BMW completely redesigned its beloved R1200GS in 2013 in a comprehensive overhaul highlighted by the new liquid-cooled Boxer Twin. BMW follows suit for the 2014 model year with its up-spec GS Adventure.
The appropriately named Adventure ramps ups the GS’s off-road capabilities with knobby tires and standard issue hand guards and crash bars. The Adventure also rolls on wire-spoked wheels.
The liquid-cooled Boxer Twin gets some off-road friendly alterations too, with a 2-pounds heavier crankshaft increasing flywheel effect.
The Adventure makes great use of the five Ride Mode offerings, featuring the Enduro and Enduro Pro settings for offroad rode. The latter Pro mode is keyed for knobby tires and disconnects ABS for the rear brake, letting riders toss the back end around. Hardcore off-road folks will appreciate that the ABS can be easily switched off entirely, but ABS in both Enduro and Enduro Pro just plain works and after testing it off, we were happy to switch it back on.
First impressions seeing the GSA in the flesh just how big the bike is. It’s a huge bike, and both looks and feels wider when behind the controls. And it weighs 50 pounds more than the standard GS. The Adventure gets extra 0.8 inches of suspension travel, with slight revision of steering geometry. The GSA also sources a steering damper, which migrated onto the regular GS for 2014 too.
The Adventure doesn’t feel as light on its toes as the standard GS, and handling isn’t as sharp by our estimation. That said, the big GSA chugs along with a steady confidence and easily handled the relatively simple off-road terrain during our press ride. The added flywheel effect makes it easy to creep along during low-speed off-road maneuvering.
Probably the most distinguishing feature on the GSA, is its gargantuan 7.9 gallon fuel capacity. After 200-miles on our press ride we had half a tank remaining, and BMW claims a staggering 435-mile range for the Adventure.
The addition of wind deflectors and a larger windshield delivers a more comfortable rider cockpit than the standard GS. And we were probably most surprised by the Adventure’s improved Touring comfort, which we reckon this is the one aspect where it might have an edge on its high-performance rivals in the 1200cc AT segment.
The R1200GS remains the flagship model for BMW world-wide, but the GS Adventure is a particularly important bike for BMW here in the US, where its sales are even, if not slightly ahead, of the standard GS.
The base model Adventure MSRP is $18,200. And while a base model can theoretically be purchased in the US, the overwhelming majority of Adventures sold here in the States are the $21,550 Premium package.
The water-Boxer GS update may have skewed the Adventure-Touring icon closer to the street segment, but the 2014 GS Adventure shows that the Beemer can still pull its weight when the pavement ends.