BMW recently put out the latest edition of its hefty adventure bike, the R1200GS
, now newly decked out in white and graphics inspired by the German builder's own racing branch.
With a black-clad fork and engine, some aluminum accents, and a frame steeped in magma red, the new Rally is also more equipped, featuring a chrome exhaust, cross spoke wheels, heated grips, hand protectors, side bag and pannier holders, an on-board computer and electronic suspension adjustment (ESA).
This Rally model will certainly keep a lot of people happy while they wait for the 1250-cc, liquid-cooled Boxer engine, which should be making its appearance later this fall.
A positive experience
Comfort is key to enjoying really long rides, and, by and large, BMW is ahead of the game on this front. No matter how tall you are, the bike's tool-free adjustable windshield protects you from the wind without causing any side turbulence. Seated on its well-formed and perfectly plush seat, you'll be able to enjoy 300-km sessions without the urge to take a break. Moreover, with its variety of settings (solo, duo, with luggage, sport or comfort), there aren't many bikes, across all segments, that can beat its high-end ESA suspension system.
Although the seat is still a touch high for shorter riders, the Rally still provides ergonomic seating for both riders and passengers, that is, unless you’re unfamiliar with the engine configuration. If so, you might find yourself knocking your shin against the cylinder head and the exhaust, especially when parking.
Runs well, wherever you go
|No matter how tall you are, the bike's tool-free adjustable windshield protects you from the wind without causing any side turbulence. (Photo: France Ouellet)
Currently rigged out with the HP2's double overhead camshafts, the Boxer engine now boasts a lot of character, torque and power – a 5 HP increase over the previous model. Thanks to this most recent development, the flat, bi-cylinder engine is available at any speed, and definitely livelier at higher speeds than its ever been before. Same goes for the transmission, and given these latest improvements, it handles well right from the first run.
A faultless ride
Forever a darling of the international press, handling on this new Rally remains efficient and well-balanced. It's hard to fault the GS on how it does the job, both off-road and on - it's always a pleasant experience, whether you're riding in the city, on the highway, or over winding rural roads.
Quick on the offensive when rolling down an uneven, twisting course, its agility and precision are the stuff that miracles are made of - you'll find yourself riding as hard as you would on a sportsbike, especially when the road gets rougher. Plus, the R1200GS is one of the few machines to provide genuine driving pleasure in bad weather, thanks to its all-terrain capacities and its 50/50 dirt/street tires, which provide impressive grip, even in wet conditions.
Not the most stylish look, but...
|It's always a pleasant experience, whether you're riding in the city, on the highway, or over winding rural roads. (Photo: France Ouellet)
Looks-wise, we have to admit that the current competition has a leg up on the Rally. Maybe this is the reason BMW decided to dress it up in a 'racing' outfit for 2012. However, given its recent improvements, it has proven yet again that it handles better than its closest rivals. Mind you, if you look into the rear-view mirror, you’ll see them gaining ground...
One thing is certain: the R1200GS is one of the few bikes of its kind to inspire instant confidence, which is, after all, what you want the most in an adventure bike.
Recent engine, transmission and suspension developments
Comfort and safety
A somewhat dated look compared to the competition's most recent models