BMW bumps up the tech on its largest dual-sport motorcycle

When something is advertised as being dual-purpose, it usually comes with compromises, but that rule doesn’t apply to BMW’s largest dual-sport bike, the R2017 BMW R 1200 GS. BMW has been tweaking the R 1200 GS since its introduction in 2004 and that model and its slightly more off-road-focused brand mate, the R 1200 GS Adventure (GSA), have been the Bavarian company’s best-selling models each year since and including 2012.

Some people buy dual-sport bikes thinking they might venture off road once in a while, but mostly stick to the pavement. You could just stick to streets with the R 1200 GS, but you’d miss out on its capable off-road performance.

Big, comfortable, heavy, and powerful, the R 1200 GS can take you anywhere you want to go, but you will need good off-road skills. And that’s no joke. Learning only the basic off-road riding skills necessary to stay upright on a tall bike that weighs 538 pounds fully fueled and is powered by a 125 horsepower motor is a bad idea. If you have the off-road skills and the confidence that comes with them, however, the R 1200 GS’s fans and sales numbers show that you won’t be disappointed when you hit the trail.

The R 1200 GS’s twin-cylinder boxer 1,170 cc engine delivers 92 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm and 125hp at 7,500 rpm. The bike’s six-speed transmission and shaft drive have proven their reliability over the years. BMW uses a combination of liquid and air cooling, electronic fuel injection, and ride-by-wire throttle control. Top speed is 125 mph.

New for this year is a button-controlled Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) atht lets the rider choose the ride characteristics. The standard ride modes are Rain and Road. If you go for the Optional Ride Mode Pro, you can add Enduro and Dynamic modes for more granular control. Automatic stability control is standard, as are Hill Start Control, and Dynamic Traction Control. That last mode is impressive in that it automatically adjusts the bike’s traction based on its lean angle and other suspension dynamics.

ABS (automatic braking system) is standard and controls the braking pressure so neither the 19-inch front tire or 17-inch rear wheel will break loose. You can turn off the ABS if you wish for a little more adventure off road — but that’s not recommended if you’re not experienced in the dirt.

The R 1200 GS comes standard with cruise control, heated hand grips, a small fairing and windshield, and saddle bag mounts, but no bags. The seat height is adjustable from 33.5-inches to 34.3-inches. That’s pretty high with a lot of bike to get your legs around so you can place both feet flat on the ground. With factory options and suspension adjustments, you can get the seat height as low as 31.5-inches and as high as 35.1-inches.

The 2017 BMW R 1200 GS starts at $16,695. The R 1200 GS Adventure adds a larger gas tank (7.9 gallons compared to a 5.3-gallon tank for the GS), a greater front rake angle, longer front suspension travel, and rims and knobby tires that favor off-road more than the tires of the GS, which are more suitable for the street. The GS Adventure’s starting price is $18,695.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robo sidekicks, AC for your bed, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Product Review

The 2019 Audi RS 5 Sportback lets you have your 444-hp cake and eat it, too

Audi expanded the RS 5 family with a high-performance sedan named Sportback. It stands out from rivals like the BMW M3 with a shapely fastback-like silhouette, and it surfs the downsizing wave with a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 in lieu…
Product Review

2019 Chevrolet Silverado is the biggest and best Silverado ever

There’s a lot to tell in our 2019 Chevrolet Silverado first drive review, from new engine options, new chassis and suspension design, new bed and tailgate features, new trailering tools, and new trim levels. Dive in and learn.
Cars

Apple Car may make its debut in the middle of the next decade

Apple likely won't become a full-fledged manufacturer like General Motors or Ford, but the tech giant is diving into the auto industry pool. Here's everything we know about the company's automotive efforts.
Cars

Live out your Steve McQueen fantasies with this souped-up Ford Mustang Bullitt

Ford tuner Steeda teamed up with Chad McQueen, son of Steve McQueen to create the ultimate 'Bullitt' tribute car. It's an upgraded version of the recently launched 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt.
Cars

Volvo leverages the power of software to build more dynamic cars

Volvo has asked sister company Polestar to make its cars more dynamic to drive through a software update. Offered at an extra cost, the AWD optimization upgrade sends more power to the rear wheels when the driver turns on dynamic mode.
Cars

From Rolls-Royce to Lamborghini, these are the most expensive cars in the world

If you recently discovered an oil reserve in your backyard, you probably have some extra cash to spend. Look no further, because we’ve rounded up the most expensive cars in the world.
Emerging Tech

This robot arm could soon recharge your electric car, no driver effort required

Researchers in Austria have developed a smart robotic charger that can automatically plug itself into any electric vehicle, no driver effort required whatsoever. What could be simpler?
Cars

Can BMW’s rebooted 3 Series regain gold standard for sport sedans?

The BMW 3 Series lost its way in 2012; once the gold standard in the sport sedan segment, it disappointed by not living up to BMW's promise of delivering the ultimate driving machine. Can the new model right those wrongs?
Cars

Learn how Ford trains the test drivers who develop its hottest performance cars

Out of 11,000 Ford test drivers, only about 20 have achieved the elite "tier-four" status that qualifies them to work on performance cars. Here's how those drivers earn their stripes.
Cars

Sporty electrified Infiniti Prototype 10 concept headed to Pebble Beach

Infiniti will unveil a new concept car at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The Nissan luxury brand won't say much, but promises an electrified powertrain and an emphasis on performance.
Cars

Ford’s Mustang Cobra Jet strikes as quickly as its venomous namesake

The 2018 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet is a purpose-built drag racer that will run the quarter mile in around eight seconds, according to Ford. It will be as rare as it is quick, with just 68 cars planned.
Product Review

Grins come standard: Mazda's 2019 MX-5 Miata will plaster a smile on your face

We take Mazda’s updated 2019 MX-5 Miata on a road trip from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco to experience the updates. With a revised engine and more power, the already awesome Miata gets even better.