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BMW Announces R 1200 GS Adventure: The Ultimate Adventure Tourer?

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With nearly 8 gallons in its aluminum tank (that’s right, aluminum), completely restyled bodywork, added wind protection (including, but not limited to a larger windshield), longer suspension travel, and all the electronic rider assistance devices imaginable, the new BMW R 1200 GS Adventure might just be the ultimate adventure touring rig.

Although BMW just recently introduced the new R 1200 GS with its 1170cc, 125 horsepower, water/air cooled engine, BMW has seen fit to substantially revise things in the new Adventure model just announced.  They have even revised the geometry of the chassis to improve handling.  The standard Adventure model features ABS, stability control and two, switchable riding modes (Standard and Rain).  Optional are three additional riding modes that primarily enhance off-road performance (and provide numerous combinations of electronic assistance), as well as semi-active suspension Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment).

We currently do not know details regarding U.S. price or availability, but you can see all of the available details in this PDF file.

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Highlights of the new BMW R 1200 GS Adventure:

  • Based on the same versatile overall concept as the R 1200 GS, with spirited twin-cylinder boxer engine and agile chassis, but with enhanced off-road prowess and globetrotting abilities.
  • Increased flywheel mass in the engine and additional vibration damper for even smoother running and superior rideability.
  • Spring travel 20 millimetres longer at front and rear compared to R 1200 GS.
  • 10 millimetres more ground clearance than predecessor.
  • Modified geometry of trailing arm for even sharper handling.
  • Completely restyled bodywork in distinctly robust and masculine GS Adventure design.
  • 30-litre fuel tank with similar range to predecessor.
  • ABS, ASC and two riding modes as standard.
  • Three further riding modes available as an ex-works option.
  • Semi-active suspension Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) available as an ex-works option.
  • More comfortable, tilt-adjustable bench seat.
  • Large, adjustable windshield and air flaps.
  • Wide enduro footrests.
  • Adjustable, reinforced foot-operated levers.
  • Robust engine and tank protection bar.
  • Wide range of special accessories and optional extras available ex-works.

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115 Comments

  1. adventure seeker says:

    Too many $ for what one gets. Any bike with a good rider can ride circles around these bikes. See my ride on a Sportster of Mendocino NF at YouTube GoPro Mendocino Harley Davidson.

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  2. Yoda says:

    Real men. Real bikes. That’s why they made the Adventure.

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  3. Robert Allen says:

    BMW bikes have always been sought out by bike enthusiasts because of their technology. The features are always world class and they never ceased to impress their customers. BMW owners are always satisfied with every purchase.

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    • Kiwi says:

      Clearly Rob Allen works for BMW as his comments are the complete opposite of my and many others experiences – see other peoples comments below. My ownership of BMW’s was an extremely unhappy time. Not only were they (I had two brand new ones) the most expensive bikes I have ever had, but without doubt, they were the the most unreliable, poorly made bikes I have had. It’s truely a case of ‘the Emperors new clothes’ – dare you critise them, because you will be branded a non-believer!

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  4. Joe Bogusheimer says:

    Well, it looks the dogs bollocks, so I suppose they’ll sell a bunch just on that basis. I suspect the number of people who can really ride a bike this size off road well enough to justify the “Adventure” version is very limited, though – most people don’t have the skills to ride a bike this size down anything much more challenging than a dirt road. So, leaving aside serious off road duty, which few of these bikes will actually ever see, why buy the Adventure version? Kind of pointless for most people, although as I say I’m sure that won’t stop a bunch from buying them regardless. Looks really rugged and cool, though – Suzuki could have taken a few styling hints from this bike (or several other “Adventure” bikes when designing the new DL1000. Oh well, at least the new DL isn’t as hideous as the Kawi Versys 1000, which I was interested in until I saw one in person and realized just how truly awkward looking it is.

    If I had this kind of money burning a hole in my pocket (I *could* afford it, I just can’t justify spending that much), I think I would be very interested in a new R1200GS, although probably not the Adventure model – the standard model will probably be a better ride on the street.

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    • jake says:

      It’s all about authenticity, or more accurately, the look of authenticity. That’s what BMW is trying to sell here and why the bike was intentionally designed to look sort of ugly and misproportioned – pure genius on the part of BMW. BMW feels its customer base is more affluent and sophisticated, which more than a little hint of elitism, and such a person wants to differentiate himself from the normal Joe motorcycle rider. More importantly, he will pay big money for a chance to do so.

      So what does BMW do? In a world where bikes mainly do care about how they look, intentionally make a bike whose look screams “Hey, I don’t care about how I look. I am more about function than looks. Look at my unusual, funky, non-symmetrical lines. Would a bike who cares about flash rather than substance or impressing others have lines like this? Thus, I am better than you other, less mature, mainly image conscious, low priced bikes. In short, I am authentic, unlike you other comically funny poseurs.

      And such marketing savvy on the part of BMW has worked like a charm. BMW has a massive hit on their hands. Of course, paying an extra 10K for a bike just to buy the look of real authenticity isn’t exactly authentic, but then neither is its crazy ride height, ridiculous fuel tank size, weight, or its phony, oversized faux beak, which serves no purpose other than to give the bike the look of a real authentic off road machine.

      But than that’s what sells – not so much real authenticity but the look and feel of it. Should anyone have any doubts, just go and ask Harley. It seems in our present day world, everyone wants to look authentic – and will pay big money for it – but no one wants to actually be authentic.

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      • Tom R says:

        Please tell us Jake, what exactly is “authentic”?

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        • jake says:

          Geez, that’s like asking a person what is truth, or what is reality. Hard to answer at all in any forum, much less one with space limitations as this one. One thing is for certain though, a Goldwing dressed up as an adventure tourer (what this bike really is) is not an example of authentic. I am sure it is a nice bike and anyone with legs long enough would be a fool not to want to have one, but honest this bike is not.

          Authentic tends to be associated with honesty, modesty, unassuming, being down to earth, knowing one’s limits – in short, being content and satisfied with just being human – while inauthentic is associated with their opposites, particularly the desire to meet an ideal, to live, to be like a God. To associate ourselves with divine images, is this not what all egotism is all about in its most basic level?

          The easiest and most concise way to define authentic would be to use the example of the Gospels – Christ, “The Son of Man” vs. Barabbas, “The Son of God” – with the “Son of Man” signifying what is human, being satisfied with just being human, while the “Son of God” signifies the ideal, egotism, and associating with images which makes us feels invincible, larger than life, and more important than we actually are.

          In a sense, the crowd was offered the option to choose between what is authentic or inauthentic – and we all know which way the herd chose to side with back then. They condemned what was human, what was true and honest, for a lie, a very attractive, comforting, and self-promoting lie, but a lie nonetheless. Judging from the motorcycle buying habits of today, it would appear as if not much has changed since that age.

          By the way, I am not knocking this bike or the people who choose to buy them. It’s just my way of teasing them a little. If I had the money and the legs to buy this bike, I definitely would do so. A Goldwing dressed up as an adventure tourer, done with impeccable fit and finish and no cheap parts or look of cheapness anywhere, only BMW can offer such an option today. A very nice bike I’d have to say.

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          • wvb says:

            “…,done with impeccable fit and finish and no cheap parts anywhere,….”

            I disagree with this. Look at all the cheap looking plastic all over this bike–Gladius anyone? Goofy trim near the windscreen, tank and beak…honestly, to me it looks like a $12,000 bike.

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      • Michael H says:

        I’m authentic and no one wants to look like me.

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “why buy the Adventure version?”

      survey says…! (*ding*) the gas tank. was the #1 answer.

      Report this comment

  5. Jose says:

    My 1998 GS was a solid bike for almost 100k Great machine! Them I went and got me a new 2010 GS, oh what a mistake. Let me stranded 3 times, all electric problems. Traded it of a 2013 Triumph XC 1200. Solid bike for now (12k) and loving it…

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    • Francois says:

      My friend traded his 2011 GSA for a n new LC GS and could not be happier. Not one glitch
      that left him stranded so far.

      He had two small issues:

      The computer would not keep the suspension, ride mode and TC setting and always returned to default setting whenever he switched the ignition off. Fixed by new software.

      He had a massive vibration, which he thought was the drive shaft. It turned out to the BMW OEM crash bars, which he installed himself. BMW fixed it by rubber mounting them.

      I must say, I took a demo at BMW for a test ride and that motor is amazing – compared to my 2008 GS anyway, and that is not bad either.

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  6. Tommy See says:

    Take note on all these comments BMW ! I gave up on you for my 650 V-Strom. 60,000 Kms. No problems.

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  7. red says:

    While I firmly believe most of these will end up as high dollar farkle-barges parked out front of Starbucks… there are a few who can and do ride the cr@p out of these monsters.. they really are up to it (offroad) much more than, say, a vstrom which only has adventure “styling”.

    Personally I could never bear the sight of my 20k beemer upside down in the dirt and bushes.. Gimme a done-up KLR or DR and I’ll put the other 12k towards vacations.

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  8. halfbaked says:

    It’s too: expensive, heavy, far off the ground, unreliable, blah blah blah.

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  9. Jeremy in TX says:

    That is a wicked looking helmet. Does anyone know what make that is?

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  10. mk says:

    Its obvious that people that buy these are compensating for a lack of

    might I say

    Beak

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    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Hypocrite. You know you’d get a bigger beak if you could!

      Report this comment

      • dino says:

        Beak envy??

        Just take this little blue pill, Fenderagra. Guaranteed to increase the length, and girth, of your beak! Impress your friends, and never leave your riding partner disappointed again!!

        (yeah, I said girth!)

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    • jake says:

      The German beak seems to be bigger, wider, and more masculine looking than the Japanese beak (on the V-strom), and I am assuming that this difference just can’t be due to mere accident or chance. Are the Germans just compensating for lack of beak size or, culturally, is beak size just more important to Germans than the Japanese?

      In order to sell more motorcycles and at higher prices, are the Germans actually lowering themselves to pander to the beak size dreams and ambitions of their customer base – mainly elderly men, with deep pockets and possibly low T, living in Western world?

      Report this comment

  11. motowarrior says:

    I rode all over South Africa with a couple of guys who knew how to ride these bikes (2012 Adventures), and they did amazing things with them. It takes a certain type of skill sets to handle a bike like this, but with the right rider they are amazing machines. Great over the road as well, and very comfortable. I was on a BMW F800GS, and found it more to my liking, but I rode one of the Adventures for a while and appreciated what it offered. And that was before the new Adventure with the much improved water boxer. Don’t knock it until you understand it…

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  12. Ron Jensen says:

    I have been riding for 50 years. I have owned 8 bmw’s. The most unreliable , flawed bikes I’ve owned have all been bmw’s !! Most of them had at least one major problem that could not be fixed! All my Japenese bikes plus three Triumphs have been close to flawless. I took my three gs’s extensively off road. Yes you can do it. But does it make sense ? I have seen Gold Wings off road! I’ve seen passenger cars off road. You can’t refute the laws of physics. When things go wrong(and they will) on your massive dirt wing,you and the bike will pay the price. Light is right!! Even on the street! I’ve had two close calls in the last 5 years that probably would have been a head on if I was on a heavy bike. Ron

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    • denny says:

      Excellent and valuable testimony. Good to read!

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    • Azi says:

      I have only ever owned one BMW, but Ron’s comment reflects my experience. Electrical problems that the official workshops couldn’t fix despite four attempts. Parts were around twice the price of Japanese equivalents.

      My Ducatis are just as expensive to maintain but have been rock solid in reliability, whilst the Japanese bikes have been bulletproof.

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    • tla says:

      dirtwing…hilarious!

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    • Francois says:

      Unreliable? My 2008 GS had only one problem so far, the electronics on the fuel pump gave up the ghost and was replaced with a 2nd hand one.

      I ride my bike every day to work and everywhere else, even long distances. I don’t own a car personally. We do have a car, but my wife uses it. Bikes are my preferred mode of transport and has been for 30 years.

      I slipped on a wet road in December and the final drive was badly scratched at the bottom.

      It was taken off, welded up, refinished and repainted – looks like new again. I understand it is a lady that fixed it. Had to replace seal and dust cover. I was warned by everybody that I will have problem s with it afterwards, but not one issue 20000km further.

      Hardly unreliable.

      Report this comment

  13. ABQ says:

    Too tall. I threw my leg over one and sat there with my feet swinging in the air. When I tried to lift it off the side stand it was too heavy. I ride an 1150GS and I am 5’11″ w/ 31″inseam. But, the Adventure bikes are just way too tall. WHY?

    Report this comment

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Ground clearance and suspension travel.

      Report this comment

    • Norm G. says:

      Q: “Adventure bikes are just way too tall. WHY?”

      A: gotta see over top something. no seriously, they’re derived from dirt bikes as you know and in dirt world you need bump absorption and clearance… clarence.

      speaking of ride heights, just rode with a friend over the weekend who picked up an FZ9. that thing’s really not a naked standard like the FZ8 it replaces. it’s hard to see in the pictures, but it’s really a hybrid. a 3cyl motard, which goes some way at explaining the small-ish tank size.

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  14. Vrooom says:

    It may be the ultimate “stock” adventure tourer. But I’m guessing it goes out the door at $20-$25K. If you spent that purchasing and improving the competition you’d get farther.

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “If you spent that purchasing and improving the competition you’d get farther.”

      but impress your neighbors less.

      Report this comment

      • Willy Hipockets says:

        Hey, look at me? Aren’t you impressed with me? You mean I’m supposed to impress people who know nothing about bikes? I ride what’s fun and I could care what I look like or who accepts me. Lemmings, sheeple and drones are what half of the blokes here are. Stand on your back legs, you’ll be just fine.

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  15. Gronde says:

    I actually like the looks of this machine. I wonder how it will handle off-road with 8 gallons (50#) riding so high up? Even an easily damaged light-weight, aluminum tank won’t won’t help much here. I wonder what a replacement fuel tank is gonna run?

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    • Hair says:

      They are not all that bad off road. Climbing and descending the weight of these things are a problem. That is the same for all bikes.

      The suspension is quite good through it’s range of motion.

      And the cylinders prevent the gas tank from hitting the ground.

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  16. Montana says:

    Straight out of “Mad Max!”

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  17. takehikes says:

    these bikes are so great…big and ugly enough that I can spot them right away and not buy it.

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  18. Hot Dog says:

    This thing’s a behemoth! It seems the manufacture’s aspire to the words Adam said to Eve: “Stand back Eve, I don’t know how big this thing’s going to get”! Ride with more than one buddy because 2 of you aren’t picking it off it’s side.

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    • Nate says:

      actually… done properly using proper lifting technique… an old woman can pick this bike up off its side.

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      • TimC says:

        Yeah, this always kills me. I saw a bike accident (sportbike rear-ended a car that stopped for left turn), the guy was just shaken but of course started to try to pick up the bike by the bars. I said no no, just rest and went to lift it properly – and 2 other guys that had stopped shouted me down not to do it that way “since I would just throw it over on the other side” – mmmm, ok, I never practiced this with my own bike or anything. So I said fine, and watched the 2 of them do it wrong, together though!

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        • Nate says:

          I would love to know what percentage of the motorcycle riding population actually knows how to lift a motorcycle. I know the first time I saw the technique at the BMW riders training course in South Carolina… I didn’t believe it either. Then I tried it and was like… You’re an idiot if you do this any other way.

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          • Hot Dog says:

            I’d not want to piss off the old woman, who can pick this thing up, when it’s laying on it’s side, and it’s nose is pointed downhill. On a perfectly flat, clean surface, we’re all Johnny Hero but any inclines, poor footing for the lifter, I’m betting help is needed.

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          • Jeremy in TX says:

            As a guy who has picked up a 500+ lb motorcycle solo more times in an hour than I care to count, I can assure you it can be done in just about any terrestrial (and aquatic) situation. Prodigious use of profanity helps.

            I can’t say how the old woman would do.

            Report this comment

          • MG3 says:

            Dropped my ’82 Goldwing naked a while back. No candy-ass video method for me. Just reached down there and wrestled er back upright. Wern’t no big thing, I thought. A little adrenaline and some cujones is all ya need.

            I did tear my roto cuff though. That took a year to heal and I still can’t hold my arm up straight.

            Report this comment

    • Tom R says:

      There are plenty of much bigger bike models than this on the market: Gold Winds, most Harleys, and more. And they are much harder to pick up than any Beemer with a boxer motor.

      Better scratch these off the shopping list as well.

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    • dino says:

      How bad they tip over, also depends on how good the crash bars are.

      My buddy would dump his Harley almost once a year. With his crash bars, footpegs, and side bags, etc… it was more of just a tip-over. About 45 degrees, only, so it was easier for one or two guys to right it.

      My Vstrom has tipped over a couple times. No crash guards at all (just never got around to it!?). It will lay flat on the ground! That requires the right technique to lift, for sure. I did it myself both times, as I have seen the videos on putting your backside to the seat, grab the passenger handle and front bars, then lift with the knees, and stop before you go over the other way! Profanity does help (though it scares off potential assistance from witnesses!). Adrenalin does the most !

      Now where did I put that catalog with the crash bars I liked…?

      Report this comment

  19. SecaKid says:

    I like the way they use tubeless tires with spoke wheels.

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  20. VLJ says:

    On the one hand we had Harley-Davidson, Indian, Triumph, Norton, Vincent, and Velocette. Oh, and Ural. ~snerk~

    On the other we had BMW, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Moto Guzzi, and Ducati.

    .
    .
    .
    .

    And the Axis powers still managed to lose? HOW?! That would be like Jacksonville beating Denver next week.

    ~confused~

    Report this comment

  21. xlayn says:

    Now, if we take in account the BMW transmisssion issues how much are you willing to pay the $$ difference between this and the Sus Strom 1000?

    Report this comment

    • Vrooom says:

      That and final drive issues he says from experience. Yeah there’s probably a 10K difference, at least. New Ohlin suspension front and rear, full exhaust system with a port job, PC and dyno tuning, and you haven’t even spent 1/2 the difference.

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      • Nate says:

        sorry? Final drive issue is a few hundred bucks to fix and it doesn’t even become an issue until around 60k miles. By the time you get 60k miles on the weestrom you’ll be ready for a new bike. As for the tranny problems… to be honest… I think its BS. Been in the BMW cult a long time. Never experienced any tranny trouble at all. My RT has 60k on it… and my brother’s GS has 160K on it. Never had a lick of tranny trouble out of either.

        Now… lets see some pictures of Strom’s with 100k miles.

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  22. carl says:

    Finally a gas tank with some serious range. Some of the other touring makers could learn from this!!

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  23. todder says:

    All kinds of rider aids…..meaning cruise control???

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  24. denny says:

    Another Beaker, but I should not even mention it since it is not my price category. To say it’s “ugly” is kind of pointless, brand name deflects arrows with that accusation – easy.

    Report this comment

    • hrembe says:

      Hit a big soupy mud hole and you’ll be greatfull for the beak and you get to go where no cruiser will ever dare go. Ok my sportbike won’t go there either.

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      • denny says:

        I believe it; it is part of this ‘dirty-tourers’ class. Although, KTM does not have it.

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      • stratkat says:

        id rather hit and be covered by puddles all day then have a duck beak on my motorcycle.
        one of the most capable offroad bikes in the world seems to survive without one, long live KTM!

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      • Gpokluda says:

        That’s assuming this thing ever hits mud. The most dirt this bike will ever see is whatever the street sweeper leaves behind.

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      • paul246 says:

        Actually, if you hit a mud patch with this bike the front wheel would jam up under that tight fitting street fender, the beak has nothing to do with it. Would only take a few seconds of mud to jam and the wheel wouldn’t steer worth crap after that…. and you and the big BMW would be down and wallowing. That’s why real off-road bikes have only one fender, way up above the front wheel, it stops flying muck and gives enough clearance to keep the wheel revolving properly.

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Another Beaker”

      it’s not a beak (nor a tumor). it’s a… (drumroll)… VESTIGIAL FENDER…!!!

      what would you do if you suddenly had to sort a 21 inch knobby…? the world would collapse in on itself is what. LOL

      Report this comment

      • denny says:

        Alright, that’s good one!
        You know, this is what happens when people just get used to something showing over and over. Some time in future they will say: how the heck anyone could have liked this?!

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  25. dino says:

    pdf file download shows this weighs 573lbs ‘road ready’ (wet weight?). not bad for such a big bike, with these features..

    Funny how the ‘king’ of ugly bikes has been accepted as such, after so many years! I don’t think it is any better looking now… Still has the eneven headlights (Bill the Cat), plastic panel and beams strewn about the front end in a rugged fashion, and the beak (the original beak. that all others feel compelled to copy). But for some reason, it seems OK now, probably because we have been seeing a similar design of the R1200 for years now. And it seems like a very capable bike, with all the bells and whistles.

    Or maybe they just have great photography, that knows how to keep this beast in good lighting?

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  26. John says:

    I wonder how it does in a wind tunnel. And does it actually deflect Iranian radar.

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  27. mickey says:

    You know BMW has taken an awful beating in online forums for their rear drive unit issues, and with all the improvements I’ve read, they never say anything about improved rear drive units. I know at one time I considered an R 1200 R but was scared off because of this reported failure issue. I wonder how many others have as well? Nice looking bike, but it is going to break down in the middle of nowhere, who would want one.

    Just yesterday read another ride report where a fellow went to Alaska and ran into 3 different Beemer riders on the side of the road with rear drive failures. Had pics of one scattered all over the side of the road making repairs. This guy was not bashing BMWs just writing about his experience riding to Alaska and back. Is it an issue, or not?

    Report this comment

    • VLJ says:

      “Is it an issue, or not?”

      With older models, yes. With the current ones, and very recent models? No.

      Report this comment

    • Tom R says:

      This is old, old news, from 2005-2007 models. Sometimes I think competitor manufacturers are responsible for trying to keep this extinct issue alive.

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    • Hair says:

      I think that the FD cure came in part by adding a breather to the FD. The logic was that the oil would heat the air in the FD and then the rear seal would get dislodged.

      The 1200 Adventure makes no sense until you climb aboard one and ride a few back to back 1000 mile days. Then it’s the only bike that makes sense. I’ve owned them in the past. And will most likely get one again. They are a great bike.

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      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I think that the FD cure came in part by adding a breather to the FD.”

        yes, the spin inside the housing created a small pressure build up or “differential” (see what I did there? :)) which could A. dislodge a seal and permit water contamination to the bearing from washing or rain riding, or B. possibly isolate the rolling elements from lubrication. this fix debuted with DOHC GS like 3 years ago. saw one on a show room floor and noticed the lil’ backside outlet immediately.

        the older generations were ported (hey that’s crazy). but I suspect to placate whiny customers/billionaire cheapskates (who’s REAL problem is living above their means and not knowing how to budget their money), the design intent was for the new generation to be a maintenance free/sealed system. but see, that’s an illusion… a false economy.

        NOTHING made by man will EVER be “maintenance free”. similar to how energy/matter can neither be created nor destroyed, believe or not, the same goes for EXPENSES. like braking force converting to HEAT in your front rotor, instead of the cost being eliminated like they thought…? it merely “transferred ownership” and showed up in the form of warranty claims born by BMW… which then begets higher unit prices on the front end. where engineering and accounting collide, it’s nothing more than a “shell game”.

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  28. widdy says:

    35″ seat height! I need to grow my thigh bones a bit.

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  29. John says:

    Now THAT is a beak. And thankfull, everyone will try to copy that arbitrarily designed beak.

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  30. Coyote says:

    why don’t I see any compression area (shiney surface) on the forks?? Looks like straight tubes in the photos…

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  31. ApriliaRST says:

    Beak! There, I said it first.

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