Review: BMW R 1200 GS Rallye

Since many years the BMW R 1200 GS is a best-seller in a lot of a markets. But you’ll have to admit it doesn’t score much eye candy points. So what did the Germans do to make the 1200 GS such a success? Time to find out, because – to the surprise of the peeps at BMW HQ – I had never ridden this chart-buster.

The GS story started in 1980 with the R 80 G/S. More than 35 years of development and improvement later I have a date with the 2017 BMW R 1200 GS. Compared to the 2016 model, there are no huge changes. A minor Euro4 update of the boxer engine, minimal stylistic modifications, some new electronics. The biggest news: there are two versions of the GS. The Exclusive version for those who fancy a classy appearance, the Rallye version for those with off-road dreams. I rode the Rallye for a week.

A beast with an image (problem)

The BMW R 1200 GS Rallye stands out with its blue paint job. If you ask me it’s one of the best-looking color schemes in 1200 GS history. Lupin blue metallic it’s called. The Rallye version underlines the off-road character of this GS with cross-spoke wheels, large Adventure footpegs without rubber inserts, a flat Rallye seat, a stainless steel radiator guard, a low windshield and no centerstand. Just add a decent set of allroad tires, a skid plate and engine protection bars and you’re good to go on that all-road adventure.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get BMW’s permission to test the GS off-road. Too bad. On the other hand: only a minority of all GS’s sold will ever leave the paved roads. So chances are that if you read this you’ll never even plan to ride off-road.

My first motorcycle was a BMW F 650 GS and when I just started riding that motorbike, I couldn’t imagine ever riding a 1200 GS. Such a big and heavy looking bike. How can you master such a behemoth? Who would even consider riding that thing off-road?! And then there’s Continue reading