New BMW R1150GS Adventure tested

OFF-ROADING on a BMW R1150GS isn’t for the faint-hearted. But the factory have made the prospect of go-anywhere riding slightly more realistic with its new Adventure version of its hugely popular big trailie.

So what’s different? For a start, the suspension at both ends has 20mm more travel, which is great for floating over boulders – though shorties and vertigo sufferers might be intimidated by the huge 90cm seat height of the standard model might plump for the slightly lower 86cm option.

For the full story, you’ll need to pick up a copy of MCN, out on Wednesday, March 20, this week.

The screen is taller and wider than the one on the stock GS and the sixth gear ratio has been lowered. There’s an extra electrical socket and servo-assisted brakes.

There’s a host of extras including a plug-in device that lets the engine run on low-grade fuel. There’s a 30-litre tank (rather than 20), a shorter first gear for stickier off-road situations and more dirt-biased tyres.

Two days riding one fully laden with extras in southern Spain showed it was extremely capable both on and off the Tarmac.

What did worry me was taking the Adventure off-road. Fully gassed-up it weighs over 250kg (550lb). Amazingly, it breezed through a range of terrains. Even steep, winding climbs over loose rocks completely failed to faze it.

It was BMW that created the big adventure trail bike class 21 years ago with the R80GS. Since then the breed has evolved into something different – fast and comfy Tarmac mile-munchers rather than rugged, dust-covered desert-bashers. It’s great to see a return to the true frontiersman’s steed.

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff