Unique Bikes & auction: BMW R 1250 GS

By: Guy Allen


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New-gen Adventure Tourer is a big leap over its predecessors

Though sharing a version of the distinctive motorsport colour scheme with its great granddad, the R80GS of 1980, and the approximate engine configuration, BMW’s latest-gen GS series is quite simply a rocket ship by comparison.

Even if you walk back just to the previous-gen R 1200 GS, the changes are significant.

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For this series the engineers bumped the engine capacity and went for variable cam-timing (aka shift-cam in BMW-speak) which has had a significant effect on how the thing comes across to the rider. To put it simply, the 1254cc version is an absolute bullet, claiming 100kW (134hp) at 7700rpm and 143Nm at 6250. They’re fairly high-stepping numbers for a boxer twin and give the thing, despite its near 250 kilo wet weight, some serious straight-line urge.

Top speed is conservative at a little over 200km/h, but the real entertainment is in the low and mid-range performance, which is truly sparkling. In a way, that’s in keeping with a series that started off in a relatively modest way some 53 years ago and has now become the top-seller in the company line-up.

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BMW arguably invented the whole adventure tourer class with this series, back in 1980 with the 37kW (50hp) 798cc R80. The idea was essentially a large-capacity motorcycle that worked well on-road and to some extent off-road.

The sheer size and performance of these things mean that only the brave and or the very skilled would take one out on a gnarly track. There are much better (and smaller) options out there for that sort of work. However the pay-off is these are supreme touring bikes on tar and on made dirt roads. Performance is more than adequate and handling is pretty good, while the relatively long-travel suspension does a decent job of soaking up less-than-perfect surfaces.

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Of course electronics abound, with a comprehensive suite of rider safety nets, including ABS and traction control. The depth of electronic adjustment is impressive, to the point where the left switch block carries a rotary ‘mouse’ to help navigate what’s on offer.

BMW offers numerous variants, including the Rallye X in the touring trim you see here.

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R80GS Paris-Dakar of 1984 is a spiritual predecessor and is now very collectible

Pricing is around $35,000 on the road, fitted out for, but not including, BMW satnav and hard luggage. The latter cost around $1200 and $2000 respectively.

BMW no longer owns the adventure tourer market as it once did, and that in turn means the company works pretty hard to ensure you get a compelling package, despite the cost. More at AllMoto.com.

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Auction Block

One of life’s great mysteries is the enormous sums of money people are prepared to spend on new-old-stock (NOS) classic motorcycles.

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As a general rule of thumb, something still in the crate or with near zero miles on the odo can be expected to fetch up to double the price of a ‘normal’ example in premium shape.

However the seller of this 1975 Norton Commando Roadster, on Ebay, was pushing the boat out asking for an opening bid AU$75,000, when a good runner is worth around $30,000. At the time of publishing, bidders seemed to be avoiding temptation on this one...

 

 

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