Review: 2005 BMW R 1200GS


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While the smooth torque delivery makes it somewhat safer to get on the gas, when I'm still leaned way-over. The new GS' lower un-sprung weight and stiffer frame are of particular note in this environment, and the bike responds crisply to input through its wide handlebars. I'm having so much fun, that I regret having to slow down when I catch-up to the group. Once everybody is accounted for, we take a long highway ride back to the hotel and the R 1200 GS thrums along happily through mile after endless mile of Nevada desert. When we arrive back at the hotel, I find that I am still fresh and ready for more. It's a good thing I'm still fresh, because BMW has chosen to take us to Las Vegas' new Hoffbrau House, for singing, drinking and all the wiener schnitzel we can eat. I like good beer and sausage as much as the next guy, but on your next trip to Lost Wages, do yourself a favor and skip the Hoffbrau House. Better yet, go to Munich and visit the original.

Oh baby! My shaft is funky and wide.Press Intro day 2 dawns hot and dry, which is a bad thing, when I realize that Day 2 will be spent almost entirely in the desert's dirt, at the Jimmy & Heather Lewis off-road riding school. Another freeway ride takes us out to the school which is located adjacent to Buffalo Bill's Wild West Casino, Amusement Park, Latte Bar, Arcade, Buffet, Outlet Mall, Gas Station, Ice Cream Parlor, Beauty Parlor, Funeral Parlor, Massage Parlor, did I mention Casino and Hotel, in sunny (oh so sunny) Stateline Nevada. This is Jimmy's first taste of the new R 1200 GS (after racing older GS racebikes in the Paris-Dakar Rally) and he seems impressed by its lightness and stability. The day's school begins with a brief orientation, followed by a "chalk-talk", before we head out onto a nearby dry lakebed for off-road drills.

Once in the dirt, the GS proves to be stable (no surprise there) but surprisingly agile and capable of any 2-D maneuver you wish to try. Just like in high school, I have great fun straying from the syllabus, doing wheelies, power slides, hackies, and all sorts of tom-foolery that the old GS didn't take to nearly so kindly. After the drills and a quick lunch, we divide into three groups (Advanced, Intermediate and "Take the Highway Home") and set off cross-country, for a 50-mile dirt ride back to our hotel. Being the super-macho-moto-stud that I am (that's a joke people, please keep the hate mail to yourselves),

Sean spent most of the day sideways, because the Big GS is soo much fun to slide on smooth dirt.I bravely chose the "Advanced" group and set off hot on Jimmy's tail. Our route includes a very technical and entertaining rock wash, several miles of fast power line roads, a mountain pass with a mild ascent and fairly steep descent, a bit of open desert and of course an obligatory state highway leg. At this point, I think it is only appropriate to thank Jimmy Lewis, for keeping the pace sane and not allowing us to form any 500Lb cart-wheeling balls of death. Though I didn't crash, the ride wasn't entirely without incident. Another journalist managed to drop his GS onto its left-cylinder's head. Unfortunately, his bike tipped-over onto a softball-sized rock, which cracked the head. The bike still ran fine with the cracked head, but on the ride back to the hotel, it gave his left boot a nice coating of oil. Tip-overs DO happen on the trail, so if you are considering a 1200GS for off-road use, please invest in a set of head-guards. After an otherwise exhilarating ride, we returned to the hotel hot, dirty and grinning from ear-to-ear.

Lest I give you the impression that this is a true dual-purpose bike, it is important to note that this thing still weighs over 500Lbs and is equipped with tires that are designed for pavement use and well-groomed fire roads. Overall, the GS is perfectly capable in the dirt, as long as one keeps the bike's weight, tires and suspension in mind. When ridden sanely, the GS will go almost anywhere you wish to explore. Though it is lighter and more capable than the old GS, if you try to ride the 1200 like an XR-650, you will soon, find the suspension bottoming harshly, while you blow your knees apart, trying to save it from frequent front-end washouts.

To bad about its face, at least the scenery is pretty.As you can see from the photos, I've been lucky enough to ride the big GS in all types of environments, from cold mountain streams to flat desert sand and rock to long highway drones and tight canyon blasts. Much of my test riding was like the stuff you see in BMW brochures, but rarely get to see or do in real life. I'm happy to report that through it all, the bike never let me down and seemed as though you could ride it like this every day of a long happy life together.

Though it makes a much better sport-tourer than MX bike, if you want to comfortably cover long distances while carrying a passenger and all your stuff and still be able to explore trails, the BMW R 1200 GS is quite possibly as good as it gets.



SPECS PROVIDED BY BMW - unless otherwise stated
· Type Air-cooled/oil-cooled flat twin four-stroke
· Displacement 1170 cc
· MO Measured Horseposer 85.70 @ 7600 RPM
· MO Measured Torque 70.70 ft-lbs @ 5600 RPM
· Bore/Stroke 101.0 mm x 73.0 mm
· Compression Ratio 11.0:1
· Valve Gear DOHC
· Valves 2 x 36 mm intake / 2 x 31 mm exhaust
· Valves / cylinder Four
· Engine oil capacity 4.0 quarts
· Management BMS-K
· Fuel requirements Premium unleaded
· Fuel capacity 5.2 U.S. gallons
· Charging system 600 Watts @ 12 Volts
· Battery 12 Volts 14 Amps/hour
· Cooling system Air and thermostatically controlled oil cooling
Drive Train
· Primary drive 1:1.823
· Clutch 180-mm single dry plate
· Gear ratios 1st: 2.27:1
2nd: 1.58:1
3rd: 1.26:1
4th: 1.03:1
5th: 0.90:1
6th: 0.81:1
· Final drive system Enclosed driveshaft with two universal joints
· Final drive ratio 2.82:1
· Frame Tubular spaceframe, engine load-bearing
· Front Suspension BMW Telelever
· Front Travel 7.5 inches
· Rear Suspension BMW Telelever
· Rear Travel 7.9 inches
· Brake System BMW EVO partial-integral ABS
· Front Brakes Two, four-piston fixed calipers
· Rear Brakes Single, two-piston floating caliper
· Front rotor 12.0 inch dual floating rotors
· Rear rotor 10.4 inch single, fixed rotor
· Actuation Hydraulic, DOT 4 fluid type
· Front wheel 2.50 x 19 cast alloy, five double-spoke
· Rear wheel 4.00 x 17 cast alloy, five double-spoke
· Front Tire 110/80 x 19 tubeless
· Rear Tire 150/70 x 17 tubeless
· Seat Height 33.0 inches - 34 inches
· Wheelbase 59.8 inches
· Overall length 87.0 inches
· Overall width 36.0 inches w/ mirrors
· Steering angle 63 degrees
· Claimed Weight (Dry) 439 lbs. excluding options and accerrories.
· Claimed Weight (Wet) 496 lbs. excluding options and accerrories.
· Maximum load 937 lbs. GVWR
· Please note, the standard equipment listed below is included in the base MSRP at no additional cost. BMW EVO partial Integral ABS (switchable)
Saddlebag mounts
Hand protection
Hazard warning flashers
Single key locks
Closed loop 3-way catalytic converter
Stainless steel exhaust system
Magnesium cylinder head covers
Hydraulic rear spring preload adjuster
Front spring preload mechanically adjustable (9 settings)
Cast wheel double spoke design
Prob stand with starter inhibit
Stainless steel brake and clutch lines
Rear suspension strut with travel-dependent damping (WAD)
Diagnostic interface
Electronic immobilizer
Low-beam headlamp height adjustment
Info flat screen
Power socket
Tool kit
Luggage rack
Adjustable handbrake and clutch levers
Side stand with starter interlock
Integral ignition switch and steering lock
Two-section adjustable dual rider seat
Adjustable windshield
· Please consult your local BMW Motorrad USA retailer for specific pricing information regarding the following available equipment. Cross-spoke wheels
Heated handgrips
Anti-theft alarm
· Please consult your local BMW Motorrad USA retailer for specific pricing information regarding the following available accessories. Saddlebags
Inner bags
Tank bag
Engine guards
Cylinder head protection covers
Low rider's seat
Anti-theft alarm
Accessory power socket
BMW Navigator
Dust cover
Luggage rack
MSRP: $15,100

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