BMW R1200GSA first impressions

It's just one of the fleet of bikes we have planned for our adventure test...

BMW R1200GSA first impressions

SUMMER’S almost over, so we’ve decided to stretch our adventure legs one last time before the mud takes over and we swap to smaller bikes.

With an Adventure bike test planned for Snowdonia next week we sent resident adventure rider (and the only person with legs long enough to reach the floor), Leo Westland, to pick up a BMW R1200GS Adventure.

Here’s what he has to say about it…

“As a GS rider myself, I really want to like the R1200GSA. But on first impressions I’m struggling to get my around how such a huge bike can share the same adventurous capability as my middleweight F800.

“The 800 is light and agile, and you can easily weight the pegs while riding off-road. I tried the 1200 Rallye at the GS Trophy earlier this year and found it unwieldy and heavy. But everyone else there was throwing the beefy bike around with ease, so it’s clear that I just lack the knack.

“Luckily I have quite a few hundred miles coming up in which to get to grips with the GS. And I’m already grateful for the supreme comfort it will provide on the 600 mile return trip to Snowdonia.

“From the hundred-odd miles I’ve already covered, I’ve found that 1170cc Boxer engine to be incredibly smooth, while the driveshaft makes acceleration and engine braking instantaneous. And despite weighing more than 260kg, the GSA is immensely powerful, making 123.4bhp and with torque of 92.2ftlb peaking at 6,500rpm.

“The right-way-up 37mm Telelever fork is certainly less wallowy and divey than both my F800GS and its successor the F850GS. This certainly makes heavy braking more enjoyable.

“But when it comes to tighter riding and filtering, I’m struggling. Not only because of the bike’s weight and width, but also because those horizontal engine blocks get in the way as you paddle your feet forward.

“The R1200GSA is clearly in an incredibly capable class of its own, and I’m determined to make the most out of it on Visordown’s upcoming Adventure test.  

“It’s fast, fun and can go hundreds of miles on one (30-litre) tank. And plus, I just love that blue and white Rallye colour scheme.”