2013 BMW R1200GS | First Ride

After Much Anticipation, We Hop Aboard the New GS

By Zack Courts, Photography by BMW

Exiting the same gravel-strewn corners in Enduro mode is great fun, the ASC delivering just enough power to hold long power slides without losing control. Choppy throttle input or holding it wide open causes an oscillating slide-and-catch symptom in the ASC, but even still doesn’t let the bike get out of control. Experienced riders will want the ASC off in these situations (and perhaps even ABS, so it’s good they’re controlled independently) to really cut loose, as I did, but there’s no ignoring that Enduro mode is an excellent option to have in a 525-pound dual-purpose motorcycle.

An optional chip from BMW will enable a fifth mode, Enduro Pro, that we journalists were able to exercise on a short but very technical off-road loop just before lunch on our long day of riding. Terrain varied from bumpy dual-track dirt roads to a difficult and awkwardly cambered slope of baseball-sized loose stones. The Enduro Pro mode allows for large powerslides and full locking of the rear wheel on descents, as well as channeling power to rear wheel much more directly. It wasn’t until I tried Enduro Pro that I realized how gentle the throttle response is in the standard Enduro setting.

Ergonomic changes include a lower seat and lower pegs, the latter being narrower as well. Most noticeable is how slender the bike is in the midsection. The new GS isn’t discernibly lighter than the 2012 model but it feels smaller under the rider, and with the classically wide bars is still shockingly nimble for such a large machine. One reason for the trim waistline is that with the intake ports on top of the cylinders there is much more room for legs, helpful when sliding around dirt corners or simply searching for comfort on a long trek.

German engineers on hand in South Africa were quick to say that the measuring stick used for the new R1200GS was, in fact, the old one. Simply because they felt it was already the best adventure-touring bike available. The goal for the new one, then, was to be the same but better. How much for all of this innovation? Pricing has yet to be announced. It’s likely the base GS will be close in price to the current bike—$16,150 with ABS but without ESA or ASC. As with the current bike, adding all the options will probably take you above $20K. Even a noteworthy bump to the price would be fair in my view, considering that the flagship GS is still as versatile and willing as ever, with more safety features and adventure capabilities than before.

2013 BMW R1200GS pricing update here: http://bit.ly/UJU5OZ

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