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A Comprehensive Review of the BMW 1200 GS (2017 – 2018) Motorcycle

A Comprehensive Review of the BMW 1200 GS (2017 - 2018) Motorcycle

The BMW 1200 GS is a renowned motorcycle that has gained popularity among adventure enthusiasts and thrill-seekers. With its powerful engine, advanced features, and impressive design, the BMW 1200 GS has become a top choice for riders who crave both performance and comfort. In this blog post, we will delve into the various aspects of this motorcycle, including its engine specifications, design elements, handling capabilities, and safety features. Join us as we explore the world of the BMW 1200 GS and discover why it is a leader in its class.

Engine Specifications

The heart of the BMW 1200 GS is its powerful engine, which provides the motorcycle with exceptional performance both on and off the road. Here are the key engine specifications of the BMW 1200 GS:

  • Engine Type: The BMW 1200 GS is equipped with a 1,170cc air/liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder boxer engine.
  • Power Output: The engine produces an impressive power output of 125 horsepower, delivering an exhilarating riding experience.
  • Torque: The BMW 1200 GS offers a maximum torque of 125 Nm, ensuring excellent acceleration and power delivery.
  • Transmission: This motorcycle features a 6-speed gearbox with a slipper clutch, allowing for smooth gear shifts and enhanced control.

Overall rating Ride & brakes

If you decide you fancy a 2017-2018 BMW R1200GS adventure bike, you’d better be prepared to do some serious research first. There are multiple versions to choose from. On the road, you can opt for the standard model, a TE, or a TE Exclusive. If you prefer off-road riding, there’s the Rallye and the Rallye TE.

Then, of course, there’s the BMW R1200GS Adventure, which comes in five different spec levels.

The standard BMW GS 1200 comes with hand-guards, pannier fastenings, and switchable riding modes. If you upgrade to the TE, you get electronic suspension (ESA), cruise control, ABS, dynamic traction control (DTC), a better onboard computer, and many other features. The TE Exclusive has the same spec as the TE but comes in “Iced Chocolate” paint and has gold calipers, which costs an additional £305.

The Rallye is the off-road biased version of the R1200GS and comes with sporty upgrades to the foot pegs, seat, screen, and wheels. It also includes automatic stability control (ASC), radiator and frame guards, and knobbly tires.

The Rallye TE includes all of that, plus DTC and LED lights. For a complete list of features, refer to the ‘Equipment’ section of the review.

The next-generation ESA and DTC both increase comfort and safety, while the automatic preload adjuster makes a huge difference if you’re always adding luggage or carrying a passenger. Just when you think the GS can’t get any more advanced, it does. BMW has improved on perfection and made their flagship GS smoother and more refined than ever.

The Rallye version takes the fear out of off-roading and bridges the gap between the standard GS and the big Adventure. It performs as well as it looks, is superbly purposeful, and looks set to be hugely popular with adventure riders. However, in full spec, it’s an expensive bike to risk riding over rocks.

Ride quality & brakes

For 2017, BMW added clever self-leveling next-generation ESA and improved the DTC. Previously, you could manually adjust the damping on the move to soft, medium, and hard settings. Now, the damping is automatically adjusted, adapting to your riding by reading numerous sensors such as lean angle, brake pressure, speed, pitch, and more.

In basic terms, the ESA always re-adjusts automatically and keeps the bike level. When braking heavily into a turn, it will increase damping at the front; when accelerating hard, it will increase damping at the rear. The ride is truly impressive over bumps and imperfections.

The BMW R1200GS handles well on both road and off-road terrains. You have two choices: the standard road version or the off-road version, which requires opting for off-road biased tires. You can also add sports suspension, which increases the spring rate, lengthens the struts, and extends travel, pushing the seat height to 900mm, 20mm higher than standard.

The taller Rallye with sports suspension increases the ride height and improves the bike’s off-road capabilities. On the road, you have to make allowances for the off-road tires and tall stance, but it makes perfect sense off-road.

The new self-leveling ESA suspension automatically adjusts all damping and pre-load (at a standstill). Off-road, the new GS Rallye complements the average rider, while less experienced riders can rely on the clever off-road biased rider aids.

However, when riding hard, the ESA makes it difficult to feel the tires working in corners. But you soon learn to trust the cornering ABS or the excellent DTC, which is now lean angle sensitive.

Value vs rivals

Priced at just over £15,500, the GS TE Exclusive comes fully loaded, and its styling and colors create an even greater impression of sophistication.

The base Rallye starts at £12,730, which offers good value for money. However, our test bike was priced at a staggering £18,318 during the launch event – making it an expensive bike to bounce over rocks.

In our group test, we pit the BMW R1200GS against its F800GS stablemate, the Ducati Multistrada 950 and 1200 siblings, and the KTM 1090 Adventure R to crown our bike of the year in the adventure bike category.

The KTM 1090 Adventure R is our adventure bike of the year due to its sheer versatility and skills. It dominated the off-road sections and performed well on the tarmac. It’s light, fun, punchy, has excellent brakes, and is reasonably comfortable. Plus, it’s priced at just over £12,000, making it a great value for money option.

In second place is the Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro. It offers more gadgets, more power, and more rider aids as standard, but it’s also the most expensive bike in the test.

Close behind in third place is the BMW R1200GS, which is great for touring and easy to ride on and off-road. Next is its smaller brother, the F800GS, which is punchy, roomy, and easy to ride with real off-road potential. Lastly, we have the Multistrada 950, which may have won its class shootout but was outperformed in this test.

The TE Exclusive model we tested comes fully loaded with a new style package, Dynamic Traction Control, Dynamic ESA, LED headlights, keyless ignition, daytime riding lights, hill start control, on-board computer, shift assist, Dynamic riding modes, GPS preparation, chrome exhaust, heated grips, tire pressure control, cruise control, hand guards, LED indicators, ABS Pro, and fairing fasteners, all priced at £15,564.

The standard Rallye model comes with radiator and frame guards, wide enduro pegs, a single seat, a sports windscreen, cross-spoked wheels, riding modes, ASC, hand guards, and fairing fasteners.

The Sport model includes additional features such as Dynamic traction control, LED headlights, daytime riding lights, hill start control, additional dynamic riding modes, chrome exhaust, heated grips, tire pressure control, LED indicators, and ABS Pro.

Our Rallye test bike was also equipped with the additional premium package (£1,645), which includes Dynamic ESA, keyless ignition, on-board computer Pro, GPS bracket, and cruise control. In addition, the bike had a sports suspension (£290), an Akrapovic exhaust (£860), engine protection (£322), cylinder head covers (£188), a headlight guard (£87), an adjustable back brake lever (£111), and milled HP levers up front (£95 each), bringing the total value of our test bike to £18,318. The standard model starts at a more affordable £12,730.


The partially water-cooled Boxer motor remains unchanged for 2017, despite now being compliant with Euro 4. This means peak power is still 125bhp@7700rpm, with peak torque of 92.2 ftlb@6500rpm.

With its excellent fueling and drive, BMW made a big step with the Boxer engine when they updated it in 2013.

Reliability & build quality

Resale values are high because BMW’s reliability and service are top-notch. This GS continues their high level of quality, feeling robust and secure.

Our BMW R1200GS owners’ reviews show that some owners are very fond of the bike, while others say that the bike itself and looking after it are too expensive.

In June 2017, BMW made a change to fix a fault with the GS 1200’s fork stanchions. Bikes built before this should have been fixed under warranty when a recall was issued.

Engine size1170cc
Engine typeAir/liquid-cooled, 4v boxer twin, shaft drive, six gears
Frame typeTubular steel
Fuel capacity20 litres
Seat height850mm
Bike weight244kg
Front suspensionTelelever monoshock with ESA
Rear suspensionParalever single shock with ESA
Front brake2 x 305mm discs, 4-piston radial calipers, ABS
Rear brake276mm disc, twin piston caliper, ABS
Front tyre size120/70 x 19
Rear tyre size170/60 x 17
Mpg, costs & insurance
Average fuel consumption42 mpg
Annual road tax£111
Annual service cost£220
New price
Used price£10,300 – £13,300
Insurance group13 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty termTwo years
Top speed & performance
Max power125 bhp
Max torque92.2 ft-lb
Top speed125 mph
1/4 mile acceleration
Tank range190 miles

Design and Ergonomics

The BMW 1200 GS boasts a sleek and eye-catching design that perfectly combines aesthetics with functionality. Its ergonomic design ensures rider comfort, even during long rides. Key design elements and features include:

  • Aerodynamic Fairing: The motorcycle features an aerodynamic fairing that reduces wind resistance, allowing for a more stable and comfortable ride.
  • Adjustable Windscreen: The windscreen can be easily adjusted to suit the rider’s preference, providing optimal wind protection.
  • Comfortable Seating: The BMW 1200 GS offers a comfortable seating position, with a well-padded seat and adjustable handlebars, ensuring rider comfort for hours on end.
  • LED Lighting: The motorcycle is equipped with LED headlights and taillights, providing excellent visibility and enhancing safety.

Handling and Performance

The BMW 1200 GS excels in terms of handling and performance, making it a versatile motorcycle suitable for various riding conditions. Here are some noteworthy aspects of its handling capabilities:

  • Suspension System: The motorcycle features a robust suspension system, with a Telelever front suspension and Paralever rear suspension, providing excellent stability and control.
  • Off-road Capabilities: The BMW 1200 GS is designed to handle off-road terrains with ease. Its long-travel suspension and durable frame allow for confident off-road riding.
  • Electronic Assistance: The motorcycle is equipped with advanced electronic aids, including traction control, multiple riding modes, and ABS, ensuring enhanced safety and control in different riding conditions.
  • Braking System: The BMW 1200 GS features a high-performance braking system, with dual disc brakes up front and a single disc brake at the rear, offering exceptional stopping power and control.

Technology and Connectivity

BMW has equipped the 1200 GS with cutting-edge technology and connectivity features, enhancing both convenience and safety. Some notable technological features include:

  • TFT Display: The motorcycle features a vibrant TFT display that provides the rider with essential information, such as speed, rpm, fuel level, and navigation instructions.
  • Connectivity: The BMW 1200 GS offers optional connectivity features, allowing riders to connect their smartphones to access music, navigation, and other apps through the motorcycle’s display.
  • Keyless Ignition: The motorcycle comes with a keyless ignition system, eliminating the need for a physical key and providing added convenience.

Safety Features

Safety is a top priority for BMW, and the 1200 GS comes equipped with several advanced safety features to ensure rider protection. These include:

  • Cornering ABS: The motorcycle features cornering ABS, which adjusts braking force based on the lean angle, enhancing stability and control during cornering.
  • Dynamic Traction Control: The dynamic traction control system monitors wheel spin and adjusts power delivery to ensure optimal traction in various riding conditions.
  • Hill Start Control: This feature keeps the motorcycle stationary on inclines, preventing rollback and allowing for a smooth start.
  • Adaptive Headlights: The BMW 1200 GS is equipped with adaptive headlights that illuminate the road based on lean angle, providing enhanced visibility in corners.


The BMW 1200 GS is a motorcycle that offers an unbeatable combination of power, performance, and comfort. With its powerful engine, advanced technology, and safety features, it is well-suited for both on-road and off-road adventures. Whether you are a seasoned rider or a novice, the BMW 1200 GS is a motorcycle that will exceed your expectations and deliver an exhilarating riding experience. So, gear up, hop on, and embark on your next adventure with the BMW 1200 GS.





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