BMW Motorrad Malaysia recently celebrated their annual BMW Motorrad Night Fuel event held at the Malaysia. There were many highlights of the night which included the launch of the all-new 2019 BMW R 1250 GS, R 1250 GS Adventure, and the F 850 GS Adventure. We got our hands on the latest R 1250 GS and we’re here to answer the question; can you ride it on a daily basis?
Before we begin, I do have a small confession to make before we go any further; I’m not really into adventure bikes. AT FIRST. As a hardcore motorcycle lover, ADV bikes (in my opinion) are reserved for those who have gone through their hot-blooded phase on more powerful sports bikes. It’s like another way of ‘slowing down’ since most Malaysians don’t really go off-road that often.
My perception was then turned upside down when I got my hands on the Triumph Tiger 800 (my first and all-time favourite bike) and ever since, all I wanted to ride was adventure bikes. I tried my hands on many samples, including the closest competitions to the R 1250 GS; KTM’s 1290 Super Adventure S and Ducati Multistrada 1260 S.
My love for adventure bikes has grown immensely and I’ve been praising on how versatile, powerful, and fun this particular bike segment has to offer. Truth be told, I’ve not ridden any GS models before and that’s when BMW Motorrad Malaysia decided that we should be amongst the first to try latest flagship adventure bike model a go for a week.
Let’s start with the first feature of the bike that everyone will notice – the looks. Standing tall and proud, the R 1250 GS carries the same design DNA that all BMW enthusiasts love and adore. It’s all about outright precision and superior mechanical performance which helps to portray how the bike rides.
Upon picking up the 1250, I was a bit overwhelmed by the size. Sitting at around 250kg (fully fuelled and ready to go), it’s a bit on the heavier side compared to the bikes that I’ve tried before. Even the proportions were a bit intimidating at first but as soon as I sat on the beast, everything sort of made sense.
You don’t really feel the weight and the overall riding experience was agile, nimble, exciting, and precise. The biggest feature that contributes to this ability is how the chassis and engine were designed. Its 1,254cc flat twin boxer engine sits super low which gives a lower centre of gravity (which also means that it’s super easy to manoeuvre, even with all that weight).
BMW Motorrad designed the new R 1250 GS as a world conqueror. With the ability to go anywhere and everywhere, one question came to mind. Can you ride this beast as your daily bike? In short, yes. Was it hard? I thought it was but surprisingly, it wasn’t!
My daily schedule starts off with sending my daughter to school, which is inconveniently located in an area with three other schools with narrow ‘kampung roads’ plus morning traffic where motorists take shortcuts to beat the traffic. In other words, it’s hectic even when riding smaller bikes.
With 136hp and 143Nm of torque paired with BMW’s latest Shiftcam Technology, the R 1250 GS can go fast as balls on fire and slow as an ant without much of a hassle. Stuck behind slow moving traffic? Not a problem as working the clutch was heavenly and slow manoeuvres on a 250kg bike that’s almost the same height as I am was surprisingly no trouble at all.
I also like the fact how it now comes standard with Hill Start Controll (HSC). This feature came in super handy when I had to face traffic up and down hills near my daughter’s school (with uneven roads, potholes, and relentless traffic).
I hated going through this particular road but thanks to the HSC (plus ABS, ASC, and the very impressive Dynamic Brake Control), the journey was made fun for the first time in a long while. Heck, even my seven-year-old enjoyed arriving to school on board this German beauty.
As for everyday riding, I mostly stayed in either Rain or Road mode because they made the most sense. If there’s a need to go faster, I would kick it into either Dynamic or Enduro, but Road was already more than good enough for daily riding. Blasting through highways at reasonable *cough, cough* speeds was swift, comfortable, and surprisingly, gained a lot of respect from other road users as they willingly move out of their way to let me through.
How nice…or maybe they thought I was the police. I guess we’ll never know….
The addition of BMW’s Shiftcam Technology works seamlessly in providing two particularly different engine profiles thanks to the intake cams having two sets of cam lobes. You will never notice how it changes from one to another but what I can tell is that the R 1250 GS is smooth as butter, no matter how much or how little you open the throttle.
Top speed? BMW Motorrad said it can go well above 200km/h and we believe them.
My only pet peeve is that since it comes ready with a bi-directional quickshifter, changing gears using the traditional manner (with clutch) were less smooth than desired. I think the bike was trying to say “Bro, I got quickshifter. Use it la!” And I did, but I still prefer the ‘old school’ method most of the time. Oh, the quickshifter? Probably one of the best I’ve tried so far. No joke.
BMW’s signature TFT screen is both beautiful and super functional but with all the information available on the tips of your fingers, getting used to toggling through all the available functions does take some time to get used to. It’s like getting a powerful PC for the first time, may be hard at first but once you’re familiar, nothing will stop in your way.
Short on cash? Well, you can stop wasting money on premium fuel to fill that 20-litre tank up as its engine is equipped with a couple of updated knock sensors which allows the use of RON 95 or even lower. Planning a trip into Thailand? Well, you don’t have to worry about fuel quality or getting a full refill before crossing the border because the 1250 has got you covered.
Riding the R 1250 GS gave me a whole new understanding on where the current ADV bikes are now and how they will move forward in the future. BMW’s latest offering gives nothing but pure performance no matter the road conditions and it’s a machine worth having in your garage. It looks damn good, rides even better.
I can definitely live my daily life if I have the BMW R 1250 GS as a daily. The only problem (for me, at least) is getting my hands on RM116,500 because that’s how much the bike costs on-the-road without insurance. I wonder when will BMW Motorrad Malaysia will accept my extra kidney as a mode of payment. You only need one to live, right? Right…?