BMW’s R1200GS has been one of the brand’s most successful models, ever. It advanced the popularity of the modern large-bore adventure motorcycle segment and helped develop a devout following throughout the world. This year, BMW returned the favor by making this marquee mount even better in hopes of stomping the competition in this always red-hot class.
The new 2019 R1250GS is made to go anywhere and everywhere that your mind and heart could ever envision taking a motorcycle. The flat-twin boxer engine is scaled up to 1,254cc (up from 1,170cc) and produces nearly 117 hp (7,500 rpm) and upwards of 92 pound-feet of torque (6,240 revs) at the business end of the OE-fitted Michelin Anakee 3 rear tire. But the peak numbers aren’t the real star of the new mill. BMW’s proprietary ShiftCam system is what really shines.
The ShiftCam modulates valve lift during acceleration. When the throttle is partially opened the first camshaft facilitates added engine torque along with improved combustion efficiency. However wring the throttle open, and the alternative set of cam lobes allow for extra lift, providing full access to the R1250’s might.
The system works so well you don’t even notice it. It’s smooth in its actuation between the low- and high-speed cam so that you would never even know it’s equipped with this clever hardware. Just when you thought BMW’s boxer engine couldn’t get any silkier, it does.
Thumb the starter button and the engine has a pleasing tone, even at idle. It sounds meaner than we remember. Throw some revs and you’re greeted by an even more guttural combined engine and exhaust note that makes this Beemer more exhilarating to play with.
On the road it goes exactly where you want it—an impressive feat considering its 574 pound fully fueled curb weight. In spite of its generous proportions, you get acclimated quickly to its size, mostly in part to a favorable balance and weight distribution—a good thing considering we spent 90 percent of our ride off highway.
The power delivery and overall engine dynamic lends itself well whether riding on asphalt or dirt. The traction control and the Enduro mode setting perform well especially when the going gets tough. Unlike previous GS models, in which it was advisable to manually disable the traction control when negotiating the rough stuff, now the electronics include logic that allows for a moderate degree of wheelspin, so you can break traction. However the electronics limit roosting power so that the bike won’t get away from you. This setting worked well in a majority of the terrain we encountered. And of course for true quagmires, you can easily manually disable TC with a push of a button.
The OE-fitted Michelin Anakee 3 tires dug into freshly moistened dirt well. However, in the real deep stuff, you’re going to want the sharper edge of a deeper knob. For most of the stuff we encountered off road, the tires were up to the challenge.
Conversely, on pavement, the French rubber sticks well against pavement, even in the rain. Again, the ABS and traction control are calibrated well, so you can ride the bike harder than you’d think over wet surfaces. Overall, it’s a very well-calculated electronics package, regardless of which of the four modes you choose.
The chassis and ergonomics further complement an impressive powertrain. Not only is it an easy motorcycle to control in virtually any conditions, aside from slippery mud. Its level of comfort is at a very high level—making it a clear choice for those who require a fast, do-it-all motorcycle. Whether you’re riding in the stand-up position or sitting down on the freeway, the R1250GS will continue to be a fine choice for ADV riders who plan on actually exploring the true capabilities of their machine.
And the standard equipment is a smorgasbord of creature comforts: cruise control, heated grips, adjustable windshield, centerstand, skid plate, adjustable seat height, LED lighting throughout, power sockets, removable passenger footpegs, the works. This thing is ready for serious adventure right off the floor, even if you don’t opt for optional equipment upgrades.
If you’re an ADV rider seeking a precision-made motorcycle that has loads of engine character and performance, not to mention a chassis that goes exactly where you want it with good balance and ergonomics that are honed to near perfection, this BMW is going to do it for you.
|ENGINE||1,254cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC boxer twin, 8-valve|
|CLAIMED HORSEPOWER||116.9 hp @ 7,540 rpm|
|CLAIMED TORQUE||92.2 lb.-ft. @ 6,240 rpm|
|FRAME||Two-section frame, front, and bolted-on rear frame; load-bearing engine|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||37mm Telelever fork; 7.5-in. travel|
|REAR SUSPENSION||BMW Paralever; WAD strut (travel-related damping), spring preload hydraulically adjustable (continuously variable) via handwheel, rebound damping adjustable via handwheel; 7.9-in. travel|
|FRONT BRAKES||Dual four-piston radial-mount Brembo calipers, 305mm discs w/ ABS|
|REAR BRAKE||Dual-piston caliper, 276mm disc w/ ABS|
|SEAT HEIGHT||35.8 in.|
|FUEL CAPACITY||7.9 gal.|
|CLAIMED CURB WEIGHT||591 lb.|