20 August 2013

New Bike - Again

So, after selling my Tiger (actually before selling the Tiger, but the new bike will only arrive in October) I ordered my new bike: a 2014 BMW R1200GS.

A "Waterboxer" ...

"Water cooled Boxer"

As you can see above, the new boxer has precision cooling, keeping the parts that need it most at optimal operating temperature without requiring a too large cooling system. Also, the new engine has a really nice growl ...

Okay, seriously, here's what's coming in October:

R1200GS, thundergrey metallic with pretty much all the options except spoke wheels (been there, done that - no, thanks, don't need them) and the alarm system. Took my chances with the LED headlights, never tried them before and hopefully they are reliable, also with the new D-ESA suspension system.

When I test rode the new GS a second time it was after I had changed the tires on my Tiger from Pirelli Scorpions to Michelin Pilot Road which made the steering quite a bit slower and I had to get used to that. Going from that to the GS (on Michelin Anakee 3) there was pretty much no difference in how quick they both handled. Side to side transitions were smooth and easy, the mid corner stability better than with the Scorpions.

My current guess is that I will dearly miss two things:

  • my aftermarket Öhlins/Traxxion suspension set up
  • the inline three cylinder engine

The OEM standard suspension on the 2013 GS I rode first was pretty bad. Really bad for a motorcycle with that price tag. When I test rode it again, I got a bike with the new dynamic ESA which is really quite a lot better than the standard setup. I'd say the Sachs D-ESA is about 70% compared to the 100% of my Tiger aftermarket setup. Not bad for an OEM suspension, but could still be better. It's good enough to not worry about it at all, I will still miss the custom setup that was done perfectly right for my weight.

Nothing can be done about the engine. I will miss that triple. The boxer is an excellent engine and I really like it, but I absolutely LOVED the triple. It's good that I'm riding Andrea's old F650GS for the time being as the step from there to the new GS will be a revelation, better in every way imaginable, while the step from the triple to the boxer has in my opinion more down- than upsides. 

Other than that I'm looking forward to the different ergonomics which fit me really well on my 2010 GS and which I know will work well on the new one, too, as there is nearly no difference between the two. 

There aren't many things I plan to do to the new bike, pretty much just a small optimizations and luggage: lower footpegs to prevent cramps, side cases for our weekend trips, top case carrier for my trusty Givi top case, and some protectors for the cylinder heads. A few bits to mount the GPS I have, mount my phone to the handlebar, install a tank bag, and that should be it. I'll try to keep it much more contained this time. We'll see how that works out. 

Below is a stock photo of the bike in the right color:

2014 R1200GS Thundergrey

Can't wait for it to arrive. Until then, I'll ride the F650GS and have fun with that one. It's a two wheeler, therefore fun by definition. 


  1. After riding the F650GS for a while you will appreciate ANY other bike that isn't a single cylinder... that's likely why I was happy with my Sportster ;-)

    1. ;-)

      Yeah, it'll help to not miss the triple engine all too much. I'll be happy to be on a twin!

  2. Looking forward to hearing about how you like this bike. I'm buying a 2014, probably after the 1st of the year.

    Interested in hearing your thoughts on spoke wheels and the BMW spoke wheels, specifically. On the GS, the spoke wheels are still tubeless, yes?

    Good luck and enjoy the new bike.

    1. I had spoke wheels on my last (2010) GS and although they weren't an issue, I plain don't need them. The tires are still tubeless, but the spoke wheels are

      - heavier (especially the front wheel),
      - more likely to be out of true,
      - harder to clean / keep clean,
      - not that good in quality as the ones from the older GS,
      - $500 more.

      They are stronger, but I don't need that as I don't hop curbs or go into rocky terrain with a 250kg bike. They look good, but I don't need the Starbucks poser factor either ... ;-)

      Overall, the cast wheels are plenty strong, more likely to be round, less likely to need any kind of adjustment, cheaper, and in my opinion even look a little nicer. Therefore, not question for me to not get them.

  3. That new GS is a good looking bike. Congrats on the purchase. it will be hard to wait patiently.

    Love the "water cooled boxer" photo. Perfect for the post.

    1. Interesting. I don't even think the GS is a "good looking" bike. It looks purposeful and it has really nice lines. It has a balanced look that has the right proportions pretty much everywhere. But good looking is still different. Andrea's R is good looking. But she also thinks the GS looks better so who am I to disagree with the women?

      Regarding the photo: I totally love it. And I will never refer to my bike as the "WC GS" - it just sounds too much like toilet. And LC is also not helpful as the old ones were oil/air cooled, so were also using a "liquid" for cooling. For me it's just the "2013" or "water cooled" GS.

  4. Begs the question, why sell the Tiger?

    1. I answered that in a comment on the "Farewell to the Tiger" posts, but just short: ergonomics, new bike syndrome, bad dealer experience, kind of annoyed by Triumph NA.

    2. I ride a 2007 R12GS and was looking to a Tiger for better ergonomics. My issue is 'tennis elbow' on the right, probably caused by hanging on the throttle. I'll be looking at the LC soon. I read that the 2014 model will have a steering damper fitted, interesting given some of the launch issues.

    3. Make sure you are okay with the very straight handlebars. The Tiger has a very straight bar which caused most of my ergonomic issues, the bars are much less swept back than on the GS. What happened was that the hand position pushed out my elbow, which raised my shoulder, together with footpegs relatively far forward and therefore a slightly hunched over position - this was not good for me.

      If you sit differently or have different pre-existing conditions (like my desk jockey shoulder issues) the Tiger might work better for you than the GS. It's very, very individual!

      Regarding the steering damper: at no time during my test ride did I have the feeling it needed one. Not at all. I don't see where this would improve the bike. But okay, maybe it does in some scenarios. For me it's mildly interesting that BMW adds one as standard, but that's about it.

  5. I hear a lot of good things about the new water boxer though from your post, why did you sell the Tiger?

    1. Ah, see above ... ;-)

      I have tested the GS a few times (four times) and really took my time. It's a combination of factors that drive me back to BMW and the GS. I will write more about that in follow up blog posts!

    2. Personally, I like the appearance of the new GS twins. With the intake on the top and exhaust out the bottom, it just looks cleaner. At the MOA rally, I tried to take one for a test ride but they were extremely popular and by 8am, all of the ride slots for the day were taken. Interesting take on the spoke wheels but they do seem to be a popular option even with those who never take the bike off highway...

    3. I agree, the engine looks cleaner on the water cooled one, probably mainly because of the exhaust pipes coming out at the bottom.

      For spoke wheels: it's certainly an argument for some and it does help with resale. But truing the BMW cross spoke wheels is really hard and needs a specialist to do it properly. Not many really good ones are out there. And for me, the disadvantages far outweigh the two advantages: looks and strength. I like the look of the cast better and I don't need the strength.

      For a lot of people it's a matter of image and appearance rather than actual usefulness. But hey, that's what sells, right?

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