In our series of used motorcycle tests, a classic is due today: the BMW R 1150 GS. The bike has provided us a visitor, it is in absolute best condition. This GS series was built between 1999 and 2003 – what can it still do today?
In fact, there are people who think a BMW GS is a motorcycle. Of course, there are indications that point the unneeded motor mobileist in this direction, the motor as such or the two inline wheels, for example. Nevertheless, this presumption does not do justice to the true core of a GS, because the BMW is a good buddy. One who never lets you down and walks through thick and thin at your side, in good times as well as in bad times. And if the end of the world is the goal, the GS will take you there.
This may be reassuring, but for some pilots it has a negative impact on self-confidence. BMW improved the GS with the years and series to such an extent that it objectively represented the most talented adventure bike in their time. In other words, if something goes wrong, it's more down to the rider than the bike.
Our test object comes from the four-valve series, which was built between 1999 and 2003. It is the adventure version, which has a whopping 30-litre tank. It also features a windshield, fender widening, engine protection, steel flex brake lines, hand protectors, longer spring travel and fog lights. The end of the world can thus be up to 650 kilometres away without refuelling. The GS can look back on famous ancestors, as they were several times among the winners of the Paris-Dakar Rally. And "ours" even came to lasting fame as a movie star, because in the ten-part documentary "The Long Way Round" Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman drove on this BMW in 115 days and 30,395 km around the world in 2004.
This GS for off-road is powered by an 85 hp boxer engine, the maximum torque of 98 Nm is at a speed of 5250 rpm. The motorcycle can use the pressure from below well, and not only in off-road. The massive bike actually weighs a high 287 kilos ready to drive. The GS driver should not only be powerful, but should be at least 180 centimetres long. Although there is a lower bench with a seat height of 860 millimeters, it is 900 millimeters as standard.
Enough of the theory, we go off and off.
Out of breath? Then the GS was not such that it was easy to start driving without sweat-inducing manoeuvring. Otherwise, however, the GS Adventure hardly poses any puzzles for the BMW newcomer. The boxer shakes quite amicably at the start, a trait that was later largely modeled away. Here and now, however, it briefly jerks through the whole moped and makes it clear that it can start now.
The typical boxer sound penetrates our ear canals and triggers feelings of happiness in the adjacent brain. Yes, that's what a BMW must sound like. The start-up is possible without jerking and twitching, even if there was no anti-hopping clutch at that time. The gimbal will certainly swallow power, but destroys anything that would somehow remind of load changes. Despite the high combat weight, things are moving fast: in 4.3 seconds, the speedometer would display the magic 100 km/h sound barrier, which is not so slow for the heavy trunk. However, this value remains theoretical, because for the brisk curve hatz or anything else that is associated with "flott", it is simply not built. In addition to the adventure, the additional weight of the large tank is quite high, which is not exactly conducive to the driving dynamics.
Mile-eating is more like it. The excellent comfort, complemented by the long-distance bench and the good wind protection ensure relaxed yet fast travel stages. The high weight is constantly present, by the way it ensures a very good driving comfort. The Sucius is also well served, there is space for it in abundance.
The brakes are good and up to date. Even a standard ABS provides the extra dose of safety you would expect from a BMW.
MW driving has never been a particularly cheap pleasure. Although many specimens are around 20 years old and have collected correspondingly many kilometers, these GS are still not a bargain. It must be at least 5,000 euros, top-maintained specimens like our test bike like to scratch at the five-digit. You can understand this: The BMW R 1150 GS, if you don't catch a rocked-out model, is an almost ideal companion for the very big tour.
If you can do without cornering and agility, the GS is the ideal travel moped, where the road can be three steps below perfect.
As I said, a buddy for the good and the bad days.