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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Intake manifold - larger volume for an optimum
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
The steel-clad brake lines not only look good but
offer a slight decrease in weight while ensuring an even more stable
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.