Saturday, November 29, 2014

BMW R1200GS LC 2014 versus Bandit 1250 review

STOP PRESS -I'm now at

Last night I picked up my brand new BMW R1200 GS, water cooled.  I ordered it with BMW vario luggage with top box, Navigator V integrated GPS, LED running lights, heated grips, hand protectors, steering damper, crash bars and headlight protector.  The bike is Alpine white, with factory fitted ABS, ESA (electronic suspension), ASC (stability control), cruise control, RDC (remote tyre pressure monitoring), optional wire wheels fitted with Micheline Annakee 3s and the BMW GPS mount.  The headlight is full LED with an integrated ring style running light.  Very eye catching.

The crash bars and LEDs are yet to arrive, but here it is without the side cases on

The GPS integrates in to the bike's LINBUS system, so shows maintenance information, fuel use as well as all of the good GPS stuff.  It's controlled by a wheel inboard of the left hand grip and is glove friendly.  The GPS locks on with the ignition key. Very cool.

The bike has a lot of technology.  Fly by wire throttle, and the suspension reads the road surface and adjusts.  You can set it for rain, road, dynamic (full power), enduro and enduro pro.  You can also set the preload remotely and have it as soft, normal and hard and for 1 or 2 passengers with or without luggage.

First impressions:  it is tall, even with the seat in the low position.  I am 6' and can just flat foot the ground.  It's heavy until you are moving, then the low centre of gravity makes it a breeze.  Much taller than the Bandit and a much bigger bike.  Starting it gives a real rumble and almost an aircraft noise.  It's not quiet at all.  Nice sounding.

The clutch is exceptionally light and the bike pulls away well.  In DYNA (dynamic) mode it oulls like a train.  125hp and greater torque than the Bandit.  It feels faster and torquier, but hard to tell until I run it in. The power is immediate and plentiful.  The Bandit is smoother but the GS just leaps away and you short shift it and feel it pull.

The luggage is cunning.  Very well made, integrated mounts on the bike and a lever in each case expands it.  Much heavier than the Givi stuff on the Bandit and more chunky and utilitarian.  The top box will hold my helmet and gloves but not as roomy as the Givi V46. 

Braking is fantastic.  Linked Brembos with braided lines and ABS.  The front brake also activates the rear and the rear just does itself.  Absolutely confidence boosting.  Much better brakes than the Bandit.

Handling is really really good.  The bars are high and wide with heaps of leverage in the twisties and the seating is very comfortable and upright.  The seat is much more comfortable than the Bandit and the rear adjusts fore and aft (girlfriend or wife adjustment joked the dealer).  The low C of G means the bike is easy to handle and the suspension makes the worst corners easy with no sign of wallowing or poor tracking over corrugations.  There's no comparison with the Bandit.  Corners that would have made the Bandit bent out of shape were eaten by the GS without a sweat and there's no way I could keep up with the GS with a Bandit on windy country roads.

The Bandit is a great bike and while the GS is superior, it is also about three times the cost.  It is fair to say that I just LOVE the GS, but I still rate the Bandit for what it is.  As an every day bike you can maintain yourself, the Bandit is the best.  I can't maintain the GS.  Shaft drive isn't touched, it's all computerised and being under warranty I can't touch it.  Consumables are quite cheap and service intervals are 10,000 km.  Really easy to adjust the valve clearances here.

I have only done 100 km on it and all on road, so more writeups to be had yet.

If money is not a problem, the GS is unbeatable, but of course the Bandit is far better value for money. The Gs has a lot of on road presence. People stop and stare at it.

I am smiling.. A lot.


  1. Congratulations on the new bike. Friend of mine has one and loves it.

  2. It would be interesting after almost 3 years to get a review of the Beemer.