Is the BMW R1250GS Adventure TE the ideal adventure bike? Are there any drawbacks? And can you get around them?
The GS Adventure is almost a byword for adventure bikes. It has had such sales dominance over the last few years that it has become the bike to beat for all the competitors trying to gain a foothold in the market.
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And I can see why this has been – and continues to be – such a popular bike. The ride quality is excellent, just plain excellent. From the riding comfort to steering geometry, from suspension to engine characteristics, everything works in an easy, understated but highly efficient manner.
It’s a backhanded compliment to the bike that some riders have moved to other brands simply because ‘everyone has a GS’ and they want to be different.
There are a couple of things that have changed in the GS range over the years, and these are getting to a point where they are becoming a problem for some riders. Mainly, the complaints are to do with price, weight and height.
One MSL reader, Bob, wrote to us with concerns about the prices of bikes like the GSA these days:
“What are motorcycle manufacturers thinking of? If I am looking to spend £17-19,000 I would buy a decent-sized family car.”
Another, John, was more concerned about the size and weigh of the machine:
“The R1250GSA is 268kg, with seat height of 890/910 mm as standard or 840/890mm for lowered suspension. You need legs of a giraffe with the power of a strongman to push this behemoth around and to get up onto this thing.”
Both of them make valid arguments. The bike is expensive, heavy and tall. Those qualities bother some riders, while others just shrug and throw a leg over – we all have our personal pain thresholds for these things. Perhaps the reason that despite all those things the bikes are still so popular is that as soon as you set off on one, none of that bothers you anymore. On the move the GSA feels light and well-balanced, and if you don’t need to put your foot down on uneven ground you’re ok. Just try not to think about the fact that you are sitting on a massive pile of cash.
Tarmac or offroad?
As good as the GSA is on tarmac, I’m still not sure about whether its ‘adventure’ badge demands good offroad performance too – nor can I say whether it is any good offroad, I haven’t tried that.
What I do know is that when I rode the tiny Royal Enfield Himalayan offroad, it made me wonder if I would ever want to take the BMW laning. All that power, tech, size and weight that I love on roads is a scary proposition for offroading. Just look at the main image for the difference in size.
However, all this made me wonder if I should try the GSA offroad… The thought fills me with dread, but maybe I should give it a go. After all, most people rate the bike offroad, and there’s only one way to find out…
BMW R1250GS Adventure TE: This month
- Rider: Mikko Nieminen
- Cost New: £17,585
- Spec: 134bhp/105.5Ib-ft
- Engine: 1254cc air/liquid-cooled flat twin, dohc, one balance shaft, ShiftCam
- Kerb weight: 268kg (fully fuelled)
- Tank: 30 litres
- Seat: 890mm/910mm
- Miles this month: 528
- Miles on Clock: 1259
- Average mpg: 44
- Current Tyres: Bridgestone Battlax Adventure
- Modifications: Brushed ally fuel tank £300, Intelligent Emergency Call £305, Teleservices (no cost), anti-theft alarm system £225.00, satnav (price varies from dealer to dealer), hard panniers and top box with backrest £1300
- Total cost of mods: £2130 (+satnav)
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