BMW Motorrad New Zealand has officially launched the full 2019 GS range to the New Zealand market, with the new R 1250 GS models joining the entry-level G 310 GS, F 750 GS and F 850 GS ranges.
With the opportunity to ride the whole range – minus the entry-level G 310 GS – here’s our thoughts on BMW’s attempts at reclaiming the title of the Kings of Adventure.
Words by Mathieu Day-Gillett | Photos by Geoff Osborne and BMW Motorrad
F 750 GS
The entry point to the twin-cylinder GS family arrived late last year and is without a doubt the most urban focussed of the family.
Starting at the bottom, the F 750 features alloy wheels connected to conventional 41amm forks, less ground clearance, a lower seat and smaller windscreen the F 750 GS feels like a much smaller bike than its siblings. Add to that the de-tuned 852cc parallel twin which is physically the same as the unit found in the F 850 range but electronically restricted and the F 750 GS might seem like the bike is missing out, yet it still has its place.
The engine is by no means a slouch and BMW Motorrad NZ as they often do have specced the F 750 GS to the nines with a quickshifter, heated grips and TFT instrumentation as standard features.
F 850 GS
Moving up to the F 850 GS and we have another personality change. While the F 750 GS definitely feels more at home in an urban setting, the extra legs of the unrestricted F 850 GS and its upgraded suspension (43mm USD units over the conventional forks of the F 750 GS) make a noticeable difference out on the open road with the bike feeling at times like a Roadster. The F 850 GS is sharper, with better front end feel over the F 750 and a slightly better windscreen which offers better protection for the rider, but is sadly not adjustable.
F 850 GS ADVENTURE/RALLYE
If I openly admit that I initially mistook the F 850 GS Rallye (known as the F 850 GS Adventure in other markets) for an R 1250 GS Adventure the first time I saw it I hope it reflects more on the sheer size of the bike rather than my naivety towards the latest crop of BMWs. Seriously, this thing has a visual presence out the wazoo!
At a full 939mm wide the F 850 GS Rallye boasts a larger 23-litre fuel tank than the base F 850 which takes up some, but not all of the room under the massive shrouds. The Rallye also features steel tube crash bars and luggage rack instead of the alloy unit found on the rear of the base bike. Surprisingly the added size of the F 850 GS isn’t too noticeable other than the large amount of plastic in front of you as you ride – which personally had me thinking of BMW Motorrad’s hoverbike concept from 2017…
The F 850 GS ADV/RALLYE also changes things up in the suspension department, with altered geometry from the base F 850 GS to further enhance its off-road prowess. Riding the bikes back-to-back proved that the change isn’t actually noticeable from the cockpit in any major way, and it wasn’t until I started reading through the spec sheets after that I learned of the altered geometry.
Seating too is changed, with the bike offering BMW’s Rallye seat similarly to the big R 1250 GS Adventure in our market. It’s not uncomfortable and really does up the game in terms of the rider’s ability to move around while riding off the beaten track, but I do wonder how it’ll fare compared to the more base seat for the general touring these bikes tend to find themselves doing more of in the hands of Kiwi riders.
R 1250 GS
The star of the NZ GS launch was without a doubt the new R 1250 GS. Not only does the bike feature an all-new 1250cc boxer engine, that engine is also equipped with BMW’s electronic variable valve timing. While VVT is no new technology, this is a first for BMW Motorrad NZ in a production motorcycle and the impact it has had on the way the GS delivers its power is immense.
Power is up to 100kW and 143Nm, while fuel economy has improved by 4% to a claimed average of 4.7L/100km.
Pricing for the R 1250 GS starts at $34,990 plus on road costs.
R 1250 GS Adventure
Like previous versions, the GS Adventure adds extra globetrotting credentials to the already well specced base model R 1250 GS with extended range tank, large bear-claw footpegs and similar crash protection and rear rack system as found on the F 850 GS Rallye. Also available is a one-piece Rallye seat which offers a lower, non-stepped perch for the rider to tackle more challenging terrain.
Pricing for the R 1250 GS Adventure starts at $36,990 and does not include luggage for the tough tubular steel luggage racks which do come as standard fare.
The In-Betweener - R 1250 GS HP
BMW Motorrad NZ also has an HP version of the R 1250 GS which replaces the previous model’s Rallye option. Included in the HP package are BMW Motorsport Graphics, larger off-road style footpegs from the R 1250 GS Adventure, a blacked-out engine and luggage rack, and gold-rimmed spoked wheels. BMW Motorrad NZ expect the HP to be a sought after option, as it has the visual presence of the big GS Adventure without the added cost or extra size.
Pricing is currently estimated at around $35,490 depending on which options the rider chooses to set the bike with such as the seat or additional luggage racks.