THE Gold standard

2 0 1 2 BMW R 1 2 0 0 G S versus 2 0 1 3 R 1 2 0 0 G S

«Shocked at the difference!”

“Amazed a bike can improve so much in one year.”

“As different as two bikes with the same name could possibly be.”

Test Ride participants had the opportunity to ride the 2012 and ’13 GS models back to back, and the results were dramatic. Tough they still look similar in silhouette and even on the spec sheet, BMW’s all-new R1200GS couldn’t be more different than the bike that it replaces, as the testers’ comments above suggest.

Differences are obvious as soon as start-up. Whacking the throttle no longer causes the new bike to jump right, thanks to the lighter crank, the more compact, multiplate wet clutch, relocated (to the left) shaft drive, and myriad other design changes. And, thanks to the Dynamic ESA that dramatically improves chassis stability, the bike no longer squats and bucks under hard acceleration or pitches under heavy braking—good because the now-radial-mounted Brembos are stunningly strong, with revised ABS that’s much less coarse.

The water-cooled Boxer engine now emits an addictive bark when revved, and absolutely rockets forward on the gas with a speed and smoothness unimaginable from the tractor-like old bike. The new clutch is lighter and the relocated gearbox is smoother too, and the slipper clutch further enhances stability when banging down gears. All this, plus normalized turn signal switches, too? What more could you ask for?

There’s good reason the GS is BMW’s best-selling model, and why nearly every group of motorcycles we passed in the Alps—and there were a lot—contained at least one GS. This is the bike that defines two-wheeled adventuring. Now that it’s better than ever before, don’t expect either of those two facts to change anytime soon.

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