Review: BMW R 1250 GS

BMW R 1250 GS

The BMW R 1250 GS is an icon in the adventure touring motorcycle segment. It has set the standard for versatility, capability, and reliability on both paved and unpaved roads. In this comprehensive review, we’ll explore the design, performance, technology, and riding experience that make the BMW R 1250 GS a legendary choice for riders seeking adventure on two wheels.

Design and Appearance

The design of the BMW R 1250 GS is instantly recognizable. It combines rugged adventure touring aesthetics with a touch of sophistication, creating a motorcycle that’s as comfortable in the wild as it is on city streets.

Exterior Design: The R 1250 GS features a distinctive front end with a twin-LED headlamp setup. It’s flanked by a pair of asymmetrical air intakes, which not only enhance its appearance but also contribute to engine cooling. The exposed trellis frame adds a sense of adventure to the design.

Fit and Finish: BMW is known for its meticulous attention to detail, and it shows in the fit and finish of the R 1250 GS. High-quality materials, precision welds, and premium finishes are evident throughout the motorcycle. The paint quality and overall build are top-notch.

Wind Protection: The adjustable windscreen is designed to provide excellent wind protection while maintaining an unobstructed view of the road. It can be easily adjusted to suit the rider’s height and riding conditions, whether it’s for highway cruising or off-road adventures.

Classic GS Elements: The GS family’s legacy is carried forward with classic elements such as the beak-like front fender, the distinctive tank design, and the long-travel suspension that give the R 1250 GS its characteristic stance. These elements are both functional and aesthetically appealing.

Adventure Ready: The R 1250 GS is equipped with essential adventure touring features, including robust crash bars, a skid plate, and a high ground clearance. These components are not just for show; they’re designed to protect the motorcycle during off-road excursions.

Customization: BMW offers a wide range of customization options, allowing riders to personalize their R 1250 GS. These include various paint schemes, luggage options, and accessories to tailor the bike to individual preferences.

Engine and Performance

The heart of the BMW R 1250 GS is its potent boxer engine, which is renowned for its power, torque, and efficiency. It’s designed to offer exhilarating performance across various riding conditions.

Engine: The R 1250 GS is powered by a 1,254cc boxer twin-cylinder engine. What sets this engine apart is its ShiftCam technology, which varies valve timing and lift for improved low-end torque and high-end power. It’s air and liquid-cooled, making it efficient and responsive.

Performance: The engine produces around 136 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque. This abundant torque is available low in the rev range, providing the R 1250 GS with excellent off-road capabilities and effortless highway cruising. The engine’s smooth power delivery ensures confident acceleration.

Throttle Response: The R 1250 GS’s electronic throttle control results in precise and smooth throttle response. Whether you’re navigating challenging off-road terrain or enjoying spirited on-road riding, the engine responds with precision.

Transmission: The motorcycle is equipped with a 6-speed transmission that shifts with precision. The gearbox is well-matched to the engine’s characteristics and allows for easy and confident gear changes.

Exhaust Note: The distinctive boxer engine’s exhaust note adds character to the R 1250 GS. It’s a throaty, low-frequency rumble that complements the motorcycle’s rugged nature.

Chassis and Handling

The R 1250 GS’s chassis and handling are designed to provide confidence and control, whether you’re on winding roads or challenging off-road trails.

Chassis: The motorcycle features a steel bridge-type frame that offers both stability and flexibility. This frame is well-suited to the demands of adventure riding, providing support for the engine and suspension while maintaining a manageable weight.

Suspension: The R 1250 GS is typically equipped with a Telelever front suspension and a Paralever rear suspension. These setups are designed to handle rough terrain and provide a comfortable ride. The adjustable suspension allows riders to fine-tune the bike’s performance for various conditions.

Brakes: The motorcycle features dual disc brakes at the front and a single disc at the rear, both equipped with ABS as standard. The braking system offers strong and precise stopping power. The inclusion of ABS enhances safety during challenging conditions.

Wheels and Tires: The R 1250 GS rides on wire-spoke wheels, which are durable and suitable for off-road use. The bike’s tires are typically a dual-sport type, offering a good balance between on-road grip and off-road capability.

Low Seat Height: The R 1250 GS typically features a variable seat height. This allows riders to adjust the seat to their preferred height, accommodating various inseam lengths. The low seat position makes it easier to manage the motorcycle at stops and during off-road maneuvers.

Weight: While adventure touring motorcycles tend to be heavier, the R 1250 GS manages its weight well. With a curb weight of around 550-600 lbs (depending on the model and equipment), it’s agile enough for both on-road and off-road adventures.

Electronics and Technology

The R 1250 GS boasts a comprehensive suite of electronic features and technology to enhance the riding experience and provide convenience and safety.

Riding Modes: The motorcycle offers multiple riding modes that allow riders to adjust throttle response, suspension settings, and traction control to suit various riding conditions. These modes include Rain, Road, Dynamic, Enduro, and more.

Traction Control: The R 1250 GS is equipped with dynamic traction control, which monitors wheel slip and adjusts power accordingly. This technology enhances stability and control on slippery surfaces.

Cruise Control: Cruise control is a standard feature on the R 1250 GS, making highway riding more comfortable. It allows riders to set and maintain a constant speed without having to constantly manage the throttle.

Keyless Ignition: The keyless ignition system simplifies starting and stopping the motorcycle. Riders can keep the key fob in their pocket or bag, which is convenient, especially when wearing riding gear.

LED Lighting: The R 1250 GS features LED lighting, including the headlamp and taillight. LED lighting offers enhanced visibility and is more energy-efficient than traditional halogen lights.

Connectivity: Some R 1250 GS models come equipped with connectivity features, allowing riders to pair their smartphones to the motorcycle’s display. This provides access to navigation, music, and other functions.

Dynamic ESA: The optional Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) allows riders to electronically adjust suspension settings on the fly, optimizing the bike’s performance for varying road and riding conditions.

Comfort and Ergonomics

Comfort is a priority for adventure touring, and the R 1250 GS excels in this regard, providing a rider-friendly and versatile riding position.

Saddle: The motorcycle typically features a well-padded and ergonomic saddle that offers ample support for both rider and passenger. The two-up seat is designed for long-distance comfort.

Handlebars: The handlebar design is well-suited for adventure touring, providing a comfortable and upright riding posture. The bars are wide and offer excellent leverage for control during off-road riding.

Foot Pegs: The R 1250 GS is typically equipped with adjustable foot pegs, allowing riders to fine-tune their leg position to maximize comfort and control. The adjustable pegs cater to riders of varying heights.

Wind Protection: The adjustable windscreen offers excellent wind protection, which is essential for long-distance touring. Riders can customize the windscreen’s height to suit their preferences and riding conditions.

Spacious Cockpit: The cockpit is well-organized and spacious, with controls within easy reach. This design minimizes rider fatigue and ensures that important functions are accessible while on the move.

Pillion Comfort: The passenger accommodations are also well-considered, providing a comfortable and secure perch. The two-up seat is designed for extended journeys, ensuring both rider and passenger enjoy the adventure.


Engine Air/liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder boxer engine
Displacement 1,254cc
Power (Approx) 136 hp
Torque (Approx) 105 lb-ft
Transmission 6-speed
Frame Steel bridge-type
Suspension Telelever with adjustable rebound damping (front), aralever with adjustable preload and rebound damping (rear)
Brakes Dual disc, 305mm, with ABS (front) Single disc, 276mm, with ABS (rear)
Wheels Spoked (varies by model)
Seat Height Variable seat height
Weight 550-600 lbs (Approx)

How does the BMW R 1250 GS Ride?

The BMW R 1250 GS is a highly versatile motorcycle that excels in a variety of riding scenarios:

On-Road Touring: On paved roads, the R 1250 GS is a comfortable and powerful touring machine. The smooth and responsive engine provides ample power for overtaking, and the comfortable ergonomics are ideal for long-distance journeys.

Off-Road Adventures: When the pavement ends, the R 1250 GS comes into its element. Its robust construction, long-travel suspension, and traction control systems make it a capable off-road companion. It can tackle gravel roads, trails, and even more challenging terrains with ease.

City Commuting: The bike’s upright riding position and smooth throttle response are well-suited for urban commuting. The adjustable seat height also allows riders to easily plant their feet at stops, boosting confidence in traffic.

Two-Up Riding: The spacious two-up seat and passenger accommodations make the R 1250 GS an excellent choice for touring with a partner. The bike provides a comfortable and enjoyable experience for both rider and passenger.

Adventure Touring: Whether you’re embarking on a long-distance adventure or exploring remote destinations, the R 1250 GS is equipped to handle it all. Its durability, ample ground clearance, and adjustable windscreen make it an ideal choice for globetrotters.


The BMW R 1250 GS stands as a benchmark in the adventure touring segment. It’s a motorcycle that offers a winning combination of power, versatility, and advanced technology. The bike’s iconic design is both striking and functional, while its potent boxer engine and well-designed chassis deliver a thrilling and composed riding experience.

The R 1250 GS’s adaptability to various riding conditions, be it city streets, highways, gravel roads, or rugged trails, is a testament to its engineering excellence. The electronic aids, customizable suspension, and riding modes ensure that riders can fine-tune the bike’s performance to match their preferences and riding environments.

While the R 1250 GS is an adventure touring motorcycle at its core, it doesn’t compromise on comfort. The rider and passenger accommodations are designed for long journeys, and the adjustable seat height accommodates a wide range of riders. The bike’s wind protection, ergonomic design, and high-quality fit and finish contribute to a comfortable and enjoyable ride.

In conclusion, the BMW R 1250 GS is a motorcycle that embodies the spirit of adventure. Whether you’re chasing horizons on distant highways or exploring remote trails in the wilderness, this bike is a trusted companion. It’s a versatile and capable machine that continues to define the adventure touring segment, setting the standard for what a true adventure motorcycle should be.

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