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BMW R1200GS Press Release




The Creator of the Touring Enduro Genre Sets New Standards

Please find following a short summary of the key features of the new BMW R1200GS:


New dimensions in dynamics, agility, riding pleasure and safety.


Excellent off-road qualities, plus on-road features, enhanced to an even higher level.


A reduction of 30kg (66 lbs) in weight has been achieved by incorporating intelligent lightweight construction and the use of high-strength materials.


A new 1200cc flat-twin power unit, with balance shaft, delivers supreme smoothness.


Torque and output are increased by almost 18 per cent.


Fuel consumption has been reduced by eight per cent.



Highly advanced, newly developed engine electronics and the latest emission technology provide optimum environmental compatibility.


A quieter exhaust system but with a more throaty sound.


A new, six-speed gearbox with superior operation, excellent running smoothness and easier gear shifting.


A newly developed lightweight Paralever with weight-optimised driveshaft.


A new and lighter Telelever for even greater precision in front wheel guidance.


Extra-rigid running gear for supreme riding safety, outstanding directional stability (up to top speed), superior handling and unprecedented line-following through bends.


Ultra-strong, cast light-alloy wheels (cross-spoke versions are available as an option).


The latest electronic development ensures fewer cables and less weight.


Electronic immobiliser fitted as standard.


Comprehensive after-sales backup features a wide range of equipment and tailor-made accessories are all to BMW's traditional high standard.


More agility, power and reduced weight provide maximum riding pleasure on and off the road

The new BMW R1200GS fulfils the original dream of the perfect touring enduro - superior in every respect - delivering outstanding performance and excellent comfort even during the longest tour. The superior handling and agility also provide maximum riding pleasure on back roads, mountain passes and winding country roads. With its new dry weight of 199kg the BMW R1200GS is unique in its class and capable of tackling even the toughest rides on the roughest terrain.

The R1200GS offers remarkable harmony in its combination of off-road and on-road riding qualities. With its predecessor, the R1150GS uniquely successful for so many years and having set the standards for the genre, the R1200GS will take its rider onto a new dimension - continuing the outstanding tradition of the previous model but to an even higher level.

The R1200GS maintains all the traditional features and fortes characteristic of BMW motorcycles: first class and extra-safe riding situations ensured by more stable running gear; unique front wheel Telelever; and the newly designed, weight reduced and geometry-optimised rear Paralever.

High-performance brakes of the highest calibre together with BMW's unique Motorcycle Integral ABS guarantee supreme safety even in a critical situation. Superior environmental compatibility is ensured by a fully controlled three-way catalytic converter with the most advanced emission management technology - a feature on all BMW motorcycles for years.

Equipped with dual ignition, new Digital Motor Electronics (featuring integrated knock control) and improved catalytic converters with separate oxygen sensors for each cylinder, the R1200GS advances BMW's class leadership in the large volume touring enduro segment to an even higher standard than before.

A traditional feature, often taken for granted, is the maintenance-free driveshaft, which is vital in helping to avoid the need for unpleasant and time-consuming servicing - particularly on long trips. The sophisticated new luggage system and a wide range of accessories - available straight from the factory and tailored to the R1200GS - also prove that the new GS is continuing in the tradition of large-capacity BMW touring enduros. These origins now stretch back almost 25 years to BMW's first, revolutionary enduro, the R80 G/S, which was launched in 1980.

A new engine - even more powerful, comfortable, and cleaner

In its design principle and fundamental structure, the newly developed flat-twin power unit of the R1200GS follows the same standards as BMW's former, proven engine. The new power unit is a completely new development with fully revised and improved components. Optimisation of engine geometry and the application of the most advanced simulation methods serve to reduce the weight of the engine by 3kg, or eight per cent, despite the larger capacity and wider range of functions. Engine width remains the same.

To date, this is the biggest engine ever seen in an enduro. The increase in cubic capacity to 1,200 cc provides the foundation for the greater output of 100 bhp and muscular torque throughout a wider than ever speed range. The result is superior power useability under all conditions and in all situations - clearly a great advantage on difficult off-road terrain - with power and torque constantly available regardless of engine speed, gear selection, or the conditions facing the rider.

Crankdrive and engine block - 1,200 cc and a balance shaft to eliminate vibrations

The most important innovation featured on the basic engine block is the balance shaft, which is designed to eliminate unpleasant vibrations. Despite a superior design principle - opposing cylinders provide "perfect" balance of free mass forces (connecting rods and pistons moving to and fro) - conventional flat-twin engines cannot run entirely without vibrations. The inevitable displacement of the cylinders always generates "circulating" mass forces (forces not acting on the same level) causing unpleasant vibration, which the rider feels through the handlebar, footrests and seat. The severity of such mass forces, and the vibrations caused in this way, increases as a function of engine size and, in particular, engine speed.

This is why the engine of the R1200GS is the first power unit in the history of the Boxer engine to feature a balance shaft: Running in the opposite direction, the shaft carries two balance weights 180 degrees apart and exactly spaced to provide a counter-force which, superimposed on the mass forces in the crankshaft, reduce vibrations to an absolute minimum. This keeps running conditions smooth and comfortable through the entire engine speed range, vibrations are dampened at low engine speeds (in particular) without the flat-twin losing its bullish character.

The balance shaft itself is arranged exactly where it should be, saving space through its intelligent and elegant concept: Running on anti-friction bearings, the shaft is positioned within the countershaft and is driven by a spur gear from the crankshaft (1:1 transmission ratio). The rear balance weight is outside the oil cavity and bolted onto the shaft - extending completely from one end to the other. The front balance weight, in turn, is integrated in the drive sprocket.

As with the former engine, the countershaft serves to drive the oil pumps and carries the sprockets driving the camshaft. The transmission ratio of the countershaft versus the crankshaft is therefore 2:1, the countershaft itself being driven by a roller chain.

The crankshaft is also a new design - it is now even more compact in the interest of extra stiffness and the cranks themselves are even closer together (a modification made possible, inter alia, by the narrower counterweights). Despite the increase in lift from 70.5mm or 2.78 in to 73mm or 2.8 in, this change in design helps to reduce weight by 1kg or approximately nine per cent. To give the crankdrive the balance effect required, some of the counter-masses have been moved to the flywheel and the drive gear on the balance shaft.

As before, the flywheel holds the single-plate dry clutch enlarged in diameter from 165 to 180 millimetres (6.50-7.09in). The clutch lining is free of asbestos and heavy metals; the pressure plate, membrane spring and gear plate are balanced individually to allow easy and convenient assembly of these components without any negative effects on running smoothness.

The structure of the pistons has been only slightly modified versus the previous engine, the new power unit featuring lightweight box-type pistons with three rings which, weighing just 410 grams, are once again lighter than the former pistons (420 grams).

The crankcase is a lot lighter than before. Use of the most advanced computer methods together with innovative casting technology serving to optimise wall thickness as well as the stiffness and strength of the crankcase, has resulted in a weight saving of 1.4kg.

Well-conceived and effective solutions are also to be found in - seemingly insignificant - details such as the crank cavity air purge: To minimise undesirable pressure pulses within the cavity, with air pressure going up and down as a result of piston motion, a valve complete with membrane openings fitted here opens and closes the air purge outlet automatically as a function of pressure conditions in the crank cavity and at the same time provides a large air purge cross-section whenever required. This serves to reduce pressure fluctuations and air flow in the crankcase to a minimum, with an advantageous effect on engine output, internal efficiency (reduction of ventilation loss), oil foaming, and oil consumption - particularly at high speeds.

Modified cylinder heads

Maintaining a basic design and configuration, the cylinder heads have also been modified. From the outside they are recognisable by their different contours with striking cornered valve covers.

The principle of chain-driven camshafts below the valve plane and the operation of valves by means of tappets and rocker arms has been maintained. Quite simply, this design concept has proven its qualities countless times - and although it is not necessarily designed and laid out for high speeds, the concept has confirmed its qualities and reliability even under tough racing conditions in the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup. The big advantages of arranging the camshafts in this way are the economic use of space available (width of the cylinder head) and the ease of maintenance so important both in everyday use and on long journeys (adjustment of valve clearance).

Valve diameter has increased by 2mm (0.79in): intake 36.35mm (1.43in), and outlet 31mm (1.22in) versus the former model's 34mm and 29mm respectively. To ensure better and more efficient dissipation of heat, the outlet valves are filled with sodium. Valve duct design has been modified to match the larger valve diameters and the duct contours have been improved for dynamic flow conditions. In conjunction with the increase in engine capacity, these modifications contribute to an 18 per cent increase in engine output to 74kW (100 bhp) and torque to 115Nm (85 lb-ft). The final result is that the weight of the cylinder heads has been reduced by 15 percent.

Internal oil cooling of the cylinder heads - already featured on the former engine - has been adjusted to the higher level of output and torque by improving flow conditions and avoiding any kind of throttle effect. Oil cooling improves the dissipation of heat from the valve rim and ensures a more consistent distribution of temperature within the cylinder head. All this contributes to the engine's robust thermal stability and helps to ensure the high standard of reliability so typical of a BMW.

New engine management featuring two oxygen sensors, modified dual ignition and knock control

The new R1200GS increases the lead BMW Motorrad has in the area of electronic engine management. The Digital Motor Electronics, codenamed BMS-K (BMW Engine Management System), is an in-house development tailored specifically to the requirements of a motorcycle. Specific features include fully sequential fuel injection, integrated knock control, faster processing of complex sensor signals by means of the most advanced microelectronics, compact layout and low weight.

The principle of indirect air volume monitoring and control by means of the throttle butterfly angle and engine speed (alpha-n control), carried over from BMW's existing motorcycles, has been further enhanced on the R1200GS, creating a concept referred to as torque-based engine management.

The basic parameters that determine the optimum engine operation point are still engine speed and throttle butterfly angle (monitored by a separate potentiometer on each cylinder). Applying additional engine and ambient parameters (such as engine temperature, air temperature, and air pressure), engine management, together with control maps and correction functions (contained within the system) tailor the injection volume and ignition timing exactly to engine's current requirements. Taking many factors into account, the system is able to control torque with supreme accuracy, adjusting engine operating conditions perfectly in all relevant parameters.

Fuel is injected into the intake duct exactly as required and exactly on time for the intake cycle of the respective cylinder (fully sequential fuel injection). With one oxygen sensor being allocated to each cylinder, fuel/air composition is controlled individually in each cylinder according to current requirements. Both oxygen sensors are arranged close to the engine in the respective exhaust manifold, thus ensuring individual and even more precise emission management. Whenever necessary, the fuel/air mixture can be adjusted much faster than before and with individual control and adjustment of each cylinder.

The positive results of this process are exemplary emission management, greater fuel economy, improved riding conditions, and an even finer response to the rider's commands.

BMS-K also incorporates all the functions of automatic idle-speed control as well as cold start enrichment with warm-up control. An appropriate increase in idle speed while warming up is ensured automatically and exactly by so-called "idle-speed steppers" (controlled bypass ducts for additional air) integrated in the throttle butterfly manifolds, together with a corresponding adjustment of the fuel injected.

Featured in all BMW Boxers since 2003 (with the exception of the 850cc power units), dual ignition has been further modified and improved on the R1200GS. The auxiliary spark plug is now arranged at the outer edge of the cylinder, the ignition timing of both plugs being freely programmable as a function of load and engine speed in order to further optimise running smoothness, emission management, and fuel economy. Referred to as "phase shift", this adjustment process is maintained consistently all the way from part load to full load.

In practice, this means different ignition timing points on both spark plugs in defined control map areas. When approaching full load, where dual ignition no longer provides any benefits, the phase shift effect is so large that the spark crosses over on the auxiliary plug in the expansion cycle (60 degrees at TDC). For all practical purposes this corresponds to single ignition on the central spark plug under full load.

The BMW R1200GS introduces a new system of knock control, never before used in a motorcycle engine. Knock combustion is recognised by a solid-body sound sensor matched specifically to the cylinders. Receiving appropriate signals, the electronic engine management will recover the ignition angle (i.e., it retards the angle) and protect the engine from possible damage. Engine temperatures are also taken into account in evaluating the signals and help to supplement the safety function.

Benefitting from knock control, the geometric combustion ratio on the engine has been increased to 11:1, certainly a remarkable figure for an air/oil-cooled engine with cylinders of this size. Fuel consumption also benefits - the R1200GS being almost eight per cent more fuel efficient than its predecessor in the EU2 test cycle.

Designed for unleaded fuel (RON 95) the engine, thanks to knock control, can also run on lesser fuel qualities (RON 91) sometimes found in other countries, without requiring any kind of manual intervention or adjustment. Within available limits, knock control adjusts the ignition angle automatically to the fuel on which the engine is running.

Interacting with a wide range of sensors, knock control adjusts to even the most extreme conditions and requirements, for example with the engine having to withstand extremely high temperatures and thermal exposure in desert areas. To provide this reliability, the electronic engine management adjusts engine operating parameters to ensure supreme reliability under all conceivable operating conditions.

Intake manifold - larger volume for an optimum cylinder charge

Numerous examinations of the entire cylinder charge process, taking the intake manifold into account, were required in order to achieve an optimum charge cycle over a wide range of engine speeds. By increasing the capacity of the airbox to almost 9 litres, BMW engineers extracted the maximum from the geometric conditions dictated by the machine (and the specific position of the manifold) and by taking all ergonomic requirements into account.

To filter the intake air, the R1200GS uses the paper filter system already effective on the R1150GS. In designing and configuring the shape of the intake funnel, the engineers succeeded in creating a perfect harmony of flow conditions and acoustic requirements (level of intake noise).

Exhaust system - sound engineering for low noise and flat-twin rumble

The exhaust system comprises of two manifolds, a pre-silencer with catalytic converter, and a tailpipe muffler. The entire system as far as the pre-silencer, fitted beneath the gearbox, is a twin-chamber configuration made of stainless steel. Weighing exactly 10.7kg or 23.6 lbs overall, the emission system is approximately 33 per cent lighter than on the former model.

Flowing through the two single manifolds, exhaust gases merge in a Y-shaped unit combining the two flow processes before continuing straight into the pre-silencer that houses the central catalytic converter. An interference tube close to the engine (between the two manifolds) provides an appropriate balance of pressure and helps boost engine torque at low and medium speeds. With cell density of 200 cell units/square inch, the metal-based catalytic converter comes with a rhodium/palladium coating combining high temperature resistance with a long service life.

By introducing a new tailpipe muffler, BMW Motorrad has succeeded in creating an ideal mix of smooth torque, low noise and pleasant sound. The interior structure of the muffler is based on the reflection principle - an inner sleeve with absorption material serving additionally to dampen high frequencies.

The muffler is oval in shape, not only for aesthetic reasons but to minimise the transmission of noise for even smoother and more pleasant riding conditions. A further special feature is the pressure-controlled valve integrated in the muffler which controls exhaust gas counter-pressure for an additional reduction of noise under the engine's primary running conditions at medium to low engine speeds. This keeps engine noise at a lower level, but at the same time allows the rider to hear that famous flat-twin rumble that everyone appreciates so much.

Alternator and starter are lighter than before

Apart from the engine's mechanical components, the electrical ancillary units also help to keep weight to a minimum. The R1200GS features a newly developed, lightweight alternator with a maximum power of 600W. The layshaft starter has also been optimised for lower weight and - just like the battery - is absolutely free of maintenance requirements. In all, the total weight saving on the electronic components is 2.2kg or 4.9 lbs - a 17 per cent improvement.

New six-speed manual gearbox with helical gears

The R1200GS retains the proven principle of separating the gearbox from the engine. The six-speed manual gearbox is a newly developed unit with features significantly improved over the previous version. Weight has been reduced to approximately 13kg or 28.7 lbs and for the first time BMW is using high-strength helical gears with smoother and more gentle gear selection thereby ensuring low noise and a high standard of refinement.

All gear increments are designed for active riding, meaning that sixth gear is not an overdrive or economy gear, but has an appropriate "short" transmission ratio.

The gear shafts run on anti-friction ball bearings and the gears in low-friction needle bearings. The ball bearings come in clean bearing mounts to keep out even the finest particles. This allows longer maintenance intervals and reduces servicing costs - only one gearbox oil change is required every 40,000km or 25,000 miles.

The gears are shifted by means of a shift roller, shift forks and shift sleeves (as opposed to shift gears used in the past) to ensure smooth positive engagement of the gears. Made from aluminium, the hollow shift roller runs on ball bearings. Detailed improvements to optimise friction on the shift box, the shift shaft and forks improves gearshift operation and guarantees accurate, safe engagement on all gears.

Lightweight driveshaft and Paralever swinging arm - an innovative variation on a traditional principle

An indispensable feature of the new R1200GS (as on all BMW Boxers) is the maintenance-free driveshaft extending to the rear wheel. Having proven its merits for more than 80 years, this is the only logical drive concept with the crankshaft in longitudinal arrangement. In practice, this concept means supreme customer benefits - considering that chain drive, despite many improvements over the years, is not appropriate.

Over the years, BMW has consistently improved the driveshaft principle, meeting new requirements and demands in the process. The biggest innovation came in 1988 with the introduction of the Paralever swinging arm on the most powerful enduro at the time, the BMW R100GS. Using an additional pivot between the final drive and the swinging arm, BMW's engineers were able to disconnect the unavoidable reaction of the driveshaft from the swinging arm, thus eliminating the often-criticised torque reaction effect, where the rear end moved up and down when accelerating or braking.

A further advantage provided by the Paralever is that the springs do not harden when accelerating flat-out, providing a significant improvement in traction - an important feature when riding up steep gradients on rough terrain.

Considering the significant benefits of a driveshaft, the higher weight and increase in unsprung masses are immaterial (versus chain drive).

While in the process of developing the R1200GS, BMW's engineers were not satisfied until even this feature (more noticeable when an enduro is used off-road) had ultimately been properly improved. Accordingly, the entire transmission system of the new R1200GS has been redesigned - right through to the rear wheel. The result is a drivetrain that, together with the much stiffer Paralever swinging arm, reduces weight by approximately 10 per cent. Unsprung masses are lower and provide an even more sensitive response on the rear wheel suspension that is already acknowledged for it superior qualities.

The main components of this new system are the axle drive and the swinging arm itself. Made of an ultra-strong cast aluminium alloy, the Paralever swinging arm (through its design and specific dimensions tailored to load conditions) is even lighter than before but also stiffer and stronger.

The geometric configuration of the entire swinging arm has likewise been modified, and dive compensation is now almost 100 per cent. With forces acting on the final drive housing supported above the swinging arm, ground clearance at this point is greater than before, efficiently protecting the swinging arm (even on rough terrain) against damage caused by rocks and similar objects.

The swinging arm is a two-piece forged aluminium unit. Another new feature is the re-configuration of the swinging arm mount, which has been moved from the final drive to the rear frame - again in the interest of extra strength and robustness under the most extreme off-road conditions.

The pivot point of the axle drive unit resting in the swinging arm has been moved down to provide a more favourable geometric arrangement which also incorporates greater stiffness. The bearing point, in turn, has been reinforced to match the higher load and forces from the more powerful engine.

With its improved kinematics, the driveshaft no longer changes in length as a result of geometric conditions. This also helps to save weight, since the length adjustment unit formerly fitted is no longer required. The shaft itself now comes as one single piece and - like before - runs without oil in the shaft sleeve.

The final drive housing is matched in size and dimensions precisely to the inner contours of the angle transmission, avoiding even the slightest waste of space.

The crown wheel has been re-calculated and is also lighter than before; the wheel flange is now made of aluminium in order to save weight. With its larger diameter, the flange offers the wheel better support, with additional weight-saving for the rear wheel (around the hub).

The outer sign of distinction and a visual highlight of this extremely compact and elegant lightweight structure is the 50-mm hole drilled through the axle pipe of the final drive housing. The final drive itself comes with lifetime oil filling and this means that there is no need to change the final drive fluid throughout the entire life of the motorcycle.

In re-configuring the design principles of the entire machine, assembly of the final drive has been simplified and further refinements introduced. The hollow axle sleeve helps dissipate heat from the final drive because of its greater surface area and efficient flow effects. Signals for the ABS brake system and the speedometer are read by a sensor directly in front of segment pieces on the crown wheel - making the outer emitter wheel, used on the former model, superfluous.

The increase in diameter of the drill holes on the wheel flange mean that five light wheel bolts, measuring 10 mm in diameter and with longer expansion length, are used instead of the former relatively heavy wheel bolts with a cone. This means even greater safety when bolting on the wheels and allows use of a smaller wheel bolt wrench (less weight in the toolkit).

New running gear - stiff, higher strength steel tube frame

The R1200GS retains the basic configuration of all Boxer suspension concepts - the engine/transmission unit serves as a load-bearing element and the wheel guidance components are bolted onto the frame. The Telelever longitudinal arm pivots on the engine housing, as before. The actual frame of the R1200GS employs the front subframe, which supports the Telelever at the top, and the rear frame with integrated swinging arm mount.

The engine/gearbox unit is bolted to the rear frame at four points and onto the front frame at two points. This composite structure, incorporating the drive unit, forms the motorcycle's load-bearing framework.

The two frame elements of the R1200GS are lightweight structures in what is called "truss" design: The front frame is a triangular structure made of high-strength steel tubes welded together. It offers the great advantage of highly robust support on off-road terrain, plus package benefits and greater stiffness over the previous cast aluminium front frame. Weight is unchanged.

The rear subframe is also made of straight steel tubes welded together, creating an overall low weight configuration of maximum stiffness and strength. New features are the special mounts for the side-stand and main stand and the rider's footrests, which are connected directly to the rear subframe. The side-stand folds easily and conveniently even when the rider is sitting on the machine.

Refined Telelever ensures even greater rigidity

To date, no other system of front wheel guidance and support is able to match the functions and qualities of the BMW Telelever (introduced in 1993 on the four-valve Boxers). The revolutionary principle of the Telelever using a wishbone to relieve the telescopic arm of longitudinal and lateral forces ensures unprecedented, highly sensitive front-wheel response on all road surfaces, and a tracking stability never before seen. The big advantages of this design concept are supreme riding precision and accurate response, combined with excellent suspension comfort and anti-dive control.

Refinement and modification of the front wheel geometry has further improved the qualities of the Telelever on the R1200GS. The longitudinal arm is a new, extra-strong and light forged aluminium component. In the interest of superior handling, front wheel camber has been reduced by 5mm (0.20in to 110mm (4.33in), the steering head angle remains at 62.9 degrees in standard position. A change in front wheel kinematics eliminates brake dive to an insignificant residual effect and is designed to give the rider more detectable feedback. The superior stiffness of the Telelever has been further enhanced by increasing the diameter of the support tube from 35mm (1.38in´) to 41mm (1.61in´) and further contributes to the crisp and clear riding characteristics of the R1200GS.

An important detail is the holes drilled into the lower fork bridge. These efficiently distribute brake pressure to the steel flex, brake hoses, for the right and left brake callipers, without the need for an additional distributor unit.

Featuring fully encapsulated ball joints, with permanent lubrication and lifetime oil filling, the entire Telelever is completely maintenance-free.

Suspension with adjustable spring base and TDD spring strut at the rear

To optimise riding qualities when off the beaten track, the spring base of the front gas-pressure spring strut is mechanically adjustable to nine different positions in order to provide extra reserves under the toughest off-road conditions. Spring travel at the front is 190mm (7.48in) with a 68 mm (2.68in) to 122mm (4.80in) ratio in the basic setting between the outward and rebound mode.

Real-wheel suspension incorporates a high-tech, gas-pressure spring strut with travel-related damping (TDD) and infinite hydraulic adjustment of the spring base by means of a hand-wheel. The damping effect in the outward mode is manually adjustable.

The travel-related damping principle was introduced by BMW Motorrad for the first time in 2002 on the R1150GS Adventure, providing a progressive damping effect as a function of spring travel. The machine therefore responds smoothly and comfortably to even the smallest bumps on the road. Nevertheless, it offers adequate potential for rough terrain with hard jolts and deep surface holes.

Spring travel at the rear is 200mm (7.87in) with positive (inward stroke) versus negative (rebound). This is an increase on the basic setting, over the former model, to a new ratio of 135mm (5.31in´) to 65mm (2.56in´).

Wheels and tyres - a free choice of cast or cross-spoke wheels

The lucky owner of a new R1200GS has the choice of either high-strength light-alloy cast wheels or BMW's well-known cross-spoke wheels. These measure 2.50x19in at the front and 4.00x17in at the rear and run on 110/80-19in and 150/70-17in tyres repectively.

Developed especially for the R1200GS, the light-alloy cast wheels with five double spokes are stable and light. And while, at 0.1kg, the reduction in weight at the front (versus the spoked wheel) is virtually negligible, weight reduction at the rear is a significant 1.6kg, down by 12 percent.

The big advantage of cast wheels is that they retain excellent running smoothness and circular geometry throughout a long running life and are easier to clean. This means they are particularly suitable when riding on roads and untarred tracks.

However, because of their special design and configuration, the cast wheels on the R1200GS, are also suited to moderate off-road conditions. Gravel tracks, nature trails and the usual off-road tracks found all over the world do not pose a problem to cast wheels as long as the rider maintains a moderate style of riding and observes the elementary rules. In practice, cast wheels reach their limit only when exposed to very substantial loads over a long period - for example, on extreme tracks, at high off-road speeds, and when jumping on rough terrain and experiencing violent bumps and jolts.

An ambitious off-road rider riding a R1200GS, mainly off the beaten track and mastering rough terrain at high speed should opt for BMW's proven cross-spoke wheels. These are also a good alternative for the rider not keen on enduros equipped with cast wheels. As before, the particular arrangement of the cross spokes allow the use of tubeless tyres. The spokes can be also be individually replaced.

Brakes - high-performance EVO brake and Integral ABS

The R1200GS is fitted with BMW's well-known EVO brake system, which allows maximum stopping power with minimal pressure on most BMW machines. Brake disc diameter is 305mm (12in) at the front and 265mm (10.43in) at the rear.

The R1200GS comes as standard with BMW Integral ABS, which has already been well proven on the former model. Complete with on-demand deactivation when riding off-road, Intregral ABS also features a semi-integral function where the hand lever activates both brakes on the front and rear wheels. In conventional mode, the footbrake lever acts only on the rear wheel brake allowing precise application of the rear brake (only) under specific conditions such as tight bends and rough terrain.

The steel-clad brake lines not only look good but offer a slight decrease in weight while ensuring an even more stable pressure point.

Innovations in the on-board network - the BMW Motorcycle Single-Wire System (SWS)

Another special feature of the R1200GS is the new on-board electrical system. The term Single-Wire System describes a highly innovative on-board network using electronics and CAN-bus technology (Controller Area Network) to offer functions and features never before seen. Reducing the number and length of cables required, this network offers a much wider range of functions than a conventional on-board network, information being transmitted along just one single path (hence "single-wire") as opposed to the double-wire system otherwise required.

Apart from a wide range of functions, the main advantages of this intelligent combination of electrics and electronics are lighter wiring harnesses, substantial resistance to interference, and a complete range of diagnostic functions. A further point is that the system may be flexibly expanded by simple updates.

The basic principle of the Single-Wire System is to connect all control units, sensors, and power-consuming items via one single, common wire in order to form a complete network transmitting all signals regardless of their subsequent function. In other words, all information is readily available at all times for all the components.

Signals are assigned and transmitted to the respective power-consuming item at junction points in the electronic system of each control unit. Here the signals, or data, are processed and then used to activate the functions desired in the respective component. This eliminates the need for elaborate cabling (required for each function operating through a separate wire) thus reducing potential effects and errors in a conventional on-board network using a large number of cables. This is an important factor in contributing to a system's high standard of reliability.

All control units are connected to one another and are able to communicate directly and exchange data in a bi-directional mode. This allows simple and comprehensive diagnosis of the entire system from one central point - the electronics incorporate suitable programs in order to filter out unimportant data and interference signals within a defined tolerance. It therefore makes the system less sensitive to electromagnetic disturbance.

In all, the new R1200GS comes in standard trim with three control units (the cluster instrument represents a control unit in its own right). The control unit for the Digital Motor Electronics (BMS-K) is not only responsible for the engine management (already described) but also transmits all data to the central diagnostic system. Central Suspension Electronics (CSE) serves to mastermind the electrical units and functions not specific to the engine.

And if the motorcycle is fitted with Integral ABS and an anti-theft warning system (as an option) the control units are also integrated in the network.

There is no need for conventional fuses at any point throughout the on-board network, the electronic processor simply switches off the function involved in the event of a short-circuit or malfunction. Subsequent diagnosis will quickly trace and remedy the defect. Since other functions are not affected, the network philosophy featured on the R1200GS therefore offers further advantages in reliability and failsafe operation.

The control units also provide relay functions, only the starter being controlled via a conventional relay.

The electrical system on the R1200GS is supplied with power by a low-weight alternator developing 600W at 40 amps. The maintenance-free battery has a capacity of 14Ah.

After 20 years experience in electronic engine management and 15 years experience with ABS technology, by introducing this new on-board network, BMW Motorrad has taken its next innovative step into a successful future.

Electronic immobiliser for optimum security

To ensure optimum security at all times, the R1200GS is equipped with an electronic immobiliser as standard. Controlled by a transponder in the ignition key, the immobiliser offers the best in anti-theft security and maintains the high standard found in BMW cars.

As soon as the rider inserts the key and switches on the ignition, a chip within the key communicates with the electronic immobiliser integrated in the Digital Motor Electronics via a ring aerial in the ignition lock. This allows the systems to exchange and compare coded chip data and the electronic immobiliser data. After confirming that the data and signals comply with one another, the engine control unit will release the ignition and fuel injection, allowing the rider to start the engine. This technology is the best and safest immobiliser system currently available worldwide.

New instrument cluster in digital technology

The new on-board electronic system featured on the R1200GS allows the introduction of a high-tech, extra-light instrument cluster - based completely on digital technology. Incorporating the speedometer, rev counter and the Info Flatscreen Display, the instrument cluster replaces the former Rider Information Display, providing permanent information on oil temperature, fuel level, the remaining range of fuel in the tank, the time of day, and the gear currently engaged.

Both overall and trip mileage are presented on demand, and any interference or defects are shown on the screen as a printed message. The entire instrument unit is automatically illuminated as soon as the weather gets dark, with precise control by a photoelectric cell.

Electric switches

Electrical switches and controls are also new. While the basic arrangement of the switches and BMW's logic for operation of the direction indicators have both been retained, the switches are now even easier to use and reach, and are clearer with a more distinctive design.

Body and design - superior function combined with clear, distinctive shapes

Numerous motorcycle components are important to function and looks, much more so than on a car. The fuel tank, for example, is not just a container of fuel, but a highly significant design feature crucial through its shape to the rider's seating position and the overall look of the motorcycle.

The same applies to the front fairing and windscreen, which not only protect the rider, but also - in conjunction with the headlight - gives the entire motorcycle its special "face". This characterises the look of the machine and its front, side area.

In BMW motorcycle language, the fairing components, the fuel tank, as well as other function and control elements, are jointly referred to as the "body" of the motorcycle.

In its overall design and look, the R1200GS stands for dynamism, agility and lightness combined with the robustness typical of an off-roader. Clearly structured and contoured surfaces interact to provide clear and harmonious lines and create a feeling of tension and excitement. Various surfaces finished in plastic, paint and aluminium are assigned to specific functions, combining elegance and value with the ruggedness rightly expected of an enduro.

All visible technical components are included in the design of the machine, the delicate structure and light character of the rear subframe being enhanced and accentuated by silver paintwork. The slightly curved, oval form of the Paralever swinging arm combines superior stiffness with a slender and dynamic look.

The colour scheme - aesthetic, individual and full of style

The colour scheme offers a perfect blend of diversity and aesthetic style, setting unique accents in the process. The owner is able to freely combine the colour of the paintwork with that of the seat and side covers - aficionados obviously have a wide range of choice.

The three basic colours are Ocean Blue metallic, Rock Red and Desert Yellow non-metallic. Two seat colours (Light Grey and Black) as well as two different colours on the tank side cover (Granite Grey and Black) provide a total of 12 different combinations, each giving the motorcycle its own particular character.

Front fairing with adjustable windscreen

Because of their functions the components on a motorcycle obviously vary in design. Seen from the front, the fairing, for example, is a typically striking and distinctive sign of character and gives the GS its particular identity. At the same time the component serves as the air guide for the oil cooler.

The new BMW R1200GS provides a modern version of the design features boasted by the former model, especially in the headlight area. Indeed, the all-new, asymmetric dual headlight unit with the low and high beams varying in diameter gives the GS its characteristic "face". At the same time the reflectors in free-form technology, as well as the clear glass cover, make it quite obvious that the entire headlight unit is new. The oval design of the reflectors is not only up-to-date but also enhances illumination of the road thanks to large light outlets.

The windshield adjusts to five different angles without requiring tools, offering riders of different size optimum protection from wind and weather. The two plastic side covers to the right and left of the tank come off easily by means of rapid catches.

Plastic tank with side covers

The 20-litre fuel tank on the R1200GS is made of special, extra-light and impact-proof plastic. Two side covers made of thin aluminium and a painted top cover give the tank its special shape and look. Appropriately slender towards the rear, the tank offers good knee and leg support when riding off-road or whenever the rider is standing upright on the footrests.

The seat - ergonomic design and greater variability of seat height

Maintaining BMW's usual standard, the new two-piece double seat offers the rider and passenger comfortable and ample space. The seat is not only available in two colours, Grey and Black, but also adjusts to two different heights for the rider - 840mm and 860mm (33.1in and 33.8in´) respectively. With a higher +30mm (1.18in) seat and lower -30mm seat available as special equipment, the customer is able to choose from four different seat heights ranging from 810mm (31.9´in) to 890mm (35´´), thus benefitting from unprecedented variability and freedom of choice.

In determining the ideal seat height and contour on the R1200GS, BMW's engineers and designers have applied a new dimensional criterion: the rider's step length. Forming the entire distance between two resting points of the rider's feet (measured across the inner length of the legs) this criterion considers, not only the absolute geometric height of the rider's seat, but also its shape and width throughout the relevant area at the front. Even where geometric seat height is the same as on the former model at 840mm (33.1in) and 860mm (33.8in) respectively, this new seat design significantly improves the rider's ground contact while keeping the knee bending angle (when riding) within comfortable limits.

Luggage rack and removable passenger seat - carefully conceived stowage options even for bulky luggage

Made of stable but light plastic, the luggage rack on the R1200GS is a new design and offers adequate storage space for additional luggage. This is easy to fasten and transport safely thanks to the incorporated lashing points. A further option is to fit a top box. The plastic cover beneath the removable passenger seat serves as a flat loading area at the same level as the top edges of the top box. It is functional and practical all in one. Even after fitting the cases available as special equipment, the rider has lots of space for additional baggage. Once again, integrated lashing points are used for optimum security.

Ergonomic handlebar and hand grip design

Made of thin-walled steel tubes, the strong and stylish handlebar easily copes with the heaviest loads and is tapered at each end. Weighing only slightly more than an aluminium handlebar, a steel unit is much less prone to damage should the machine fall on its side (for example, on off-road terrain) and allows emergency repairs. A further advantage of the steel handlebar is the lower thermal conductivity of steel, which retains heat when the machine is fitted with heated grips (available as an option).

The hand levers for operating the clutch and brakes have been optimised for perfect ergonomics and are adjustable. At the same time the diameter of the handles has been reduced to provide an even better grip.

Optional extras and special equipment - cases variable in size and a wide range of customisation features

A complete systems supplier by tradition, BMW Motorrad has developed a wide range of customised extras and special equipment for the new R1200GS. Optional extras are fitted directly at the Berlin factory during the production process. Special equipment is fitted by the BMW motorcycle dealership.

Optional extras:


Cross-spoke wheels.


Heated grips.


Anti-theft warning system.

Special equipment:


Higher seat for riders (+30mm/1.18in) versus standard seat - adjustable (max seat height 890mm/35.0in).


Lower seat for riders (-30mm/1.18in) versus standard seat - adjustable (lowest seat height 810mm/31.9in).


Case supports.


Cases variable in size by single-lever control.


Mounting plate for top box.


Top box.


Inner bags for cases/topcase.


Watertight tank bag.


Hand protectors.


Small cylinder protection hoops.


Large cylinder protection hoops.


Anti-theft warning system (also available as an optional extra).


Additional power socket.


BMW Motorcycle Navigator II.

The cases and the top box are a new development. A unique feature is the sophisticated, single-lever control function for adjusting the capacity of the cases easily and conveniently: Both the cases and the top box may be varied in size by nine litres, allowing the rider to adjust the luggage system to suit individual space requirements. This also reduces the width of the cases and the height of the top box when taking less luggage.

The left-hand case (the muffler side) offers a maximum capacity of 37.5 litres, the right-hand case holds up to 46 litres. With the top box also offering a capacity of 46 litres, maximum storage capacity totals almost 130 litres.

2. History of the GS Boxer

The starting point in developing the GS in the late Seventies was BMW's support of various teams in off-road events such as the famous Six Days Trial. Indeed, off-road sports activities of this kind have a long tradition of association with BMW, extending all the way back to the Thirties when BMW Boxer motorcycles successfully entered the most challenging off-road events time and again.

The final touch came with BMW's victory in the German Off-road Championship in 1979. Some enthusiasts at BMW Motorrad GmbH, as BMW's Motorcycle Division was officially called at the time, advised management to develop a series machine for homologation based on the experience gained with competition models. Tests with the first prototypes were an immediate success, convincing BMW Motorrad to begin the series development process.

The world's first two-cylinder large enduro entered a market in 1980, which up to that time had consisted exclusively of single-cylinder models. Displacing 800cc and featuring a driveshaft and a single swinging arm, the R80 G/S was a genuine sensation. Indeed, the new machine opened up a brand-new, previously untapped segment - the segment of large capacity, all-round touring enduros.

The R80 G/S quickly became the ideal motorcycle for committed globetrotters. Enthusiasts all over the world soon learned to appreciate the power and performance reserves, the long-distance comfort, and the often surprising off-road qualities of BMW's touring enduro. On-road riding pleasure was ensured by the G/s's relatively high level of power, abundant torque (even at low engine speeds), superior riding stability and excellent handling.

BMW off-road machines participated in the long-distance Paris-Dakar Rally taking team riders all the way to Senegal in West Africa. On its third try in 1981 the Boxer, with its efficient engine cooling, a low centre of gravity and superior ease of maintenance (thanks to its driveshaft) finally made it to the top. French desert specialist Hubert Auriol won the rally's motorcycle category and repeated his success two years later in 1983.

Still based on series models as before, BMW's 1,000-cc twin-cylinder machines also won the title in 1984 and 1985, with former World Motocross Champion Gaston Rahier from Belgium leaving the competition far behind.

Launched in 1988, the R100 GS raised the outstanding qualities of BMW's off-roader to an even higher standard. Indeed, it was the largest enduro in the world at the time. With worldwide sales amounting to 69,000 units, the R80 G/S and R100 GS were huge successes on the global market.

Introduced in 1994, the GS models powered by a four-valve engine (new at the time) have become an even greater success. For example, the R1150GS, introduced in autumn 1999 - and benefitting from the additional support of the R1150GS Adventure since autumn 2002 - was once again the best-selling machine in Germany in 2003. And it almost goes without saying that the R1150GS continued its success in 2003 by once again outselling all other motorcycles on the German market - by far.

Since 1980 BMW Motorrad has sold approximately 170,000 units of the GS Boxer to customers the world over. Like its predecessor, the new R1200GS with its "GS" (Gelände/Straße or off-road/road) designation, offers a wide range of qualities and practical values. Riding the R1200GS on moderate terrain is easy and safe, and the experienced motorcyclist is also able to master very tough off-road conditions. On the road, the GS stands out through its impressive handling ensured by the extremely stable and comfortable suspension system, and large power reserves. This also makes the unique machine ideal for dynamic riding on winding country roads and mountain passes. With its effective windscreen for protection, the R1200GS rider can cover long stretches of motorway without experiencing undue wind pressure.

For practical riding purposes, the R1200GS is vastly impressive as a long-distance road machine.

All GS models since 1980 at a glance

1980 - 1987

R80 G/S
797 cc ohv 37 kW (50 bhp)

1988 - 1990

649 cc ohv 20 kW (27 bhp)


R80 G/S Basic
797 cc ohv 37 kW (50 bhp)

1987 - 1996

980 cc ohv 44 kW (60 bhp)

1987 - 1996

797 cc ohv 37 kW (50 bhp)

1990 - 1995

R100GS Paris-Dakar
980 cc ohv 44 kW (60 bhp)

1993 - 1999

1,085 cc hc 59 kW (80 bhp)

1999 - 2000

848 cc hc 51 kW (70 bhp)
or 25 kW (34 bhp)

1999 - 2003

1,130 cc hc 63 kW (85 bhp)


R1150GS Adventure
1,130 cc hc 63 kW (85 bhp)


1,170 cc hc 74 kW (100 bhp)



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