After 30 years of production the BMW GS line remains one of the most versatile in motorcycling, with the R1200GS our selection for Best Touring Motorcycle of 2010.
Best Touring Motorcycle: BMW R1200GS
We put the BMW R1200GS to the challenge every time a bike comes along claiming to offer adventure. As the multi-time Adventure-Touring Shootout winner and perennial favorite with MotoUSA test riders, the big GS has earned a reputation as king of the big multi-cylinder adventure genre. But, the more we ride the German mount, and the more we sample other two-wheeled offerings, it’s become evident that the GS doesn’t require a mixture of dirt and pavement to showcase its greatness. When looked at in the most basic light, the BMW offers as much or more than touring bikes of all variety.
The big Boxer Twin has been reworked for 2010 as the bike celebrates its 30th anniversary. New dual overhead cams grace the engine which provides plenty power enough for two-up touring, including the accompanying luggage. The standard luggage rack offers great utility and BMW offers multiple pannier options. Riding ergonomics are neutral and upright with a wide off-road style handlebar which makes guiding the big GS easy. The seat is comfortable enough for all-day travel and wind protection is adequate for all but the tallest riders.
Watch as MCUSA dishes out its 2010 awards for the street in our Best of 2010 Street Video.
BMW employs a low-maintenance, reliable shaft drive for long service intervals It also comes standard with large fuel capacity, a useful information display and excellent headlights, but let’s not forget what makes a BMW a BMW – amenities. The GS can be packed to the gills with goodies like ABS, heated grips, electric suspension adjustment, tire pressure monitor and more – the list is too long.
The R1200GS is near perfect. Nimble handling, comfort and reliability are touring standbys that the BMW has covered. Add its off-road capabilities and there’s really nothing that can match it. – JC Hilderbrand
Honorable Mention: Kawasaki Concours 14
Lighter adventure-touring models are gaining a lot of sway, as the sport-touring class keeps bloating out in displacement and mass. Still, there’s something to be said for the stability and ride comfort delivered in a big ST package. And there’s no question Kawasaki’s latest iteration of the Concours is a formidable and pleasing motorcycle. The C14 highlight remains its ZX-14-derrived Inline-Four, explosive in its acceleration, yet remarkably smooth in delivery. And in spite of its near 700-pound curb weight, the big green monster hustles around with finesse beyond its spec sheet stats. The real edge for the Connie, however, is its standard touring amenities: Heated grips, large integrated bags, electronically adjustable windscreen, tool-less suspension adjustability. Add on the safety enhancements of Kawasaki’s latest ABS and all-new KRTC production traction control and riders get a well-rounded touring platform straight off the showroom floor. – Bart Madson
Motorcycle USA Best of 2010 Awards
Best of 2010: Manufacturer and Innovation
Best of 2010: Sportbike and Cruiser
Best Streetbike of 2010: Ducati Multistrada 1200
Best Touring Bike of 2010: BMW R1200GS
Best of 2010: Off-Road, Dual-Sport & Motocross
Best of ’10: Adventure Model & Bike of the Year