BMW reveals the R 1300 GS. New engine. New suspension. Less weight.
BMW’s gone to town with the newest versions of its much-loved GS adventure bike – upping the capacity, overhauling the motor, updating the suspension and reducing the weight. Here’s what you need to know about what’s likely to be one of the biggest bikes of 2024.
The GS is an icon. That word’s thrown around a lot, but since its release over four decades ago, the GS has earned an enviable reputation as the smart choice for adventurous riders with deep pockets. And with every generation, the German factory manages to make an already great bike even better – and that’s exactly what it reckons it’s done this time with the new R 1300 GS.
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The beating heart of the GS is its two-cylinder boxer engine. It’s a motor that’s done the business for BMW for years, but as ever the company’s tweaked it to ensure it’s even better. It’s more compact (by shifting the gearbox below the engine and adopting a new camshaft drive arrangement), and it’s more powerful than ever, too, with the 1300cc motor kicking out a healthy 145hp at 7750rpm and 149Nm of torque at 6500rpm. In fact, the factory says it’s the most powerful BMW boxer engine ever to go into series production. That’s pretty cool.
The good stuff goes on. There’s a stiffer main frame and a die-cast aluminium rear subframe, plus a new EVO Telelever system up front and revised EVO Paralever at the rear to help improve the ride. The brakes have been upgraded to some newly-developed radial four-piston calipers, too.
Dynamic Suspension Adjustment (DSA) continues to be available as an optional extra. It’s a cool bit of kit which works to adjust damping, spring rate, and load compensation electronically – but it goes a bit further than previous generations because now the front and rear damping and spring rate will adjust on the fly, depending on the selected riding mode, the riding conditions, and how the bike’s being ridden. There’s also an adaptive vehicle height control as an extra (similar to the one that’s on the Harley-Davidson Pan America and the kit that’s been rolled out on all new flagship Triumph Tigers). With 20mm more travel at both the front and rear, plus an optional sports suspension, riders with a penchant for the rough stuff should find plenty to like about the new machine.
There are now four riding modes as standard, including an Enduro mode for those who like to hit the rough stuff. It’s a nice touch, as quite often BMW reserved its off-road rider modes for its more dedicated off-road models. There’s also Rain, Road and Eco to play with.
As is becoming increasingly common, there’s a big focus on technology with the new GS – and a lot of it is centred around making riders safer. There are new state-of-the-art LED light units all round, and some funky indicators which are cleverly integrated into the handguards. There’s also ‘Headlight Pro’ available as an extra. It’s a cool, but not unique, bit of tech which allows the LED headlight to turn into the bend with the bike.
The other safety-focused technology includes Riding Assistant with Active Cruise Control (ACC), Front Collision Warning (FCW), and Lane Change Warning (SWW).
There should be no doubt that the new GS is going to be a cracking bit of kit. BMW don’t mess around making changes for no reason – and so we can’t wait to see its more powerful engine and overhauled suspension perform out on the road and trails. One thing that’s a little disappointing is that the factory still wants punters to lay down more cash for extras, including the Dynamic Suspension Adjustment. That said, the new GS does come kitted out with more stuff than ever before, and now gets heated grips, cruise control, ABS Pro (and some more stuff) as standard.
Speaking about the bike, Thilo Fuchs, Head of Water-cooled Boxer Models, said: “With the new BMW R 1300 GS we will once again take the competition by surprise. It is defined by an even broader spread of product substance, while the reduction in complexity and vehicle weight, combined with focused equipment, enable the essence of the boxer GS to be showcased even more strikingly. With a new engine, outstanding handling and impressive ride qualities, it will set the pace both on and off the road.”
The standard model comes in at a respectable £15,990 and climbs up to to £18,465 for the TE version. No news just yet on availability, but with launch rides expected to take place in the coming weeks, I suspect we won’t have to wait too much longer to get the full lowdown on when we can get our hands on the newest version of the BMW GS.