2006 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure

BMW Gives You What You Wish You Already Had.

Indeed, the scenes actually playing out before me with the riders ahead whipping up massive tails and clouds of thick dust as we rode into the sunset over the flat horizon, gave me visions of my own Dust to Glory story. To draw you back into reality for just a moment, the qualities and characteristics of the GS Adventure remain largely the same as the R 1200 GS which we covered more in-depth in last year's adventure touring shootout and the individual test of the bike. What I can say about the bike--that the day's ride allowed me to further discover--was the way that it made such riding so relatively easy, even though I could write the sum total of my off-road experience on the back of a postage stamp with room to spare. This was true of a number of other attendees and yet we all had the same experience; we were all able to complete each portion of the ride successfully and with confidence. At risk of sounding like a braggart, I ultimately found myself in the "advanced" riding group near day's end. Not a testament to my abilities or skills, but to the Adventure's accessibility to anyone willing to ride it. BMW had also invited guests with immeasurably more off-road riding talents than myself, and they agreed that one of the traits of the GS is its ability to make adventure riding seem easier than it is. My ego swelled later in the evening as a well-respected editor said to me, "Man, you were really flying at the end."

Although there always seemed to be a thin line between traction and no traction, high speeds on loose gravel roads are any thing but unnerving with the GS. A good part of this can be attributed to the superb Paralever and Telelever suspension, the rather wise use of a 17 inch rear and 19 inch front wheel combination (another journalist noted that, a different bike with a more traditional dirt bike-sized tire up front wouldn't have allowed for such successful riding by the less-experienced among us), the smooth fuel injection, powerful but sensitive brakes, light clutch action combined with a trouble-free transmission and a well-balanced package. I give credit to the ease with which the bike can be manipulated, to the low center of gravity inherent in the boxer configuration.

Ultimately, no machine is perfect, and a few minor, items need to be noted. Of most concern to most people is the tall saddle height due to the long suspension travel. Standing 5'8", I was able to overcome the challenge but many that day weren't so lucky. More than one bike was tipped over in a parking lot dismount or slow-speed maneuver through rough terrain. The saddle was a touch on the firm side, especially for longer freeway jaunts. But that's where the over-sized footrests come in handy. Where a little additional riding leverage is needed or just a change of position, simply standing up on the pegs can be a welcome change. Others complained, that when adjusted to its highest position, the large windscreen was distracting to look through, making them wish they were looking over it instead. Short of those few remarks, my admittedly limited dirt riding expertise makes it difficult to dissect any nuances to the point that they would be a useful consideration.

This is where it all ended.The R 1200 GS, like all Beemers, is prepped to receive a large variety of accessories offered by BMW. With a base price of $16,600.00, there's plenty of room to grow that figure rather quickly considering the list of options available, many of which are the same on BMW motorcycles. Before you bolt all those accessories on, BMW says the GS Adventure will weigh 492 lbs dry and 564 lbs wet.

Finally, to return to my regaling of the ride, what lay at the end of that glorious red road was the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Never having been to the Canyon, I couldn't think of a better way to end such an incredible ride on a bike so well-suited to just such an adventure.

If you go...

Ladies and Gentlemen, Big Bertha! Just to the right of Bertha is the giant copper winding that she would spin to help power the town of Jerome. I wish I had found that thing years ago when my old Sabre wouldn't charge the battery anymore.
Hanging on the railing, to Don's left, is an example of the piston ring that operates inside Big Bertha. The ring is actual size.
If you find yourself on any kind of adventure in or around Sedona--two-wheeled or otherwise--be sure to go a little bit out of your way and stop by Jerome, Arizona. Located high atop a hill, between Prescott and Flagstaff, Jerome was once a copper mining town with the reputation as the "wickedest town in the west." Today Jerome is a haven for eclectic artist types and tourism is its mainstay. But don't just go there to buy "Indian" jewelry. You absolutely must visit the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town. With "Don" as your guide, you'll find yourself in awe of the innumerable collections of rusty old tools, parts to anything and dilapidated trucks and cars, some of which still run. Although quite lucid, Don looks the part of a desperate old prospector.

To my mind, the most worthwhile attraction is "Big Bertha." Once the primary source of power for the mining town, Big Bertha is a three-cylinder generator. She's now partly disassembled since she doesn't need to provide anything other than laughs. For the sum of $10.00, Don will fire-up the old, stationary tractor that is used to, well, start the starter on the generator. Once rolling, Big Bertha sucks in a huge volume of air with such ferocity that you can hear it "breathe." As an added surprise Don will fiddle with the compression release, causing Big Bertha to backfire with enough force to send anyone who hasn't heard her, run for cover. If you're a true gear head or just someone who likes the old and weird, be sure to visit Gold King Mine and Ghost Town. It's well worth the time spent.   http://www.goldkingmine.net/


** Specifications Courtesy of BMW **
R 1200 GS Adventure - MSRP: $16,600
Type Air-cooled/oil-cooled Boxer twin-cylinder
Displacement 1170 cc
Bore X Stroke 101.0 mm x 73.0 mm
*Claimed* Horsepower 100 bhp @ 7000 rpm
*Claimed* Torque 85 lb/ft @ 5500 rpm
Valve Gear Chain-driven, high cam, OHV, w/adj. rocker arms
No of cylinders 2
Compression Ratio 11.0:1
Engine Management BMW Engine Controller - BMS K
Valves per Cylinder Four
Valves 2 x 36 mm intake / 2 x 31 mm exhaust
Fuel Tank HDPE, internal pump and internal filter
Alternator W 720 Watts @ 14 Volts
Battery V/AH 12 Volts / 14 Amps/hour
Engine Summary The two cylinder flat twin Boxer engine is BMW's famous, time-tested, signature design. First designed in 1923, its two horizontally mounted cylinders are like a boxer's gloves punching each other as he enters the ring. The result is a supremely reliable, flexible engine with a low center of gravity and like all twins, excellent torque characteristics. The exposed cylinders offer excellent air cooling and if it's durability, performance, and bulletproof all-around handling you want, this is your powerplant.
Clutch 180 mm dry, single plate with hydraulic actuation
Gear Box 6 speed gear box
Primary Transmission 1:1.823
Gear Ratios I: 2.28:1
II: 1.58:1
III: 1.26:1
IV: 1.03:1
V: 0.90:1
VI: 0.81:1
Final Drive System Enclosed driveshaft with two universal joints
Final Drive Ratio 2.82:1
Frame & Suspension
Frame Three-part, engine/cast aluminum/tubular steel
Front wheel suspension BMW Telelever
Rear wheel suspension BMW EVO Paralever
Spring Travel front/rear 8.3 inches / 8.7 inches
Ground Clearance N/A
Handlebar center point angle 63.8 degrees
Brake System BMW EVO with partial integral ABS
Front Brakes Two, four-piston fixed calipers
Front Rotor 12.0 inch dual floating rotors
Rear Brakes Single, two-piston floating caliper
Rear Rotor 10.4 inch single, fixed rotor
Actuation Hydraulic, DOT 4 fluid type
Wheels & Tires
Front Wheel 2.50 x 19 cross-spoke
Rear Wheel 4.00 x 17 cross-spoke
Front Tire 110/80 x 19 tubeless
Rear Tire 150/70 x 17 tubeless
Overall Length 88.6 inches
Overall Width 37.6 inches
Wheelbase 59.5 inches
Seat height 35.2 inches
*Claimed* Weight, unladen, with full tank 564 lbs
Max permissible weight 1025 lbs
Fuel Capacity 8.7 U.S. gallons including 1 gallon reserve

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