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MCN Fleet: BMW R1200GS Rallye's pipe and slippers

Published: 27 August 2017

BMW’s GS Rallye exudes a quality that it’s hard to pick holes in. From the deep frame paint, to the car-like plastics quality, to the perfect accuracy with which each and every element works and fits together – it’s an exercise in refinement. But by god that exhaust is a shonky aberration.

The nasty chromed finish looks cheap and plasticy, and the plastic end cap wouldn’t look out of place as a cup-holder in a 1980s Citroen AX. Yes, it sounds pleasingly fruity for a stock can – aided by the Boxer’s inherent enduro brapp – but its looks let the bike down.

My background image on my Mac is a press shot of the Rallye on location, stripped of all extraneous parts, and fitted with BM’s official Akrapovic HP silencer. Without realising it, that image had been niggling away at my brain like some sort of subliminal advert for perfection. So there’s no prizes for guessing what I just fitted.

The official Akra – which is road legal, and also won’t give you warranty problems as it’s an BMW part – took just twenty minutes to fit. End cans don’t get much simpler to swap, with just the main hanger bolt and a header clamp to undo, the original monstrosity slipped away, and straight on to a set of scales to reveal its mass as 4.736kg. You don’t even have to fiddle with exhaust valve, as it’s ahead of the join. Carefully packed away for the bike’s next owner (I’m never refitting it), the original can was instantly replaced by the glorious titanium HP silencer, and lovely carbon shield, fresh off the scales at a slightly disappointing 4.777kg. It slotted neatly into place with the perfection that we’ve come to expect from Akrapovic, and with bolt and clamp each secured there was nothing else to do other than fire it up.

After many years of screaming inline-fours, I find the melodic bark of a boxer (or Vee) twin far more alluring these days, so I can’t pretend I wasn’t a little disappointed by its muted tones. Not to worry, I thought, I can see the baffle inserts, I’ll just whip them out. Ah. No can do. This version of the exhaust doesn’t have the access ports in the carbon cap that allow access to the baffle bolts. Bugger. But as the packing oil burnt away on the summer breeze I had to concede that, while slightly polite, the tone and menace had increased. And when riding there’s no doubt that the soundtrack is better, and contains a pleasing amount of popping on the overrun. There’s also a just perceptible swell in the midrange, while the fuelling dead-spot at around 5000rpm is still there (time for a remap). Happy then? Well, at £828.20 it’s a lot of cash for some vanity, new music, and a just little more drive – but if I were buying a Rallye, I wouldn’t hesitate to add it to the purchase price.

Pirelli Rally STR tyre upgrade

I can’t pretend I got on very well with the OE fitment Michelin Anakee III tyres that my Rallye arrived on. After 3500 miles I was no warmer to their glassy off-road performance, and wooden tarmac manners. For a jaunt into the ridiculous, I’ve fitted a set of Pirelli’s new Rally STRs (£220). First impressions are exceptionally good, too. They bedded in almost immediately, and have so far out-performed the Anakees for feel, feedback, and even sportiness in the dry, and wet. Astounded so far – let’s see how they cope with some miles.

See more updates on our R1200GS Rallye longtermer.

 

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