Additional information that can be found on the the new GS Adventure from BMW includes some obvious things from previous versions of the adventure motorcycle. The Pipe has moved from the left to the right the body coverage and lines of the bike have shifted significantly. An interesting element is that the original panniers “LOOK” like they might fit. I’ll be interested in seeing if that is indeed true.
I do like the new blue color for the adventure. Though the dark almost military green color seems to be of more interest to others. The Gray accents and padding in different places is an interesting style choice. I can’t wait to get a chance to ride this bike. I think that the overall geometry hasn’t changed much so an upgrade is getting the mechanicals and water cooling features more than a changed ride. I would expect that speed and reliability may improve. Not that the previous generation of BMW was that unreliable. I had issues on a climb up Pikes Peak with my bike getting super hot (not in the danger zone, just more than I would have liked). I think water cooling is a grand idea but it isn’t all water cooling. It would be interesting to see if they are looking at water cooling as a 100%, 80% or 60% type of solution. On motorcycles that isn’t a given and different manufacturers handle the problem differently.
From the front the bike as always is pretty wide. The forward bias of components and bodywork can be seen from the top view. Panniers fill out the waist of the bike, bu the front view is definitely imposing. The outer protection bar to outer protection bar distance would be an interesting measurement. On my 2008 R1200 GS Adventure that distance is 34 inches and the handlebar width is 38 inches (both approximations). As such I don’t think the bike is going to be any wider than the predecessor. There have been a few commentators on that width. It is somewhat deceiving I think in that it also provides the body width for protection from the weather.
When you look at the bike without the panniers the look is almost that of a dragon fly. much of that forward space though is a void around the suspension. So though it looks front end heavy I don’t think the bias is quite so extreme. It would be interesting to find out what the unladen weight bias on the front tire is versus the rear. Figuring that ratio empty then with panniers loaded for a weekend might give an insight into what the BMW engineers were thinking.
The cockpit is very similar to the previous iterations with some things being added to this bike. The wonder wheel on the left handlebar is fodder for some angst. The electronic cruise control and pro plugs will similar feed off road enthusiast concerns for Starbucks Pirates of the GS world taking over the marque. It will all come down to the use cases that people have for the specific bikes and their bias towards adventure as off road, on road, or any road kinds of uses. My GS is balanced heavily towards the any road but lots of on road use. It has done over the foot pegs stream crossings, hundreds of miles of dirt roads, and thousands upon thousands of miles of Interstate.
Regardless of the GPS and electronic doodads there is one thing I noticed in the picture of the cockpit that has me greatly enthused. The vertical pinch bolts for the mirrors mean that Goldwing GL1500/1800 accessories should fit. Why in the world would I care? I can finally have a coffee cup on the bike. It isn’t that I like coffee cup holders that much, but that I like coffee that much when commuting.
I do like the slightly modified beak. I will know BMW has broken with tradition when they do away with the vestigial limb called the GS beak. It is a stylistic element that is the result of systemic choices deep in the suspension. As long as the front brace is needed the tire choice and size will dictate the beakishness that is so evident now. That one style element leads one to consider whether the choices in suspension are worth it. It is extra weight and no matter how “cool” it looks the after thought styling element just isn’t part of such a functional bike. The GS faithful would likely cry foul at removing the beak now.
The Panniers and tank bag are pretty much what has been available in the past. WIth one caveat they haven’t been making a tank bag stock for the GS Adventure by BMW. I did notice it is a strap on bag which is a bit of a bummer. With so many great clip on tank bags you’d think BMW might license that technology. The side view also suggests something else. The way the side protection tip over bars sit putting accessory lighting up near the headlight might be problematic. Only seeing the bike in person will determine that.
The bike is being sold as a two-up rig. To be honest if I had my choices I think I would use this bike for the 2015 Iron Butt rally over my K1600GTL for a two up try at finishing. The K1600GTL is most assuredly a Interstate switch blade and my wife and I love riding it. The GS/Adventure though is not stupid afraid of sand or mud. In a tip over you get bragging rights rather than a bill for plastic. Since you don’t know where you are going on the Iron Butt Rally the GS makes sense but the ergonomics have to be just right for a couple to be able to do this kind of riding day in and day out. Having ridden my 2008 R1200 GS Adventure to a successful finish in the 2013 Iron Butt Rally the bike can do it if the rider can do it.
The electronic suspension adjustment (ESA) is going to make moving from one-up to two-up a lot easier. It is an option like the cruise control and additional enduro modes. I do like the LED headlight. I want to see it in the real world to ascertain if it is just as bad as the K1600GTL at being seen in daylight.
The headlight and windshield is a wider seam than on the older bikes. The New Headlight also has some interesting compound curves that may make having a stone shield over it a slightly more difficult proposition. SInce the structure of the headlight is full LED and built for that use only putting a HID in the same housing is pretty much out of the question. The LED Headlight and LED turn signals are listed as optional equipment. The heated handlebars and tire pressure controls are also listed as optional equipment.
The auxiliary headlights (we call them driving lights) are also listed as optional. It will be interesting to see how these are wired into the bike. I swapped mine out (2008 GS/Adventures had halogen) for a set of high power LED flood lights (at 3200 lumens each). The result is rather spectacular. The way the CANBUS is put together this was a plug and play kind of change. Pretty easy to accomplish.
I have to admit that the accessories are looking much better on the new bike. The skid plate on the new bike is significantly improved over previous generations. The mount points look better, but the overall size is a significant improvement by itself. I can see the Touratech guys crying at first, but then scheming on making it even bigger. I ended up putting the Touratech plate on my bike because the original wasn’t much bigger than a dinner plate. I added the full length plate and the center stand plate. Having actually used them both I think it was the right decision if it was expensive. On the new bike it is simply nice to seem them starting down that path early. It makes me wonder what they might have done elsewhere that we can’t see yet.
I already mentioned the tank bag, but here is a picture of it. I’m not impressed at this point.
The rear foot pegs were set out in a picture by BMW Group and all had to say about them was “how cute!”
The foot pegs and structure of the shifter show some remarkable detail to the controls. The foot pegs finally are the larger size that the GS riders have been changing to for the last… forever. I like the subtle detail tot he shifter too. Putting a block on it will keep a foot in place. I’m not sure what that will mean to people trying to put together folding shifters, but I like what I’m seeing this small example of craftsmanship.
The ESA shock on the BMW GS/Adventure has had a sketchy past. Even on the road bikes it isn’t a foregone conclusion that people even want it. Having blown the shock on my GS and had to replace it while on the road I’m conflicted on whether I want it on another off road bike. I like what I get out of a similar system on my K1600GTL but will it be worthwhile on the GSA? I specifically bought my GS without ESA because I was concerned they were failing often.
The tip over protection bars seem to be grounding out into better locations than previous iterations. Taking the bike apart will show whether they are actually functional. The GS Adventure is a component motorcycle without a full fledged frame. This concerned people when they first started building the bikes without frames and used the engine as a primary component of the bike. The result is rather disturbing photographs of bikes being upgraded or repaired and then broken in half. One half of the bike goes one direction and the other half goes another direction. So saying that the tip over bars are functional might be true, but taking apart the bike to see how they actually ground out into the overall skeleton of the bike will actually show if they will do the job. This is a bike that is expected to tip over so the question has direct relevance on the utility and safety of the bike.
With all of the electronic doo-dads that BMW added to this latest iteration of the bike (starting with the GS model) they still decided to not add an electronic windscreen. Various road bikes have had infinitely adjustable electronic windscreens for a long time. Yet BMW didn’t go that way and a knob on the right side gives infinite adjustability but not electronic. I don’t disagree and once adjusted I leave my windscreen completely alone having not adjusted it in the last 20K miles. It was just an interesting choice and might be related to how the dash is laid out.
What else can we say about the bike. There are now hundreds of pictures on line that people can view. I happen to really like the overall direction the bike is taking but pan it on the size of the gas tank and the list of optional equipment that wasn’t optional previously. That means the pricing and delivery might be painful. I haven’t found real pricing but I’m told to expect the full load out including panniers to eclipse $24K. We’ll see if that is fear mongering for the GS faithful or the real ride price. I’m watching as this could be the bike I ride in 2015. In reality it isn’t much of an upgrade over where my 2008 is sitting right now. It would just be a new bike 🙂