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Updated BMW R1200 GS bike range: New Rallye, Exclusive in SA

2017-04-24 10:18

Dries Van Der Walt


Wheels24 reader Paolo Stermin and a couple of friends saddled their bikes and explored some of the best gravel roads SA has to offer.

Johannesburg - BMW Motorrad introduced the latest versions of the R1200 GS, the Rallye and the Exclusive, in April 2017. The launch took the form of a tarred route from Pretoria to the Pilanesberg Nature Reserve in Northwest, and a return trip mostly on gravel roads – a route that allowed us to explore the bikes properly and answer the one big question: is it any different from the previous version?

BMW says that the R1200 GS has now been optimised in a wide range of areas with selective improve-ments, new features and an expanded program of optional equipment and optional accessories. The new models retain the 92 kW air/liquid-cooled boxer motor with 125 Nm of torque at 6 500 rpm,but it sports an altered catalytic converter and a new data status for the engine management to meet the latest EU 4 requirements. 

Riding Modes Pro

In addition to the existing two riding modes, Rain and Road” new R 1200 GS also comes standard with Riding Modes Pro which adds “Dynamic”, “Dynamic Pro”, “Enduro” and “Enduro Pro” to the standard package. It also comes with bank-angle aware Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), as well as Automatic Stability Control (ASC) for optimum traction. One of the big changes is the availability of the optional Dy-namic Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA), which includes an automatic self-levelling function to compensate for all load states. The bikes also feature quick-shifters (BMW Gear Shift Assist Pro).

Sportiest GS yet

BMW describe the Rallye version as the sportiest GS, with a number of unique details such as a low-cut sports windshield, stainless steel radiator trim, a radiator guard, wide enduro footrests and a special frame guard to protect the section of the suspension in the boot area from unwanted scrape marks. In Exclusive guise, the new R 1200 GS comes with a much more sober paint scheme and fuel tank side trim panels to give it a distinguished look.

I had the opportunity to try both variants, and I was initially a bit perplexed – the new GS didn’t seem to be any different from its predecessors. It was only after several kilometres on rapidly changing road conditions that I realised the suspension never seemed to be out of sorts.

There are three settings for the ESA: minimum, maximum and automatic. After playing with the other two modes I opted for the automatic setting, and kept it there for the rest of the ride. In the latter mode it seemed perfectly capable of dealing with both the hard and soft road conditions of the launch route.

During our lunch stop on Day Two, I spoke to Edgar Kleinbergen, the newly-appointed GM of BMW Motorrad in South Africa, and asked him how they are positioning the new GS. “We believe that the R1200 GS is the best all-round package in the adventure bike market, and we see this model as a continuation of the  BMW GS saga,” he said. In other words, evolution rather than revolution, which makes perfect sense when you have a winning formula.

While surrounded by competitors that offer more than the 1200 GS in one or two specific areas, the big Beemer remains the benchmark against which adventure bikes are measured because of its all-round versatility – from commuting to high-speed touring to serious off-road riding, the GS adapts without so much as a second thought. And that means that if you look beyond a champion feature or two, there are few bikes that can challenge the R1200 GS for its Swiss Army knife-like utility.


Manufacturer: BMW
Model: R1200 GS

Type: Horizontally-opposed twin liquid/air cooled
Displacement: 1170cm³
Maximum Power: 92kW at 7750 rpm
Maximum Torque: 125Nm at 6500 rpm
Fuel type: premium unleaded (95 RON)

Type: Constant-mesh 6-speed gearbox
Final drive: Shaft

Front: Hydraulically activated twin disc brake, Ø 305 mm
Rear: Single-disc brake Ø 276 mm

Front: BMW Telelever
Rear: BMW EVO Paralever

Wheels & Tyres
Tyre, front: 3.0 x 19"
Tyre, rear: 4.5 x 17"


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