Introduced for 2013 on the R 1200 GS, the latest version of BMW’s air/liquid-cooled boxer twin powers two updated 2014 models, the R 1200 RT sport tourer (Rider, July 2014) and the third-generation R 1200 GS Adventure. The 1,170cc, DOHC opposed flat twin uses precision liquid cooling around the cylinder heads and valves, and small radiators are now tucked inside the fairing (air accounts for about 65 percent of total cooling). The 6-speed transmission and wet slipper clutch are housed inside the engine case, and final drive is via shaft.
Both the RT and GSA benefit from 2.1 additional pounds of crankshaft mass, which greatly improves throttle response and low-rpm tractability. Due to the steeper swingarm angle resulting from its extra-tall suspension (8.3/8.7 inches of front/rear travel, 0.8-inch more than the standard GS), the GSA’s drive shaft has a load-reversal vibration damper. To further compensate for its long legs, the GSA has a steering damper, sharper steering geometry, a slightly longer wheelbase and a longer swingarm than the standard GS. Compared to the previous GSA, ground clearance is up from 7.9 to 8.5 inches, but fuel capacity is down from 8.7 to 7.9 gallons. Further setting the Adventure apart from the standard GS are a larger windscreen with side deflectors, high air intakes with protective grills, an extended beak, crash protection, enduro footpegs and a dual-height rear brake pedal. Cross-spoke black wheels are shod with tubeless dual-sport tires.
The base model GSA ($18,200) is equipped with two riding modes (Road and Rain), ABS, traction control, crash guards, a skid plate and more. Our test bike includes the premium package ($21,550), which adds Dynamic ESA, more riding modes (Dynamic, Enduro and Enduro Pro), cruise control, an upgraded onboard computer, GPS preparation, saddlebag mounts, heated grips, a tire pressure monitor and LED lights. Adding saddlebags ($547 each, plus $95.66 for lock sets per bag) brings the grand total to $22,835.
This article was part of a motorcycle comparison titled Tough Trio, which was published in the August 2014 issue of Rider magazine, along with test articles on each of three three motorcycles. You can read the main comparison article HERE. And you can find all the individual reviews here:
* 2014 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure
* 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure
* 2014 Yamaha Super Ténéré ES