Mailing List
Get the latest news by email.

Your email:

New Members

In order to serve you better, select your area code in the drop down list below.

Aller à la version française

2013 BMW R1200GS Preview


by Pascal Bastien ,

The 2013 BMW R1200GS marks a small, but significant, revolution by inaugurating a liquid-cooled engine -- mostly because of the new Euro4 emissions standard.

In less than a decade, BMW Motorrad managed to sell over 170,000 copies of its flagship enduro bike without any major changes -- despite growing competition from sleeker, more powerful rivals. While none of them has proven capable of unseating the German king from its throne, some are getting dangerously close to succeeding. BMW had no other choice but to strike back.

2013 BMW R1200GS

All-new boxer engine
Fact: A liquid-cooled engine, whose operating temperature remains steadier creates fewer emissions than a comparable air-cooled engine. So, in order to improve performance and meet the aforementioned Euro4 standard, large-displacement motorcycles inevitably must shift to liquid cooling. The 2013 BMW R1200GS is no exception, even though it used two horizontally opposed cylinders.

The new engine still relies on a so-called “boxer” configuration and 1,170 cc of cylinder capacity. On the other hand, there are new vertical-flow intake and exhaust manifolds, plus a compact liquid cooling system that cools down specific areas only (air cooling is actually still used in other areas). This exclusive solution comes from BMW Group's F1 development team.

The 2013 BMW R1200GS also features the latest in electronic control devices including a ride-by-wire E-Gas throttle, a semi-active suspension (derived from the S1000RR HP4 superbike), and Automatic Stability Control (ASC) with four different riding modes: Rain, Road, Dynamic Enduro, and Enduro Pro.

Unique configuration
In other news, the transmission is now mounted under the engine, while the slipper clutch moves to the front. This creates a much more compact configuration for optimum mass centralization. What's more, the first gear on the 2013 BMW R1200GS helps reduce torque steer and increase rear tire grip -- a definite edge at lower speeds and off-road.

While output still doesn't match the Italian competition, it's good enough for middle of the pack, next to the Triumph Tiger Explorer and Kawasaki Versys 1000. You'll get 125 hp at 7,700 rpm, and 90 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm (15 hp and 3 lb-ft more than the outgoing model, respectively).

The shaft final drive switches sides, as do the tailpipes. Fear not, die-hard R1200GS fans: BMW engineers promise that the new boxer engine will deliver the same benefits of a low centre of gravity. Meanwhile, the wider tires (120/70-19 front; 170/60-17 rear) are designed for a true mix of dirt and pavement. Finally, a powerful Brembo braking system with monoblock calipers and ABS will ensure confident stops.

More attractive
Styling evolves and makes the 2013 BMW R1200GS look more like a standard sport bike than ever, yet it preserves most of the original essence that enduro bike lovers crave.

When it comes to the chassis, you'll once again find a bolted two-section frame. However, rigidity has been increased around the swingarm, which is now 28-mm longer. Elsewhere, the stanchions of the Telelever front suspension system have shrunken from 41 to 37 mm.

All in all, the new 2013 BMW R1200GS appears to possess the necessary ammo to continue to ward off the most fearsome challengers. An extensive test ride will tell us if it has lost anything in the process, and if it lives up to the legendary off-road performance of its predecessor.

2013 BMW R1200GS side view
Photo: BMW