New Bikes

BMW R1200GS-R1200RT launch: Day Two

Visordown starts the second day on BMW's new 1200s

DAY TWO of BMW's launch for the three new boxer-engined models for  2010 - 1200 GS, Adventure and RT - took us away from the coast road between Malaga and Almeria into more mountainous terrain.

The proposed route through the Sierra Nevada had to be abandoned as recent
landslides had blocked several minor but vital roads. Instead, we eventually headed around the north of the Nevada mountains after a morning spent on narrow, serpentine back roads that provided endless opportunity to enjoy the improved bottom-end drive from the new DOHC motor.

Comparison of the torque curves of the old and new motors shows the latter makes more throughout the range and has another 500rpm to play with at the top end. The shape of both curves is much the same with a couple of troughs in the midrange but neither is noticeable on the road. Instead there is typically meaty boxer shove right off tickover plus healthy dollop of top-end power - surprising, for a tourer or big enduro bike. Unless, that is, you are pulling a solid ton uphill into a headwind strong enough to require third gear in our support car, when it is easy to imagine that adding a pillion and luggage would soon eat into the extra poke.

While the Adventure feels much as it did, sheer bulk muffling the sensation of more power, the GS feels much more perky than its predecessor. A harder exhaust note at idle helps. The RT also feels sharper and easily lives up to BMW's claim that it is as agile as it is luxurious.

ESA 2, an optional extra, was fitted to all the test bikes. It works, the switch from Normal to Sport making a massive difference to the RT's handling. Sport is firm enough on the GS to be saved for track days or perfect roads, but more important is that the system is not only operable on the fly, but it really does affect the bike. I'd save up for another month to have it. 

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