2013 BMW R1250GS Preview

Spy photos reveal the first liquid-cooled Boxer engine!


Big news is leaking out from Bavaria. The next BMW GS is undergoing final testing, and the successor to the company’s best-selling model, the R1200GS, will be powered by the first liquid-cooled Boxer-Twin engine ever!

Look closely and you’ll see the addition of radiators hidden under air shrouds – a dead giveaway that the new engine is liquid-cooled. This is huge news considering the air-cooled Boxer has been a BMW staple for almost 90 years.

Liquid-cooling allows a quicker warm-up time, reducing critical post-start-up emissions, while also lowering operating temps. This will help achieve stricter Euro 5 standards slated to begin in 2015. Liquid-cooling also enables increases in power, so along with a bump in displacement to around 1250cc, we expect a bump in power to compete against the latest batch of challengers to the adventure-touring throne.

2013 BMW R1250GS Action Left

The R1250GS engine is an all-new design, sharing no common parts with its predecessor. It’s also carried higher in the frame, increasing its ground clearance. It’ll be interesting to see how this affects handling.

2013 BMW R1250GS Left Rear

Also different on the new engine is the orientation of the cylinder heads. Now rotated 90 degrees forward, throttle bodies are situated above the combustion chambers while the exhaust exits from underneath the cylinder heads instead of from the front. We predict exhaust shields to be among the first of the aftermarket accessories to be offered.

Chassis differences and modifications aren’t as noteworthy as those seen in the engine bay. The frame is steel and looks similar to the one it replaces, as does the Telelever front and Paralever rear suspensions.

Front braking is enhanced with the use of radial-mount front brake calipers. ABS will be standard equipment, as evidenced by the wheel-speed ring on the front wheel, which will undoubtedly play a role in a new traction-control system. We also expect an updated form of BMW’s ESA electronic suspension adjustment.

2013 BMW R1250GS Spy Photo

A new transmission sends the Boxer’s power through a shaft drive now on the left side, forcing the exhaust to now terminate on the right side of the bike. The rear tire appears wider, up from 150mm to handle a bigger load capacity. A staggered headlight remains, now with an LED running light. These pictures would indicate the large fuel tank hasn’t gone anywhere, and neither have the spacious saddlebags.

Life at the top was nice for the BMW R1200GS line. As BMW’s best-selling model worldwide, the air-cooled, horizontally opposed Boxer-Twin engine is loved by many for its quirks, and the bike’s jack-of-all-trades attitude has endeared it to fans worldwide.

2013 BMW R1250GS Spy Shot

Then again, its success could partially be attributed to the fact that there really hasn’t been anything else like it. Not anymore; with motorcycles like the Ducati Multistrada 1200, Yamaha Super Tenere and the upcoming Triumph Tiger Explorer all looking to share — if not hog — a piece of the adventure-touring segment pie, BMW has reacted.

BMW still hasn’t officially recognized this bike or these photos, but clearly the company has been working hard at beefing up its most iconic model. It will be interesting to see how it compares with the GS we already know – and how the air-cooled GS devotees react to comprehensive changes to their icon.

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2013 BMW R1250GS Spy Photo
2013 BMW R1250GS Spy Photo
2013 BMW R1250GS Left Rear
2013 BMW R1250GS Left Rear
2013 BMW R1250GS Spy Shot
2013 BMW R1250GS Spy Shot
2013 BMW R1250GS Action Left
2013 BMW R1250GS Action Left
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