1. Overview
2. Powertrain
3. Chassis
4. Electrical system and electronics
5. Design and body
6. Engine output and torque
7. Technical specifications

1. Overview

  • Completely new design, more powerful, water cooled boxer engine
  • Electronic throttle (E-gas) for improved ride-ability and selectable riding modes
  • Five selectable riding modes for optimum adaption to the rider's needs, optional with ASC and Riding Modes
  • Lightweight cardan shaft now running on left-hand side
  • World's first motorcycle with LED main headlight featuring integrated daytime running light (option)
  • Completely revised and updated frame and chassis
  • Faster, more compact vehicle electrical system
  • Cruise Control

The "BMW GS" concept has embodied riding pleasure and the desire for adventure for over 30 years. This applies especially to the GS motorcycles with the opposed-twin "boxer" engine. The performance and reliability of the "big GS" allows motorcyclists to explore the most remote corners of the world - an idea that has already inspired numerous globetrotters to set off on their travels.

The BMW R 1200 GS is an incredibly flexible machine, equally suited to high motorway speeds, sports-style cornering on winding country roads, relaxed tours with a passenger, or daring rides over rough terrain. Every GS has offered supreme mastery of these skills in its respective era and this won't change with the new version.

It is the unique integrated concept of the big travel enduro bike, complete with authentic European charm and a powerful, high-torque boxer engine, which is loved by legions of motorcycle fans all over the world. It is not for nothing that the "big BMW GS" with boxer engine has been the undisputed frontrunner in its market segment for many years and is the best-seller within the BMW Motorrad model range. BMW is now beginning a whole new chapter in GS history: the most popular travel enduro in the world has been brought to perfection.

The new 2013 BMW R 1200 GS is totally new, boasting a completely reworked engine that incorporates air and water cooling, vertical flow-through cylinder heads and re-engineered crankshafts. The engine develops 92 kW and 125 Nm of torque and drives through the six-speed gearbox which incorporates a multi-plate wet clutch with anti-hopping feature, integrated for the first time into the engine housing.

The rider now controls the engine operation via an E-gas throttle; this drive-by-wire system ensures improved ride-ability and operating smoothness by allowing the engine management to adapt the throttle position to overcome pressure differences between the two cylinders. In addition, it permits the adaption of the throttle response characteristics which in conjunction with the optional ASC and riding modes has allowed a range of preset riding modes to be set according to the intended purpose.

As part of the development goals for the new R 1200 GS, considerable work was done to the chassis which has resulted in an overall uplift in this bike's key attributes of its touring suitability as well as a tangible improvement in handling, traction and off-road performance. Just about every aspect of the R 1200 GS has been enhanced with changes such as new suspension with torsionally stiff tubular steel bridge frame and bolt-on rear frame, optimised lightweight cardan shaft drive now running on the left-hand side and a newly developed and optimised Telelever at front and EVO Paralever at rear for an even more precise ride feel.

Additionally, a refined master chassis geometry data and long swingarm for excellent traction, new tyre/wheel dimensions of 120/70 R19 at front and 170/60 R17 at rear as a world first, tailored specially to the R 1200 GS and a revised BMW Motorrad brake system with radially mounted Brembo Monobloc brake callipers at front and 2-piston floating calliper with enlarged brake disc at rear also augment the overall experience of the new R 1200 GS.

Australian Pricing\*

BMW R 1200 GS $21,250


Completely new design engine for maximum riding dynamics in the travel enduro segment.
Like all engines in BMW motorcycles, the details of the boxer engine in the R 1200 GS are based on a carefully conceived overall concept. Designed to perpetuate the almost 90-year tradition of the BMW boxer engine with a future-oriented concept created to hold good for years to come, the engine reproduces numerous classic engineering features but also offers a wealth of new technical solutions. The strengths of the boxer have been further refined for the new BMW R 1200 GS so as to achieve a greater breadth of application in terms of touring suitability, dynamic performance and off-road qualities.

While the previous boxer power unit itself provided supreme forward thrust in all situations, the new BMW R 1200 GS takes a significant step further. With its completely redesigned engine it offers a much higher level of dynamic performance, acceleration and pulling power across the entire engine speed range, both on the road and over rough terrain.

The totally newly developed 2-cylinder opposed-twin in the R 1200 GS has a capacity of 1170 cc as in the predecessor model. The ratio of bore to stroke of 101 to 73 millimetres has also been preserved. The rated power output is 92 kW (125 bhp) at 7700 rpm, and its maximum torque of 125 Nm is available at 6,500 rpm.

The foremost development goals for the new engine were top-level riding dynamics within the segment, characteristics favouring both sporty and touring requirements, optimum ride-ability, compact dimensions and the lowest possible weight.

The empty weight (ready for the road) according to DIN of the R 1200 GS is 238 kg including standard BMW Motorrad Integral ABS.

Compact air/water cooling for optimum heat management.
The performance aspired to, as well as adherence to future anticipated requirements in terms of noise and exhaust emissions, is ensured among other things by a change in the cooling system. The boxer engine in the new R 1200 GS continues to use air/liquid cooling but the oil coolant has been replaced by a glycol water mixture for the first time in a BMW Motorrad boxer engine. This ensures a high level of heat absorption capacity of the coolant for more efficient heat dissipation.

So-called precision cooling means that the cooling fluid flows through the thermally more heavily exposed engine elements - the two cylinder heads and parts of the cylinders. Heat dissipation is via two radiators positioned at the left and right of the front section. These are inconspicuously integrated and well protected by the radiator covers. An electric fan behind the right-hand radiator is automatically activated as needed, controlled by the thermostat - for example at high outdoor temperatures in city traffic. Thanks to the sophisticated cool-air ducting on both sides, the warm air is streamlined past the rider.

The engine still also uses air cooling which reduces radiator size and preserves the characteristic appearance of the boxer engine.

With the new very compact cooling system, it has been possible to significantly improve the cooling ratio and thus the heat management system as compared to the predecessor model (22 % oil cooling / 78 % air cooling) in the new BMW 1200 GS (35 % liquid cooling / 65 % air cooling). The new liquid cooling adds weight to the vehicle as compared to the previous air/oil cooling system, but due to its very compact size and high efficiency, this is only a very moderate addition of approx. 2.7 kilograms.

Cylinder heads with vertical through-flow for increased efficiency and performance.
The engine of the new BMW R 1200 GS has vertical through-flow unlike all previous standard BMW Motorrad opposed-twin engines. The advantage is that the design of the intake channel no longer depends on the camshaft control, so it was possible to realise identical intake lengths for both cylinder sides. What is more, the fuel injector in the intake port is now arranged so that the fuel can be injected as squarely as possible in front of the intake valves for optimum carburetion. The result is a higher level of power and torque efficiency across the entire engine speed range as well as improved fuel efficiency.

As in the predecessor model, the two camshafts made of heat-treated steel are arranged horizontally. By changing the through-flow direction from horizontal to vertical, however, it is now possible to have purebred intake and exhaust camshafts - in the predecessor model these were combined intake/exhaust camshafts. This also opens up the possibility of adding variability to the valve gear in future. Newly calculated cam profiles allow a reduction of overlap time without impacting on performance.

As before, the two respective camshafts are driven by a chain running in the shaft behind the cylinders (on the right-hand side of the engine from the counterbalance shaft and on the left from the crankshaft). The timing chain drives an intermediate shaft between the intake and exhaust camshaft and it is from here that power is transmitted to the camshafts via spur gear pairs. At each exhaust camshaft there is a centrifugal-force-driven decompression facility which facilitates the start-up process. This makes it possible to save weight in the starter motor and battery.

Compared to the hitherto horizontal through-flow of the cylinder heads, the vertical through-flow permits an optimally straight intake port with a correspondingly simple chain guidance of the camshaft drive.

Due to the highly efficient overall design of the power unit, the previous radial valve arrangement is no longer required. At 8 degrees on the intake side and 10 degrees on the exhaust side, the four valves are at close angles to one another, making for a compact combustion chamber shape - a feature which is crucial to optimum combustion. Due to the new calculation of the combustion chamber and the much improved channel ducting and design, it has been possible to improve the compression ratio as compared to the predecessor model from 12.0:1 to 12.5:1. What is more, due to the optimisation of the combustion process and ignition timing, no knock control is required, despite retaining the RON 95 set-up, while still making the most of torque potential.

The use of a turbulence system (air feed via a bypass) ensures optimum combustion, obviating the need for an elaborate dual ignition.

The plate diameters of the valves have also been redefined to obtain higher output and torque efficiency. They are 1.0 millimetres larger, with a size of 40 millimetres on the intake side and 34 millimetres on the exhaust side.

The valve stem diameter is still 5.5 millimetres as before. Significantly shorter valve springs do justice to the increased engine speed level, while also ensuring an optimally defined drag effect.

As before, the valves are operated via light, speed-resistant rocker arms, the design of which was derived from the high-performance 4-cylinder engine of the BMW S 1000 RR. The valve clearance settings are made by means of replaceable shims. With 0.10 to 0.17 millimetres on the intake side and 0.34 to 0.41 millimetres on the exhaust side, valve clearance levels are just below those of the predecessor model.

Basic engine with compact, light and yet rigid crankshaft.
The crankshaft has also been completely re-engineered. The main bearing diameter was reduced from the previous 60 millimetres to 55 millimetres to reduce the drag forces. The crankshaft also has crankpins which are narrower but with a diameter enlarged from 48 to 50 millimetres as well as narrower main and guide bearings. As a result, it is lighter overall yet much stiffer and more compact.

Although the boxer principle, with its opposed cylinders, offers mutual cancelling out of the free mass-forces (due to the rods and pistons moving back and forth), there is still a certain amount of residual vibration. This results from the unavoidable parallel offset of the two cylinder axes, meaning that the forces do not act precisely on the same level and resulting in a so-called rotating mass moment of inertia.

This rotating mass moment of inertia has been significantly reduced by means of a more compact crankshaft design, but it was not possible to eliminate it completely.

As in the existing boxer engine of the R 1200 GS, the new engine therefore also has a counterbalance shaft which runs at crankshaft rotation speed with newly defined imbalance masses so as to eliminate unwanted vibrations. The counterbalance shaft is designed as a hollow intermediate shaft within which the clutch shaft runs. This ensures that the new engine of the R 1200 GS, with its higher engine speed level, runs more comfortably and with perceptibly less vibration across the entire engine speed range and at high engine speeds in particular. Nonetheless, the essential earthy boxer characteristics are still preserved.

Vertically separated case in open deck construction.
For the first time in a BMW Motorrad boxer engine, the cylinders are no longer separately bolted to the crankcase, but are integrated directly. The dual- section die-cast cylinder crankcase with vertical split level at the centre of the crankshaft is made of highly rigid aluminium alloy. The two case halves form a highly rigid composite consisting of the cylinder and the bearing block for the crankshaft.

The cylinder with cooling jacket is designed in open deck form. The liners are coated with a low-wear and low-friction iron-carbon alloy using the new wire arc spray process (LDS) already used for BMW automobile engines.

Gearbox integrated in engine housing for the first time, including wet clutch with anti-hopping function.
For the first time in the history of BMW Motorrad, the gearbox and clutch are integrated in the engine housing of a boxer engine. This provides benefits in particular in terms of weight balance due to the omission of numerous bolt connections and sealing surfaces, but also in terms of the torsional response of the unit as a whole. In addition to saving space and weight, the new gearbox (two transmission shafts, one drive shaft, one output shaft) means there is no longer any need for the additional transmission oil volume previously required for lubrication.

The 6-speed gearbox of the new R 1200 GS was also redefined to meet the demand for light, precise shifting and optimum gearshift connections so as to achieve excellent riding dynamics. As a result, the ratios were newly calculated.

As before, a helical gearing system is used for the gearwheels which ensures low running noise and a high level of running smoothness due to smooth tooth engagement. As before, the gear shafts of the new engine are mounted on anti-friction bearings and the gearwheels (idlers) run smoothly on needle roller bearings.

Shifting of the gearwheels and therefore of the gears is effected by means of a ball-bearing mounted selector drum made of steel, three case-hardened gearshift forks with hard chrome-plated ends and sliding sleeves with force-fitting connections between the gearwheel pairs.

The new R 1200 GS is the first serial production BMW Motorrad boxer motorcycle to have a multi-plate wet clutch with eight friction discs instead of the previous single-disc dry clutch. The benefits of this solution lie in the reduced moment of inertia, on the one hand due to the significantly reduced external diameter of 147 millimetres (R 1200 GS previously: 180 mm), but also in its more compact size.

For the first time in conjunction with a boxer engine, the clutch system is fitted with an anti-hopping mechanism. Here, BMW Motorrad especially addresses the needs of ambitious riders of the new R 1200 GS travelling on country roads. The brake torque of the engine is now passed to the rear wheel at a reduced level during coasting. This prevents brief blocking or hopping of the rear wheel due to the dynamic wheel load distribution when applying the brakes heavily and changing down at the same time. In this way, the motorcycle remains stable and safely controllable in the braking phase. Clutch disengagement during coasting is effected mechanically by means of a ramp mechanism. The clutch is activated hydraulically.

The practically oriented level of hand force and finely sensitive controllability provided by hand force enhancement in the clutch ensure that the high standards of BMW Motorrad are met in terms of operation and comfort. In conjunction with the sensitive throttle response, this makes for optimum vehicle control on all types of terrain.

New intake system for excellent output and torque.
For more than two decades now, BMW Motorrad has occupied a leading position in the field of electronic engine management, and in the case of the new R 1200 GS this is taken care of by the new digital engine control system, the so-called BMS-X.

Its main features are fully sequential injection, a compact layout and low weight. The Alpha/n-based engine management system with torque interface draws on a wide range of parameters. For example, it enables perfectly controlled torque output and adaptation of response to a diverse range of conditions via the E-gas characteristics attributed to the various riding modes. The control system is based on the volume of intake air which is determined indirectly via the throttle valve angle and the engine speed. Based on additional engine and environmental parameters (including engine temperature, air temperature and environmental air pressure), the engine control system determines individually adapted levels for injection volume and ignition timing together with stored mapping characteristics and pre-set correction functions.

Carburetion is taken care of by an electronic fuel injection system via a throttle valve body system with an opening width of 52 millimetres instead of the previous 50 millimetres. Newly designed, markedly raised intake air snorkels and a generously sized air-box with panel air filter element ensure optimum feeding of cool intake air and thus optimum filling.

E-gas for improved ride-ability, running smoothness and special functions.
An electromotive throttle actuator system is used to control the two throttle valves. Here the rider's commands are passed on directly from the sensor in the accelerator twist grip to the fully electronic engine control system and converted into a throttle valve position as appropriate to the riding mode selected by means of instant electronic adjustment.

The electromotive throttle actuator in the new BMW R 1200 GS allows improved ride-ability and optimised running smoothness in the near-idling range since the engine control detects any differences between the two cylinders in terms of mean pressure and compensates by means of selectively adapting the throttle valve angles. Furthermore, in conjunction with the optional ASC and riding modes, different throttle response characteristics can be set (soft, optimum, direct) according to the intended purpose.

Much improved controllability has enabled a reduction of twist grip angle from 85 to 70 degrees. Another advantage of this technology is the realisation of a cruise control function as a comfort option.

Electronic cruise control.
The new R 1200 GS is the first BMW GS to be available with an electronic cruise control function fitted ex works - making lengthy motorway rides more relaxed and comfortable, for example. The function is activated by pressing a button at the left-hand end of the handlebars, while a shift paddle is used to increase or reduce the currently selected road speed. Here the two throttle valves are activated by the engine control and independently of the accelerator twist grip.

When the front or rear brake or the clutch are activated or the throttle grip is turned in the opposite direction (starting from the idling position) cruise control is switched off. The "Resume" function allows the rider to re-activate the originally selected speed, which the vehicle then automatically restores. As long as the drag torque in the currently selected gear is sufficient, the electronic cruise control function works on hill descents, too.

Innovative exhaust gas system with electronically controlled exhaust flap for optimum performance characteristics and an earthy boxer sound.
The exhaust system of the new R 1200 GS is made entirely of stainless steel and geared completely towards optimum performance characteristics, operating according to the 2-in-1 principle. In this development area, homogeneous output and torque curves and thus excellent ride-ability were once again regarded as requirements for supreme performance on country roads, off-road riding and extended touring.

The two manifold tubes and the interference pipe were redesigned in terms of shaping, length and diameter. The new BMW R 1200 GS meets the demand for a particularly earthy yet still legally compliant boxer sound with an exhaust flap controlled by an electric motor along with opening and closing cables. In order to reduce ram pressure and ensure a full sound, the rear silencer - now positioned on the right-hand side - has a completely newly engineered interior structure, which uses a combination of reflection and absorption silencing.

Exhaust emissions are regulated by means of an oxygen sensor controlled catalytic converter. In this way the BMW R 1200 GS meets current exhaust emissions standards and is designed to meet future standards, too.

Optimised lightweight cardan shaft drive with EVO Paralever swing-arm now running on the left-hand side.
For 90 years, BMW Motorrad has used the universal-shaft drive as a logical consequence of longitudinal crankshaft mounting - the optimum maintenance-free form of power transmission for a travel enduro. In contrast to all previous BMW Motorrad boxer models, the swing-arm with integrated cardan shaft drive and EVO Paralever (in its third generation and designed using the very latest calculation methods) is now positioned on the left-hand side. This avoids any contact between the rider and the hot exhaust system when pushing or getting on and off the machine. Another pleasing effect relates to the appearance of the vehicle: when the motorcycle is on the side stand there is now a clear view of the redesigned rear wheel. A newly calculated set of bevel/crown gears for the drive-train meets increased output and torque requirements. In the tried and tested manner, the Paralever swing-arm decouples the unavoidable reactive torque of the drivetrain from the swing-arm and therefore from the suspension/damping system by means of an additional joint between the rear axle cover and the swing-arm. This effectively eliminates the undesirable "elevator effect", i.e. the rising and lowering of the rear when accelerating and decelerating.

As part of the complete redesign of the drive system, there has also been a comprehensive reduction of clearance from the primary drive to the drivetrain, causing the enhanced engine performance to act more directly on the rear wheel.

ASC and riding modes as an optional extra: five freely selectable modes - "Rain", "Road", "Dynamic", "Enduro" and "Enduro Pro" with three different characteristic throttle curves.
In order to suit various purposes such as riding on the road, on wet surfaces or over rough terrain, an ex works option is available to the rider of the new R 1200 GS which comprises five different riding modes with three different E-gas settings, three different ABS settings and four ASC settings. To make the required setting, the "Mode" switch on the right of the handlebar unit is activated until the display in the instrument panel shows the desired riding mode. It is also possible to implement the rider's command during travel: the mode change is made by moving the throttle twist grip to idle with the clutch lever pulled. When the motorcycle is restarted, the last selected setting is always maintained.

The optional feature includes Automatic Stability Control (ASC) in a special enduro configuration for the "Enduro" and "Enduro Pro" modes. A special enduro configuration for the standard BMW Motorrad ABS is also featured - this is also used in the "Enduro" and "Enduro Pro" configurations. Dynamic ESA as an optional feature is then also integrated in the system of modes. Suspension set-up is adjusted precisely depending on the riding mode selected (see Suspension section).

When riding on wet surfaces or in difficult grip conditions, "Rain" mode provides especially soft dosage and response characteristics to support the rider, though full torque and output potential are still retained. The electronic control system ASC (Automatic Stability Control) responds more readily than in "Road" mode. If the Dynamic ESA option is selected, the damping of the spring struts at front and rear is softer, in keeping with the conditions.

In "Road" mode, the control systems are set to ensure optimum performance on dry roads. This mode provides a spontaneous, linear throttle response on dry roads. "Road" combines sound, supple controllability with a homogeneous build-up of torque.

"Dynamic" mode reveals the sportiest face of the new BMW R 1200 GS for road riding. An even more spontaneous and direct throttle response, more restrained ASC intervention and tighter damping in the case of the Dynamic ESA option bring the full potential of the machine to bear.

The "Enduro" mode enhances the R 1200 GS for off-road riding. A soft throttle response, restrained control intervention on the part of the Enduro ASC, optimum brake distribution and ABS control in conjunction with the high-traction set-up of the optional Dynamic ESA get the motorcycle ready to explore new enduro worlds. This means that even motorcyclists with limited enduro experience will quickly get their off-road bearings on the new R 1200 GS and enjoy lots of riding fun.

The mode is optimised for use with standard tyres.

For more ambitious enduro riders, BMW Motorrad offers the "Enduro Pro" mode. This riding mode provides spontaneous engine response characteristics and is designed for use with studded tyres. At the same time, the ABS function is disengaged at the rear by pressing the footbrake lever; the optional Dynamic ESA shifts into traction-oriented and optimum bottom- out set-up. ASC is set to professional enduro mode and permits considerably more slip. In this configuration, the sporty face of the new BMW R 1200 GS is revealed off-road, too, and the experienced enduro rider can move into an added dimension of riding fun due to further improved controllability of the machine.

3. Chassis

New chassis with torsionally stiff tubular steel bridge frame and bolt-on rear frame.
One of the primary goals in developing the new BMW R 1200 GS was to further increase the bike's high level of riding dynamics while also creating a suspension which would extend the possible range of uses of the "big GS" both on and off the road. The new, more rigid main frame including the steering-head bearing for the

Telelever and the swing-arm axle of the EVO Paralever has made it possible to significantly improve ride stability, handling and precision.

The bike also benefits from the improved suspension/damping set-up in terms of touring suitability, since lengthy trips are now more comfortable and less tiring for this reason.

The optimised connection with the road surface, especially due to the new suspension/damping set-up and the new wheel/tyre dimensions, means that the new R 1200 GS is also considerably more dynamic. Its precise handling allows the motorcyclist to adopt a very sporty style while retaining full controllability and without requiring excessive physical effort.

Off-road the rider of the new R 1200 GS benefits from a tighter connection with the ground, too, as well as appropriately adapted control strategies which generate a much greater sense of trust in the vehicle.

While the frame of the R 1200 GS previously consisted of an upper frame to support and position the Telelever and the rear frame with integrated swing-arm mount and welded on rear section, the chassis of the new R 1200 GS is now made of a continuous steel bridge frame with a bolt-on rear frame. The latter offers particular benefits in terms of maintenance. However, the integration of the engine as a load-bearing element has been retained as this is beneficial to the bike's weight and rigidity.

Optimised Telelever at front and EVO Paralever at rear for an even more precise ride feel.
As before, the triangular swing-arm in forged aluminium is supported by the engine housing. The outstanding underlying principle of this type of front wheel control is the fact that it relieves the telescopic control of longitudinal and transverse forces as well as separating wheel control from suspension and damping, resulting in an unsurpassed degree of sensitivity of response in the front section. A high level of ride precision and directional accuracy combined with excellent ride comfort and anti-dive control are the fundamental advantages of this design.

The Telelever has been geometrically refined for use in the new R 1200 GS, and its excellent properties have been further optimised. While retaining the same degree of rigidity, the fork tube diameter of the telescopic control was reduced from 41 to just 37 millimetres. This means that in spite of integrating radiators in this area, it was still possible to retain the existing steering angle of +/- 42 degrees, ensuring excellent manoeuvrability and slow riding. In combination with a more rigidly designed trailing arm, the overall result was even higher steering precision and transparent feedback in the front section. As before, the entire Telelever is designed to be maintenance-free with its encapsulated ball joints and permanent lubrication as well as a lifetime filling of the telescope tubes with oil.

In the patented rear wheel control system EVO Paralever it was possible to provide improved protection for the lower spring strut area against potential damage during off-road riding by means of the wrap-around swing-arm. Due to its more rigid housing in the main frame, the progressive damping spring struts at front and rear now respond much more sensitively as well as having considerably increased damping reserves. With progressive damping, the progression of the damping force depends on spring travel. On the one hand, it enables a very finely tuned response even to the smallest road bumps, yet it still offers plenty of potential for off-road use with harsher impacts and ground waves. In spite of the much enlarged swinging arm length, the torsional stiffness of the Paralever is the same as in the predecessor model.

At 190 and 200 millimetres, the spring travel at front and rear remains identical to the predecessor model. The share of positive and negative spring travel also remains the same. It is 122 to 68 millimetres at the front and 135 to 65 millimetres at the rear.

The rear spring strut has 12 rebound-stage damping adjustment settings and also a hand-wheel for adjusting the spring mount ("spring preload") so as to enable continuously variable hydraulic adaptation to the personal needs of the rider.

The new R 1200 GS also meets the need for greater off-road suitability by offering increased ground clearance. This is now 195 millimetres - 8 millimetres more than before. The increased ground clearance was not achieved by extended rebound travel in the wheel control, but by adapting the conception of the vehicle as a whole.

Semiactive suspension: BMW Motorrad Dynamic ESA for optimum riding dynamics in every situation as an ex works option and BMW Motorrad Integral ABS as standard.
With the optional Dynamic ESA, BMW Motorrad offers an electronic suspension which taps into a whole new range of possibilities as well as providing maximum riding safety and performance. This semiactive suspension monitors the vertical movement of front and rear wheel control in travel and speed as well as other parameters by means of a spring travel sensor in each position and adapts the damping automatically to the situation depending on riding conditions and the manoeuvres being carried out by the rider. Dynamic ESA also responds to an ABS control brake manoeuvre, for example. Damping adjustment of the spring struts at front and rear is affected by means of electrically controlled regulation valves.

The drastically improved contact between road and tyres means that the new R 1200 GS is able to provide a previously unequalled sense of security on very uneven roads and when riding off-road.

Dynamic ESA does not work as a self-contained system, but is able to communicate with the other control systems of the R 1200 GS - BMW Motorrad ABS as well as Automatic Stability Control ASC - via CAN bus.

What is more, the basic settings of Dynamic ESA are linked to the riding modes "Rain", "Road", "Dynamic", "Enduro" and "Enduro Pro", which can be conveniently selected by the rider at the press of a button. Each of the riding modes gives the rider a damper setting as recommended by BMW Motorrad experts. The mode switch can be used to adapt the overall characteristics of Dynamic ESA, engine control (characteristics), ABS and ASC to the given situation by selecting the various modes with their respective settings. What is more, the damper setting can be tailored to personal preferences in all modes, ranging from "soft" to "normal" and "hard" by means of the "ESA" switch on the end of the left handlebar. The load settings for one person, one personal with luggage or two persons are also set using this switch, just as the rider prefers.

In "Rain" mode, the dampers have a soft basic set-up. In order to ensure maximum safety when accelerating, ASC is set for early control intervention in "Rain" mode. ABS is adjusted for use on the road.

If the rider selects the "Road" mode, Dynamic ESA shifts to a tighter setup. ASC ensures optimum traction on dry roads and the ABS is also configured for road use.

In "Dynamic" mode, Dynamic ESA provides an even tighter damper setting which is entirely geared towards a sporty style of riding on the road. In this profile, ASC characteristics are further tightened, even enabling experienced riders to perform light drifts. Here again the ABS setting is geared towards road use, while also providing a more dynamic throttle response.

The "Enduro" mode provides a high-traction damper setting for off-road riding. Here ASC provides for more slip on the rear wheel, allowing light off- road drifts.

The ABS setting is designed for running over loose surfaces such as gravel with road tyres, which have a higher approved level of slip. As on the road, the ABS operates with a part integral function: in other words when the front wheel brake is activated, part of the brake force is directed to the rear wheel. This is a feature which offers a high level of safety over rough terrain, too. Here the control strategy is designed so that wheel lock is prevented while still allowing effective deceleration. Increased ride stability and a greater sense of trust are the pleasing result.

An additional coded plug enables the rider to access the "Enduro Pro" mode for more ambitious off-road riding. This setting provides significantly increased bottom-out reserves. In this mode - reserved solely for off-road use with studded tyres - experienced motorcyclists can deliberately make the rear wheel of the R 1200 GS break out due to ASC intervention adjusted to professional enduro use. The ABS characteristics are specially adapted to this type of sporty use since control is specifically geared towards riding on loose surfaces with studded tyres. What is more, ABS does not act on the rear wheel when the rear brake is applied. Deactivation of the part integral function means that the front and wheel brake operate entirely separately from one another, in keeping with the preferences of an experienced enduro rider, also allowing so-called initial brake drift before hairpin bends.

And when the coded plug is used, the individual Dynamic ESA setting is preserved over a change of riding mode. Without the coded plug all settings are set to default, e.g. when turning off the ignition. ABS and ASC can be manually disengaged by the rider in all modes. With the coded plug inserted, the systems remain deactivated when restarting the bike after having turned off the ignition before.

Refined master chassis geometry data and long swingarm for excellent traction.
Even the previous R 1200 GS offered top-level response, leaving virtually nothing to be desired in terms of handling, directional accuracy, steering precision and high speed stability. For this reason, the master chassis geometry has not been radically changed but merely slightly optimised. The steering head angle has increased slightly to 64.5 degrees. Wheel castor is virtually identical, having previously been 101 millimetres and is now 99.6 millimetres. The wheelbase of 1507 millimetres has remained unchanged.

The length of the swing-arm has been considerably increased. Previously 535.6 millimetres in length (measured from the swing-arm centre of rotation to the middle of the rear axle), the new figure is 588 millimetres. In practice, this extension translates mainly into improved traction and thus more effective transmission of drive forces for further improved performance. This is a benefit which particularly comes into play in off-road riding and therefore over loose surfaces.

New tyre/wheel dimensions of 120/70 R19 at front and 170/60 R17 at rear as a world first, tailored specially to the R 1200 GS.
In order to provide a fuller ride feel and more harmonious response, in conjunction with increased directional accuracy and performance when braking and accelerating, the wheel and tyre dimensions of the R 1200 GS were recalculated and defined over a number of highly involved development phases in collaboration with well-known tyre manufacturers.

The tyre dimension 120/70 R19 is used for the first time ever in a large enduro bike. As compared to the previous tyre size of 110/80-19, the tyres for the weight-optimised 10-spoke light alloy cast wheel enlarged to 3.0 inches (previously 2.5 inches) offer a larger contact area, which has the effect of producing higher levels of transferrable cornering and deceleration forces.

But in practice, the rider benefits from more than just improved banking response and increased power transmission during braking. A special tyre contour tailored to the new R 1200 GS also guarantees maximum neutrality when cornering as well as the very highest level of riding precision.

A newly defined tyre is also used on the rear wheel of the R 1200 GS to enhance traction, cornering and ultimately riding dynamics, too. While the
R 1200 GS previously had a 150/70 R17 tyre at the rear, a size 170/60 R17 tyre now ensures a significantly larger contact surface for better cornering and traction. In keeping with the new tyre size, the rim width of the likewise weight-optimised 10-spoke light alloy rear wheel has also been increased from 4.0 to 4.5 inches.
And in the R 1200 GS, too, the extensive BMW Motorrad options program allows these to be fitted with cross-spoke wheels, especially for increased off- road use. These have also been completely newly developed and are identical in size to the standard light alloy cast wheels. In the course of redevelopment, the light alloy rim was given a matt, robust and easily cleanable surface coating. The weight-optimised hubs boast a finely wrought technical design and are connected to the rim by stainless steel spokes.

Revised brake system with radially mounted Brembo Monobloc brake calipers and BMW Motorrad Integral ABS as standard.
The BMW Motorrad brake system of the R 1200 GS - which like all BMW motorcycles is fitted with ABS as standard - has undergone extensive revision. Radially bolted Brembo Monobloc brake calipers with a piston diameter of 32 millimetres (previously: 34 and 36 millimetres) are now fitted. The diameter of the master cylinder of the handbrake pump has been reduced from 16 to 15 millimetres. The diameter of the two floating brake discs is 305 millimetres as before.
The rear single disc brake still has a 2-piston floating caliper with a piston diameter of 28 millimetres. Meanwhile, the diameter of the brake disc has increased in size from 265 to 276 millimetres.

4. Electrical system and electronics

Main headlight with optimised light efficiency and LED daytime running light as an ex works option.
Seeing and being seen as well as possible - these are crucial factors on which the safety and therefore fun of motorcycling depend. This is why BMW Motorrad also dedicated intense efforts to the development of a new lighting unit for the R 1200 GS.

The new standard halogen headlight is not only considerably smaller than the previous one. In terms of road illumination, too, it offers top-level lighting technology for both low and high beam. Intensive tests in the BMW Group lighting tunnel have generated light levels which - given the same light emission area - achieve significantly better results in terms of perceptibility and vision for night riding as compared to the competition.

BMW Motorrad offers an additional daytime running light with LED technology as an ex works option. The unit consists of four LED modules and is integrated underneath the main halogen headlight. The daytime running light allows other road users to differentiate the motorcycle much more clearly, thereby offering a huge safety benefit. What is more, the use of LED technology means a lower level of energy consumption and an extended lifetime. The daytime running light is switched on either automatically via a light sensor or manually instead of the main headlight using the "Daytime running light" switch. When darkness falls or when entering a tunnel, there is an automatic switchover to the halogen main headlight, providing optimum road illumination to ensure excellent visibility.

The first motorcycle in the world with main headlight featuring full-LED technology including integrated daytime running light for even greater safety when riding during the day and at night.
The latest example of the innovative power of BMW Motorrad in this area is the first ever full LED headlight with integrated daytime running light to be used in serial motorcycle production, available as an option for the R 1200 GS. Globally unique, this LED main headlight with daytime running function illuminates the road with a level of brilliant clarity not previously known. The headlight's LEDs are strikingly distinctive and powerful with their double glass lenses. The option also includes a rear light with two light bands, making for an even more high-quality rear view.

The switchover between daytime running light and low beam can be set to automatic in the instrument cluster menu.

With daytime running switched on, the motorcyclist benefits from significantly increased perceptibility in the daytime and therefore increased safety. In addition, there is the striking look of the horizontal "U" which - like the light rings in the K 1600 models - will soon become an unmistakable trademark of the new GS.

LED technology with sophisticated cooling and decondensation concept.
The light unit consists of two LED units each for low and high beam, as well as four additional LED units for daytime running light and side light. These are mounted on a central heat sink made of die-cast aluminium.

Behind the heat sink there is an axial fan. An additional air ducting element directs the warm air onto the glass panel, thereby generating air circulation inside the headlight. This air circulation ensures decondensation of the headlight, also contributing actively to de-icing of the lens in winter.

Operating concept with Multi-Controller for the BMW Motorrad Navigator IV.
If the vehicle is to be fitted with a navigation device, it is advisable to order the option "Preparation for navigation device". It then automatically features the so-called Multi-Controller which can be used for convenient control of the BMW Motorrad Navigator IV. This is positioned on the inner side of the left- hand handlebar grip and is therefore always within optimum reach. The advantage of the Multi-Controller is that the rider's hands can stay on the handlebars during operation: it is not necessary to look for buttons.

Operation is carried out by turning up and down as well as toggling to the left/right. This means that the most important functions, such as zoom or speech output repeat, are convenient to operate. If the rider is using a helmet with the BMW Motorrad communication system and this is connected to the Navigator IV, the speech output volume in the helmet can also be controlled using the Multi-Controller. By toggling the Multi-Controller to the right or left it is possible to change between map view, trip computer and media player, for example. Rotation of the Multi-Controller allows the volume of the BMW Motorrad communication system to be adjusted. Within the menu, any turning or pressing of the Multi-Controller causes the cursor to move and a menu point to be selected.

The BMW Motorrad Navigator IV, available as a special accessory, is integrated in the vehicle electrical system. Data is exchanged between the navigation system and the vehicle electrical system. For example, the navigation system automatically relays the date and time to the instrument cluster or suggests the nearest filling station when a certain residual range has been reached. It is also possible to enlarge/reduce map sections by keeping the Multi-Controller pushed to the right/left for longer.

This connection to the vehicle electrical system also provides other benefits. The chassis number is transmitted so as to automatically release the Navigator IV. There is no longer any need for a four-digit PIN to be entered for anti-theft protection purposes when the Navigator IV is used in conjunction with a motorcycle which is already stored on the device and therefore known. Up to five different vehicles can be stored.

A lock cylinder with a single key locking system enables the Navigator IV to be locked into its holder for anti-theft protection, making the device impossible to remove.

Instrument clusters with customisable functions and on-board computer PRO as ex works option.
The instrument cluster of the new R 1200 GS has a speedometer and rev counter - each controlled by an electric motor - and an LC information display. The lighting of the instrument unit automatically adapts to the level of ambient brightness.

As a further development of the existing display philosophy, the instrument cluster of the new R 1200 GS has two areas at the top and bottom right to which the rider can assign information displays according to preference. These two information displays are controlled ergonomically using the rocker switch on the left-hand unit of the handlebars - the upper display with the top switch, the lower display with the bottom switch.

The on-board computer has been included as standard in the new GS. Even in the standard version, it offers access to a whole range of useful information.

Meanwhile, the so-called "on-board computer PRO" is available as an ex works option featuring significantly expanded functions geared specifically to the needs of enduro riders.

The set-up menu can be used to configure settings specific to both rider and vehicle. For example, different languages and automatic activation of the daytime running light are incorporated here.

New vehicle electrical system with partitioning of functions.
The new R 1200 GS is now the second BMW motorcycle after the BMW K 1600 GT/GTL to be fitted with the innovative vehicle electrical system. It is based on the previous system but features an altered partitioning of functions.

The use of CAN bus (Controller Area Network) and LIN bus technology (Local Interconnect Network) enables significantly reduced wiring as compared to a conventional system. This also reduces potential error sources as may occur in conventional vehicle electrical systems due to the quantity of wiring and numerous plug connectors - a key factor in ensuring all-round reliability.

As part of the further development process, the existing central vehicle electronics was divided into two separate control units. One control unit - the so-called Body Controller - performs all the basic functions to be found in every BMW motorcycle. The second control unit is responsible for all suspension functions of the Dynamic ESA.

Communication network and central diagnosis.
Up to seven control units (instrument cluster, ABS, engine control, Body Controller (formerly central vehicle electronics), tyre pressure control RDC, Dynamic ESA (suspension settings), alarm system form a communication network with the capacity to mutually exchange data. This means a simple, comprehensive diagnosis of the entire system can be carried out centrally. The electronic system filters out unimportant data and interference signals within a defined tolerance and makes the system largely impervious to disruption such as electromagnetic interference. The digital engine management unit (BMS-X) is not only responsible for engine control, it also relays all data to the diagnosis device.

Extended tyre pressure control with gradient monitoring.
The tyre pressure control function (RDC), available for the new R 1200 GS as an ex work option, has been fitted with a new, lighter and more compact receiver control unit and new wheel sensors. In addition to the existing warning threshold for tyre air pressure, the new control unit also enables gradient monitoring. The gradient monitoring function detects a sudden loss of pressure during travel (e.g. when running over a nail) and is able to provide an even earlier warning for potentially dangerous situations. Loss of pressure over a certain period of time - for instance, when the motorcycle is left to stand for lengthier periods - triggers a warning too, thereby offering a higher level of safety in this area.

The switch for activating the daytime running light and the rocker switches for trip/info and ABS/ASC/ESA are still placed at the left-hand end of the handlebars.

Activation of the heated grips is integrated compactly and within convenient reach in the right-hand control unit. The position of the heated grip is displayed by means of symbols in the LCD display in the instrument cluster.

The functions for starter and kill switch are conveniently combined in a rocker switch at the right-hand end of the handlebars. This guarantees that when the start button is activated, the kill switch is not left on by mistake, ensuring that the vehicle can be reliably started.

The switch for pre-selecting the riding mode is also on the right.

5. Design and Body

Functionality and robustness - the BMW GS styling.
For over 30 years, the design of a GS has stood for both supremacy and boundless riding fun, both on and off the road. BMW Motorrad presented the R 80 G/S in 1980, a motorcycle which founded the completely new segment of the large-capacity travel enduro.

Today the R 1200 GS is the icon of its segment, presenting developers with both obligations and aspirations. The masculine presence conveys a powerful sense of robustness, great endurance capacity and excellent functionality. These are qualities which make the model an established factor in the motorcycle market when it comes to extended tours and exploring faraway landscapes. The ergonomic upright seating position makes it especially comfortable to ride and excellently suited to all forms of travel. The generous ground clearance ensures the machine can be universally deployed in all terrains, its numerous different types of luggage facilities making it versatile for long tours, too.

The aim in creating the body and design of the new R 1200 GS was to firstly preserve this fundamental emotional trust in the tried and tested virtues of the BMW Motorrad GS with boxer engine, while achieving optimum refinement for future years at the same time.

The design of the new R 1200 GS: ergonomic, light and full of dynamic performance.
Even at first sight, the new BMW R 1200 GS powerfully symbolises dynamic performance, agility and lightness - combined with the masculine robustness which is the enduro hallmark.

Visible technology and authentic, segment-oriented design are blended in every BMW motorcycle to form an attractive whole. The design of the new GS likewise lends authentic expression to the machine's qualities.

The flyline of the new BMW R 1200 GS.
The characteristically marked flyline now runs even more dynamically as compared to the predecessor model. It runs boldly from the typically dipping "beak", creating a spray guard above the front wheel and also enhancing aerodynamics, via the fuel tank down to the low seat and up again, finishing with the elongated rear.

Even at first sight it conveys the familiar GS look but with fresh aesthetic appeal.

High-quality surfaces increase the sense of value.
The machine attains a high level of visual quality due to the interplay of varying high-quality surfaces. In addition to various selected paint finishes and grains, visible construction parts such as the gold-anodised fork and various naturally anodised components such as the upper fork bridge and the axle clamp blocks reflect the technological aspirations of the new GS.

Purist frame concept, light rear section.
The new R 1200 GS also gives visual expression to its functional construction. The torsionally stiff tubular space frame lends the new BMW R 1200 GS a purist technical touch due to the almost freely visible structure in the central and rear area. In order to create a more dynamic appearance, the visual focus of the new GS was shifted clearly towards the front. With its much slimmer waist and the lightness conveyed by the rear, the design of the new BMW R 1200 GS underscores its agile, dynamic character.

Vertical lines due to new air through-flow of the boxer engine.
The new water-cooled boxer engine creates revolutionary vertical lines. Nonetheless the machine echoes the model's hallmark appearance, still remaining faithful to the classic BMW boxer look. The line now runs from the matt black grained intake openings via the granite grey panels on the fuel tank down to the new engine, expressing a sense of lightness. This effect is underscored by the striking new radiator cover which makes for perfect flow through the radiator due to an elaborate tear-off edge.

New GS logo.
The radiator cover bears the BMW logo and a revised GS inscription. For years, the GS logo has been defined by the typical stencil typeface with its robust character and vertical gap. The horizontal gap now gives the GS graphic an added touch of dynamic flair. The type designation R 1200 likewise boasts a new design.

Powerfully expressive front section highlighting the bike's resolute character.
The highly expressive front section of the machine has also been redesigned. The innovative triple-section front panel carrier in magnesium bears the detailed instrument cluster, windshield adjustment, lighting and "beak". The carrier was deliberately designed for greater visibility in the side area of the instrument cluster and headlight so as to achieve a robust enduro look. The new handwheel-adjusted windshield offers optimum wind protection with its wedge-like shape in spite of being smaller. The headlights of the new BMW R 1200 GS remain faithful to the typical GS dual headlight concept. These are now more closely merged, thereby adapting to the new technical modernism conveyed by the vehicle as a whole. The newly designed "beak" is now more angular and clear-cut at the ends, giving the machine a resolute character.

High quality in detail.
A love of design is reflected in every detail of the BMW R 1200 GS. Every component has its own distinctive sense of quality, achieved by BMW Motorrad, based on refinement and excellent workmanship. For example, all the body screws bear an engraved BMW inscription, and the key also has a high-quality finish with a small BMW emblem.

Body features of the new BMW R 1200 GS.
The body features of the new BMW R 1200 GS range from the hallmark "beak" above the front-wheel to the fuel tank and the side trim panels through to the seat, highlighting the bike's powerful appearance.

More compact fuel tank design for improved knee grip and centre of gravity, and adjustable handlebars for further improved vehicle handling.

The much slimmer waist of the new R 1200 GS in the knee grip area makes for further improved off-road manoeuvrability, much simplifying the act of riding while standing up. What is more, the shape of the fuel tank was calculated in such a way that the decrease in fuel tank capacity barely influences the centre of gravity of the new R 1200 GS, ensuring maximum consistency in terms of ride response.

Ground reach for the feet was also improved due to the slimmer waist. The inner leg length is now 1870 mm at a seat height of 850 mm (-20 mm to predecessor model) or 1910 mm at 870 mm seat height (-30 mm to predecessor). For solo riding and for more active off-road riding the passenger footrests can now be dismounted quickly and simply complete with extensions.

The new handlebars in double-butted aluminium tubing have increased in size in the mounting area from 28.5 to 32 millimetres. The enlarged diameter results in greater stability as well as increased torsional stiffness - achieved by greater surface pressure. Within the two clamps, the handlebars can now be twisted by 10 degrees, resulting in a change of grip height of 20 millimetres to adapt to the rider's individual needs.

Seat with multiple adjustment functions for perfect ergonomics.
BMW Motorrad has always attached particular value to refined ergonomics in the products it develops. After all, riders will only ride well if they really feel comfortable on their motorbike. For this reason, the seat of the new R 1200 GS is narrower in the front section for greater freedom of movement off-road, but has a broader thigh rest for tangibly increased ride comfort.

What is more, it is adjustable to two heights (850 and 870 millimetres) as well as in terms of tilt angle. The passenger seat also offers a length adjustment function. The front position allows the passenger to select a seating position closer to the rider. It also provides a big enough gap from the top-case, allowing a leaning seated position for increased comfort. Closer contact between the rider and passenger supports ride stability and agility, and, when accelerating sharply, the rider benefits from a pelvis support on the passenger seat, too. Meanwhile the back position provides both rider andpassenger with generous space.

But BMW Motorrad also offers a range of alternatives here as part of its extensive range of special accessories. For example, there are adjustable, lower (820 mm) and higher (870 mm) seats as well as the rallye seat.

Innovative lightweight construction: front carrier made of magnesium.
As mentioned above, the innovative triple-section front panel carrier in magnesium bears the detailed instrument cluster, windshield adjustment, lighting and "beak". It is made of a particularly tough, and therefore extremely break-proof, magnesium alloy (AM50) and is manufactured using the die- cast method. The surface is initially treated for anti-corrosion protection with a final powder coating in N+â-+rburg silver. As compared to the predecessor model, this solution has meant a weight saving of 60 per cent. The development process ensured that lightweight construction and the use of innovative materials did not allow the robustness of the motorcycle to suffer in any way.

Windshield with one-hand operation for excellent wind and weather protection.
The windshield was also optimised in keeping with the character of the new R 1200 GS. It now offers improved wind and weather protection and can also be simply adjusted by means of an easily accessible wheel in the area of the instrument cluster, which was developed according to ergonomic principles. Technically speaking, the adjustment is effected by means of a worm gear mechanism patented by BMW Motorrad. By means of intensive work in the wind tunnel it was possible to significantly reduce noise (-5dB(A) at 180 km/h with the windshield up) and turbulence in the head area of the rider and passenger.

Nonetheless, the extensive BMW Motorrad program of special accessories once again offers alternatives here. For example, the new R 1200 GS can be customised with a tinted windshield.

The new BMW R 1200 GS also expresses its sharper character and its universal talents with a new colour concept comprising four different colours for selected components. The four main colours to choose from for the body - Alpine White, Racing Red, Blue Fire and Thunder Grey Metallic - provide a fascinating contrast with the silver engine housing and frame.

Number plate carriers quick to dismount for off-road riding.
For energetic off-road riding, the number plate carrier of the new R 1200 GS has been designed as a quickly dismountable unit. It is attached simply by means of two screws under the seat.

6. Engine output and torque

7. Technical specifications

BMW R 1200 GS











at engine speed






at engine speed




air/water-cooled 2-cylinderboxer engine

No. of cylinders



12.5:1 / Premium unleaded (95 RON)

Valve actuation


Valves per cylinder


+â-£ Intake/outlet



+â-£ Throttle valve





Emission control

Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter

Electrical system






12/12 maintenance-free



H7 / LED (SA)




Power transmission - gearbox


Anti-hopping wet clutch


Constant mesh 6-speed gearbox

Primary ratio


Transmission ratios I












Rear wheel drive

cardan shaft

Transmission ratio



Frame construction type

Tubular steel bridge frame, engine self-supporting

Suspension, front

BMW Telelever

Suspension, rear

BMW EVO Paralever

Spring travel, front/rear



Wheel castor






Steering head angle





Hydraulically actuated twin disc brake, +â-£ 305 mm


Single-disc brake +â-£ 276 mm

BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (standard, part intergal,


Light alloy cast wheel


3.0 x 19"


4.5 x 17"



120/70 R19


170/60 R17

Dimensions and weights

Total length



Total width with mirrors



Seat height



DIN unladen weight, ready for road



Permitted total weight



Fuel tank capacity



Performance figures

Fuel consumption











Maximum speed