Yellow BMW R1200GS from Mokam, with Sylvia sitting on it
Trying one of the first R1200GSses in the Netherlands

Because the Roadrunner was getting old (300.000 km on the clocks), and especially because I thought the R1200 would be perfect, I decided to buy a BMW R1200GS.

On paper, it seemd the ideal bike. Here my review.

The R1200GS came to an unfortunate end...

The Roadrunner was gradually becoming old. It still did run ok, and the oil consumption was not alarmingly high, but the time was there to think about a bike to replace it.

The R1200GS seemed a better version of the R1100GS, on paper: lighter, more torque, and even really good looks. What more can anyone wish?

So I arranged a test ride.


The test bike really needed to be serviced, so it was hard to tell anything about how the engine runned. But we did some experiments, with the R1100GS of Ernst riding next to the R1200GS: we both rode 30 km/h, and then opened the throttle. Once in second gear, once in fifth, and once the 1100 in fifth gear and the 1200 in sixth.

Every time, the 1200 rode away, with an incredible speed. So the story about more torque everywhere was obviously true!

One thing that annoyed me however, was the servo: whenever I wanted to brake slightly for a corner, I almost came to a standstill.

I would have to completely change my braking habits to be able to ride with that servo (only brake when you want to perform an emergency stop, and otherwise use the engine brake long before you would use the brake, normally), but I don't like that idea at all.

So I decided to wait, and find out whether there would come a version without the servo.


The Intermot in München gave me the opportunity to ask about the servo.

The BMW salesman told me there would come a version without the servo (in 2005), but that that version would also come without ABS (somehow, these two systems are linked together).

I remarked that I didn't mind about that, because the ABS had brought me into troubles too often, because I like rough roads. The BMW ABS is designed to prevent "stoppies", which means that it will release braking force when the back wheel is blocked (with the idea that you always use the back brake, I presume).
That means that, especially when you are riding downwards, on a rough road, you will often loose both brakes when approaching a switchback. I remember far more times when the ABS gave me trouble, that way, than that it saved me (in fact, I can't remember one time where it saved me), because I am used to look far ahead, which makes it possible to brake gently. And that habit of braking gently is the reason I don't want the servo system.
Strangely enough, it seems that the BMW brake system tries to get you into the habit of applying maximum force to the brakes, thus enabling the ABS often. Exactly the opposite of what I want to use the brakes for.

The salesman admitted that there were problems on rough roads. I hope that there will come a day when BMW will make a really good ABS system, like the one from Ducati or the one from Yamaha, which never brings you into trouble.

Anyway, it was clear that I would be able to order a non-servo, non-ABS R1200GS!


And then came the day, in february 2005, that I could go to the dealer, to get my very own R1200GS.


I took it for rides in the hills near my home, trying to break the engine in perfectly.

The roughness of the engine disappointed me. It seemed as though the engine detonated slightly, all the time, and the sound of the engine above 3500 rpm was horrible to my ears (and I could feel it through the handle bars).


On the 19th july 2006, 5 months after I bought the R1200GS, a car hit me (the driver had forgotton to look in front of him when he saw a road to his left that he needed, and he threw his wheel to the left, and there was I). The whole story is on this page about the accident.

That was the end of the 1200.

Psychologically, buying a new R1200GS was too difficult for me. So this R1200GS marked the end of my relationship with BMW GSses...


© Copyright - Author: Sylvia Stuurman , Pictures: Ernst Anepool .
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