With one day to go before the AMCN Adventure Issue hits newsstands, we take a quick look at one bike that has defined the segment.
It’s tall, it’s heavy and it’s the bike credited for the adventure touring segment’s existence. With wellover half a million versions sold in the last 30-something years, it’s BMW’s most successful model ever. Today it’s the R 1200 GS Adventure, but the legend began nearly 36 years ago as the R 80 G/S and there’s been countless variations on the GS theme in and between ever since. These days, for example, there are currently six models in BMW’s 2016 line-up bearing the GS moniker, from the entry-level LAMS-approved G 650 GS through to the firm’s flagship, the R 1200 GS Adventure.
One in three of the 33,788 motorcycles BMW has sold worldwide in the first three months of 2016 have been R 1200 GS models. From January to the end of March, 11,391 brand-new boxer-engined GSs have found homes around the world. To put that in perspective, the firm’s next best-selling bike, the S 1000 RR, managed less than 20 percent of the adventure bike’s numbers with 2385 units.
But regardless of the era, the German-built adventure bike has been at the forefront of two-wheel technology. Electronics, impeccable engineering, engine configuration and innovation has always defined the GS range. BMW’s unconventional yet successful Telelever and Paralever suspension set-up is the perfect example, a unique system which managed to find the fine balance between a sporty road presence and a plush off-road capability that gave excellent feel and control in all situations.
The 1200 GS’s mighty heft, as unsuited it may seem to many to bushy back roads and rocky sections, is exactlty what gives the bike its true globetrotting potential. Its a packhorse, it’s an enormously comfortable touring bike, it’s a bloody fast roadbike, an extremely capable off-roader and it always has been.
It has never deviated from its design brief and as such has made it the very bike every manufacturer with adventure segment aspirations has tried to emulate.
164 page AMCN “BUMPER” Adventure issue is on sale this Thursday28 April.