Making its debut in 2005, BMW Motorrad has established itself as the first choice in the large-capacity travel endures and it’s easy to see why it is such a respected long-distance tourer throughout the world.
Now, the newly updated GS Adventure promises to raise the bar even further, because while it retains the same traditions that made the outgoing model such a cult bike, the Bavarians have improved the dynamic performance and off-roading capabilities.
The ultimate way to put it through the test? Tackling Baviaanskloof. Those familiar with this mega reserve, renowned for its panoramic beauty and spectacular land forms, will also gulp at the treacherous rocky passes and gravel roads we were tasked with conquering on our two-wheel machines.
Clearly I survived seeing that I’m writing this story, but what it truly highlights is just how capable BMW believe this bike is.
It goes in whatever direction the front wheel’s pointed in with complete confidence. Dynamically it’s a serious adventure machine with the proven credentials to match.
Dynamically the Yamaha is a little better for serious dirt adventuring the BMW. The BMW will still get you everywhere the Yamaha would, but is not quite as competent doing it.
The Yamaha also offers more crash protection than the BMW and has more of a dirt bike feel that helps instil confidence in the bush.
Utilising the renowned smooth revving and powerful air- and liquid-cooled boxer engine featured on the R1200GS (which won the 2013 South African Bike of the Year competition). This 1 170cc unit produces 92kW and 125Nm of torque, which is transferred to the rear via a six-speed gearbox.
The engines power is predictable and easy to manage even in tight situations, but performs best on the open road where it devours the tar or gravel at various speeds with very little effort. The increased fuel tank size - up to 30 litres from 20 litres on the R1200GS - means longer commuting distances.
Other improvements include the maintenance-free cardan-shaft drive, which is now positioned on the left-hand side. The drive’s flywheel mass has also been increased by around 950 grams and an extra vibration damper has been incorporated into the powertrain with the aim of further improving the rideability of the R1200GS Adventure, especially on off-road terrain.
The fundamental styling of the Adventure has largely remained unchanged. But a few of the updates are a narrower seat that is height adjustable and increased ground clearance.
Weighing in at 260kg when sporting a full tank of gas, this Bavarian carries its weight well and feels nimble once you get used to it thanks to its ergonomics. But constantly aiding the rider is the Automatic Stability Control (ASC) and two riding modes as standard to ensure maximum safety.
The ride characteristics can be adapted to most road conditions with the help of the two standard riding modes - rain and road - together with the ABS system.
Add to this an impressive list of optional extras and accessories to make your Adventure your own and BMW have made the best better.
The BMW R1200GS Adventure is a dynamic and diverse machine - on the black stuff it is a fine tarmac corner carver and is just as versatile off-road. Pricing starts at R164 200.