– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

2019 BMW R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT Both Get ShiftCam Engine

A few days ago, we brought you news of the new BMW Boxer engine with variable valve timing, called ShiftCam.  Bumping displacement to 1,254cc, creating increases in both horsepower and torque, the new Boxer will find a home not only in the R 1250 GS, but also in the R 1250 RT 2019 models (pictured).

Here are some photos of the new bikes, together with an illustration of the ShiftCam motor. In addition to the engine changes, both bikes get additional features for 2019. Have a look at the BMW press release:

For more than 35 years, the flat-twin boxer engine in the BMW Motorrad GS and RT models has stood for powerful and reliable propulsion when it comes to setting off on an extended tour or a long-distance journey. With the extensively further advanced boxer engine with BMW ShiftCam technology, the new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT achieve a whole new level of performance, culture and efficiency.

The new BMW R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT – the fascination of travel and touring in a new dimension of engine power.

For more than 35 years, the flat-twin boxer engine in the BMW Motorrad GS and RT models has stood for distinctive, powerful and reliable propulsion when it comes to setting off on an extended tour or a long-distance journey – or simply enjoying the satisfying pleasure of a short weekend trip. For more than 25 years, BMW Motorrad has used 4-valve technology, combined with electronic fuel injection and closed-loop catalytic converter technology in order to achieve the best possible power and torque delivery, efficiency and environmental compatibility.

Further advanced boxer engine with BMW ShiftCam Technology for an additional increase in power across the entire engine speed range, reduced emission and fuel consumption levels, optimised running smoothness and refinement.

With the extensively further advanced boxer engine, the new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT not only achieve a whole new level of power and torque. It was also possible to significantly optimise refinement and running smoothness – especially within the lower engine speed range. What is more, the new engine offers improved emission and fuel consumption levels as well as a particularly satisfying sound. For this purpose, BMW ShiftCam Technology has been used for the first time in the serial production of BMW Motorrad engines: this enables variation of the valve timings and valve stroke on the intake side. In addition, the intake camshafts are designed for asynchronous opening of the two intake valves, resulting in enhanced swirl of the fresh, incoming mixture and therefore more effective combustion. Other technical changes to the engine relate to the camshaft drive – now taken care of by a toothed chain (previously a roller chain) – an optimised oil supply, twin-jet injection valves and a new exhaust system.

2019 BMW R 1250 GS

Two riding modes, ASC and Hill Start Control as standard.

There are two riding modes available as standard in order to be able to adapt the motorcycle to individual rider preferences. The standard Automatic Stability Control ASC ensures a high level of riding safety due to the best possible traction. The set-off assistant Hill Start Control is likewise a standard feature in both models, enabling convenient set-off on slopes.

Riding Modes Pro, featuring additional riding modes, Dynamic Traction Control DTC, ABS Pro, Hill Start Control Pro and Dynamic Brake Assistant DBC (new), available as an optional equipment item ex works.

The option “Riding Modes Pro” is now available as an optional equipment item, featuring the additional riding mode “Dynamic”, Dynamic Traction Control DTC, and in the R 1250 GS also the riding modes “Dynamic Pro”, “Enduro” and “Enduro Pro”. DTC enables even more efficient and safe acceleration, especially in banking position. ABS Pro (part of Riding Modes Pro in the R 1250 GS, a standard feature in the R 1250 RT) offers even greater safety when braking, even in banking position. The new Dynamic Brake Control DBC provides additional safety when braking, also in difficult situations, by avoiding unintentional accelerator activation. By means of intervention in the engine control, drive torque is reduced during braking so as to make full use of the braking power at the rear wheel. This keeps the motorcycle stable and shortens the braking distance.

Electronic suspension Dynamic ESA “Next Generation” with fully automatic load compensation, now also for the R 1250 RT.

With the optional equipment item BMW Motorrad Dynamic ESA “Next Generation”, damping automatically adapts to the situation according to riding state and manoeuvres, and there is also automatic compensation in all load states. This allows finely tuned adaptation of the motorcycle to riding states, achieving optimum damping comfort and a very stable ride response – this is now also available for the R 1250 RT.

LED headlamp for the R 1250 GS as standard and LED daytime riding light for both models as an ex works optional equipment item.

The new R 1250 GS now features the LED headlamp as standard. In addition to this, the LED daytime riding light is available as an optional equipment item for both the R 1250 GS and the R 1250 RT, which has halogen headlamps.

Connectivity: multifunctional instrument cluster with 6.5-inch full-colour TFT screen and numerous features as standard in the
R 1250 GS.

The new R 1250 GS now has the equipment feature Connectivity as standard including a 6.5-inch full-colour TFT screen. In conjunction with the standard BMW Motorrad Multi-Controller, this means the rider can access vehicle and connectivity functions particularly swiftly and conveniently.

The R 1250 RT is fitted with a large 5.7-inch TFT colour screen. This is supplemented with an analog speedometer and rev counter.

Intelligent Emergency Call as an ex works option.

Ensuring the fastest possible assistance in the event of an accident or in situations of emergency and danger can save people’s lives. The optional equipment item Intelligent Emergency Call summons assistance to the scene as quickly as possible. As before, this feature can be ordered for both models.

BMW Motorrad Spezial – high-quality customisation features as optional equipment items ex works.

BMW Motorrad Spezial offers a range of iconic customisation features that enhance both performance and value, available as optional equipment items ex works. The focus is on harmonious integration in the vehicle as a whole, use of the very highest-quality materials, elaborate manual workmanship and characteristic attention to detail.

The Billets Packs Option 719 Classic and HP are available for the new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT, for example.

The new R 1250 RT can be additionally enhanced with Option 719 wheels Classic or Sport, an exclusive seat and one of two Spezial paint finishes.

An HP sports silencer is likewise available ex works for the two new boxer models.

New attractive colours and style variants.

The new R 1250 GS showcases its travel and off-road prowess in two modern basic finishes and two striking style variants. The new R 1250 RT embodies its exclusive touring character in one basic colour, two style variants and two Option 719 Spezial finishes.

Overview of the highlights of the new BMW R 1250 GS and
R 1250 RT:

• Further developed boxer engine with BMW ShiftCam Technology for variation of the valve timings and valve stroke on the intake side.

• Even more power across the entire engine speed range, optimised fuel consumption and emission levels, increased running smoothness and refinement.

• Increased output and torque: 100 kW (136 hp) at 7 750 rpm and 143 Nm at 6 250 rpm (previously: 92 kW (125 hp) at 7 750 rpm and 125 Nm at 6 500 rpm)).

• Capacity increased to 1 254 cc (previously: 1 170 cc).

• Asynchronous valve opening on the intake side for optimised swirl and therefore more effective combustion.

• Camshaft drive now via toothed chain (previously roller chain).

• Optimised oil supply and piston base cooling.

• Knock sensor system for optimised travel suitability.

• Latest generation of BMS-O engine control and use of twin-jet injection valves for even more effective carburetion.

• New exhaust system for optimum performance characteristics.

• New additional front spoiler on the R 1250 RT.

• Two riding modes, ASC and Hill Start Control as standard.

• Riding Modes Pro, featuring additional riding modes, Dynamic Traction Control DTC, ABS Pro (standard in the R 1250 RT), Hill Start Control Pro and Dynamic Brake Assistant DBC, available as an optional equipment item ex works.

Electronic suspension Dynamic ESA “Next Generation” with fully automatic load compensation.

• In addition to standard adjustability of seat height (exception: HP style for the R 1250 GS), wide range of seat height variants ex works.

• LED headlamp for the R 1250 GS as standard and LED daytime riding light for both models as optional equipment items ex works.

Connectivity: multifunctional instrument cluster with 6.5-inch full-colour TFT screen and numerous features as standard in the R 1250 GS.

• Intelligent Emergency Call as an ex works option.

• BMW Motorrad Spezial – customisation features as optional equipment items ex works.

• Extended range of optional equipment items and Original BMW Motorrad Accessories.

• The new R 1250 GS: travel and off-road prowess in two modern basic finishes and two striking style variants.

• The new R 1250 RT: exclusive touring character in one basic colour, two style variants and Option 719 Spezial finishes.

2019 BMW R 1250 RT

See more of MD’s great photography:



  1. Provologna says:

    Should have kept my mandarin ’00 R1150GS, a prior BMW “fleet” bike, which bikes are ridden by BMW employees and/or road test subjects, etc. Purchased with about 6k miles, sold with 40k miles, and it never hiccupped. And I’m a Clyde who rung that bike’s neck regularly, wheelies every day, occasional light off road.

    I’d buy either of these new models. One of the great joys of BMW ownership is visiting dealers, where I purchased a BMW riding suit and boots, among my all time best purchases. No other OEM can touch the BMW experience, not even close, and I’ve been in every brand sold in the US. The level of maturity of the employees, the whole package is just loads better. Walk in and try it. Even if you don’t buy a bike, you may buy one somewhere else later.

    OTOH, I do remember, close to 20 years ago, Motorcycle Consumer News’ service analysis by brand placed BMW very low on the scale v. other brands. But still, my particular bike was faultless, never saw the shop for service that I can recall.

  2. TwinDog says:

    I’m so glad I have a stone age Africa Twin Adventure Sport. Poor me. Not.

    • TwinDog says:

      …I have to admit, I would like a late 70’s to mid 80’s airhead for the street. They (the new BMW), like everything else for the most part, is getting too complicated for a mortal to wrench on. Wrenching on your bike, in my opinion, is a big part of the enjoyment of owning a motorcycle.

    • jim says:

      I had a 16 Africa Twin. Most problem plagued new bike I’ve owned, including a chronic stalling issue, DCT breakdown, broken switchgear, corroding spokes, ETC. A BMW can’t be worse than that.

  3. Ramish Rambarran says:

    ………….and ABS module failure in short order.

  4. T says:

    I have been riding and working for BMW motorcycles since 1985. Left in 2005 and sold my GS then. I loved the older Beemers, so I purchased a 2018 RT this year and have to admit I do not like the bike as much as I did the past generations. It wanders at slow speeds. It is complicated to do simple things like an air filter change and I am a bit afraid of all the electronic aids and reliability long term. It will go up for sale next spring, I think a Yamaha or Kawasaki will be my next sport touring bike. I am not interested in BMW anymore, getting way to complicated and expensive!!! Too bad I have owned over 30 of them since 1985.

  5. Mick says:

    Wow! BMW guys are supposed to be very boring. What’s up with this comment section?

    In my world, motorcycles are the largest piece of equipment required to go motorcycling. I like to use the smallest and lightest motorcycle required for the venue that I am riding. My usual go to bikes and observed trials and motocross. But I have a 120 pound electric thingy and a supermoto for street use, as my personal bikes. I do have a Ducati for two up use.

  6. TunaPete says:

    I just wish that BMW would devote some of their engineering prowess to developing clutch input splines that do not shear off if not regularly lubricated (BMW refuses to even acknowledge that this is a problem, and the service requires a ridiculous amount of disassembly) and rear drive units that do not require Merlin the Magician for proper adjustment. If they did that, I would probably still be riding one, but I gave up on them after three bikes and 200,000 miles.

  7. mickey says:

    Im on another out west trip right now and you can’t throw a stone without hitting a BMW GS or a KTM 1190 Adventure bike. Haven’t seen any broken down on the side of the road either. Quite impressive. I never see these bikes in Ohio.

  8. WSHart says:

    Hopefully the same idiot minus the Savant that was responsible for BMW’s irresponsible power brakes a few years back is not the same engineer that did this new motor, otherwise drop the “f” from “ShiftCam” and there you have it folks. Change the last letter to an “n” and that’s where another bungle from Beemer will wind up. 🙂

    I am not much of a fan of BMW simply because they promise much, deliver little that justifies their asking price over the competition and overcharge. Especially for service. So many here tend to use the words “awesome” and “love” as casually as a one night stand. “Love” should be reserved for family and friends, not a motorbike. “Awesome”? The Grand Canyon comes to mind. So too does the Great Barrier Reef. A motorcycle is not “awesome”. A motorcycle does not inspire “love”, nor would any normal person of average intelligence that actually thinks before typing say they “love” a motorcycle. Of course some people claim to “love” tacos and respond to someone asking them if they would like to go to dinner by saying, “Awesome!”… 😉

    These are nice motorcycles that may well be good motorcycles. Motorcycles can take you to see loved ones. They can also stop along the way to said loved ones at the Grand Canyon. But not the Great Barrier Reef. They can also break down along the way because of faults that were not discovered during the rush to production. This is why some here (and rightly so) will wait at least a year to buy something from BMW.

    Most here don’t have the wherewithal to maintain, much less buy one of these bikes. No shame in that and none in having a dream of one day owning one. But that doesn’t exclude the reality of the all too real shortcomings of BMW’s offerings. Yes, yes…I know that plenty of people have had plenty of BMWs that didn’t suck, didn’t lose their driveshaft in the middle of somewhere. But there are documented cases of more than a few that did. So you’d “love” to be one? “Awesome!”

    For those that protest kindly remember that talk is cheap but buying and maintaining a BMW motorcycle isn’t. Moreso when a warranty claim is denied by BMW. Because regardless of how “awesome” paying to have the latest Bring My Wallet may be, no one with even a modicum of smarts just “loves” to be a beta tester for BMW. I can hardly wait to read the responses from those that feeeeeeel otherwise. How “awesome”.

    BMW – Tomorrow’s technology today. Even if it ain’t quite ready.

    Nah…I bet BMW nailed it this time. Maybe. 😉

    • Tom R says:

      Don’t sugarcoat it. How do you REALLY feel.

    • Sean says:

      You must be a blast at parties. 🙄

      • WSHart says:

        And bacteria are the only culture you will ever be able to lay claim to. Philistine. 😉

        • Mark says:

          Wow Shart. Culture indeed.

          • WSHart says:

            Wow, Mark. You certainly are on your way up in the world! I bet your parents are so proud that your such a wordsmith. Anyone else from your litter as incredibly witty as you? You’re a regular Grand Funk Railroad song in reverse, kid.

            If comprehension hurted you head and ego, try having Cortana read for you. Then ax for definitions. You read as the typical motorcycling moron, i.e., a bench racer. It’s for your kind that manufacturers need to put “Ego Mode” in the engine management system.


    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Can’t love a motorcycle? Clearly, you’ve never been recognized and caressed by your bike.

      If you can’t call a motorcycle “awesome” then you haven’t experienced a very special machine ridden in its element at the limit (or at one’s personal limit to be more accurate.) There are a few bikes that come to mind where I was at a loss for words to describe the experience, much like the Grand Canyon. Do most bikes do this? No. Even those few “awesome” bikes I’m thinking of wouldn’t be awesome used in another environment or just sitting in the garage. But frankly, if any inanimate object can inspire and evoke emotion, well, I think that is pretty awesome.

      No doubt bikes like BMW and Ducati are more expensive to get parts and work for due to the same reasons BMW and Mercedes are more expensive in the auto world: they know their customers can and will pay. But the sad truth is, ALL motorcycles are stupid expensive to maintain.

      I swear the main reason Ducati and BMW get a bad rep isn’t because of the marginally more expensive service but because their owners actually have the scheduled maintenance performed and are therefore able to complain about it. Heck, Suzuki is having to PAY it’s customers to get a vital recall done. What percentage of them do you think swing by the dealership for that 16K mile valve check on the GSXR?

      BMW has always shown up low on the totem pole when it comes to those reliability surveys that used to get published (for whatever they are worth), and I would wager that hasn’t changed much in recent years. As a previous customer myself, BMW ownerships isn’t an experience I care to repeat, but it wasn’t so bad that I wouldn’t consider one again if they made the right bike for me. And the truth is I’ve known far more people to have long-time, trouble-free experiences with them than I’ve known people that had any real issues.

      The people I know that ride BMWs (which where I live may be the most frequently encountered large displacement motorcycle) ride them a lot. I see plenty with over 100K miles on the clock And the GS bikes in particular around here are not Starbucks parking lot gems either: most of them see some pretty hard usage regularly.

      I wonder if reliability were measured in problems per some block of mileage vs problems per year if BMW statistics might look better? Maybe not, but it would be interesting to see. Because how useful is it to know that that Kawasaki owners reported 50% fewer issues per 1000 units than BMW owners over a three year period? What if the collective mileage racked up on the BMWs was three times greater than the Kawasaki’s? It would be a different story then.

    • Half Baked says:

      Nearly 500 words none of which I read.

  9. Artem says:

    They maid bigger intakes.
    Do they ventilate them?

  10. RichBinAZ says:

    I still think the shiftcam video is bogus – lets hope it was faked to try and throw other designers off the scent… but they would have seen thru that…

  11. Mick says:

    Wow. That RS certainly has a full on science fiction sized fairing.

    I suppose if you break down, you could pull it off, deploy the wheels and drive it to safety.

  12. John D. says:

    I think I will wait for the second year of this model.

    My purchase will be timed to match when BMW has fully concluded its “buyer based” reliability research program.

  13. Ryan Craig says:

    I’ve decided I’d really like an RT. It’s really pretty much alone in the market as a sport-touring bike with serious comfort and wind protection, while being relatively light. I balk at paying full pop for a new one, though – that’s almost new car money. There aren’t a ton on the used market, though – owners tend to hang on to them a long time, and they don’t sell in big numbers to start with. I’d love to have that black (or is it dark blue?) one up top, with the tan saddle.

    • Bob K says:

      It’s too good of a bike for it’s intended purpose for owners to let go of. Any improvements each year are menial so there isn’t much incentive for them to trade up. The RT looks physically large because of the fairing and larger tank but man, does it work well!

  14. TimC says:

    “You’re gonna need a bigger fairing.”


  15. Frank says:

    Should be great bikes..

  16. ApriliaRST says:

    The RT pictured looks completely awesome, but the photo of the GS on a rock ledge overlooking the ocean simply scares the hell out of me. I can’t imagine wrestling a (500+ pound?) bike that heavy in a precarious situation. I’ll take a lighter bike any day for off-road.

  17. Lim says:

    Bluetooth it to your phone and it will go to starbucks to get your favorite drink.

    • motowarrior says:

      While I agree that technology is making motorcycles into complicated vehicles that are far from my ideal, I don’t know of any BMW owners that don’t ride all over the country and all over the world. The Starbucks comment really doesn’t have any traction.

  18. todd says:

    This makes me long for the days of simple motorcycles.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Then long into your garage… You of all people here are still living the days of simple motorcycles. 😀

      • todd says:

        The best days, in my opinion.

        • Ghostryderinthesky says:

          +1 Todd

        • Bill says:

          WARNING!! Ancient Fart response-I remember the arguments about whether the added weight of a starter motor and a battery would destroy a bike’s handling characteristics and who needs five speeds when four works just fine. Ride whatever YOU like.

        • VFR Marc says:

          Hold up, boys. I just acquired a low miles 2016 R1200 RT – my first non-Honda – and have to say it is a very capable machine. Not as fun as my ’95 VFR but a little easier on my old bones for a long ride. Love the cruise control!

    • Peter says:

      R NineT

  19. carl says:

    The front fairing looks massive over the front wheel, I don’t think you need a tent can just set up sleeping bag right there 🙂

    • Stuki Moi says:

      It IS massive. And simultaneously closer to the rider than on other tourers. Resulting in the best weather protection of any bike. The GS gets all the love, but the RT is the gem in the lineup. That’s the one noone else has an equivalent to.

  20. Wendy says:

    Love the Black with pinstripe.

  21. Kevin says:

    What brand brake calipers are those?

wordscape cheatgun mayhem 2 unblocked games