Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

R1250 shows why South Africans love the BMW GS bike badge

Torquey boxer engine the highlight of a very comprehensive adventure bike offering.

It is not difficult to see what South Africa’s favourite recreational motorcycle is. Take a drive out to Hartbeespoort Dam early on a Sunday morning and count the number of BMW GS bikes either cranking it up or pausing for breakfast. Chances are you’ll run out of fingers before you even get to the dam.

The BMW GS, the German abbreviation for Gelande (off-road) Sport, has spawned into many derivatives since its inception in 1980.

But the ultimate machine in this stable remains the R1250 GS, even though its days are numbered. The more powerful and advanced R1300 is replacing the R1250 in the BMW GS Motorrad line-up.

BMW GS’ superb engine

When The Citizen Motoring got a chance to spend a week on the outgoing model in Trophy Edition guise was just too good to resist. There is little not to like about this bike and we can safely guess this model will remain a popular pre-owned choice once it finally disappears off dealership floors.

While the bike offers many good things, the adventure starts with its big boxer engine. The air/liquid-cooled four-stroke flat twin 1 254 cc mill produces 100 kW of power and 143 Nm of torque.

It is mated to wet clutch six-speed manual transmission with an anti-hopping function that sends the twist to the rear wheel via shaft drive.

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The amount of torque this engine delivers across such a broad power band is simply incredible. Where more humble machines are prone to start puffing at lower revs, the BMW R1250 GS pulls effortlessly from any urge in any gear. If you commute through heavy traffic, its likely that you can get to work and never get out of second or third gear.

Fuel consumption came in at 5.2 litres per 100 km, which should give you a range of close to 400 km on its 20-litre petrol tank.

Choose your mode

The optional Riding Mode Pro gives the bike seven riding modes: Eco, Rain, Road, Dynamic, Dynamic Pro, Enduro and Enduro Pro. Each mode changes the configuration of the engine, slip limit and anti-lock braking system for the optimal experience.

BMW R1250 GS
The BMW R1250 GS’ digital instrument cluster is crystal clear. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

The BMW R1250 GS rides on cast aluminium wheels, 19-inch in front and 17-inch at the rear, with 190 mm and 200 mm of suspension travel in the front and rear respectively.

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Stopping power in the front comes from dual 305 mm floating disc brakes with four-piston radial callipers and a double-piston 276 mm single disc in the rear.

This BMW GS comes standard with a digital instrument cluster, keyless start, dynamic traction control, hill-start control and USB charger.

Optional extras on our tester included an adaptive cornering light, seat and handlebar heating.

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A weighty matter

The only thing that is not a pleasure swinging your leg over this bike is its weight, which at 249 kg can be difficult to manoeuvre from a 850 mm seat height – not to mention knocking your knees against the cylinder heads in the process – even worse when they are smoking hot.

The BMW R1250 GS’ starting price of R322 900 is anything but ordinary, but then, this is no ordinary ride.
Many consider it to be the benchmark in its class for good reason.

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