One of the best dual-purpose motorcycles in the world got even better...

I had the opportunity of riding Simon Fourie's personal BMW R1200GS back from Christiana the other day (and night).

The R1200GS is big, powerful and fast enough, although it could land you in trouble if you push too hard.

I thought, seeing that BMW SA are so reluctant to let me test their 1200GS, while I had Simon's bike, I may as well do a test on it, so here goes... First of all I must tell you that Simon is not very gentle with a motorcycle, he rides all of them hard, taking no nonsense from any bike. I know, I've been on many a launch with Simon and he always rides them to the limit, sometimes beyond.

Anyway, after leaving the Rhino Rally camp site, when the bike had reached it's operating temperature, I settled down for the late afternoon ride back to Johannesburg. The shadows were getting long and there was hardly any traffic on the Bloemhof road, so naturally I rode a bit faster than normal. Pulling up behind a truck on the narrow road, while on-coming traffic shot past on my right, I tapped the six-speed gearbox back two cogs into forth, when the last car zapped past, I pulled out and opened the big Beemer up, the engine revved and the tacho needle shot up, but nothing more happened, that's when I realised, "eish... the clutch she's slipping". So much for making it home before dark.


Then Rob Barnes of BMW Lifestyle Centre (Midrand) offered me a 1200GS to use on The Great African GS Challenge, and it (the bike) proved to be flawless in every department, the bike never missed a beat, my heart did. The 1200GS is a BIG bike, with a BIG heart and one of it's best attributes is that it handles so well, on tar. It could prove to be a bit of a handful off-road, only because of it's sheer size and weight. But once you get used to those two things and don't go beyond your or the bike's limits, you should be OK.

Just be warned though, if you drop the big Beemer, it's gonna cost. I know, I've insured plenty of them (Redline Insurance Brokers), and they usually costs insurance companies a bomb to fix. Most Insurance companies now have higher excesses for the 1200GS. I'd love to ride one through ET (Eastern Transvaal), with road-tyres fitted. Then I reckon the GS will handle. The riding position is just so great, I could ride all day, on or off-road, without getting tired (I did) and still want more.

The bike I "used" on the GS Challenge didn't give one iota of hassle.

who says White men can't jump... albeit only 500mm


much fun can be had on the big GS

the cows weren't even paying attention, but I was having a great time

Quick, easy to read instruments.   Photos by Dylan Slater.



Max output kW/bhp: 74/100 at 7,000 rpm
Max torque Nm/lb-ft: 115/85 at 5,500 rpm
Configuration Flat-twin
No of cylinders 2
Compression ratio/fuel grade 11.0/premium
Valve/gas control HC (high camshaft)
Valves per cylinder 4
Intake/outlet diameter 36/31 mm
Fuel supply BMS-K
Alternator W 600
Battery V/Ah: 12V/14Ah maintenance-free
Clutch Single-plate dry clutch, diameter 180 mm
Gearbox Six-speed manual
Final drive Driveshaft
Type of frame Tubular spaceframe, engine load-bearing
Front suspension BMW Telelever
Rear suspension BMW Paralever
Suspension, front/rear 190/200 mm
Wheelbase 1,519 mm
Brakes Front: Double disc brake, diameter 305 mm
  Rear: Single disc brake, diameter 265 mm
  Optional BMW Integral ABS (partly integral)
Wheels Cast, cross-spoke wheels as an option
  Front: 2.5 x 19
  Rear: 4.0 x 17
Tyres Front: 110/80 H 19 TL
  Rear: 150/70 H 17 TL
Length, overall 2,210 mm
Width, overall, with mirrors 915 mm
Seat height 840/860 mm
Weight, unladen and with full tank 225 kg
Fuel tank 20 liters
Fuel consumption 4.3 ltr/100 km @ 90 km/h
5.5 ltr/100 km @ 120 km/h
Acceleration 0-100 km/h in 3.4 sec.
Standing-start km in 24.7 sec.
Top speed 210 kph


1st Bike supplied courtesy of Simon Fourie of BIKE SA.  Tel: 011 782 5521

The best selling motorcycle magazine in Africa... There, I said it!


Thanks to Rob Barnes of BMW South Africa

for the second ride on the fantastic R1200GS.