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R1200GSW- Long Term Review

Posted by Josh Shorley on

What kid doesn't want a GS?  I mean seriously!  If you don't want one you're either in denial or you live in a hole.  There is no denying that the GS bike sets the tone for adventure dual sport, and really always has.  The best thing BMW ever did was sponsor Ewan and Charlie in the Long Way Round because I guarantee that movie ended up selling a lot of bikes.

When I saw the first renderings of the new water cooled GS, I knew I had to have one.  I had been riding the Triumph Tiger 800 for several years and after a solid release in 2013 I just knew it was time to move on!  I fully intended to buy the GS Adventure but the Tiger went a little faster than I expected.  I tried to wait around for the GS Adventure but I couldn't do it.  I ended up pulling the trigger on a red 2014 R1200GS water boxer.


Day 1- 0 miles

It was January, it was cold, and I had a huge smile on my face the entire ride home.  Not to mention, motorcycle shops don't sell a lot of bikes in January so there are good deals to be had ;)

If I had to stop here and recap the last 15,000 miles I would have 2 bad things to say. First it's overpriced. There are so many capable bikes on the market now that a $20,000 motorcycle is a bit on the ridiculous side. Okay, very much on the ridiculous side. Second, the wheels are worthless. They are outdated technology and BMW needs to completely scrap it. Leave it to a name like BMW to manufacture a wheel that you can't work on... Their fix for a bent wheel is to buy a completely new wheel.  Really BMW??? Really??? Thankfully Woody's Wheel Works has a solution but it comes at a price. Other than that the bike is crazy awesome!

I digress... I purchased the model with every option available at the time and I opted for the sought after Jesse Luggage side bags (more about these later). I was in love and the little upgrades quickly began. I don't remember exactly where I started but the list of available options was short because the bike was still pretty new. The short list consisted of...

  • Alt Rider crash bars and skid plate combo
  • Touratech final drive breather
  • Touratech hand guards
  • Touratech headlight guard
  • BMW adjustable foot pegs
  • BMW adventure adjustable brake lever
  • SW-Motech adjustable and foldable shift lever

BMW R1200 GS review

My first real adventure started when I accepted a challenge from a good friend. He and I have been practicing this off grid approach since college and he knew exactly what buttons to push.  So I set off with a bicycle attached on my 2x2 mount to attempt 2,500 miles in  5 days and 100 miles on my Salsa Horsethief. Longer story short, it was a huge success and something I will never forget- Salsa Cycles 5 States, 5 Days, 5 Trails.

I was home for a week and then set out to Colorado to ride the Colorado Back Country Discovery Route. Matt had finally got his new GSAW set up and we were both itching to ride some good dual-sport tracks.


The Colorado BDR was a success but it came at a small cost when I overshot a sharp turn just outside of Tincup. After we recovered my bike and gathered my gear, we continued on. This was also the end of my relationship with any Jesse Luggage products all while I could hardly wait to email Altrider to tell them that their crash bars had survived.

After the wreck I installed the BMW adventure bag set up, and I'm happy with the change.


Immediate Post Wreck Pic

Post wreck I also went out and bought a rattle can of bed liner to get rid of the red paint. I personally think it looks better black and the wrecked plastic was nice to practice on. As it sets today with bent untrue wheels the bike has been awesome. I recently attended the KTM Rally in Deadwood, SD and couldn't resist riding a KTM 1190 Adventure R. After the demo I was quietly happy that the KTM didn't eat at me to immediately replace my GS. Don't get me wrong, the KTM is a killer motorcycle but I could almost guarantee you that I wouldn't ride it as much as I do my GS. I have now piloted this thing through MO, KS, AR, NE, IA, MN, SD, ND, WY, and CO. If I had to do it again... I'd buy a used GS to dodge the heavy price tag at the dealer.





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