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First Ride: 2002 BMW R1150GS Adventure

Straight off the bleary early morning flight into a sodden Malaga and first sight of BMW's new R1150GS Adventure knocks me out with a hammer blow of sheer presence - it's big.




It's certainly not beautiful, but every line and awkward angle has a purpose, which lends it an air of total efficiency. Making it attractive, in a machine sort of way.

I'm soon contemplating my beast. The view from the new, one piece seat is very GS - but the bike does feel taller, just plain more, than the stocker. So it should - with an extra 20mm of suspension travel both front and rear it's taller, and a full 30 litre tank of gas (that's over six and a half gallons) this is one hefty piece of hardware. 253kg wringing wet, actually. The familiar tiller-wide handlebars, jutting clocks, chunky switchgear are all in place, as is the muted flat twin twitch that grips the bike on start up. Fantastic.

An hour of motorway later and we're into the mountains. After a highly entertaining 60 miles of canyon carving we take an abrupt turn, onto sodden gravel. Four hours later we roll into the hotel car park. Knackered, wet, but very happy. We've just looned around snaking dirt tracks, forded three feet deep rivers, slid and slithered sideways at 70mph on some very unmade roads and generally had a spectacular laugh. And the GS? Coped with the lot. Yes, it's big but keep it balanced and its weight drives the tyres hard into the loose ground, finding the grip to keep it upright. With the ABS turned off you can really haul on the brakes and the flat barrowload of grunt (which starts at 2,000rpm and never seems to stop) delivers plenty of forward motion and/or long, languid, easy powerslides.

The next day delivers much of the same. More trails, rivers and rain. I've got more time to take in the Adventure's modifications over the standard GS; the rear Paralever swingarm has been blessed with a WP shock unit and progressive damping and both it and the Telelever front really take the hits. Over a sea of potholes stretching over a mile the GS could be ridden at more or less any speed - in fact the faster you went the more comfortable it got, the suspension both ends a blur of activity, but with barely a ripple getting back to the pilot. Now that's very clever.

The new gearbox? Sixth is no longer an overdrive (or E as it used to appear on the digital display) and is now a shorter gear, while if you opt for the the £300 overland package you can specify a shorter first gear too. Both work well, first is very handy for tight, tricky situations and in top the GS Adventure responds much faster to your right hand and'll pull from 1,500rpm. It is still on the clonky side mind.

Purely as a roadbike the GS Adventure is a very useful tool - it handles well enough to stay with loads of much more focused tackle, does at least 250 miles on a tank of gas, is dead comfortable and will, undoubtedly, last forever - it's that well built. And the offroad capacity of the GS Adventure is much larger than you would - on the surface - credit for a 253kg bike.

So it's roadbike, dirtbike and (if you fancied it) around-the-world adventurer. That's not bad for eight and a half gees.

VERDICT

The Adventure is the ultimate GS - it's got the sheer usefulness of the stocker, but with bolt-on practicality
and a stack more attitude. The world's ya lobster, Rodney...

SPECS

TYPE - ADVENTURE

PRODUCTION DATE - 2002

PRICE NEW - £8195

ENGINE CAPACITY - 1130cc

POWER - 85bhp@6750rpm

TORQUE - 72lb.ft@5250rpm

WEIGHT - 227.5kg

SEAT HEIGHT - 900mm

FUEL CAPACITY - N/A

TOP SPEED - N/A

0-60 - n/a

TANK RANGE - N/A

It's certainly not beautiful, but every line and awkward angle has a purpose, which lends it an air of total efficiency. Making it attractive, in a machine sort of way.

I'm soon contemplating my beast. The view from the new, one piece seat is very GS - but the bike does feel taller, just plain more, than the stocker. So it should - with an extra 20mm of suspension travel both front and rear it's taller, and a full 30 litre tank of gas (that's over six and a half gallons) this is one hefty piece of hardware. 253kg wringing wet, actually. The familiar tiller-wide handlebars, jutting clocks, chunky switchgear are all in place, as is the muted flat twin twitch that grips the bike on start up. Fantastic.

An hour of motorway later and we're into the mountains. After a highly entertaining 60 miles of canyon carving we take an abrupt turn, onto sodden gravel. Four hours later we roll into the hotel car park. Knackered, wet, but very happy. We've just looned around snaking dirt tracks, forded three feet deep rivers, slid and slithered sideways at 70mph on some very unmade roads and generally had a spectacular laugh. And the GS? Coped with the lot. Yes, it's big but keep it balanced and its weight drives the tyres hard into the loose ground, finding the grip to keep it upright. With the ABS turned off you can really haul on the brakes and the flat barrowload of grunt (which starts at 2,000rpm and never seems to stop) delivers plenty of forward motion and/or long, languid, easy powerslides.

The next day delivers much of the same. More trails, rivers and rain. I've got more time to take in the Adventure's modifications over the standard GS; the rear Paralever swingarm has been blessed with a WP shock unit and progressive damping and both it and the Telelever front really take the hits. Over a sea of potholes stretching over a mile the GS could be ridden at more or less any speed - in fact the faster you went the more comfortable it got, the suspension both ends a blur of activity, but with barely a ripple getting back to the pilot. Now that's very clever.

The new gearbox? Sixth is no longer an overdrive (or E as it used to appear on the digital display) and is now a shorter gear, while if you opt for the the £300 overland package you can specify a shorter first gear too. Both work well, first is very handy for tight, tricky situations and in top the GS Adventure responds much faster to your right hand and'll pull from 1,500rpm. It is still on the clonky side mind.

Purely as a roadbike the GS Adventure is a very useful tool - it handles well enough to stay with loads of much more focused tackle, does at least 250 miles on a tank of gas, is dead comfortable and will, undoubtedly, last forever - it's that well built. And the offroad capacity of the GS Adventure is much larger than you would - on the surface - credit for a 253kg bike.

So it's roadbike, dirtbike and (if you fancied it) around-the-world adventurer. That's not bad for eight and a half gees.

VERDICT:

The Adventure is the ultimate GS - it's got the sheer usefulness of the stocker, but with bolt-on practicality and a stack more attitude. The world's ya lobster, Rodney...

BMW 1150 GS Specifications

SPECS
TYPE - ADVENTURE
PRODUCTION DATE - 2002
PRICE NEW - £8195
ENGINE CAPACITY - 1130cc
POWER - 85bhp@6750rpm
TORQUE - 72lb.ft@5250rpm   
WEIGHT - 227.5kg
SEAT HEIGHT - 900mm   
FUEL CAPACITY - N/A   
TOP SPEED - N/A
0-60     - n/a
TANK RANGE - N/A