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.

2019 R1250GS on field by stream.
The 2019 R1250GS starts at $17,695.Julia LaPalme

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.

2019 BMW R1250GS rider looking over landscape.
A crisp color display adorns the 2019 R1250GS. Rather than touchscreen, it uses BMW’s handlebar-mounted multi-wheel joystick to manipulate the functions.Julia LaPalme

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.

2019 BMW R1250GS riding down road.
Five hundred-plus-pound adventure bikes shouldn’t handle as well as BMW’s R1250GS, however it does.Julia LaPalme

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.

2019 BMW R1250GS riding on road past mountain.
The Swiss army knife of motorcycling. BMW’s R1250GS not only conquers but is highly comfortable to ride in almost any conditions.Julia LaPalme

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.

Biker lifting 2019 BMW R1250GS in front of mountains.
Although the OE-fitted Michelin Anakee 3 tires work in most conditions, when the going gets tough you’re going to want to shoe on tires with sharper (and deeper) knobs.Julia LaPalme

Editor's Note: Our review of the BMW R1250 GS was performed on Michelin Anakee III tires (Michelin’s "90/10" tire—90 percent street, 10 percent off-road), which came on early production models. Michelin reports that all bikes manufactured after January 2019 fitted with Michelin tires will be Anakee Adventure tires, its new 80/20 dual-compound tire homologated for the new BMW model. Alternatively, riders can fit their new BMW R1250 GS bike with Michelin Anakee Wild tires, a 50/50 knobby radial tire, or Michelin Road 5 Trail tires for purely on-road use.

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.

2019 BMW R1250GS riding past green mountain.
On or off road, the BMW glides over terrain delivering a regal ride like few others in its class.Julia LaPalme

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.

2019 BMW R1250GS covered in dirt.
Crashbars are standard on the R1250GS. This helps mitigate damage during small tip-overs.Julia LaPalme

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.

2019 BMW R1250GS riding on dirt road in valley between mountains.
BMW’s R1250GS opens up the world. Whether commuting to work or getting away for a weekend exploratory trip, this German-made bike truly does it all.Julia LaPalme

Technical Specifications

PRICE $17,695 (starting)
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
RAKE/TRAIL 25.5°/3.9 in.
WHEELBASE 59.7 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 35.8 in.
2019 BMW R1250GS LED lighting.
LED lighting is another standard feature on the R1250GS. It performs well after dark and when riding in foggy conditions.Julia LaPalme
2019 BMW R1250GS front in dirt.
Over the years, the BMW’s ergonomics have been honed to near perfection. This is a comfortable motorcycle to operate whether standing or sitting.Julia LaPalme
2019 BMW R1250GS riding on road.
The calibration of the R1250GS electronics is better than ever. This allows you to ride the motorcycle harder than you think you can in the wet, as well as other traction-limited surfaces.Julia LaPalme
2019 BMW R1250GS back wheel kicking up dirt.
We’re big fans of the improved functionality of the Enduro Pro off-road riding setting. It allows a degree of wheelspin to help maneuver the bike in tight corridors.Julia LaPalme
2019 BMW R1250GS on road in front of green mountain.
Just when you thought BMW’s GS adventure bike couldn’t get any smoother, it does. The Shift Cam system offers riders the best of both worlds with seamless exchange between low- and high-speed cams.Julia LaPalme
2019 BMW R1250GS radial-mount brakes.
Radial-mount brakes adorn the 2019 R1250GS. Stopping performance is strong on the road, without being overpowering off-highway.Julia LaPalme
2019 BMW R1250GS riding on road through field.
BMW’s do-it-all R1250GS is smoother, more powerful, and, most importantly, more versatile than ever before.Julia LaPalme
2019 BMW R1250GS riding through field of flowers.
If there was only one motorcycle you could ride/own for the rest of your life, the 2019 R1250GS would be near the top of our list.Julia LaPalme
2019 BMW R1250GS dash display.
The dash display is loaded with information and is easy to manipulate via the handlebar-mounted switch gear.Julia LaPalme
2019 BMW R1250GS in the desert.
Go anywhere, see everything—that’s the motto for the 2019 R1250GS from BMW.Julia LaPalme