Water-cooled BMW GS is new from the ground up

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This exclusive spy shot proves the next generation BMW R1200GS will be new from the ground-up, with an all-new water-cooled engine, revamped styling and major chassis changes.

The photographs - taken last week outside BMW's Munich Development Centre - show a pre-production GS with a water-cooled engine plus radial brakes, modernised styling, adjustable screen, new clocks and the exhaust and shaft drive on opposite sides to the current model.

The clearest evidence that the bike is water-cooled comes from the exhaust port, which is now at the base of the motor. This would not be possible with an air-cooled engine because the exhaust valves would get too hot - they need to be at the front to get maximum benefit from the airflow. A radiator fan is also just visible through one of the ducts near the bike's headstock, though the water pump is not visible and any hosing is tucked neatly out of sight.

In the past, water-cooling was primarily a route to increasing power - the greater control over engine temperature means components can safely operate at higher revs without overheating. But BMW insiders have told MCN the company has no desire to improve on the current GS's 110bhp and is more interested in exploiting other benefits of water-cooling. These are: emissions control, noise reduction and moving the inlet out of the way of the rider's legs.

Read more about the changes being made to the all-new GS in this week's issue of MCN (August 17), on sale now.

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