BMW R1200 GS 2015 Touring Motorcycle
BMW R1200 GS 2015 motorcycle is mainly designed for more urban environment and relative good tarmac roads. Basically due to an average size fuel tank and a set of cast aluminium wheels among other details. The level of sophistication and functionality is one of the highest. The GS has excellent rider ergonomics and adjustability which is essential comfort factor for long distance touring. The bike is able to carry a significant payload with ease and performance which makes it comfortable to ride with a passenger and the luggage. No wonder why the GS is so popular. Never the less the BMW R1200 GS 2015 is a competitive choice to start building an allroad touring motorcycle and experienced riders could take the bike even into demanding conditions. The factory offers 4 equipment packages called Dynamic, Touring, Comfort and few Combinations of smaller partial packages which makes the OE offering rather versatile. The BMW R1200 GS 2015 rider could tune up the bike completely with the factory parts, but the accessory market is also full of interesting options and the GS rider benefits from a vast selection.
The BMW R1200 GS 2015 is from it`s nature very comfortable and linear to ride which makes the GS easy to adopt and an excellent everyday bike. The GS stands out with an industry leading MC technology and a versatile electronic rider assistance. A twin boxer delivers a sensible amount of power even for an experienced rider. It makes handling more controllable, especially in demanding conditions and an electronic stability control system ASC with an offroad capable ABS, supports the ride on every surface even further. The BMW R1200 GS 2015 is simply very competitive dual sport touring motorcycle with enormous potential and adaptability for personal preferences.
BMW R1200 GS 2015 Features
The BMW R1200 GS 2015 model has already two year behind it and now the GS comes with few updates and new accessories. A slightly heavier crank shaft smoothens the nature of the twin boxer, enhancing the throttle control. Color schemes have been updated and the GS rider could switch up to a keyless ignition which seems popular in the auto industry. The fuel cap would be also controlled electronically. I am not as comfortable with the idea, but it`s not usually any problem in the urban environment. On the other hand, when exploring the outback, running out of special batteries with the keyless remote in the pocket, would be rather annoying. Never the less, the key is necessary with the saddle compartment and the aluminium panniers.
The BMW R1200 GS 2015 main frame, Telelever and the Paralever front wheel suspension are unique and very competitive solution on the road. The GS suspension supports the weight much better than the competition when braking more efficiently. The handlebar is not diving in which gives more control and confidence to the front end. The new generation liquid and air cooled twin boxer provides more than enough power for every situation. Too much power makes riding only more difficult, although the ability to control and dose the power delivery is everything. The BMW R1200 GS 2015 boxer is ride by wire throttled which means that the electronic cruise control is optional accessory. I find the cruise control as a very basic touring bike feature which should be a STD accessory.
The BMW R1200 GS 2015 comes as STD with cast aluminium wheels (19/17in) and since they are harder and less flexible than the cross spoked rims, I would recommend to stay mainly on the tarmac and well maintained gravel & dirt roads. The true nature of the GS is simply much more than that and I would hate to limit the potential with the cast aluminium wheels. Although there are plenty of countries without the gravel roads and using the GS frequently in everyday riding, of course supports the use of the lighter and maintenance free aluminium wheels. Never the less, the cross spoked rims are more versatile and comfortable in use. They work as a part of the suspension and a balancing force due to the higher rotational mass.
The BMW R1200 GS 2015 windscreen is quick adjustable with a right side turn knob. An experienced rider could adjust the screen even while riding. The windshield itself is relative short, but it can be lifted with the adjustment mechanism rather high. The tallest GS riders need a taller touring windscreen, perhaps even with a spoiler. Since proper aerodynamics are important, I would also recommend to take the side deflectors in the same package. The basic BMW R1200 GS 2015 model and the younger brother BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 have the same windscreen attachment and they are able to share parts. Never the less, there are also accessory manufacturers providing taller windshields. Check out the TOURATECH 44 cm / 17.3 inch touring windscreen.
The BMW R1200 GS 2015 comes with a wet clutch and anti-hopping features, but the previous generation dry plates gave better feel to the clutch and more accurate control. Fortunately there are also shifters which could be installed and even the factory has a Gear Shift Assist PRO in the accessory list. The shifter allows to change gears without using the clutch lever. This is very useful when riding on standing posture or when twisting everything out of the bike without dropping the REVS in between. The BMW R1200 GS 2015 halogen headlights could be switched to full LED headlights with daytime running light DRL feature. One small and simple, but very functional improvement is the rear wheel mudguard which protects the rider`s feet, the rear suspension unit, the tool case bellow the seat and the battery. Earlier the dirt found the way everywhere. When riding on wet dirt roads and trails, the GS rider can appreciate such details and smaller improvements too.
The BMW R1200 GS 2015 ABS and the ASC can be put in OFF mode, but they will both automatically return to ON mode after each engine start which can be annoying when riding offroad all day long. Therefore an Enduro PRO plugin for 3 additional riding modes becomes rather useful for experienced riders at least. The socket is below the rider seat covered with a sealing cap. Note that the ASC like any other traction control system requires appropriate air pressure in both tyres in order to monitor wheel spin differences. An imbalance leads to functional failures. The accessory tyre pressure monitoring system RDC helps to follow the situation and react on time. The RDC readings are air temperature corrected and differ from the readings at the GAS stations, but the gap to the target pressure is never the less always the same. The tyre pressure management in the urban environment is hardly any problem, but once the GS rider wants to increase the grip for loose surfaces by reducing the tyre pressure, it becomes more demanding. The key BMW R1200 GS 2015 features are:
- Seat height 850 / 870mm. or 33.5 / 34.3in.
- Cast aluminium wheels
- Tyres 120/70 R19 and rear 170/60 – 17
- Engine type twin boxer
- Max performance 125HP and 125Nm. or 92.2ft-lb.
- Alternator 580W
- 12V cockpit power outlet
- Onboard computer (basic)
- Electronic immobiliser system EWS
- Shaft driven
- ABS partly integrated (off switchable)
- Weight fueled 238kgs or 525 lbs.
- Payload 212kgs or 467 lbs.
- Fuel tank 20L, 5.3USgal., 4.4UKgal. (min. 91RON – 87AKI)
BMW R1200 GS 2015 Riding Modes
The BMW R1200 GS 2015 comes with 2 STD riding modes, the RAIN and the ROAD mode which can be easily controlled with the right hand button on the grip. The modes run in a loop and changes can be made while riding. In order to master such a heavy and powerful touring bike on various surfaces and conditions, electronic assistance may very well be necessary. As optional extra the factory offers additional 3 riding modes. The GS riding modes work with the engine torque, throttle response, ABS and the automatic stability control settings. Even the optional suspension system Dynamic ESA is integrated in the system. This may be the most advanced riding aid integration on the market and the factory has be able to put it in a rather simple package from the GS rider`s point of view, but personally I prefer keeping things more simple.
I am not very keen on playing with the electronic settings when conditions change along the ride. I would be happy to take control of the traction and the stability manually. Being fully in charge is very important for a lot of riders and being able to set the electronic aid in OFF mode on a long term bases, has been often made difficult. I hope the industry does not force to use these systems and would offer them as an option. Even when the bike is equipped with such a system, the rider should be able to disengage the aid until the rider decides otherwise and not until the next engine start. Conventional warning lights in the dash and onboard computer text messages on the display should be quite enough to remind the rider about the aid status.
When riding in rain or slippery conditions, the BMW R1200 GS 2015 RAIN mode provides a soft dosage and response to support the rider`s actions. Also the automatic stability control ASC responds more readily and earlier than in the ROAD mode and the suspension system Dynamic ESA performs softer. In the ROAD mode, the control system is set to ensure optimal performance providing a spontaneous, linear throttle response with a homogeneous torque build up. The BMW R1200 GS 2015 DYNAMIC mode is the sportiest mode for road riding with even more spontaneous and direct throttle response, more restrained stability control intervention and harder suspension damping. The traction control allows minimal wheel spin and drifting.
The BMW R1200 GS 2015 ENDURO mode is designed for offroad riding with normal street tyres, giving a soft throttle response, restrained stability control intervention, optimum brake distribution and ABS control in conjunction with the high traction setup. The setting helps riders with less offroad experience to get familiar with the handling. From the functionality and the safety point of view, the factory warmly recommends to use at least the Enduro mode for offroad conditions. For more ambitious and experienced touring enduro riders, the ENDURO Pro mode provides a spontaneous engine response. At the same time, the ABS can be disengaged at the rear tyre by pressing the footbrake lever. The suspension system Dynamic ESA shifts into traction oriented and tighter setup. The stability control ASC is set to professional enduro mode and permits considerably more slipping. The BMW R1200 GS 2015 ENDURO Pro mode is designed to be used with knobby offroad tyres. By disengaging both the ASC and the ABS, the GS rider can take a full control.
BMW R1200 GS 2015 Instrumentation
The BMW R1200 GS 2015 has a rather modern instrumentation, multifunction display and one of the best controls. The combination of an analogue speedo, tachometer, traditional set of warning lights and a digital LCD displays is not the best or the most modern setup on the market, but never the less informative. The LCD has not changed a lot, but it`s properly organized from the readability point of view. The standard GS has a basic onboard computer with more limited options and the PRO version offers individual display settings and a unique integration with the BMW navigator. The integration brings along e.g. automatic time update on the LCD display when crossing a time zone which should be today a STD feature for any touring MC. The key BMW R1200 GS 2015 basic onboard computer features are:
- Trip 1 & 2
- Fuel level
- Fuel range
- Average fuel consumption 1&2
- Average speed
- Gear in use
- Time & date
- Air temperature
- Engine temperature
- Oil level
- Riding mode in use
- ESA settings (optional)
- Tyre pressure monitoring (optional)
- Daytime running light setup (optional)
- ECO upshift indicator
- Grip heater setup
- Service distance countdown & date
- Ice warning indicator
- Backlight brightness
This level of information is more than adequate for touring, but the PRO features would be rather interesting especially when choosing the BMW Motorrad Navigator on the accessory list. The setup may be the most advanced so far, but I could easily think of few more. The additional BMW R1200 GS 2015 onboard computer PRO features are:
- Custom display setups
- Automatic tripmeter
- Current fuel consumption
- Current speed
- Battery voltage
- GPS date & time (optional)
The BMW R1200 GS 2015 central vehicle electronics are operated mainly with the left hand control buttons. Main functions such as the trip computer, ABS, ASC, Dynamic ESA suspension and the riding modes are operated with separate buttons that are large and easy to find with gloves on. The setting menu runs in a loop and changes can be done with a simple choose and hold logic. A unique 2D Multi Controller switch is used to operate the BMW Motorrad Navigator. The controller allows safer and convenient operations without looking at the controller, searching any buttons or removing the hand from the grip. The competition could learn a lot from the BMW controls.
BMW R1200 GS 2015 Equipment Accessory
A wide selection of factory accessory and equipment package versions allow to tune up the BMW R1200 GS 2015 for very versatile scenarios and personal preferences. The factory packages offer some of the parts that are relevant for touring requirements. Personally I would go with the basic GS and check from the OE accessory list few must have items such as the cruise control, grip heaters and PRO onboard computer. Then I would proceed with the equipment producers and complete the GS according to my preferences. Basically I would try to keep things very simple and the weight as low as possible in order to stay as agile as possible. For shorter BMW R1200 GS 2015 riders the factory offers an optional rider seat and lower suspension down to 790 / 810mm. or 31.3 / 31.9in.
Several equipment providers continue from there on and there is basically everything the BMW R1200 GS 2015 rider could think of. By choosing allroad tyres, the GS -rider could utilize well maintained gravel & dirt roads, but without cross spoked rims, I would not plan to ride the poorest end of roads or trails. There are plenty of equipment and accessory to turn the basic GS for serious allroad touring, but if that is the grand plan, I recommend to choose the brother version BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 instead which is actually designed for that.
BMW R1200 GS 2015 Comparison
Compared to the younger brother GSA model, the basic BMW R1200 GS 2015 has a lot similarities, but also few differences. The basic GS is 22kgs (48.5lbs) lighter, provides 70W more alternator capacity, but 8kgs (17.6lbs) less payload and 10L (2.64US gal./ 2.2UKgal.) less fuel capacity. The GS has rigid cast aluminium wheels instead of more flexible cross spoked rims. A shorter windscreen and a slightly narrower waist line offers slightly less wind protection and there are no side deflectors either. Both are essential factors from the touring comfort point of view. The GS suspension travel offers 20 mm. less ground clearance which means 40/20 mm. lower seat height and slightly less offroad emphasis. Also 1 degree calmer steering head angle puts a little bit more weight on urban touring, highways and everyday biking. On the other hand the BMW R1200 GS 2015 does not offer crash bars, hand guards, wider offroad foot pegs, quick adjustable footbrake lever as STD features. The basic GS is clearly designed mainly for very versatile everyday use and urban touring, but at the same time providing the chance to extend the routing preferences for more demanding conditions. Depending on the nature of preferred routing scenarios, one would either turn to the urban GS or the BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 model.
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