BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 Touring Motorcycle
BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 is the factory hard core version of the basic GS model. They share most of the parts, but the GSA is equipped for adventurous offroad touring and long LEGs in the outback. Cross spoked rims, higher ground clearance and a large fuel tank among other details support the intent. The GSA comes with a high level of sophistication, functionality and rider comfort to match the demanding touring requirements. The rider ergonomics are excellent, the twin boxer delivers more than enough performance for every situation. The GSA carries a significant payload with a passenger and luggage very well. The bike is made for all kind of road surfaces including the dirt and the big tank gives an extended range to explore the unknown. The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 is still one of the very best allroad touring motorcycle in the big bore category. This bike could be tuned up for almost anything and it provides one of the best potential for demanding requirements and personal preferences. Thanks to the factory and a close attention from the MC accessory industry.
The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 is an allroad touring enduro in every single way. The GSA is surprisingly agile for such a heavy bike and a solid offroad cruiser for distant destinations. Never the less, the GSA is hardly ideal for demanding single and double tracks on a soft ground, especially with a touring payload (total maximum 480kgs / 1058 lbs). A 19 inch front wheel and the overall mass in question has it`s limits which can be visited by an experienced and confident offroad rider. Once the GSA is down, the rider needs to know exactly how to pull it up alone. After few pulls the ride is basically over, unless the route becomes again easy. This is one of the reasons why the GSA comes with a set of normal street oriented tyres as STD. By choosing knobbier tyres the GSA is good for dirt roads too as long as the surface supports the weight. The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 is at it`s best on versatile roads and the large fuel tank makes sure that long LEGs in the outback are not a problem what so ever.
BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 Features
The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 has new accessories to offer, but the STD bike is the same as last year. The factory has developed a Keyless Ride alternative. It means that the conventional ignition would be replaced with a button and the key with a transponder key. The transponder must be within 2 meters in oder to interact with the system. The Keyless Ride controls also the fuel tank flap and the steering wheel lock. With a push of the ignition button, the system activates the GSA electric system and allows to start the engine. This may be popular in the auto industry and an interesting choice at least for the urban environment, but I am not as comfortable to have one in the outback where special batteries are scarce and conventional keys are necessary to open the seat compartment and the aluminium panniers.
The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 could be also equipped with a Shift Assistant PRO which allows to change gears to both directions without using the clutch lever and changing the throttle position. Shifters have been used in the racing world for some time. The GSAP shifter is useful especially when riding in standing posture or twisting absolutely everything out the power train without dropping the pull even for a short moment between the gears. There would be no need to turn the clutch lever pointing excessively downwards or twist the wrist in a unnatural angle with the clutch. Although there are several situations such as constant speed and emergency braking scenarios when the lever should be applied. The shifter is designed to be used with high torque touring bikes which makes it turbine smooth and surprisingly comfortable in use. Since the BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 wet clutch is anyhow not as accurate as the previous generation, the Shift Assistant PRO becomes an interesting option. Never the less, every start off and stop would be traditionally controlled with the clutch lever.
The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 is ride by wire throttled and offers one of the best cruise control as optional extra. Some of the competition offers the CC as STD feature and the BMW should follow the example for such a touring bike. The GSA cruise control is exceptionally well made and practical to operate. The GSA has a proper touring windscreen with a quick adjustment at the right hand side. The adjustment works very well with a simple turn knob. On both side of the cockpit there are GSA signature deflectors completing one of the best aerodynamics and wind cover in the category. The OE list includes no taller choice than the STD screen, but fortunately the accessory industry offers several touring screen options and spoilers for taller BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 riders. The ergonomics are very good and the rider can adjust the seat, handlebar, both hand and foot levers which becomes necessary when riding from time to time in standing posture. The buttons and controls on the handlebar can be easily operated even with insulated gloves on.
Surprisingly the BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 has a rather modest alternator for such a globetrotter. The grip warmers come as STD and fog lights are very commonly used which makes this one of the few short comings. Today everybody carries several kind of electronics onboard, even tablets and require fixed charging arrangements. This is even more vital when exploring the remote and basically camping. The factory offers a full LED lighting system with daytime running lights DRL as an option to the halogen bulbs which would release some of the capacity for travel electronics. The DRL is useful. If the DRL is switched on, the auxiliary LED lights can not be used simultaneously, but the automatic system switches the normal headlights back on when riding in a tunnel. Anyhow the GSA does not easily run out of juice and the control system starts to cuts out consumption before the voltage becomes critical. What makes this even more strange is that the basic GS offers 70W more alternator performance. The key BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 features are:
- Seat height 890 mm. or 35.04in. (+2cm adjustment)
- Cross spoked rims
- Tyres 120/70 R19 and rear 170/60 R17
- Engine type twin boxer
- Max performance 125HP / 125Nm. or 92.2ft-lb.
- Alternator 510W
- 12V cockpit power outlet
- Shaft driven
- ABS partly integrated (off switchable)
- Automatic stability control system ASC
- Onboard computer (basic)
- Electronic immobiliser system EWS
- Weight fueled 260kgs or 573.2lbs
- Payload 220kgs or 485lbs
- Fuel tank 30L, 7.93USgal., 6.6UKgal. (min. 91RON – 87AKI)
The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 has a unique chassis concept with exceptional front end suspension called TELELEVER. It supports the front end much better than a traditional USD fork when braking efficiently. Therefore the Telelever does not dive in and upset the rider`s balance. It remains up allowing more linear and immediate handling. Never the less, the GSA chassis is not as ideal for demanding offroad conditions. The Telelever is less comfortable on rough surfaces than a quality USD fork such as WP by the KTM. The GSA could be equipped with a Dynamic ESA suspension system which integrates the suspension with the automatic stability control system ASC. The ESA allows to quick set the preferred nature and the payload status for the suspension. Those who remain in urban environment and ride with a passenger from time to time would benefit the most from the ESA, but the solo riders would do just fine with the STD suspension. It handles the most of the conditions, but the rougher the route, the better shock absorbers are necessary.
BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 Refueling
The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 has an economical engine with lower consumption and therefore the fuel tank is a little bit smaller than before. Having the ability to carry fuel for well beyond 500 kms (311 mi.) is necessary and being able to place most of the fuel in the front as low as possible close to the center of gravity, is ideal from the maneuvering point of view. Note that the back of the GSA would be anyway quite heavy due to the payload and carrying an extra set of fuel canisters attached to the panniers would heavily reduce the agility. When exploring some of the most exotic countries you might have to use low octane fuel and since most of the modern motorcycles are using electronic mixture control systems, there is a need for an additional program and a knock sensor which provides the setup for at least 91 octane fuel. The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 provides settings for low octane fuel as optional extra, but that could be left for the point of closing as a bonus add-on.
BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 Riding Modes
The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 comes with 2 STD riding modes, the RAIN and the ROAD mode which can be easily controlled with the right hand control button. The modes run in a loop and changes can be made while riding. The ASC can be also turned OFF by holding the left hand ASC control button pressed for a moment. In order to master such a heavy and powerful touring bike on various surfaces and conditions, electronic assistance may very well be necessary for a lot of riders. The GSA riding modes work together with the engine torque, throttle response, ABS and the automatic stability control settings. Even the optional suspension system Dynamic ESA is integrated with the system. As optional extra the factory offers additional 3 riding modes which makes it one of the most advanced riding aid integration on the market, but personally I prefer keeping things more simple.
I am not very keen on playing with the electronic settings when conditions change along the ride. I would be happy to take control of the traction and the stability traditionally. Being fully in charge is very important for a lot of riders and being able to set the electronic aid in OFF mode on a long term bases, has been often made rather difficult. I hope the industry would not force to use these systems and they would be just an option. Even when the bike is equipped with such a safety system, the rider should be able to disengage it until the rider decides otherwise and not until the next engine start. Conventional warning lights in the dash and onboard computer text messages on the display should be more than enough to remind the rider about the support status.
When riding in rain or slippery conditions, the BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 RAIN mode provides a soft dosage and response to support the rider`s actions. Also the automatic stability control ASC responds more readily and earlier than in the ROAD mode and the suspension system Dynamic ESA performs softer. In the ROAD mode, the control system is set to ensure optimal performance providing a spontaneous, linear throttle response with a homogeneous torque build up. The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 DYNAMIC mode is the sportiest mode for road riding with even more spontaneous and direct throttle response, more restrained stability control intervention and harder suspension damping. The traction control allows minimal wheel spin and drifting.
The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 ENDURO mode is designed for offroad riding with conventional street tyres, giving a soft throttle response, restrained stability control intervention, optimum brake distribution and ABS control in conjunction with a high traction setup. The setting helps riders with less offroad experience to get familiar with the handling. From the functionality and the safety point of view, the factory warmly recommends to use at least the Enduro mode for offroad conditions, but the STD tyres could only handle very light and clean packed dirt roads. For more ambitious and experienced touring enduro riders, the ENDURO Pro mode provides a spontaneous engine response. At the same time, the ABS can be disengaged at the rear tyre by pressing the footbrake lever. The suspension system Dynamic ESA shifts into traction oriented and tighter setup. The stability control ASC is set to professional enduro mode and permits considerably more slipping. The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 ENDURO Pro mode is designed to be used with knobby offroad tyres with better grip on a loose surface. The next stage would be to disengage the ASC completely.
The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 stability control system ASC is sensitive for changes with the tyre pressure and the tyres itself. The ASC and the ABS are monitoring the wheel spin differences and an imbalance could lead to system failures. Therefore an optional tyre pressure monitoring system RDC helps to keep the pressure in balance. The RDC takes the air temperature into account and therefore the system gives slightly different values than the fuel station equipment. Still the difference to the target pressure in question remains the same in both cases. The GSA control system knows most of the current tyre types, but when new tyres come up, the BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 requires an update by the dealer before new tyre types could be used. Those who would like to use a 21 inch front wheel, should consult the dealer about the options.
BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 Instrumentation
The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 offers a modern instrumentation, multifunction display and proper control buttons. The setup is versatile and informative enough, but hardly the most modern with the traditional speedo. The onboard computer LCD display has not change a lot, but it`s well organized from the readability point of view. The basic onboard computer offers a lot of information for touring, but the PRO version integrates on top of everything with the BMW Motorrad Navigator. The integration updates the time and the date on the computer automatically when crossing a time zone and when the fuel reserve level is reached, the navigator automatically assists to the nearest fuel stations. The basic BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 onboard computer features are:
- Trip 1 & 2
- Fuel level
- Fuel range
- Average fuel consumption 1&2
- Average speed
- Gear in use
- Time & date
- Air temperature
- Engine temperature
- Oil level
- Riding mode in use
- ESA settings (optional)
- Tyre pressure monitoring (optional)
- Daytime running light setup (optional)
- ECO upshift indicator
- Grip heater setup
- Service distance countdown & date
- Ice warning indicator
- Backlight brightness
This level of information is more than adequate for touring, but the PRO features would be rather interesting especially when choosing the BMW Motorrad Navigator on the accessory list. The setup would be the most advanced so far, but I could easily think of few more. Additionally with the BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 onboard computer PRO comes:
- Custom display setups
- Automatic tripmeter
- Current fuel consumption
- Current speed
- Battery voltage
- GPS date & time (optional)
The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 central vehicle electronics are operated mainly with the left hand control buttons. Main functions such as the trip computer, ABS, ASC, Dynamic ESA suspension and the riding modes are operated with separate buttons that are large and easy to find with gloves on. The setting menu runs in a loop and changes can be done with a simple choose and hold logic. A unique 2D Multi Controller switch is used to operate the BMW Motorrad Navigator. The controller allows safer and convenient operations without looking at the controller, searching any buttons or removing the hand from the grip. The competition could learn a lot from the BMW controls.
BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 Equipment Accessory
The BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 comes as STD with few useful accessories such as the center stand, hand guards and grip heaters, but the offroad tyres, adjustable foot pegs, LED -lighting system, PRO riding modes and the cruise control etc. come as optional extra. On top of the basic travel equipment and the luggage system, I would recommend to change the skid plate. The STD engine guard is simply too small and it`s offers too little protection for the exhaust pipes in the front and below the joint close to the center stand. There are several options in addition to the wider OE engine guard. From the highway and everyday motorcycling point of view, I would install the BMW cruise control too. The BMW aluminium pannier set with waterproof bags would be a solid choice and the ignition key could be used for the pannier locks too. The BMW Motorrad Navigator would be worth considering since the integration with the onboard computer PRO brings more functionality to the use. Since the GSA has a modest alternator it may be lucrative to install a full LED lighting system and save some of the capacity for travel electronics.
For shorter BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 riders the factory offers 50 mm. lower suspension parts reaching 860 mm. seat hight which is good news for shorter riders. Note that the GSA is able to use the same seats as the basic GS model which means that additional 20 mm. can be cut off down to 840 mm., resulting a 70 mm.overall difference to the STD seat hight. With the Dynamic ESA suspension system the lowest hight would be 820 mm. The factory offers also adjustable foot pegs with 10 mm. difference between the highest and the lowest position, but only taller GSA riders would really benefit from a larger knee angle. Outside the BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 factory list a set of auxiliary LED lights would be a good idea. Additional safety, visibility and recognition in the traffic even in the broad daylight would be increased with a proper set of LED lights such as the KRISTA Clearwater Lights.
BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 Comparison
Compared to the basic GS model, the BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 has a lot similarities, but also few differences. The GSA offers 8kgs (17.6lbs) more payload and 10L (2.64US gal./ 2.2UKgal.) more fuel capacity, but the basic GS is 22kgs (48.5lbs) lighter, provides 70W more alternator capacity. The GS has rigid cast aluminium wheels instead of more flexible cross spoked rims. A taller windscreen, pair of side deflectors and a wider waist line offers clearly more wind cover for the Adventure rider. The GSA suspension travel offers 20 mm. more ground clearance which means 40/20 mm. taller seat height and more offroad emphasis. A 1 degree tighter steering head angle puts a little bit more weight on offroad routing. From the equipment point of view, the BMW R1200 GS Adventure 2015 comes with crash bars, hand guards, wider offroad foot pegs, quick adjustable footbrake lever as STD. The GSA is clearly designed for highly versatile roads, gravel and remote touring. Depending on the nature of preferred routing scenarios, one would either turn to the urban BMW R1200 GS 2015 or the adventurous brother model.
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