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2013 BMW R1200GS First Look

Tuesday, October 2, 2012
The R1200GS has enjoyed best-selling prominence for BMW for nearly a decade. Now nine years since a full overhaul, the GS makes its debut at INTERMOT 2012. The adventure-touring icon rolls into the 2013 model year with a new Boxer Twin, featuring a switch to liquid-cooling.

The R1200GS charges into the future with a new air liquid-cooled Boxer Twin.
The BMW R1200GS charges into the future with a new air/liquid-cooled Boxer Twin.
Long-rumored, and preceded by spy photos, the switch to liquid cooling isn’t immediately evident on the new model. BMW is keen to emphasize its new Boxer as both air and liquid cooled. Indeed the Boxer heads protrude out, maybe even more prominently than before. More technical analysis of the liquid-cooling is forthcoming, for now we’ll let the BMW PR speak for itself, stating:

“The boxer engine in the new R 1200 GS continues to use air/liquid cooling, however, the coolant oil has been replaced by a glycol-water mixture. This ensures a high level of heat absorption capacity of the cooling liquid for more efficient heat dissipation.

“So-called precision cooling (a principle similar to that used in Formula 1) involves only those engine elements being cooled with coolant, which are particularly exposed to thermal stress. The engine still continues to use air cooling, thereby preserving the characteristic appearance of the opposed Twin boxer engine. The two radiators are small and inconspicuously integrated.”

The compact liquid-cooling system packs on weight, but only a claimed six pounds. Air-flow on the cooling fins on the exposed cylinder heads still do the lion’s share of temperature regulation. BMW claims the cooling ratio at 65% air to 35% liquid in the current model, with the previous version a ratio of 78% air to 22% oil.

As to the reasons for the move to liquid-cooling, BMW points to “preparation for the future in terms of noise and exhaust emissions.” The GS has also faced stern performance challenges in the AT class from the liquid-cooled Ducati Multistrada and Triumph Explorer, its two European rivals.

The new Boxer Twin looks to close the performance gap. Horsepower claims for the new GS jump up from 110 to 125 hp, the peak power coming at almost at the same 7700 rpm (7750 in previous version). Torque production climbs to 92.2 lb-ft at 6500 instead of 88.51 at 6000.

2013 BMW R1200GS.
The 2013 R1200GS still keeps temperatures down primarily via air cooling, with BMW BMW claiming the cooling ratio at 65% air to 35% from the new liquid system.
The power gains come without an increase in its 1170cc displacement. The 101mm bore and 73mm stroke are unchanged as well. What has been revised is compression, up to 12.5:1 from 12.0:1 owing to a more compact combustion chamber. This comes courtesy of the new valve angles, intake positioned at eight degrees and exhaust at 10 degrees. (A new radial valve head was the signature upgrade to the 2010 Boxer models, including the GS.)

The GS remains shaft driven, with a six-speed gearbox. However, there are changes to the transmission system, as a wet clutch with “anti-hopping function” replaces the dry unit found on the predecessor.

A switch to ride-by-wire, dubbed E-gas in the BMW PR dialect, is a first for the GS, with a throttle sensor regulating the throttle valve via ECU. BMW hails improved throttle response and control. The electronic system also allows for cruise control and three selectable E-gas settings.

The new GS also premiers five ride mode options: Rain, Road, Dynamic, Enduro and Enduro Pro. These five modes feature “varying engine characteristics.” A special enduro configuration for the Automatic Stability Control (ASC) further varies the engine tune, with corresponding alteration of the five mode settings.

A redesigned chassis featured a new steel tube frame. BMW’s proprietary Telelever and Paralever suspension units return, though the Bavarians promise they are “newly designed.” The chassis revisions net claims of “further significant increase in torsional stiffness and hence ride stability and steering precision.” Claimed curb weight is 525 pounds, a 4.8 (4 kg) increase over the previous model.

The GS suspension package features BMW’s new semiactive Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA). Beemer aficionados are familiar with ESA, with this latest Dynamic ESA incorporating spring travel sensors to automatically adjust damping via “electrically controlled regulation valves.” The new ESA adapts to the aforementioned ride mode settings.

New tire sizes get the GS rolling, a 120/70 front and 170/60 rear (previous model 110/80, 150/70).
The braking package upgrades with radial Brembo monobloc calipers up front. The rear two-piston caliper also pinches down on a now larger disc, up to 275mm from 265mm. BMW’s part integral ABS returns as a standard feature.

Remaining spec sheet prizes include an LED headlight with integrated daytime running light, with BMW claiming it as an industry first. The GS also benefits from innovations trickling down from the uber touring K1600GT six-cylinders, namely the improved electronics and a Multi-Controller switchgear – which allows for easy use of the BMW Motorrad Navigator IV instrumentation system. Another touring-oriented update is the new windshield, which allows for one-handed adjustment.

Ergonomic comfort is promised with a more adjustable seat. Previously able to alter the ride height between two settings, the new seat also offers adjustment for tilt angle. The passenger seat can also be repositioned.

The revitalized GS will be offered in four colorways: Alpine White, Racing Red, Blue Fire and Thunder Grey Metallic.
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janetsmith   December 4, 2012 10:16 PM
The liquid cooling system is the most discussed feature of R1200 GS. The heat can be dissipated more efficiently. I hope the confusions will be cleared when we can see it on roads. http://www.bimmersclinicinc.com/
Paley   November 13, 2012 02:20 PM
Why would any manufacturer nowadays bring out a new model which only does 40 mpg? Crazy. I know fuel economy is not at the top pf the list for bikers but it has to be a consideration - doesn't it?
themountain   October 7, 2012 10:10 AM
poncho..you obviously never tried a GS....It´s not my cup of tea ether but we ride africa basicly every year and the GS´s in our group [B]never[/B] failed.....never ever ! I hpoe I could say that from my KTM :(
Poncho167   October 4, 2012 08:23 AM
I would take a late model KLR through Mexico or the Alps before I would ride that huge BMW. Though the beemer is a more comfortable long distance highway bike, my KLR has seen 3,000 mile round trip highway jaunts with my Givi hard cases and back rack full with camping gear. And even better bike with be a used Honda Transalp imported in the 1980's.
rmillersbs   October 3, 2012 01:23 PM
Well guys, it depends on what kind of riding/touring you're doing. I picked up an 06 GS for a 4 week 2400 mile ride through mexico this spring. Let me tell you, having a big trailies is the only way to go when riding through countries with steep cobblestone city sections, speed bumps through all the little towns, and craggy dirt transitions from place to place. Did I mention riding on the beach in Acapulco?!!! The toll roads (freeways) are perhaps less than enjoyable on long hot days, but when you're loaded up with multiple cases, a high barred long wheelbase bike is preferable for slow when in combination with the occasiional high speeed stuff (those radials grease up nicely on the hot high desert road passes and you can drift to your to your hearts content if you've got the nerve and skill:)) I'd love to ride a Multi-strada and if cost werent a factor, and besmirching such a boutique bike didnt matter, I'd go with it. But now that I'm back home, the GS is a great around town bomber. Rode one on the Alps, Pyrenees, and Dolomites in 06 as well. These are great bikes. BTW, I also have a 98 VFR800, and 08 CBR1000RR/YZF-R6 for track days.
morvegil   October 3, 2012 09:30 AM
Lol, Ive ridden all 3 bikes and owned the Multi. The multi actually won in the off road contest. 160hp? please any day on the Duc.
nathan   October 2, 2012 06:10 PM
The mulitstrada is as ugly as anything ever produced and the Triumph is a styling knockoff on the GS. I don't own a GS, but have ridden a few in the past, my guess is that you haven't and that's why "you don't get it". They are a fantastic do it all motorcycle which is why they have praise heaped upon them by riders all over the world, having a more competitive power plant only sweetens the deal.
Poncho167   October 2, 2012 04:48 PM
I don't dislike the bike but I don't see the point of it. I never liked the front beak look and I for the money I would get a real sport touring bike such as a Concours or Honda ST. The Multistrada and Triumph are also more stylish.

To take something like this off-road makes little sense to me based on the weight and cost to fix it if dumped. A gravel road or possibly a wide smooth trail would be about it.
hipsterdufus   October 2, 2012 11:17 AM
my guess is $250 per 1 HP increase. totaling $3,750 for the increase in power
neo1piv014   October 2, 2012 07:12 AM
That's a pretty significant power boost. I'd be interested to see what the price looks like now too.