Germany's favourite, the queen of registration statistics aka BMW 1250 GS, has a sister to which we have so far paid too little attention: the Adventure version. Ups. Is it possible that the already good BMW GS will be even better for a surcharge of 1,500 euros? A third of GS buyers order this option, we will clarify this in the test.
A lot has already been written about the nature of the BMW GS, and of course we have also written a test about the customer of Bavaria. Short summary: great bike. Almost perfect. This applies if you are willing (and able) to cope with around 20,000 euros of new prices and are also physically equipped to reach the bench without a step ladder. This also applies to the Adventure version, which offers an adjustable seat height, which is still at least 890 millimeters.
In addition to a modified chassis geometry for better handling, the Adventure version also includes additional equipment. These increase the weight of the already not exactly slim GS by 20 kilos to around 270 kilos. In addition to other cladding parts, the equipment includes sensible things such as the motor protection or well thought-out, two-piece footrests.
Long-distance travellers will also enjoy the 30-litre tank. So all paletti? Well, our test team is divided here. While some find everything super and meaningful, the author of these lines is rather divided. After all, this is not a question of whether the GS is a good motorcycle – by all objective criteria it is.
But as an adventure? Refuelling is annoying, already clear. Pit stops can meaningfully divide a longer stage. With its 30-litre barrel, the Adventure manages a good 600 kilometres at a time, according to factory data – but do you need that? Who drives 600 kilometres without stopping? Another question is whether there is even a tank in the desert. Then the giant tank is not a comfort feature, but a survival feature. A glance into the underphate of our test bike revealed a pure road tyres. Thus, the vast majority of all adventures are delivered, the optional off-road tyres are ordered by almost no one.
And so we have reached the heart of this question: in fact, only a tiny proportion of customers will go into the field with the GS. At 270 kilos, it is simply too heavy and too complicated thanks to its extensive electronic equipment.
If there has ever been the African village blacksmith, who according to legend has brought countless Yamaha XT 500s back to work with simple tools, he would be overwhelmed with the BMW. This is how the adventures of most GS pilots take place in domestic areas, where they are at risk of losing the key of the Keyless Go system.
So just show? Not at all: The travel qualities of the BMW 1250 GS Adventure are legendary. Let's try it.
What is one of the much-quoted "travel qualities"? So: A very powerful motor that starts strong from every speed and runs low in vibration? Check, is on board. A chassis that does not miss long-distance comfort on a potentially long journey to the destination, but at the same time guarantees maximum driving pleasure in the corners? Check, is on board. If the normal adventure in the HP-Syle variant tested by us has a visually crisp but unfortunately quite small windshield in front of the driver, this can be fixed with the equipment package Sozius. Then, as with our test bike, there is the height-adjustable bench, which is extremely commod for the rear seat edging thanks to a separate seat cushion. According to the retailer, the vast majority of customers order this option.
The BMW is a very talented motorhome. The really amazing thing about the GS, however, is another circumstance: constructing a good bike can be done by many manufacturers. The GS, however, is of incredible versatility. One may not believe how agile and yes – once on the road – this trunk of motorcycle can be. No one will have anything to do with sportiness either.
The shift cam technology with the adjustable valve times guarantees a powerful two-cylinder boxer machine that always looks as if it actually can produce much more than 136 hp. Or the chassis: Always comfortable, it builds up a confidence in the driver from the first meter. Even with hard cornering, the GS miraculously transforms into a superbike on cloud 7.
All this also offers the normal GS. Also the extensive chassis with its complete programs and adjustment possibilities. Do you really need the additional equipment of the adventure? Certainly not, but you might want them. Our fully equipped copy put a lot of money on it at the list price of around 18,000 euros, so that no less than 23,000 euros would eventually be due. Aua.
In the end, however, it could also be argued that in these regions it is no longer important. So, with an additional price of 1,500 euros for the adventure, it remains ultimately a question of taste. And, as you know, everyone is responsible for that themselves.
The test bike was provided to us by Bergmann & Söhne in Pinneberg near Hamburg.
Connectivity-TFT / Mountain Start Assistance / "Rain" and "Road" / LED / ASC (traction)
Comfort (515€): Heating handles/RDC/chrome exhaust
Touring (€2,140): Dynamic ESA/Keyless Go/Tempomat/LED Position Lights/Navi Preparation/Case Holder
Dynamic (€1,040): Driving modes/QS/day LED blinker/DTC