carrier), £480 Comfort Package (electric screen, centre stand), £760 Riding Assistant (radar cruise control, blind spot indicators, collision avoidance), heated seat (£150) and comfort seat (£50).

Indicators on the hand guards on the BMW R1300GS

As well as the base and GS Trophy versions there’s a Triple Black (£830) in two-tone black, with comfort seats, comfort rear footpegs, an electric screen and deflectors and a green and gold Option 719 Tramuntana. That’s an extra £2260  with milled ali parts, comfort seats, pegs, a centre stand, electric screen and spoked wheels.

Specs

Engine size 1300cc
Engine type Air/liquid-cooled, 8v, DOHC flat twin
Frame type Pressed steel shell with cast ali subframe
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Seat height 850mm
Bike weight 237kg
Front suspension Telelever with non-adjustable single spring (electronic suspension optional)
Rear suspension Paralever with single spring adjustable for preload and rebound damping (electronic suspension optional)
Front brake 2 x 310mm discs with four-piston radial caliper. Cornering ABS
Rear brake 285mm disc with twin piston caliper. Cornering ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 19
Rear tyre size 170/60 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 59 mpg
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost -
New price £15,990
Used price -
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Three years

Top speed & performance

Max power 143 bhp
Max torque 110 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 246 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2024: BMW R1300GS arrives in dealers late October 2023 and replaces R1250GS. New engine, chassis and electronics.

Other versions

None, but expect Adventure version to follow soon.

Owners' reviews for the BMW R1300GS (2023 - on)

3 owners have reviewed their BMW R1300GS (2023 - on) 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 R1300GS (2023 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 3.7 out of 5 (3.7/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Engine: 3.3 out of 5 (3.3/5)
Reliability & build quality: 3.7 out of 5 (3.7/5)
Value vs rivals: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Equipment: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
2 out of 5 Give it 2 years to iron out glitches
Yesterday 15:01 by Paul

Version: Trophy

Year: 2024

Further development required

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 1 out of 5

Rattling valve train audible embarrassing

Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Expensive option list Which should be standard

5 out of 5 Best bike ever
29 April 2024 by Wayne Gold

Version: TE

Year: 2023

Best bike ever

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

Just insane amounts of torque and power

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

5,000 miles in 6 months and no issues. A couple of things could be better but that is being over critical

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Too new to comment

Equipment 5 out of 5

I have every box ticked and it’s fantastic

Buying experience: Dealer and great service

4 out of 5 Lovely bike but...
29 April 2024 by Jonathan Smith

Version: R1300GS TE triple black

Year: 2023

Love the bike, I must say first. The engine, brakes and suspension are all excellent. Incremental improvement over the 1250. The styling is lovely to me, but others seem to be hung up on a headlight you can't see when riding..

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

The bike floats along and stops on a sixpence. Loves the twisties more than it should. Just put 50/50 Dunlop mission tyres on for a trip to france.

Engine 4 out of 5

Lots of grunt and go. Engine is a little noisy though.

Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5

The paint round the tank where your legs touch is poor and marks easily. The bike had constant electrical faults on the tft although they were mostly false. Bmw slow and reluctant to accept any issues but they all have stopped after changing the battery to an AGM battery 800 miles ago. Recall for starter relay took too long to get to early customers. Hopefully the 3 out of 5 score will go up now the battery is swapped. A 3000 mile trip to france next week will make or break it for me.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

All flagship bikes are expensive and once kitted out mine was just over £22k. Not sure you could call any bike value for money at £20k plus. Does 50mpg all day long. Usual BMW service costs and experience

Equipment 5 out of 5

All good after 3000 miles, except the lithium battery.The enduro pack is a bargain at £600.I wish I had got the forged wheels instead of the black spoked ones.

Buying experience: Bought from Bowkers in Preston and collected mid December 2023. Easy purchase and on the whole a reasonable experience.

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