Riding the new 2013 BMW 1200 GS

The 2013 BMW 1200 GS represents a major development in the evolution of this very successful motorcycle. Perhaps it is the largest step since 1979-80 when the first GS was introduced to the market. I was glad that EMCWOR offered me a chance to ride this motorcycle. My impressions are that overall what has kept this bike for more the 30 years as the gold standard of this segment of the industry is still there. And from what I’ve read from others who had an opportunity to ride it off road, the 2013 model continues to offer the most balanced experience in terms of on and off pavement capabilities. This is what has kept this bike at the top of  the charts in the first place. And more specifically, the 2013 bike offers clear improvements on engine performance and engine response. This bike also offers well designed rider aids based on the highest technology available and latest innovations from the field.

The 2013 BMG 1200 GS

The 2013 BMG 1200 GS

BMW GS bikes have made history and are perhaps responsible for creating the very successful “Adventure” segment on the motorcycle industry.  The GS line started in 1980, its success happened at a very fast pace, as if the world was just waiting for such a machine to be developed.  BMW promoted it with a vision that continues to be discovered today by many riders: “Sports machine, touring machine, enduro… Welcome to a motorcycle concept with more than one string to its bow.”  In the first year it sold more than 6,000 motorcycles. Soon riders started using it for long adventure rides across the world. Then it won the Paris to Dakar race. The Long way Round and Long way Down series where Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman took these bikes on round the world travel helped consolidate the GS at the top position in its segment.  It is a bike with history and tradition. The 2013 model is carrying that tradition forward, while writing its own history.

Demo 2013 BMW 1200 GS at the EMCWOR

Demo 2013 BMW 1200 GS at the EMCWOR

During the latest economic downturn the adventure segment was one of the few areas of the motorcycle industry which maintained or increased its sales.  The sustained popularity of the BMW GS and this segment’s growth brought increasing competition to the market, with other manufacturers returning to this segment or developing new bikes or improving their bikes to better compete with the GS.  And it seems like the GS’s 1200 cc motor size, where the BMW has been since 2005, has become the chosen displacement for this higher end area of the adventure segment.

Today I count seven motorcycle companies that in my view are more directly competing with BMW in the 1200 cc adventure segment. KTM (new 1190 Adventure and Adventure R), Ducati (1200 Multistrada, including the GT model), Triumph (Explorer), Aprilia (new 1,200 Caponord), Moto Guzzi (Stelvio), Yamaha (Super Ténéré), and Honda (Crosstourer) are bikes with 1200 cc motors (+/-) that have touring capability with some level of sport riding and some level of dirt riding capability included. At least four (including BMW) of these eight major options have great improvements in their 2013 line up from what they offered in 2012.  Three of them offer semi-active suspensions: The Ducati Multistrada, the BMW GS, and the Aprilia Caponord. Almost all of them offer riding modes that electronically change different fuel maps and levels of ABS intervention, and traction control. It is a new world out there. And if you are ready to acquire a higher end Adventure motorcycle, 2013 is perhaps the greatest year to be in this market.

The 2013 BMW R 1200 GS

The 2013 BMW R 1200 GS

Although a share of the BMW market may have been lost as new bikes entered this segment, the BMW 1200 GS has remained the best seller by a great margin. But never before so many options have been available to the market. I can’t imagine the challenges the GS development team must have taken to come up with the revised bike, knowing how critical the moment is.

The boxer motor stays. Cylinder heads continue to be mostly air cooled. Intake moves to the top, exhaust at the bottom.

The boxer motor stays.

Changes to the 1,200 cc Motor

Considering the little I know about motors, I thought BMW’s real challenge was to water-cool the motor and maintain it as a boxer motor, as boxer motors are not exactly an easy format for water-cooling, in my layman’s view of the situation.  Air cooled motors were the standard of the industry in the not so distant past but as emissions controls and performance standards were gradually raised, motors gradually transitioned to water cooling. Air cooled motors are designed with wider tolerances to cope with a wider range of operating temperatures.  Although water cooling a motor increases weight, it allows engineers to work on a narrower band of tolerances, allowing for more efficiency and improved performance.

Improvements to the motor are noticeable!

Air cooling remains important at the cylinder heads. Intake is now  from the top of the cylinder head, exhaust on the bottom.

I have a feeling BMW engineers never considered getting rid of the boxer motor and starting from scratch as a parallel twin or some other format. How could they end more than 30 years of tradition, a motor that is intrinsic with what the GS is, and with the most successful period of BMW motorcycles, right?

The 2013 BMW 1200 GS

Two small radiators on each side of the side fairings do the water-cooling job

In the end, much like Porsche did with their 911 series, BMW engineers found a way to water cool their boxer motors. In the case of BMW, they managed it by water-cooling only critical areas of the motor, keeping it air cooled where air would be a more efficient cooling method. And they managed to keep it in a compact package by integrating the gear box with the motor.  In a certain way, it is a new motor, but one which kept its boxer tradition intact. I perceive it as a great solution with touches of innovation.

Integrating gear box with motor, result in smaller package, despite water cooling portions of it.

Integrating gear box with motor resulted in smaller engine/transmission package.

Changes to Suspension

The second major change on the 2013 bike is regarding suspension.  Although I only rode the basic model, riders have an option of buying the 2013 GS with semi-active suspension, not unlike what Ducati offers in its Multistrada or Aprilia offers in their 1200 Caponord.  In fact, these three bikes have most of the semi-active hardware developed by the same company, Sachs. The software and the application is individual for each bike.  I wish I had tested a BMW 1200 GS with their version of the Sachs semi-active suspension. If it becomes available as a demo bike I will ride it.

I took the 2013 1200 GS to my usual "testing grounds".

I took the 2013 1200 GS to my usual “testing grounds”.

Riding Impressions

I had the seat on the lower position and it gives slightly better reach to the ground than the Multistrada.  The seat appears to be narrower, which helps with the reach, but it turns out, despite being narrow, it is impressively comfortable.

The rider's seat is very comfortable!

The rider’s seat is very comfortable!

The ergonomics are spot on for me. I’m about 5’10” with 30/31″ inseam, and the seat to pegs and seat to handlebars distances allow me to be upright and very comfortable. This is not a surprise considering BMW has always been great with ergonomics that work for all types of riding on the GS line. Fit and finish are top notch, another characteristic of this German motorcycle. You can tell the design team cares for the big picture of what this bike represents but they do not let go of the detail.

The revised BMW 1200 GS Information Cluster

The revised BMW 1200 GS Information Cluster

While on the move it took me some getting used to be able to check the speed.  I think I remain with a favorable opinion towards analog speed and analog RPM displays. But it is interesting that now that my three motorcycles only show the speed in digital format, how difficult it was to read the speed on BMW’s needle-based gauge.  I would have preferred to see information displayed differently on the speedometer, by perhaps eliminating the wider gray band close to the border so that numbers could be larger. And perhaps keep speedometer and tachometer more separate, like the older models. But at least BMW keeps speed and tachometer information via analog displays. I like that. Guess I need to get reacquainted with the functionality of the speed being displayed by the traditional needle format.

Empty spot between heat grips and ignition/engine cut off button - probably a button on bikes with more options

Empty spot between heated grips button and ignition/engine cut off button – probably for a button on bikes with more options

This bike was the base model, so I don’t know what other information is available on the cluster related to riding modes and semi-active suspension on the models that come with those options. Despite this version being the base model, it was well equipped. Liked that it had heated grips, cruise control and a handlebar button to turn ABS off.  The cruise control is excellent option for touring and the ABS button makes it easy to transition from pavement to off road riding (other bikes, such as my Multistrada and my Triumph Tiger require navigating several menus to turn ABS off).

Cruise control and ABS button.

Cruise control and ABS on/off button. Above the trip button there is space for another button.

When I turned the motor on, first thing I noticed was that it sounds a bit crisper than the older motors. I like it better now. Second, I had forgotten how BMW’s have such a light clutch actuation. One thing I noticed was when I engaged first gear the clutch disengagement does not happen until the very last inch from being completely released. I asked the technician about this upon my return to the shop and he explained that is the way it is meant to be. It took some getting used to it, in a couple of times I had adjusted my left hand to its engagement position and all was good.

Exhaust has a nice note

Exhaust has a nice note

The motor feels a lot smoother than the previous iteration, it revs more freely as well. I clearly felt the presence of its power increase.  But the increase is not felt at the low side of the RPM range. The motor is very smooth starting from low RPM, but it doesn’t give you the perception of high torque at the low side of the RPM band as the previous bike did. It still has plenty of torque, mind you. On the other hand, it appears to rev happier, giving the motor a more sport-like attitude on the higher range of the RPM. In my opinion this is a welcome change, this was something the BMW missed when compared to some of the other bikes in this segment in the past. Again, it has become more balanced now based on the three strings of the original bow: enduro, touring and sport. And that is how this bike, in my opinion, remains at the front of the pack.

I perceive it is now more balanced across the enduro, touring and sport charatceristics

I perceive the 1200 GS is now more balanced across the enduro, touring and sport characteristics, more true to the original idea behind this bike

Having said that I do not think the BMW is as engaging as the Multistrada is.  The caveat here is that we know the Multistrada is more focused on the sport side of the spectrum – less on enduro, for example. On that same day I rode my Tiger 800 XC and could tell the BMW is now clearly ahead of it in the power department. The 2013 GS motor is rated at 125hp, a good increase from the 110hp of the 2012 bike.

One interesting detail I noticed when I stopped the bike and went looking for the side stand, where was it? I had a semi crisis moment, as my foot could not find the tab to lower the side stand. Finally I looked down and noticed the small tab. The second time, when I knew what I was looking for, and where it was, it was easier, of course. I don’t remember if the previous model was different or not. This side stand appears to deploy further ahead on the motorcycle.

On my first stop it took me a while to find this thing and deploy the side stand.

On my first stop it took me a while to find this thing and deploy the side stand.

As you approach curves more aggressively, this bike feels very planted. Turn in is fast and bike feels very light but composed. Again, the Multistrada is better in this department with its 17in front wheel and more sport oriented design, but the BMW is surprisingly agile, considering its weight and the telelever suspension (bike does not shorten its wheel base upon braking and nose dive as other bikes do, and it doesn’t have much of a nose dive either). And when I took my Tiger 800XC for a spin after riding the BMW, I could tell how sluggish the Tiger is compared to the BMW. Well, the tires on the Tiger have about 6K miles on them, and have started to square off so I can feel a small resistance to lean on beginning of the counter steering, and with its 21 inch wheels it is expected that the Tiger will have a slower turn in than the BMW with its 19 inch front wheel. But the point here is that the BMW is a very nimble bike which makes it fun to ride the curves with it.

Large button for windscreen adjustment

Large button for windscreen adjustment

Windscreen protection is really good. There are a few elements to it, such as the two pieces of black plastics on each side of the screen (first plane on photo above) and a small fixed wind shield under the main screen, besides the main screen itself. The combination of these three elements offers really good protection and very low buffeting. The large button on the above photo allows you to operate the main screen, offering continuous positioning of the screen.  And although the button is on the right side, it is easily operated by the left hand while in motion. Perhaps this is not a good idea and probably the bike’s manual recommends not to do it, but the button’s position felt very easy to operate the screen while in motion, with the left hand, and the button is large enough to make it easy to turn either way.

While in my Multistrada I like the screen in the lowest position, on the BMW I liked it on its higher position, and that’s where I kept it after experimenting it at the lowest and several intermediate positions.  By the way, at its lowest position the top of the screen tilts towards the rider, directing more clean air from the top and the bottom of the screen, where a gap opens up. I think the lowest position is going to be the favorite position for riders taller than me, when the option is to eliminate buffeting at the helmet height while keeping some protection to the shoulders. The wind protection is slightly better than what I get in my Multistrada, and a lot better than what I get in the Tiger.

Well balanced machine.

Well balanced machine.

As I mentioned earlier, on that same day I rode my 2013 Multistrada with the Semi-active suspension, the 2013 1200 GS with passive suspension, and my 2012 Tiger 800 XC, also with passive suspension. My conclusion: I’ve been spoiled by the Semi-active suspension.  My Ducati feels really connected to the road, the suspension feels even a bit harsh on regular roads when riding at speed, but whenever you enter an area with potholes or any road imperfections, it soaks it in and keeps the bike in its arch, undisturbed, if you are midway through a curve for example. The Ducati always feels planted.  The BMW and the Triumph, and especially the Triumph, feel really soft overall, but when you hit road imperfections, you feel it strongly at the handlebars, pegs and seat. It is not a problem with the standard suspension on these bikes. It is just that I’ve gotten used to semi-active suspension in my Multistrada. I would want to test the 2013 BMW GS with its semi-active suspension option. Chances are I will like it. And if it works as well on the BMW as it does in my Multistrada, I would recommend that option.

As a matter of fact, I would buy the BMW with all these options:

  • The ASC and the five selectable riding modes – “Rain”, “Road”, “Dynamic”, “Enduro” and “Enduro Pro”.
  • The Sachs Semiactive suspension option, called the BMW Motorrad Dynamic ESA.
  • And the LED lights (which this base mode also didn’t have). As a matter of fact, when riding my Multistrada with its LED lights, I have the impression cars stay away, do not merge or cross the road from greater distances.  I believe the LED lights are making the motorcycle more visible from longer distances.
The base model does not have LED lights, but if available, I recommend it.

The base model does not have LED lights, but if available, I recommend getting that option.

I rode the 2011 BMW 1200 GS a couple of years ago for the first time. There was something about the boxer motor, how it vibrated on its side to side “boxing” motion. I didn’t like it. If you have read the book called Bodies in Motion, Evolution and Experience in Motorcycling, by Stephen L. Thompson, and I’m sure you know this from your own experience, you know that how a motorcycle vibrates is part of the riding experience. For me, the 2011 BMW boxer motor felt as if the pistons were having a disagreement with the crankshaft. Or the pistons were really fighting with each other, “boxing” with each other.  It turns out, most everyone actually enjoys the riding experience of the boxer twins, people like me are the exception.  I remember talking about the vibration to other BMW riders after my first test ride on a boxer bike, and they were puzzled by it: “What vibration?”, they asked. It goes to confirm Thompson’s assertion, it is a personal experience. And in regard to the BMW, I know I’m the exception.

Having said that, the 2013 BMW 1200 GS offers a better experience on that respect, in my opinion than the 2011 I had tested. Although still a boxer, so still has that transverse vibration, it is much smoother now. At 70 mph, the motor is turning at about 4,000 rpm, it is very smooth and if we add the improved wind protection, it makes this bike a perfect tourer. I can imagine riding this bike mile after mile, enjoying the scenery, going towards the horizon. I have to say that in that respect, this bike has gotten closer to me. If you are familiar with the GS, and like it, you will still be at home with it, but I would assume you will appreciate the smoother and more powerful motor.

Therefore, in my opinion the 2013 GS has maintained and improved its capabilities for touring (and enduro capabilities based on other reviews) and it expanded a bit towards the sport riding side of things.  The sport “string of the bow” has probably been its weakest point up to now. Or perhaps it was not as desired by its customers as the touring and enduro modes were.  But now this bike has more of it, and hence it is more balanced.

What we know is that when Ducati entered this market, sport riding was clearly the area where Ducati excelled and it has drawn riders to this side of the equation of the adventure market. Interestingly, KTM, which traditionally has been the off road expert of this bunch, has made a move towards the sport side of the equation as well with its 2013 1190 Adventure (not the Adventure R) and from what I’ve read so far it seems to be a large leap towards the sport side of the gradient, more directly challenging what Ducati and what the Multistrada brought to this segment. On the other hand, Ducati, with its GT version of the Multistrada, improves its touring capacity, an area where it was somewhat lacking.

In the end, the adventure bikes seem to find themselves more and more in the middle of the spectrum, in a quest towards developing a better balance among touring, enduro and sport modes, while maintaining their individual characteristics.  And of all of them, I believe the BMW 1200 GS is still the more balanced option. When you ride a BMW, you have a feeling the development team thinks and takes care of every angle of the riding experience.

The 2013 BMW 1200 GS

The 2013 BMW 1200 GS

Would I buy the new GS?

I have to say I’m really happy with my 2013 Ducati Multistrada and my 2012 Triumph Tiger 800 XC.  The Multistrada pushes my happy buttons better than any bikes I’ve ever ridden. And when I want to ride on gravel roads, get in the adventure mode, I have the Tiger 800 XC which does a reasonable job at it.

But if I had to have only one bike, or I would think about going on a round the world ride, the GS certainly becomes a strong candidate among what are the other possible bikes for the job. I like the changes to the motor, I like how the bike feels better on the road, with improved sport riding characteristics.  I like that it has improved its touring capabilities. And I hear from the many journalists who have tested this bike off road, how the rider aids have made this bike a better enduro machine.  On that note, based on my experience with the Ducati Multistrada, I would certainly recommend, if you are interested in the BMW, test a bike with the dynamic, semi-active suspension. It should be good.

Stop at the EMCWOR shop here in town (or at the BMW shop closer to your location) and take it for a ride!

Check my April 2014 review of the 2014 BMW 1200 GS with the Dynamic ESA.

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26 Responses to Riding the new 2013 BMW 1200 GS

  1. João Müller says:

    bella moto.

  2. Trobairitz says:

    You got some great shots of that bike. I am sure a lot of people will be looking at this post when wanting an in depth review of the new 1200. Very thorough.

  3. Ken McColl says:

    Victoria BC Canada: I own a 2012 Tiger 800 XC triple Abs with about 10k on it. Last week Monday, May 6th I test rode the new 2013 1200-GS with active suspension recently. Island Motorcycles in (Victoria) 1200 GS water-cooled BLUE demo bike. I took on the “Circle route 275km” on a 4.5-5 hour ride. AMAZING is the word, I am thinking WOW, this is a GREAT 1 bike solution. Sticks to the road like glue, precision steering allowing to choose a tight line and hold it, and more comfortable ergonomics than my current ride. Rode about 100 miles before stopped for a drink. The different suspension modes are noticeable (Comfort/Sport/Normal). Also the traction/power modes are a good feature (Normal/Rain/Sport/Enduro). I will have to consider replacing my Tiger as I am doing the same ride “Circle Ride” today to justify buying the new Beemer. Cheers Ken

    • cesardagord says:

      Thanks for reporting this, Ken. I wish there was a GS with active suspension to test here in my area. My thinking, and probably you confirmed it, is that if its semi-active suspension is anything close to what I have on my 2013 Multistrada (it should be about the same, I suppose), it should be great. I’m glad you had a chance to ride one with this option, hopefully I will ride one soon. And I agree with you, the GS offers better ergonomics than the Tiger 800 XC does.

  4. Daud says:

    A very detailed review indeed. I love all your posts. Thank you very much. I am going through the dilemma of choosing between a 2013 BMW R1200GS and a 2010/11 Ducati Multistrada S Touring (without sky hook suspension). Here in Australia both are around $25k. I have been riding a ducati for the last 2.5 years. I am in love with the L-twin magic, the low end torque and the handling of ducatis on winding roads is amazing. I have ridden some Japanese icons but nothing replaces the ducati feel. Currently I have a Ducati SF1098 and a BMW G650GS (just for touring and some off road ventures not powerful at all 😦 ). I love to travel and my adventure side takes me on long trips that include highways, twisties and some off road tracks. I haven’t done serious off-roading such as river crossings or riding the rockies or deserts in Africa. Most of my riding time is on bitumen (twisties, highways and country roads). Some weekends or some portion (20%) of the long rides includes off-roading on gravel roads, fire roads, puddles and small creeks etc. I want to keep 1 bike in my garage, reason being the space and pocket. Can you please help me with the following?

    1. If I go for the GS would I sell it after a month because I can’t live without a ducati feel (all that low end torque and sporty feel on bitumen would be missed)? I haven’t ridden a multistrada but know the feel of the engine as I have done a few road trips on a Diavel that has the same engine and riding modes as a multi.
    2. What I am not sure of is would a multistrada be fine with my off road riding style or not?
    3. Would you ever want to buy a Streetfighter 1098 if you a multistrada? 🙂

    I did a 4 hour GS Experience here in Australia with the 2013 1200 GS model. I liked the torque and the way it goes but didn’t feel anything special riding it. It was just another powerful bike I was riding but didn’t engage me during the ride. On the other hand a 30 mins ride on my ducati SF1098, even through the suburban streets, puts a smile on my face. Really need your guidance on this. The Ducati people do not let you take your bike off road for a test ride. BMW does!! Your help is much appreciated. Sorry for too many questions. You are the best person for advice. Cheers

    • cesardagord says:

      Hey Daud,

      Thank you for reading my posts. Difficult questions… 🙂
      Let me start by saying a relationship between its owner and his/her motorcycle is more complex than with his/her car for many obvious reasons. Which means there are many subjective elements to how one perceives a motorcycle, meaning perceptions on the same motorcycle change from person to person. So please take my comments with a grain of salt.

      Let me start with your number 3 question: I used to have a Streetfighter 848. Although it was not a 1098, moving from the Streetfighter to the Multistrada I lost the rawness of the Streetfighter ride. I miss that feeling. The Multistrada is a much more powerful, refined and heavier motorcycle. It has the L-twin feeling, of course, but the rawness is not there at all times. On the other hand, I wanted to travel longer distances with a Ducati, and the Multistrada is just an amazing motorcycle for the road. I would not go back to a Streetfighter just because of the ergos, as I much rather prefer the touring seating position of the Musltistrada. I did take the new Hypermotard (the Hyperstrada, actually) for a spin and loved that machine. On sport mode it almost felt like my Streetfighter 848, but it felt short. But on the other hand, it was the most fun motorcycle for a day ride, or urban riding that I’ve ever ridden. I did not try the SP version, that I hear has a more aggressive map, maybe it would come closer to the feeling I got on my Streetfighter. The Hyperstrada is super smooth, though. But certainly the Hyperstrada is not a real touring bike, but it does better then the Streetfighter in that department, mostly for the ergos, where I favor the straight up riding position. So a Hyperstrada would be my choice for a smaller Ducati.

      Your question 2 is the easiest to answer. I would not take my Multistrada off road. It is just not the bike for that, although it can be done. Dual-purpose tire choices are very limited for the Multistrada rim sizes, and the bike is probably not going to farewell when dropped. Although it has en Enduro mode, I would say the Multistrada is actually a sports touring bike. I only bought the Multistrada because I knew I would keep other bikes for gravel and dirt roads, and I do ride a lot on gravel roads. If I only rode gravel roads here and there, the Multistrada could be my only motorcycle. But since I love riding on dirt, I need to have something else, better designed for the job.

      Your question 1 is the most difficult, because it is more subjective. That is, the GS is a great motorcycle, and in terms of the entire package, the water cooled version is probably the best undisputed adventure bike. It does tour very well, wind protection is the best I’ve experienced so far, and it has all the right equipment and technology for dirt and gravel roads. And it has improved in the sport riding department. But yes, on paper it is all good. But only you would be able to answer the question whether you would feel like selling it after a month of ownership. As I started my analysis, the relationship of rider/motorcycle is complex, involving subjectivity. I personally will probably never buy a 1200GS, and it is only about the feel from the boxer motor, which is something extremely subjective. It is just that it doesn’t do anything to me. And you mentioned you rode it for two hours and it didn’t engage you. If it didn’t engage you in those two hours where we usually “fall in love” with a motorcycle (or not), I would say, with some degree of certainty, it won’t do it on a third hour with it.

      My recommendation (based on my perceptions and my subjective feel for motorcycles):

      In general, I like to have more than one motorcycle, because only one does not do the trick for me, as I like riding on dirt. Having only one motorcycle will require compromises. The Multistrada will prevent you from enjoying dirt/gravel roads, but will give you a smile on the long road. But I would strongly recommend you test ride it. And because you would be buying a used one, I would add that to the negative side of the equation. You would need to be certain of the work that was done, there were several recalls on that bike, make sure they were all done in a timely fashion, etc. It won’t be a Streetfighter in many respects. If you really like your Streetfighter, I would keep it. And would look for an upgrade on the G650GS, which is, in my opinion, a really weak bike for touring. Great for gravel. But the feel is just not there on that single cylinder motor… I know, I used to have a 650GS Dakar. I would look at upgrading it with an F800GS, for example, great for more dirt oriented rides, if that is what you want, and it tours reasonably well, much better than the G650GS. Or a V-strom if the priority is touring with some gravel on the side. The V-strom has a V-motor. And there are other bikes out there, less expensive, from Honda and Yamaha. And if I wanted to have only one bike, today, with that V-twin feel, and which could do some sport/touring and dirt riding, there is that 1190 from KTM which should be worth a look. I haven’t test ridden one yet, but I will, and, on paper, seems to do the trick. It probably won’t give you the total Ducati feel on the road, well, it certainly is not there, but it should be close, and it will do so much better on dirt roads than the Multistrada. In my case, I would not trade my Multistrada for the KTM, the bike that would go on that trade would be the Tiger 800XC. And I would use the KTM for touring and gravel roads. And if I wanted to be conservative in my wallet, I would downgrade my Multistrada for the Hyperstrada and keep something with the Ducati feel in my shed. But for now, I’m keeping my three bikes. I hope you can find your way out of this maze.

      Hope this is helpful.

      • Daud says:

        Thanks very much Ceaser. Your reply is very thorough. It was great! About individual’s relationship with his motorcycle, you’re spot on. I will definitely keep the SF due to its raw nature and I love it. I would try the Multistrada and in the meanwhile, I am exploring some State Forests on my GS. This experience would clarify more as to whether I develop the serious off-road riding style for future or not. And based on that I can either upgrade the GS or just move to a multi and stick to bitumen for most of my rides. I will look into KTM as well but I am sure I will not let a ducati leave my garage. I am in love with the ducati feel “for now at least “. You have a great combination of bikes. Would love to see your review on the KTM 1190. Ride Safe!

        Once again, thank you very much for your time and a valuable advice. Cheers

      • cesardagord says:

        Thanks Daud.
        I saw the 1190 KTM for the same time yesterday. Very interesting machine. I will test it at some time in February, if they don’t sell their demo between now and then.

      • Daud says:

        Sorry for misspelling your name. Cheers

  5. Sproggy says:

    Have had a watercooled boxer for about 3wks. Done about 3500kms. Its a a terrific motorcycle, but I must say it starts to vibrate from 95kph upwards, and is at its worst at the 120 mark. Above 120kph things starts to smooth out. Have an old 1150 GS. 175000kms on clock. No such problem! Maybe its my old bones, or maybe the watercooled bike needs to be loaded with a higher top gear to soak up some surplus power. I am on my own here or has anyone else experienced the same vibrations? Having said that, I’m not handing the machine back. Its fanastic.

  6. Alex Dudley says:

    Re your comment about deploying the side stand. I have very much the opposite problem. I found it immediately! In fact I can’t not find it! The flippin’ thing is in the way whenever I want to upshift and this is just with regular shoes. It’ll be much worse with my riding boots on. I am very seriously thinking of cutting the darned thing off.

  7. lxddle says:

    No trouble here finding the side stand deployment device. I found it before I was even able to find the shift lever. The bloody thing is ALL I can find on the left hand side of the motorcycle. The stud welded onto the stand, that is used to deploy it, is constantly in the way of my getting a foot under the shift lever. I am within an ace of grinding the stupid thing off. With the attachment of a base plate to the bottom I can just as easily deploy the stand using that. Love the bike but hate the side stand. Can anyone give me a reason for not cutting the thing off?!

    • cesardagord says:

      Well, once I found it for the first time, then I never “lost” it. 🙂 My foot was looking for something in the usual location where I find it on my Tiger or my Multistrada and for some reason on the BMW it was not there until I spotted the “helper”. Maybe I will understand what you are talking about when I take the BMW for another ride. I just heard the local BMW dealer has (or will have soon) a 2014 GS with all the goodies as a new demo.

      • lxddle says:

        Mine is a 2014 and from what I can tell it is identical (the side stand). The issue is that the side of the ball of my foot bumps up against the stud when I try to get the toe of my boot under the shift lever. Raising the lever might help a bit but then you have to rock your foot back to lift the toe enough to down shift. The really bad thing is that this is all with stout street shoes. I haven’t even tried it with my riding boots yet. Check it out when you have an opportunity.

        As to the bike: I have been riding oil head GSs since 1995 (1100 GS, 1150 GSA, 1200 GSA, 1200 GS and now 1200 GSW) and this is the true culmination of all that is good in these bikes. With the electronic devices it is the safes one yet. There is no doubt that it is the quickest one yet and although I hear that the off-road crowd at the Performance Center in SC have shown a preference to this new R12GS over the lighter and presumed easier handling F800GS, I will continue to use my F800GS for 70/30 dirt/street and the new R1200GSW for 15/85 dirt street.

      • cesardagord says:

        Now that you explain it I understand it better. On my Multistrada, Tiger and WR250R the side stand is reached towards the back. That is, I have to move my foot backwards to find it where it sticks out. On the BMW, went I went looking for it, my foot never found anything, it is tucked in. I had to look down and then I saw the helper welded halfway on the side stand. I can see how it is or can be on the way.

        I’m with you on your choice of bike use, considering the bikes you have.

        About the F800GS, I always liked that bike and may one day have one in place of my Tiger 800XC. The newer ones come with latest electronics including traction control and ABS, and the top model (not the GSA model) has the enduro mode. But I also like the new KTMs. I will wait and see if KTM fixes the problems it has been showing on 2013 and 2014 models before I make a decision, though.

      • lxddle says:

        Found this http://www.iliumworks.com/BMW_Motorcycle_Accessories.cfm?pn=28%2D200&pID=81 When it arrives, adios to the side stand deployment stud!

      • cesardagord says:

        Two birds with one stone!

  8. Pingback: Riding the 2014 BMW R1200GS | I'd rather be riding…

  9. Sproggy says:

    Hello Cesardgord. I said I’d get back to you re The vibration in my 2014 Watercooled 1200GS. After much investigation, which didn’t seem to help much, the bike was serviced at the 20,000km mark and since has been running sweet as. When I contacted the service chappies who did the last service I asked what had they done to the bike because it was an entirely different machine. They said the only thing that could have changed the way the bike worked was a programme run via computer to check function of the engine management system and as part of that check, there may have been an upgrade. The bike is running so much better, there is very little vibration to the point that several times I have been beetling along only to realise I was still in fifth gear! The other thing I have noticed since the 20,000km service is the right side engine pipe has blued up to the same degree as the left and the machine is slightly heavier on fuel. It now has 25,000kms on the clock and feels the best ever. Thanks for the opportunity to comment. Regards Sproggy Australia

    • cesardagord says:

      Hey Sproggy,
      I’m glad your bike is running well now. You never know, on 2 cyl bikes, a small variation in performance impacting one cylinder’s performance will create a vibration. The two water-cooled GS’s I’ve ridden so far were very smooth, especially at the 100-120 km/h in 6th gear, so I’m glad yours is now the same or better. But it is also good to know to have a bike checked when vibration is above normal.
      Thanks for the update!

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