Честный обзор BMW R 1250 GS
I travel a lot om different adventure bikes and this is review of BMW R 1250 GS. I tested two 1250s. First one is almost full stock on a regular suspension, other is on a semi-active suspension with a full range of premium options. I recommend that you first look at last review of 1200 GS - it explains in detail the points regarding suspensions of different versions, seat comfort, wind protection. The same information is relevant for updated GS, there is no point in repeating it. Here I will concentrate more on version changes, household details and comparison with competitors.
Let's go. In last video, I did not touch on subject of shaft drive and rear suspension in order to reduce review. Let's talk about Paralever today. This is an additional lever that runs parallel to swing arm with shaft drive.
Simplified, what is the principle of Paralever - an additional lever neutralizes some forces caused by shaft drive during acceleration - prevents rear suspension from extending and compressing too much. Swingarm with Paralever rotates in half and stabilizes rear suspension better. In theory, this is effect of a longer swingarm. First, Paralever is more about PR. It's like they say "gluten-free and GMO-free" on everything, as if everyone else is doing poison. For example, Tiger 1200 and Moto
Guzzi Stelvio use full Paralever counterparts - have you ever heard of this? Everyone has heard of Paralever, but, for example, even most owners of VFR1200 do not know that it uses more elegant technology with same effect. It has no pretentious name in Greek, just a VFR shaft drive. Honda has made a two-piece extension shaft in a closed swingarm housing without a bunch of unnecessary joints and the main disadvantage of Paralever. And that's all, they didn't even write in booklets. Who knows about this? No one, I could not even find animation to show you clearly. On normal adventure motorcycles, shaft drive is a blessing because it does not require frequent maintenance.
Change oil and go to travel, you don't need thinking about for a year or two. Not always optimal solution, because during transmission along chain, about 3% of power is lost, and through shaft drive, losses are about 25%. When we talk about 1200 monsters, you can afford it.
But things are not so simple on GS. Paralever requires a two-piece swingarm. Not only is it less robust than a monolithic swingarm. By the way, there was a recall on this issue last year at 1250 due to an error in lever attachment. In general, if engineers do not make mistakes and it is normal to tighten bolts with loctite, this is not a global problem. The main problem is that swingarm with Paralever has an actually open connection, closed by rubbers. Water gets in quite easily
through these rubber plugs and shaft drives on GSs rust easily. Of course, this is highly dependent on conditions. Riding in sunny Spain without rains and wiping a motorcycle with a rag, squinting from sun is one story, and another is throwing motorcycle into a metal garage for winter, riding on a Russian mud and hitting swingarm with all your foolishness with a karcher, knocking down pieces of bitumen. Rusty shaft drive on GS is a common sore, but of course not everyone has it. I didn’t have a coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I don’t know why BMW fans
stubbornly deny this, although explain the whole physics of process, and when you search for "rusty shaft drive of motorcycle" there will only be GSs with a million stories, photos and videos with rusty shaft drives. Either it was a worldwide flash mob of haters-photoshopers, or one of two things. In general, if you are not lazy, you can regularly look in, treat with silicone sealant, etc., some even did a drainage hole so that water goes away.
Just do not bring the node to a critical state when it falls apart on road. By the way, at request "broken motorcycle shaft drive", there will also be only GSs - oh, those photoshopers. Do you still want a GS, because it has shaft drive and you don't need to care? I looked at what wrote about Moto Guzzi Stelvio - there are also stories with rusty shafts. Interestingly, I did not find such information about Tigers; on forums, triumph fans discuss only rusty GSs shafts. But there should be such cases - construction with a parallelver itself has an inherent vulnerability. If you have met - drop a line
in comments. In theory, Triumph could have just tweaked rubber caps themselves so that there was less water leakage and problem wasn't as common. Go ahead. In fact, the only significant difference between 1250 and 1200 is revised engine.
If you erase all inscriptions on motorcycle, no one, except GS fans, will distinguish between these two models. In terms of capacity, engine has slightly grown by 7%, but the main innovation of BMW - ShiftCam variable valve timing technology - is a big step for BMW, a small step for humanity. Everything you need to know about ShiftCam is the same technology under different names on your Suzuki Bandit and CB400 from 90s. This is, of course, a joke, because old motorcycles had a very simple system. Although BMW took the old design as a basis, it pulled it up to modern counterparts. In short, the system allows at high speeds to provide more air flow and exhaust gas intake due to the use of two sets of cams, which open valves more-less and longer-shorter.
Revolutions - in this case, convention - in reality, in what conditions cams are switched is determined by computer. And principle of operation, in theory, can be changed simply by switching engine operating mode. For example, on early systems, cams were changed in first gears at some revolutions, in last gear at different revolutions, now can work with throttle, speed, selected engine mode, dynamics of motorcycle tilt, etc.
What is the point - without changing phases, each manufacturer can adjust only one behavior of engine - it will be effective at low speeds, at medium or high. With phase change system, with smooth use of handle or low revs, engine is economical and moderately high-torque without an obvious failure, as on high-revving engines, at an open hole or at high revs it switches to sport mode - increases traction at the top and becomes gluttonous. Two characters are combined in one engine.
Over time, systems have been modernized, the main trick here is to remove discreteness. There are many modern systems, smoothness of height changes and different valve opening times are achieved in different ways. What is disadvantage of simplest systems - before moment when cams change, there is a hole, when you already want more dynamics than motorcycle gives, after which cams change and an explosion occurs.
Hole and twitching annoy everyone, so modern systems try to achieve a smooth transition from one state to another. There are successful systems - for example, latest generations of Ducati engines are considered very smooth, where discretion is not felt at all. For BMW, in most cases, everything works fine and there is no failure - but only in Dynamic mode. Fat good lows, while motor is obedient, elastic. But in Road mode, there are no low revs, and every time you get under way at a traffic light, you twist handle - it's unpleasant.
Better to ride 1200 than Road. There is a nuance with this whole ShiftCam system, which is noticeable when riding in any European city with traffic lights, rings and smooth traffic. In this mode, no one opens throttle to the full extent, no one rides at rpm above 5000, as a result, there is no feeling of a powerful motorcycle - in the entire urban range, engine is too calm for its cubic capacity and you cannot feel the greatest torque in class. But this is all taste - someone loves low-revs motors, someone, on the contrary, low-enginges revs - there is no gold standard.
On serious faces, discussing the dynamics of adventure motorcycles with a power of 130 horsepower is a thankless task, they are all powerful. There is also an unobvious trick with torque - engines spin at different speeds, and there is also effect of air resistance on acceleration, for example. While GS spins up to 5,000 rpm, Ducati will already run into the cut-off, so in an ideal world you would have to compare acceleration to 100, 1/4 mile, etc., and there is no such data for all motorcycles. And the quality of open source data is poor. If you suddenly trust
such data, you will quickly find that new GS still accelerates slowly than KTM 1290 and old Multistrada 1200 - this is, for a minute, 3 generations ago. In my opinion, with modern influence of electronics, all these synthetic tests don't work. Where potential of 1250 is revealed - when you ride on full throttle on fast roads and can keep revs from 5000 - then you feel power and a fundamental difference from 1200. Accordingly, perception of
new engine strongly depends on manner and riding conditions. In conditions, as in the video, where there are rather narrow serpentines, and in order not to catch the oncoming cars, just in case you slow down. Revs drop and engine in next segment does not have time to fully open up to show its power.
It is still sufficient, by no means I can say that it is lacking, but the unbridled power that KTM or Ducati gives in same conditions is not. In my mode, if I hadn't looked at performance table, I would never have guessed that GS has the most-most torque. It rides well on typical Russian faster highways.
There is also a nuance that annoys a little on serpentines - quickshifter works hard for all GSs, more or less gently it works around 4500 rpm. Switching after 5000 is a hard kick, so you try to avoid switching on serpentines. It saves fact that GS rides well in conditions shown only in third gear without need to shift back and forth, but when a faster section appears, you will think 100 times before switching further.
For competitors, quickshifter works more elegantly. There is another problem - vibrations. It is worth noting: less than 1200. At 1200 for 5000 rpm it is completely unpleasant to wind up, at 1250 it is more tolerant, but still higher than level of competitors. From the point of view of rice bikes, it same.
At 3000-3500, slight itching in hands is insignificant, on a par with other motorcycles. At 3500-4000, it begins to hammer into footpegs with a plus - it's already noticeable, I even suspected absence of rubbers on footpegs - it's tolerable and won't be noticeable in serious boots. In range from 4000 to 5000 the most disgusting vibrations - think that are ridings on a washboard, but not, the engine just hits your ass and hands.
From 5000 vibrations merge into one porridge, so they even stop annoying, although they dry hands. If, for example, you ride in mountains with constant twisting of handle in a wide range - not so annoying. But if you go on highway in sixth gear with cruise control at a speed of 110 or 130 km/h, where revs are fixed, depending on speed, from 4000 to 4500 rpm, just - there is always an unpleasant itch. By the evening I was very tired precisely because of constant itching in arms and legs on all GSs after highway. Then my legs tingled in evenings.
Was cured only by Super Tenere-therapy. In urban traffic, revs is almost always lower and I have no complaints about vibrations in the city. Thanks to the introduction of ShiftCam, we have achieved better engine efficiency. On average, the difference with liquid
1200 for me was almost a liter per 100 km. On a highway with a cruise control of 125 km/h, consumption is about 6 l/100 km. It comes with standard windshield and without panniers. A bit too much,
but at least half a liter lower than 1200 GS. I didn't expect much economy, because aerodynamics at high speeds and GS are incompatible things. For example, Ducati 1260 eat 5.2 l/100 km in same conditions. But in mountains, where you ride 40-80 km/h and aerodynamics does not matter, new GS pleased with consumption in the range from 4.6 to 5.5, which is lower than most competitors, which eat about 5.5 liters in such conditions. What does this mean? The fact that on a thin GS a range of 360, or even 400 kilometers is quite real.
Already suitable for travel, in contrast to liquid 1200. And quite fine on Adventure version with a tank of 30 liters - in quiet mode you can stretch it for 600 km. For me, as a traveler, this is the most important thing why new GS is better than old.
Sound of the engine has become smoother - not Vivaldi, but after 1200 it does not bother anymore. The only complaint is loud. Ride in mountains and do not hear if someone is driving nearby. Premium version was equipped with a KessTech exhaust for 1750 euros with a button that controls damper - direct flow by pressing. Same things produced by Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde.
If you dream of something like that - this is a plus for GS, for other adventure bikes don't make such wild things. GS is so vibration-free that button sometimes spontaneously turned on, even when bike was standing and threshing at idle. It also happened on serpentines, when you open handle - vibrations increase and button itself turns on from vibrations. I began to understand where all these stories came from, that on iPhones stabilizer fails if phone mounted on handlebar. Brakes are not Brembo now, but Hayes (front).
If you do not take the story with recall of brake fluid leakage at 1250, then I did not notice any difference - smooth, as this motorcycle needs, lever is soft. In 1250, Dynamic Brake Control appeared as an option - I like this technology for not too experienced pilots on the latest BMWs. Even if you brake with a slightly open throttle, electronics will close throttle and when you release brake, it will smoothly return torque itself.
Such features are very important precisely on large motorcycles with crazy torque. The cost of a mistake is much higher - it is much easier to catch and fix something on a small motorcycle. Now basic version has become more chic. In stock, there is an LED headlight and a TFT screen. An optional cornering headlight was added for 2021.
KTM and Ducati have implemented it for a long time, but with additional LEDs - disadvantage is that on these bikes you carry a lot of extra light all the time, which you almost never need. At BMW, headlight unit floats when tilted, as has already been implemented on road tourers - the main advantage is that headlight can be more compact. I didn't ride a BMW at night, but everyone says the best light is on KTM and Ducati.
With a TFT screen, of course, there was also a branded BMW multi -wheel on handlebar. I have only one complaint about it - because of wheel, entire left remote control moved to the right by about 2 cm, it is inconvenient to use turn signal in some situations - for example, to show left turn with clutch clamped . I touched topic of BMW screens in mid-range reviews.
Screen itself is good - juicy, ergonomic, there are no problems with glare, etc. Now there is something to add, because context has changed. Firstly, almost all competitors have huge screens with flexible options for displaying settings. Even with completely outdated Super Tenere, you can choose which parameters to display. And in big class, BMW is already losing out to competitors because it uses a different concept. Air temperature is always displayed in corner and only 1 parameter remains to choose from - for example, either fuel consumption or fuel supply, but not at the same time. For other bikes,
you can choose what to show at the same time. The best solution was on previous generation KTM, where it was possible to display any 4 parameters simultaneously with simultaneous display of navigator tips and a full tachometer. BMW is now implementing on-screen map and should work in updated GS.
Nevertheless, right now, on Multistrada V4, navigation map works almost in full screen and its plus is that it is not tied to a proprietary map. BMW's own navigation is unpretentious - I talked about this in video about 750 GS. Otherwise, the convenience is good. BMW has a slightly different approach to riding. Firstly, there is no need to go into menu, each function is configured with separate buttons on handlebar. On KTM, it is annoying that you need to go into menu and adjust each parameter, which is why you cannot click modes normally on the road. On BMW, when you change engine mode, suspension mode immediately changes if you forked out for semi-active version. On the other hand, there is nothing to
customize on a BMW - as it is sewn by manufacturer, so go for a ride. For me, ideal system on Ducati, when you preset all modes to your liking, including any parameters from a huge list of options, including display style, etc. It is convenient to jump back and forth between modes, and you can clearly adjust behavior of motorcycle for yourself .
I'll tell a little about options - there are subtle nuances. There is nothing in stock, but that's understandable. The most annoying thing is that there is no Dynamic mode in basic version, only Road and Rain.
You buy a motorcycle, and it cannot go to its cubic capacity until you buy an option. Cruise control is the most important option on GS due to handlebar's vibration. Cruise control logic works well on mid-size BMW models, here when you set petal to +10 km/h, it jerks slightly.
It doesn't matter at all, I just want to show you so that you know in what little things cruise controls differ from each other. The coolest in class for KTM - when you set speed - it keeps both in hill and downhill, and does not float, like the others, and a gradual increase-decrease in speed works as it should. Since 2021, all the en masse active cruise control has been introduced, but in my opinion this pampering and makes sense only when traveling in a group. Heated handles are two-level. It bakes well - better than most motorcycle manufacturers, but I would like an even weak setting - half roast rate than in first mode.
What we are talking about - I, for example, set the lowest heating power when hands do not need to be warmed up yet, but simply do not allow cooling. But the most beneficial use is to simply dry gloves in the rain, when it is generally not cold. Trunks. A feature of branded plastic trunks in a telescopic system - both in top box and side panniers. Panniers is inconvenient due to side loading.
And telescope is needed more in the city, when you push between lanes. Topcase is good if the volume suits you. For example, branded topcase on small town NC is larger than case on GS.
I like more bigger trunks so that I can travel for a week or two without side panniers. Folding center box is only necessary to improve aerodynamics on highway. GS has such aerodynamics, due to protruding cylinders and all kinds of crash bars, that topcase does not have any effect. In any case, I do not see the difference between unfolded and folded versions.
There is a more important convenience that most luggage manufacturers ignore - you can safely close your trunks and open them without a key. Trunk will not open itself on the road, you need to additionally press the latch. With same principle from famous Touratech trunks.
If we take popular ones, for example, Givi - both plastic and aluminum, they cannot be fully closed without a key. More precisely, without a key, there is a risk of spontaneous opening on highway. Keyless is convenient in the city, but most of all convenient when traveling, especially with a passenger. When you stop, you don't have to get key back and forth. Moreover, 1200 class has a
keyless system that is in your pocket - modern standard. And now a heading of comparison with other motorcycles based on the most popular Youtube queries. Also ask about Tiger - but have not had time to travel yet.
1250 GS or 1250 GS Adventure. Definitely Adventure if it fits your height. Wind protection is better, power reserve is chic. Yes, weight is already more, but this is due, in fact, to fuel, crash bars and spoked wheels - everything that needs to be set anyway.
If not for travel, but for a ride around the city or some completely civilized small trips - can be thin. Only Adventure should be taken with semi-active suspension. Stock long-stroke runs worse than short-stroke - BMW magic disappears. BMW 850 GS. Once I heard phrase: "Who would choose 850 GS if 1250 GS cost the same?" I would choose because it is a more versatile bike.
Firstly, 850 GS is lighter and has full long-travel suspensions with 21" wheel - naturally, there are much more opportunities on bad roads and you can already comfortably mix mud with guys on KTM. Secondly, it's a pretty comfortable travel bike. For example, vibrations are less than on a large GS. Wind protection is not as developed as on large GS, especially Adventure, but with good windshield and a saddle on 850 GS, it is comfortable to travel for months without any compromises - there is no longer any fundamental difference.
Not too wide - good for city, more economical in most situations. Dynamics are simpler, but enough for a quiet ride. In conventional range of up to 100 km/h, it is not important. To ride more than 150 - then 1250, there are different dynamics, and stability on the road. The main thing where 850 GS is significantly worse is handling. BMW puts an unregulated soft fork with a huge travel on mid-size bikes - of course, these are constant dives. Riding in a straight line is all the same,
riding actively with sharp turns is so-so. Overall, I like 850 GS much better than big brother for all its faults. BMW 1200 GS. So to speak, I will summarize thoughts from video. Keep in mind, I'm only talking
about last liquid generation 1200. 1250 is less voracious, consumption is half a liter-liter less, which means that on basic version of 1250 you can safely travel in civilized places. 1250 vibrates a little less, but still far from competitors - this is not a reason to change 1200 to 1250 if you are annoyed by vibrations on the old one.
Dynamics of 1250 have changed. In city, at low revs, you cannot feel the difference, where conditions allow you to roll full throttle - difference is obvious. But there is no wow effect. Otherwise, everything is the same - do not get fooled by marketing, that something has fundamentally changed there and now everything is better. KTM 1290 Super Adventure. For me, KTM is better at everything.
Just let’s go without a hurdy-gurdy about dealer network and a five year warranty. In Europe, KTM is in perfect order with both. In my city there are 2 KTM dealers and only 1 BMW dealer - checkmate. A new distributor of KTM in Russia - they promised to keep all spare parts in stock. I used to think the 1290 was too violent, but I did a good job for a few days on old and new version, and was imbued with it. In general, this is the only motorcycle in the entire group that I did not want to give away - it is cool.
Until there was a big Tiger test that I have high hopes for. If it turns out to be dull, KTM 1290 will be best in class in my opinion. He is the best off-road rider in the group - Tiger with its weight will obviously not change its opinion. It is the narrowest and most accessible, which is important in city.
It gives a lot of fun on pavement - it can only compete with Ducati. I liked riding on serpentines due to amazing dynamics most of all - suspension is knocked down, not too losing to GS with a short suspension and better than with a long one. At same time, the engine allows you to go in the rhythm you want.
But I'm talking about S version. R version, as in case of 890 Adventure, is a thing for an amateur and on asphalt gives more disadvantages, but on off-road only a few can reveal its potential. KTM also has vibrations - it hits hard in hands somewhere from 5000 rpm and above. Also mayhem, but better than GS. Brand also has reliability problems, although 1290 has least complaints from the whole series.
There remains the only significant trump card - by default BMW has better wind protection, but the problem is only with windshield - this is easy to change, choosing a good option so that it does not blow in shoulders. KTM is thin and slightly blows on legs - this is if we talk about old version. The 2021 version has no questions about leg wind protection. But even old 1290 is better
than thin GS - no directional flow to knees. In general, there are no significant differences on this issue. Oh, and KTM also has a chain.
If you are so afraid of chains - well, your choice of motorcycles is quite limited. Shaft drive is good, but it should n't be dominant factor. It is easier to install an auto-lubricator than to narrow choice of motorcycle so much. Africa Twin. America will not open if I say that Africa is more reliable. Africa is complete opposite of GS. Main characteristic of GS is that it steers perfectly and is stable on highway.
Africa - narrow wheels of large diameter, huge jelly suspension - naturally, there is no question of any sharp handling, whatever fans may say. These are the same fans who explain how great GS is off-road and doesn't vibrate at all, especially at 4500 rpm. By the way, Africa has no vibrations. Where Africa makes sense - when riding on bad or very bad roads - under these conditions bike works as it should. I would rather go to conditional Pamir (Silk Road) on Africa than on GS.
And when good handling is not needed - again, in predominantly flat Russia there are few places where you can lay with a knee, and I can understand people who do not see the difference in handling between motorcycles. In a straight line, everyone is going tolerantly. If that's okay, in all other Africa is better than GS. Maybe there is no such choice of windscreens, but you can find quite comfortable options for yourself. In a head-on comparison, GS's torque is better when piled up. In a quiet mode, comparable sensations,
Africa is quite cheerful, if you do not try to punish everyone at traffic lights. And, I almost forgot - I had to write it down separately. Africa, on the other hand, has a version with a auto-transmission - this is a very cool technology, it's worth a try.
Ducati Multistrada 1260. 1260, by the way, has two versions - a road version with alloy and Enduro with spokes, more energy-intensive suspensions and a 30-liter tank - help Sherlock understand who they licked it off. First, it's beautiful. When I tested Ducati - I spoiled the statistics of accidents in the European Union a little - everyone turned their necks and looked at motorcycle. Although, somewhere, and in Spain Ducati are much more common than in Russia. Ride a GS - no one is interested, bike is like everyone else's with an appearance for an amateur. Ducati has very comfortable soft suspension, which GS is like walking to the moon. Best of all, semi-active
Ducati has the widest range of suspension options in its class. In soft settings, this is generally the most comfortable motorcycle on which I really do not notice joints and minor irregularities - everything, as they say in advertising brochures. And in softest mode on Multistrada I generally feel sick, like in some S-class - I can't ride it for a long time. At same time, in sport mode, suspension provides good handling - not much outperforming GS on serpentines. I'm talking about S version.
I don't like Enduro suspension - it can never be made sporty and hard and pleasure of riding on serpentines disappears, although it is better on ground. I don't think anyone is actually buying Multistrada for off-road. Dynamics of Ducati engines is excellent in itself, but not everyone will go to fans of sports engines, and in general it differs from other adventure bikes. The difference with BMW and others is that engine spins up in a matter of milliseconds. Ducati has excellent wind protection, which you can't find fault with. If you just ride on the roads, Ducati is better. Model has its own characteristics,
not all of which I like, but these are nuances, which I will talk about in a separate review. In general, everything is the same as what I said in video about Multistrada 950, just add even more insane dynamics. Multistrada V4. Almost everything is the same as 1260, but better in everything. It is now the most powerful adventure bike on market. There is an even more sporty
engine, which has a specific behavior - as if in a computer game. Nothing happens, just some three-digit numbers are running around screen - no engine sound, no wind noise. Feels like a completely synthetic motorcycle for lovers of new technologies. Compared to 1260, V4 finally has no desmodrome and valve check every 60,000 km. Finally, we got rid of vibrations - now Ducati is on par with Japanese.
And corrected quickshifter - now it works as ideal. Of interesting - squeak of fashion on sportbikes - side deflectors, pressing motorcycle to asphalt. Nice and fresh feeling - on a flat highway, V4 rides better than any motorcycle I have ridden in general. It is not so much pressed against asphalt as held by the wind.
The principle is like wings of an airplane. These deflectors would be called wings, if, for some unknown reason, the name was not taken under wheel caps. The faster you go, the more stable Multistrada is. I guess that they will quickly kill the people, because motorcycle provokes to fly. At speed, it even handling specifically - you need to turn it harder, tearing it off straight course.
Another cool new screen with a full-fledged map almost full screen. And to fun part - Ducati decided to move towards full-fledged adventure bikes. Removed turn signals from hand protection, decent clearance, 19" wheel. The official consumption is 6.5 liters. If this is true, then even an increased tank will be enough for only 340 km.
In short, motorcycle for next 5 years has staked out place of the most technologically advanced. It is especially strange to talk about this in a motorcycle review, on which wherever you stick, 80-year-old technology will come out. S1000XR. Interestingly, the same request is popular for 1200 GS as well. Both motorcycles are promoted by BMW as adventurers - both are said to be versatile, comfortable, dynamic, etc. What to take then? S1000XR is from a completely different category. Firstly, you need to have a steel
ass in order to travel on it for a long time - there is very minimum of comfort . This is a real sports tourer, so that on weekends somewhere ride for all money and ride around city. More precisely, it is on GS they ride, and on S1000XR they fly. Adrenaline motorcycle is purely for sports lovers. The fact that it must be fed exclusively with 98th gasoline says a lot. Suspension is not suitable for any bad roads, of course.
On the other side of scale is calm 1250 GS. It makes sense to compare S1000XR to a KTM or a Ducati. That's it, I finished with GSs. Go to the comments to laugh - there will probably go hysterics again in a couple of days. And then we have KTM and other big adventure bikes next in line. Subscribe not to
miss, and don't switch.