Testride BMW F650 and BMW R 1200 GS


 
People keep asking me, why I'm not riding a BMW since I'm German. So far my answer was always "because I'm not stupid". Here now a more detailed answer: I actually never wanted to test ride the BMW R 1200 GS. Too many times I had heared about dangerous engine failure while riding. Riding an expensive bike like the BMW is also a big financial risk. While I can use me 700 Euro Honda Transalp to have fun racing through a forest, a tiny little scratch in the paint of a 18.000 Euro bike costs already hundreds of Euros. Also my friendy have had bad experience with them 1, 2.
Testride motorcycle  BMW R 1200 GS
Anyway when the company payed BMW test drivers 50 bugs each, I gave the different GS models a go. I did have some free time anyway.
Testride motorcycle  BMW R 1200 GS
As expected, like all bikes it was also fun riding those big bikes. The sun was shining and the tires had a great grip on the road.
Testride motorcycle  BMW R 1200 GS
When I got the bikes, the company did not allow me to ride them off road, so I only took them onto the grass to take some photos.
Testride motorcycle  BMW R 1200 GS
Afterwards the bikes were allowed to show what they have to offer. The F650 GS filed like my Honda XL 600V, but with 12.000 Dollars it was way more expensive. BMW prices. I did not like the strange blink switches as well. More about the F650 I have already written here.
Testride motorcycle  BMW R 1200 GS

The big GS 1200 was very different. With a loud klong the first gear popped in. The hydraulic clutch was working fine but had a wondering point of pressure (which seem to last only 30.000 km).
Testride motorcycle  BMW R 1200 GS
A little turn of my right hand and the bike started to move. The engine was very strong. A few seconds later I was faster then I'm allowed to ride in all of the USA.
Testride motorcycle  BMW R 1200 GS
While the speed limit inside the USA is limited to 75 miles per hour max, the BMW GS 1200 is made for German highway use only. No chance to use all this power legally anywhere else.

Testride motorcycle  BMW R 1200 GS
While it was very easy to get the big 250 kg bike close to 200 km/h, it was also very easy to stop it again.
Testride motorcycle  BMW R 1200 GS
May be I have to say it in other ways: The GS 1200 had the best brakes I have ever tested before.
Testride motorcycle  BMW R 1200 GS
It felt as if I would be riding against a wall of glass. The ABS was regulating normally. The warning lights inside the cockpit were flashing.
Testride motorcycle  BMW R 1200 GS
A few meters later, the bike is standing. If the brakes don't fail at all. Wow. Update: The new Honda Transalp 700 also comes with better brakes and ABS :)
 
Unfortunately there are many complaints of motorcycle magazines about this bike. The BMW R 1200 GS had managed, what as far as I know, no other bike had managed before: It failed the long term tests of professional motorcycle magazines with broken engines three times: 1, 2, 3. (Englisch translation here.) Accordingly bad are the results. "We had to change toe whole engine" MOTORRAD from 12/2014 and "Thank to his angels the rider is still alive after this inferno" MOTORRAD from 17/2014. Because this engine problems happen mostly at BMW bikes, the journalists even ask BMW why their quality is always worse then the quality of Japanese motorbikes.
The concurent products Triumph Tiger Explorer, Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Ténéré, Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Ténéré Worldcrosser and Honda Crosstourer finished the tests with no serious problems and the comment "Very good condition after 50.000 kilometers" in MOTORRAD from 22/2013 etc.
 
Also other motorcycles from Japan finish the 50.000 km test with no measurable wear out,
Testride motorcycle  BMW R 1200 GS
while other models from Munich always attract attention with broken engines: (klick) (klick) (klick) .
Zitat of the experts from MOTORRAD 21/2009: "The Japanese have always been ahead in terms of quality and workmanship, it has basically not changed." The Consumer Report says the same.
 
Nevertheless driving more then 50.000 km should be normal for a 18.000 Euro expensive bike made in Germany and not a special thing that needs to be positively mentioned. You can even ride this distance with a Chinese scooter for 600 Euro from a hardware store.
Testride motorcycle  BMW R 1200 GS
A very expensive motorbike should make his owner happy fore more then just a few days with more then 200.000 km like a Honda Africa Twin. Single accidents? So many? Nobody believes this anymore. The BMW R1200RT was so dangerous, that it even became illegal to be used on public roads.
Testride motorcycle  BMW R 1200 GS

Update: A new model of the GS has finally reached the marked: The liquid cooled BMW R 1200 GS LC. Unfortunately this bike seems to have the same problems. It failed the test of the MOTORRAD magazine 12/2014 after just driving 44.000 km Amazing? Not really. A few months later the first customers start to have problems too: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Testride motorcycle  BMW R 1200 GS

Because the Internet is full with descriptions like this, I can't recommend buying a BMW. Dont rely on a gesture of goodwill.
If an 7975,70 Euro + mechanic would not just cost -5 points like a broken clutch cable for 1,50 Euro, the BMW would ne be one of the best 100 motorbikes.
Testfahrt Motorrad BMW R 1200 GS

But like this the motorcycle that did not even reach the finish line got 68 out of 100 points and stays on place 18 in front of other bikes who finishes their test with no problems but did not get so many points for adjustable windshields or electric heated seats etc.
In my opinion, a bike who does not stand the little distance of just 50.000 km should be disqualified with 0 Points. What does an adjustable windshield helps you, when the bike does not even drive and nobody can repair it? In "Long way round" the BMW had to be flewn back home because of this reason.
Testfahrt Motorrad BMW R 1200 GS

 
The problem these days is that you wont reach the top 10 list of new vehicles, if you produce good quality. Therefore its better to sell bad quality. Then people have to replace their bikes more often and bay more new bikes. This is also called "Obsoleszens". Products have to fail just after their warranty has expired.
The legendary quality of the Honda engines must have been the main reason not to produce them anymore. A person like me, who bought a bike in 1990 and is still riding it with a smile 20 years later, will not replace it. My Transalp reached 200.000 km now still running well. Why should I buy a new one?
These are just my own thoughts. No responsibility for wrong spelling or mistakes. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email ;)




 
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