After all the speculation, rumors, and leaked spy shots of a redesigned BMW R 1200 GS have had you on the edge of your motorcycle seat, well…it’s true. The Bavarian company has done a complete overhaul for 2013, which will be the big dual sport’s 10th year of production. BMW Motorrad presented this new über version of its best-selling motorcycle at the International Motorcycle, Scooter, and Bicycle Fair (Intermot) in Cologne, Germany, in early October.
The biggest news is that—drum roll please—the powerful boxer-twin engine gets liquid-cooling for more power and efficiency, plus the revamped cooling system enables it to meet future requirements for noise and exhaust emissions. The coolant oil in the previous air-/oil-cooled system has been replaced by a glycol-water mixture to ensure a high level of heat absorption and more efficient heat dissipation. The characteristic look of the boxer engine is still preserved as the two small radiators have been inconspicuously integrated.
The R 1200 GS gets a newly developed steel tube frame, Telelever at the front and EVO Paralever at the rear, providing a significant increase in torsional stiffness. Ride stability and steering precision increases as a result, and a longer swingarm improves traction. Metzeler Tourance tires, a 120/70 R19 front and 170/60 R17 rear, are specifically designed for the bike and roll the R 1200 GS down highways, byways, and dirt roads.
BMW has swapped the shaft drive and exhaust so now the shaft is on the left. The new engine is purported to put out 125 brake horsepower at 7,700 rpm and 92 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm. The dry clutch has been replaced by a wet clutch with an anti-hopping function and is integrated in the engine housing with the six-speed gearbox. E-gas, or an electromotive throttle actuator (more commonly known as ride-by-wire throttle control, which means more power and efficiency since the inlet gas flows more easily), control is used for the first time on a GS model.
An electronic cruise control is optional. Also optional are five riding modes: Rain, Road, Dynamic, Enduro, and Enduro Pro with three different E-gas settings where the semi-active suspension adapts to the respective modes. One of BMW’s goals was to make the GS more competent off-road, so the Automatic Stability Control (ASC) is linked to the E-gas with a special enduro configuration.
The Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) semi-active suspension monitors the wheel’s vertical movement via a spring travel sensor and adapts the damping automatically depending on riding conditions. Damping adjustment front and rear is by electrically controlled regulation valves.
ABS is standard on the R 1200 GS, and new for 2013 are radial-mounted Brembo monobloc brake calipers in front, and a two-piston caliper biting down on a larger 276mm disc in back. The rider’s seat, previously height adjustable, adds adjustable tilt angle as well, while the passenger’s seat can be repositioned for the most comfortable distance between rider and passenger. The bike gets a new handlebar, an improved knee grip, a newly developed windscreen for better wind protection, and a new instrument cluster. An LED headlight with integrated daytime running light is, according to BMW, a first on a motorcycle. Claimed weight for this explore-any-road dual-sport is 525 pounds.
The GS also benefits from innovations from the six-cylinder K 1600 GTs, such as the Multi-Controller, which allows operation of the BMW Motorrad Navigator IV instrumentation system without the rider taking his/her hands of the handlebar.
In May of 2011 BMW Motorrad produced its 2 millionth motorcycle, and it was—you guessed it—an R 1200 GS. The big GS is BMW’s top-selling motorcycle and the favorite adventure bike of many, and it’s likely to stay in that top position with the bow to stern upgrades for 2013. Four color choices are available: Alpine White, Racing Red, Blue Fire, and Thunder Grey Metallic. Now we’re just waiting for price and availability…