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Off-roading is a real Adventure; bikes: motoring.

Byline: Harriet Ridley

BMW has updated its flagship R1200GS models only two years after the last changes, underlining the global importance of the adventure bike category. Until recently, only the 600cc and 1000cc sports bikes received updates every two years to keep them on top of the fast-changing developments in superbike technology.

BMW's R1200GS has topped the best-selling charts in many European countries now including Germany, the UK and even Italy, beating Ducati and Aprilia on their home turf. The GS's success can be attributed to its sturdy construction and go-anywhere potential. This is no namby-pamby pretend off-roader that in reality is only good for road riding, like so many other 'dual-purpose' machines turn out to be.

You can't blame them: most adventure bike owners simply buy into the rally-cool image and never actually take their bikes off-road. BMW recognises this and offers two versions of the GS: the standard R1200GS, and the more off-road biased R1200GS Adventure with its hand-guards, metal panniers, engine crash covers, stainless-steel crash bars and spoked wheels to accommodate tubeless off-road tyres.

So what changes has the GS undergone in recent years? 2008 brought with it cosmetic tweaks for a sleeker look, a more refined version of the 1200cc twin-cylinder Boxer engine that raised power to 105bhp and produced a broader spread of torque.

For 2010, BMW has given the R1200GS and GS Adventure the double overhead cam engines derived from the HP2 Sport. The DOHC engine brings power up to 109bhp, while torque is higher at 88lb/ft.

The new engine is more willing to rev, with peak rpm rising by 500rpm to 8,500rpm. It's lower down the rev range that the changes are really noticeable. The bike feels punchier, delivering a useful amount of extra thrust as you crack the throttle.

The GS's excellent fuel consumption has been unaffected by the changes: the 20-litre tank is still good for at least 210 miles of spirited riding.

Both versions of the R1200GS are available with optional ABS and ESA II - the latest version of BMW''s brand new Electronic Suspension Adjustment. A button on the left handlebar lets the rider choose between on and off-road set-ups, with pillion and luggage options thrown in. This is a priceless feature on a bike designed for long treks over ever-changing terrain; from smooth ribbons of Tarmac, to rocky mountain trails.


BMW's R1200GS has proven mix of on and off-road ability
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 15, 2010
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