2008 BMW R1200GS - The Best Gets Better

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Kevin Wing

Both bikes proved comfortable enough to make short work of the Phoenix-to-L.A. run following the central Arizona press intro. The GS's low-fuel warning light comes on every 175 miles or so, giving you another 45 to fill up. Vibration: minimal. Wind protection: good. The Adventure's larger fairing is better, but its added girth and more rolling-resistant knobbies dropped fuel economy to 38 mpg versus the GS's 42. That puts 330 miles between fuel stops-110 more than the standard model.

Somewhere between Quartzsite and Blythe, I'm having an easier time justifying $14,600 for a Namibia Orange GS than $16,600 for the Adventure. Especially since the option package du jour will add anywhere from $695 to $1495. Is the '08 GS perfect? No. Is it better? Much. At the end of a 545-mile day, it's still the best tool for more two-wheeled jobs than anything else I can think of.

Tech Spec

In the beginning there was the 1980 R80 G/S, which begat the '87 R100GS and then the '94 R1100GS Oilhead, '99 R1150GS and '04 R1200GS, which laid the foundation for what you see here.

Only the Buell XB12X Ulysses and KTM 990 Adventure possess comparable off-road capabilities.

Price $14,600
Engine type a/o-c opposed-twin
Valve train SIHC, 8v
Displacement 1170cc
Bore x stroke 101.0 x 73.0mm
Compression 12.0:1
Fuel system Bosch EFI
Clutch Dry, single-plate
Transmission 6-speed
Horsepower 105 bhp @ 7500 rpm
Torque 86 lb.-ft. @ 5750 rpm
Frame Tubular-steel trellis
Front suspension Telelever with electronicallyadjustable Showashock
Rear suspension Paralever with electronicallyadjustable Showashock
Front brake Dual Brembo four-pistoncalipers, 305mm discs
Rear brake Two-piston Brembocaliper, 264mm disc
Front tire 110/80R-19 Bridgestone Battle Wing
Rear tire 150/70R-17 Bridgestone Battle Wing
Rake/trail 25.7/4.0 in.
Seat height 33.5 in.
Wheelbase 59.3 in.
Fuel capacity 5.3 gal.
Dry weight 472 lbs.
Colors Silver, gray, orange, blue
Available Now
Warranty 3 yrs., 36,000 mi.

BMW of North America
300 Chestnut Ridge Rd.
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677

More punch, more polish and a load of electronic enhancements should keep the GS ahead of its rivals for another few years

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