The historical past of the BMW GS


It might really feel like there’s a BMW GS mannequin on each road nook as of late, such is the gross sales domination the R1200GS mannequin has had in markets such because the UK over the previous decade and extra.

It wasn’t all the time like this. When the primary BMW R80 G/S mannequin was first proven approach again in 1980, the mannequin was a pioneer because it tried to mix on and off-road driving functionality. Earlier than this, in fact, there had been bikes that would so one or the opposite very efficiently, however not each to the identical degree.

The unique R80 G/S really took place due to tinkering by BMW employees and enduro rider Herbert Schek, and it wasn’t even an formally sanctioned concept at first. After some surprising racing success within the German enduro championship it was determined by BMW bosses to place an R80 enduro bike into manufacturing.

Pretty hefty modifications had been made to the eventual manufacturing bike and it was significantly softened off for highway customers, however the general idea stays. The bike was quickly put into manufacturing and went from preliminary sign-off to manufacturing in simply 21 months.

In 1980 the BMW R80 G/S was launched to the press and inside a yr it was an enormous success and this mannequin alone accounted for 20% of complete BMW gross sales.

What does G/S stand for?

When it first appeared, the R80 G/S was named as a shortened model of the German Gelände StraBe which implies off-road/highway in a literal translation.

In later years the slash between the G and the S was dropped and the mannequin identify developed via R100GS to R1100GS, R1200GS and most lately R1250GS as engines expanded in capability. BMW acknowledged in 1987 that the S stood for Sport, and never Road or StraBe because it had beforehand been.

Timeline: historical past of the 2 cylinder BMW GS journey bikes

BMW R80 G/S Monolever – 1980 to 1987

That is the unique bike, which developed gently however not a lot between launch in 1980 and the top of the mannequin line in 1986. The 797cc air-cooled boxer twin engine is named an ‘airhead’ because it was cooled not with any form or radiator or oil-cooler however by air passing over the finned cylinder heads protruding of every aspect of the bike. Energy was simply 50bhp and it was a easy little bit of engineering; famend for being dependable and simple to repair.

In 1984, following racing success by BMW within the Paris-Dakar Rally, the R80 G/S Paris-Dakar mannequin was launched which featured a bigger gas tank just like the racing bikes.

BMW R80 G/S Paralever and R100GS  – 1987 to 1994

The unique R80 G/S mannequin was identified for its single-sided Monolever swingarm, from 1987 this was changed and upgraded with the Paralever double-sided swingarm and a larger-capacity R100GS was added to the vary with an even bigger 980cc engine. There have been additionally R80 GS Primary and Kalahari fashions added to the vary in 1996 and 1997 as particular editions introduced in because the R80 ended its lengthy manufacturing run.

BMW R1100GS – 1994 to 1999

The introduction of the 1995 mannequin yr BMW R1100GS signalled an enormous change for BMW and a transfer into a way more identifiably fashionable period of bikes, because the engine modified from air to oil-cooling. These ‘oilheads’ marked a brand new period for BMW and gross sales started a relentless climb throughout many areas internationally.

The 1994 BMW R1100GS stays a hugely-loved bike by the GS fraternity – the four-valve cylinderhead design and general easy, but fashionable engineering design makes it extremely thought to be a motorcycle that may deal with lengthy journey rides all over the world.

BMW R1150GS and R1150GS Journey – 1999 to 2004

In 1999 the mannequin was up to date with a raft of recent expertise and a larger-capacity 1130cc boxer twin engine and, in 2001, the Journey mannequin was added alongside the usual mannequin for the primary time. The Journey mannequin gained a bigger 33 litre gas tank, up to date suspension, supplied the choice of knobbly tyres for off-road driving as a manufacturing facility choice and decrease gearing to swimsuit decrease velocity off-road driving.

BMW R1200GS and R1200GS Journey – 2004 to 2009

Engine capability once more rose, this time to 1170cc and energy was raised to 96bhp but it surely was the massive quantity of weight that was shaved off the bike that made the largest distinction to the best way the bike dealt with and carried out.

This was the mannequin that basically began the trip in recognition of the journey bike on the whole, and the GS specifically, coinciding with the ‘Lengthy Means…’ journey collection that includes Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. The duo had ridden R1150GS fashions within the first ‘Lengthy Means Spherical’ collection, and switched to the R1200GS for 2007’s ‘Lengthy Means Down’.

With the lack of 20kg from the general weight of the bike, this was the best-handling GS ever seen and gross sales simply grew and grew. Technical modifications included the addition of the CANBUS wiring system which diminished the general quantity of wiring on the bike and primarily linked many parts of the bike like ABS and traction management collectively.

Gross sales of the Journey mannequin had been growing in break up share with the usual bike as extra homeowners opted for the bigger gas tank and different modifications on the extra hardcore mannequin.

The Digital Suspension Adjustment (ESA) was launched in 2008 which allowed the adjustment of the suspension with out the necessity for any guide adjustment in any respect. This may very well be tuned to swimsuit pillion or baggage load.

BMW R1200GS – 2010 to 2012

There have been efficiency enhancements added in 2010 with the introduction of a extra highly effective, 108bhp, four-valve, double overhead cam engine added to the vary. This extra highly effective motor had first been seen within the efficiency BMW HP2 Sport mannequin.

BMW R1200GS and GS Journey – 2013 to 2019

The largest change ever seen because the introduction of the GS mannequin vary in 1980 was launched in 2013 with the launch of the water-cooled R1200GS and a short time after, the Journey mannequin. The motor was fully re-engineered and energy rose to 125bhp.

There was hardly a component left unchanged throughout your complete bike, it gained a brand new chassis, new styling, new expertise and gross sales rocketed throughout the globe. Importantly with regard to gross sales, an adjustable and decrease seat top (in addition to the supply of a manufacturing facility reducing equipment) made the GS appropriate to a a lot wider viewers than earlier fashions.

The ESA system was upgraded to Dynamic ESA which meant the rider may select a suspension set-up for 5 totally different driving modes. The bike’s engine traits may very well be altered with the driving mode and there was additionally the mixing of the BMW Navigator satnav system which may very well be labored by way of a curler wheel mounted on the handlebar.

Gasoline financial system was massively improved and whereas tweaks had been made in 2017 to the engine and gearbox to ensure that the bike to cross Euro4 emissions rules, the subsequent main change was in 2017 with the introduction of the full-colour TFT (Skinny Movie Transistor) dashboard.

In 2017, for the primary time ever, the Journey mannequin outsold the usual bike in lots of markets as patrons opted for the bodily larger machine.

BMW R1250GS and GS Journey – 2019 to present

The 2019 mannequin yr noticed the introduction of a heavily-revised ShiftCam engine within the R1250GS which not solely noticed a rise in capability to 1150cc however there was a big carry in energy to 136bhp because of variable valve timing (or ShiftCam as BMW name it).

The modifications to the remainder of the bike had been pretty small compared to the engine modifications – there have been some technical modifications to ABS and the TFT display screen turned a typical match merchandise throughout the vary.

What in regards to the different GS fashions?

There have been a great many different GS fashions alongside the best way, R65G/S, F650GS, F750GS, F800GS, F850GS and G310GS to call just a few however none of those smaller-capacity fashions have both impressed enormous gross sales or the loyal fan base the bigger fashions do.

The ‘F’ fashions all featured a single cylinder engine, moderately than the ‘R’ fashions’ flat twin engines. The combination of single-cylinder and twin-cylinder engines, when mixed with decrease general weight, diminished seat top and decrease value seen in these bikes make lots of them massively succesful and extra accessible to a wider viewers. Though they had been massively succesful (and even gained the Dakar rally in 1999 and 2000) the smaller machines by no means actually caught on in the identical approach and by no means fairly reached the legendary standing of the long-lasting twins.



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