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Basem Wasef

All-New 2013 BMW R 1200 GS Goes for the Tech: "Precision" Liquid Cooling, K1600-Derived Features, and More

By October 3, 2012

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BMW has sold over 170,000 GS models, and the air-cooled 1200 variant is a tough-as-nails all 'rounder that has earned a freakishly cultish following over the years.

Breaking tradition by employing liquid cooling, the all-new 2013 BMW R1200GS promises gutsier performance against foes like the Ducati Multistrada 1200 and Yamaha Super Tenere... but the price of progress is the potential risk of alienating its core audience who live and die by minimalist, easy-to-fix air-cooled setups.


The new GS's numbers aren't superbike sky high, but they're plenty ballsy for an enduro tourer: a 524 lb curb weight and an 1,170cc boxer-style twin that produces 125 horsepower and 92 lb-ft of torque. BMW's so-called precision cooling combines traditional air cooling with liquid cooling that focuses only on engine components that are exposed to thermal stress.

Other highlights include electronic throttle, a semi-active application of BMW's ESA suspension setup (which alters damping automatically based on spring travel sensors), and five selectable ride modes which alter throttle, suspension, and traction control settings a la Ducati's Multistrada. Standard ABS, available cruise control, an LED headlight, and a multi-controller setup derived from the K1600 are just a few of the numerous techy items available on the new GS.

Will the new R1200GS continue the model's success when it hits showrooms in early spring 2013? Time will tell... but more telling than the quality of the bike itself will be whether or not BMW's hardcore customers are ready for a radical change.


Photo © BMW

October 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm
(1) three west says:

I believe the multi-controller made its first appearance on the RT before the K16GT

October 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm
(2) Dabber says:

These type of bikes appeal to me. This one sets the bar I guess, although a bit pricey. Triumph’s efforts in this genre are top notch as well.

Being long legged, bikes like this would be a good fit for me. My Z1000 is fun but, 300 mi. days wears me out. Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha all have large capacity adventure style bikes. If only Kawasaki would bring the Versys 1000 here to the states I’d be happy! I’m more about function than form nowadays.

October 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm
(3) Mike Hannan says:

Don’t know about your comment on the simplicity and reliability of earlier 1200s. My 1150 Adventure is too damned complicated for the job it is designed for. The power assist and abs unit once broke in Morocco with no end of drama. In fact everything on the bike has broken once somewhere I wish it hadn’t. I reckon BMW left the rugged simplicity stuff behind many years ago. Just try to change out a worn clutch pate outside a dealers workshop and see how you go.

Regards, Mike

October 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm
(4) Ray King says:

BMW boxer engines have been “liquid cooled” since the R1100 and continuing through the R1200 as used in the 2012 GS and the current RT, etc. That liquid is oil, and it is cooled by oil radiators. So, technically, you could say they are air-cooled, but not like the “airheads” that ceased production with the R100 bikes.

October 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm
(5) Kayevman says:

How do you know it’s too expensive when the price hasn’t been releasred yet.

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