Clamber aboard the GS and the feeling of sheer, designed-in competence hits home within 100 feet of leaving the gas station. Where the Tiger and Varadero do well in spite of their design/size limitations the BMW plain old works. And while it looks odd, it doesn’t feel odd and this is where BMW has put the work in. The old 1150 felt different – strange even – until you spend some time in its saddle. Not so the 1200. Once I was acclimatised to the weird view ahead of me (far-away clock binnacle, vertical screen and wheelbarrow-style handlebars), which took 20 seconds, I settled into the superb seat, relaxed in the still pocket of air created by that little piece of clear plastic and got on with eating up motorway. There’s no getting away from the BM’s sortedness. Its 1170cc flat twin engine isn’t super strong off the bottom but has great midrange and revs on like a good ’un, making power all the way. And the servo-assisted brakes are incredible. The only other slight concern was a vagueness from the front that crept through fast ton-plus sweepers. With its tight steering lock, the GS will almost turn back on itself. The BMW is also superbly well balanced at walking speed and very manageable – you can also switch off its ABS.The BMW R1200GS is without doubt the daftest (and possibly the best) all-round motorcycle that those clever Germans have ever built. It’s just a shame it looks like an unmade bed.
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