BMW R1150GS 2000
Back in 1980, the BMW R 80 GS introduced a new market segment of large-capacity touring enduros, the letters G/S standing for GelŠnde/Stra§e or, in English, offroad/road. Now, almost two decades later, the abbreviation GS has become acknowledged as the synonym for a true legend in the world of motorcycles. Whether winning the Paris-Dakar Rally or taking globetrotters on spectacular rides around the world, whether offroad or on the road, BMW’s GS models have gained fame the world over as motorcycles for all kinds of roads and tracks. So it is no surprise that overall production of the R 80 G/S, R 80 GS and R 100 GS amounted to almost 70,000 units.The enduro model of the latest Boxer generation featuring four-valve power units, the R 1100 GS, was launched in 1994 and was equally successful in quickly becoming one of the best sellers in the BMW range: By mid 1999 production already exceeded 45,000 units, boosting the overall number of all GS models to more than 115,000.
Now, after six years of production, the R 1100 GS is being replaced by the new R 1150 GS. Featuring an even more powerful engine, a new six-speed gearbox and an attractive facelift, the original adventure long-distance enduro is well prepared to enter the 20th year in the history of BMW GS motorcycles.
Even more torque for even greater power and pulling force
The heart of the new R 1150 GS is an even stronger and more powerful flat-twin power unit with power increased from the former 59kW to 62.5kW, while maximum torque at 5250 rpm is up from 97 to 98 Nm. The far more remarkable point, however, is that the engine offers an even stronger torque curve throughout its entire speed range, maximum torque constantly exceeding 90Nm all the way between 3000 and 6500rpm.
Engine capacity, for example, is up from 1085cc by 45cc to 1130cc. Digital engine management is now controlled by Motronic MA 2.4 and, like all new BMW motorcycles launched since 1997, has a fully controlled catalytic converter. In addition, about 50 per cent of the increase in engine output is attributable to the all-new exhaust and
silencer system made of high-grade chrome-plated steel.
Sixth overdrive gear
Power is now transmitted via a hydraulic clutch with a new six-speed gearbox for even more comfortable touring.
The new R 1150 GS also features a lighter version of BMW’s unique Telelever suspension on the front, the reduction in unsprung masses ensuring even better and smoother handling.
A new “face” with dual ellipsoid headlights
The new R 1150 GS boasts not only technical improvements, but also a facelift. In its new design, the upper wheel cover ensures even better integration of the front section of the motorcycle into the sleek, flowing lines of the tank. The old, rectangular headlight has been replaced by asymmetric dual ellipsoid headlights.
The new transparent windshield redesigned for optimum streamlining and offering even better protection from wind and weather, is positioned directly on top of the instrument cover and is not only adjustable to three different positions, but may also be removed entirely.
BMW’s new handlebar controls are also featured on the R 1150 GS, with all controls and switches fully integrated in the most ergonomic position.
The R 1150 GS also features a 22-litre fuel tank, the high-comfort seat adjustable for rider height, and a luggage rack, and of course is available once again with a wide range of special features and accessories.
BMW Australia is already holding orders for the new enduro which has been eagerly anticipated by the many Australian BMW GS enthusiasts who have found it the ideal motorcycle for serious all-road Australian touring. Deliveries of the R 1150 GS are expected to begin in the last quarter of this year with the new motorcycle positioned in the same market segment as the outgoing R 1100 GS.
BMW has taken the most successful adventure-touring twin in the world and given it a thorough reworking, judiciously combining elements from the newest members of the R259 Boxer family. The R 1150 GS gets the six-speed transmission, magnesium valve covers and Light Telelever from the sporting R 1100 S, then borrows the cylinders from the R 1200 C for a 45 cc bump in displacement. From there, the new GS adds a few tricks of its own, including an all-new exhaust system and a new look.The combination gives the R 1150 GS a modest increase in peak power, but boosts its powerband everywhere from idle to redline. The new transmission gives the bike the perfect ratios for on- or off-road, with an overdrive sixth gear to make any freeway droning as smooth and economical as possible. The Light Telelever reduces unsprung weight — a boon on-road or off — for better suspension response, making the new GS even more nimble handling than before. And to ensure the changes don’t go unnoticed to the uninitiated, the R 1150 GS gets a complete facelift, dominated by a pair of brilliant, asymmetrical headlamps and capped by a new three-position adjustable windscreen.
BMW has never believed in change for the sake of change, so there’s still a lot of the old GS remaining. The triple-disc brakes and standard ABS II return with only a minor change in pad material, and the bike still offers an adjustable seat height to suit a variety of riders. Wheel travel likewise remains as it was, with adjustable preload front and rear combining with adjustable rear rebound damping. The useful Rider Information Display and the mounts for BMW’s optional Integral saddlebags also grace the new R-GS just as they did the old one. Another feature that hasn’t changed is the GS’s ability to transform any road surface — asphalt, concrete, gravel or dirt — into the adventure of a lifetime.
The R 1150 ENGINE: SAME GOALS, NEW DISPLACEMENT
Off-road riding offers enough unpredictability, so a good adventure-touring bike should offer something to counteract that — consistent, predictable power. The R 1100 GS already offered a powerband as predictable as a dog’s devotion, so BMW figured the best way to improve the power on the new bike was simply to provide more of it.
With that in mind, BMW engineers gave the new bike the same 101 mm cylinders as the R 1200 C. The 2 mm larger bores boost the R259 Boxer from 1085 to 1130 cc, while new pistons retain the 10.3:1 compression of the old GS. Complementing the larger displacement are retimed camshafts, specifically designed to boost low-end and midrange, and the Bosch Motronic MA 2.4 electronic engine management from the R 1200 C. An all-new stainless-steel exhaust includes the standard catalytic converter.
That new exhaust accounts for about 50 percent of the bike’s increased power. Peak horsepower goes from 80 to 85 on the new Boxer, with a smooth, linear increase from idle to its 6750 rpm peak. While maximum torque rises only slightly — from 72 to 73 lb.-ft. — the new GS has significantly more torque in the heart of the powerband, from 3000 to 5000 rpm. The new 1130 cc twin has more than 65 lb.-ft. on tap from 3000 to 6500 rpm. This means that in the toughest going, even the slightest twist of the wrist evokes a smooth, tractable response exactly when it’s needed.
Capping this engine is a pair of magnesium valve covers, borrowed from the new R 1100 S. Mounted below the headlamps, the larger oil-cooler from the R 1100 RT keeps the engine’s temperature in check, while a new aluminum skidplate protects the crankcase from more concrete threats. The GS also sports the S’s hydraulic clutch and smooth-shifting six-speed gearbox, its top ratio reshuffled to provide smoother highway cruising. Compared to the old GS five-speed, ratios one through five are more closely spaced, while the added overdrive sixth lowers engine rpm at high speed.
The R 1150 GS CHASSIS: RETAINED AND REVISED
Perhaps the most obvious change on the new GS — aside from its asymmetrical headlamps — is the Light Telelever, which first appeared on the R 1100 S. The lowers consist of extruded aluminum tubes with cast axle-caps and are lighter and stronger than the previous cast-aluminum parts. Overall, the assembled sliders provide a three-pound reduction in unsprung weight over the originals, which improves both on- and off-road handling on the R 1150 GS. As before, the fork tubes are mounted to the upper triple clamp with flexible bushings so that the handlebars do not tilt during suspension movement.
The new GS retains the basic three-piece frame concept of the original R259 Boxers, although the new transmission required changes at the rear mounting point for the Paralever. The transmission casting has been bolstered at the swingarm pivots, and the steel-tube rear subframe itself is reinforced as well. New cast-aluminum footpeg mounts provide additional support.
A slightly shorter swingarm (506 mm instead of 520 mm) handles the rear suspension. Despite the changes front and rear, suspension travel is the same, at 7.41 inches front and 7.48 inches at the rear. Also virtually unchanged, the GS’s brakes include the four-piston Brembo front calipers and 12.0-inch diameter discs of the R 1100 GS, paired with a two-piston caliper and 10.9-inch rotor at the rear. ABS II remains standard equipment, with special circuitry that allows the rider to disable the system for off-road use. BMW’s unique Cross Spoke wheels also return on the R 1150 GS.
THE GS BODYWORK: THE FAMILIAR DIFFERENCES
The GS has never been a part of the mainstream, and the styling of the R 1150 GS again sets it apart, both from other motorcycles and its predecessors. A pair of asymmetrical headlamps provide a familial connection with the new R 1100 S and offer superlative lighting. The bike’s high mounted front fender visually ties the bike to the previous R 1100 GS. Its distinctive shape does more than merely deflect off-road flotsam, however, as it also routes air into the oil-cooler below the headlamps.
A new instrument panel sits behind those lights, capped by a short but effective windshield. The shield offers three rake adjustments or can be removed entirely. The GS’s fuel tank returns unchanged, as does its two-piece saddle. As before, the pilot’s portion offers two seat heights, 33.1 or 33.9 inches. Removing the passenger section reveals a larger luggage rack for solo riding.
Electrically-heated handgrips with two temperature levels are standard on the new R 1150 G, as are the latest generation of left and right handlebar switches and controls. Also distinguishing the new GS from its predecessors are three new colors: Night Black, Mandarin, and Titanium Silver Metallic, the first metallic color used on a GS. Setting the bike off from its competitors, the R 1150 includes a number of standard items other manufacturers provide only as options — if at all. These include a centerstand, a 12-volt accessory outlet and the best toolkit in the business.
OPTIONS AND ACCESSORIES: MAKING IT YOUR OWN
As with any BMW, the R 1150 GS offers a wide range of options and accessories to make life on road or off just that much more pleasant. Those who take their adventure-touring very seriously can equip the new GS with BMW’s lockable Integral saddlebags, as well as a newly designed tankbag. Similarly, an all-new Twin Bag can carry an additional 30 liters of gear, on or off the bike.
Other options include two types of equipment to offer cylinder protection in the event of a tipover, a lower height seat for the rider (30mm lower), a 35-liter topcase, removable inner bags for the topcase and saddlebags, and an anti-theft alarm to protect the bike from warm-blooded threats.