BMW’s King Of Adventure Is Back

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Singapore launch of the 2017 BMW R 1200 GS, it gets a sweet new Rallye spec and model improvements


September 22, 2017 saw the return of the King of Adventure bikes here in Singapore as BMW debuted the facelifted model of its segment-defining adventure motorcycle, the BMW R 1200 GS.

The bike’s 1,170cc, liquid-cooled boxer engine produces the same 125hp and 125Nm of torque, but has a revised catalytic converter and engine management to meet Euro IV emissions rules.

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The bodywork also gets some tweaks with the mudguard, fuel tank trim panels, air intake panel, radiator trim and cooling ducts. New LED headlights are also standard across all the models.

A significant upgrade is the electronically-controlled suspension, or what BMW terms Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment, ESA. It’s the second-generation of ESA, also engineered by Sachs.

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As before, it automatically adapts to the riding situation,  and riders can choose different presets, but a new function is the ride-height adjustment. In essence, this is preload control at the push of a button – no more fiddling with adjustment collars and turn wheels. You can raise or lower the bike at the push of a button, for example using the ‘Max’ setting for better offroad clearance, or let the bike detect the load weight and do it automatically.

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The extended riding modes are identical to before – Rain, Road, Dynamic, Dynamic Pro, Enduro and Enduro Pro, which incorporate throttle, traction control, suspension and ABS variations depending on the mode selected. New for the 2017 GS is hill start control, useful for uphill re-starts, and ABS Pro which now incorporates cornering ABS.

BMW says the bike has been “designed for even greater versatility than before”, which is something we see in the model variants being reshuffled.

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With the new GS, customers can choose a base-spec bike (above, identifiable by the black brake calipers and cast aluminium wheels) but most will plump for either of two trim/sub-variant packages, Exclusive and Rallye, for a small premium.

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Shown here above, the Exclusive has a more on-road, elegant appearance with an ‘Agate Grey’ frame colour and ‘Iced Chocolate’ fuel tank cover/splash guard. Spoked wheels and gold brake calipers are standard here.

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The Rallye is a more off-road sport oriented machine, with more than a few enduro-style touches to its styling and equipment list, although it’s not as extreme as the GS Adventure.

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Its graphics, Lupine Blue metallic paint and blue frame are reminiscent of competition BMW motorcycles, and it also has a narrower, smaller Rallye seat that’s easier for off-road riding though less comfy for passengers.

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There’s also a lower windscreen for better forward visibility and less interference in a standing position, radiator guards and trim, wider enduro-style pegs with teeth and a plastic frame guard to protect against scuffs from chunky off-road boots.

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While ARF hikes have hit big bikes hard, BMW is offering reasonable prices for all the new GS models: At the time of print, the base models (available in black or white) go for $52,001 with cast wheels, or $52,801 with spoked wheels. The Exclusive model retails for $55,801 and the Rallye for $56,601. Prices quoted are on-the-road (inclusive of COE, road tax) but sans insurance.

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READ MORE: BMW doesn’t just do big: It’s launched the sub-$20k G 310 R aimed at newer riders. Read our launch story here and watch our video round-up of the new 2A legal BMW.

As befitting the very popular GS, more than a few units have been sold and some owners took delivery of their bikes at the launch event itself. To visualise all this, point your browser at BMW’s bike configurator online to doodle the GS of your dreams.

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The current-generation R 1200 GS was introduced in 2013 – pre-facelift model shown above  

BMW has also announced 2018 improvements to the GS range, but the only major step forward is a TFT-colour instrument panel, which we understand will be available as a cost option to customers who’ve already bought the 2017 model shown here.

The GS, as it’s known, is the bike for BMW: It’s the best-seller for the brand in virtually all of its markets, including Singapore, and it is the machine mostly responsible for the current popularity of large, do-it-all motorcycles in a segment that now includes a huge amount of competition including the Ducati Multistrada, KTM Adventure, Triumph Tiger and more.

As we’ve seen in the BMW GS Trophy, the R 1200 GS is a truly capable off-road machine, and 2018’s iteration in Mongolia recently saw a qualifying round held in Sepang.

about the author

Derryn Wong
Has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. Is particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats.