Motorcycles

BMW R1250GS and Adventure get high-tech upgrades for their 40th birthday

BMW R1250GS and Adventure get ...
BMW's R1250GS Adventure can certainly party in the right hands
BMW's R1250GS Adventure can certainly party in the right hands
View 15 Images
BMW's R1250GS Adventure can certainly party in the right hands
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BMW's R1250GS Adventure can certainly party in the right hands
The big Bavarian boxer still makes 136 horsepower
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The big Bavarian boxer still makes 136 horsepower
New paint schemes for the R1250GS offer bright yellow "hey, I'm over here, can you drag me out of these bushes" accents
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New paint schemes for the R1250GS offer bright yellow "hey, I'm over here, can you drag me out of these bushes" accents
Am I the only one for whom this method of picking bikes up works far worse than facing the other way?
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Am I the only one for whom this method of picking bikes up works far worse than facing the other way?
Ah, dusty dirt-road adventures, that's the dream ...
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Ah, dusty dirt-road adventures, that's the dream ...
I've always found something vaguely regal about the sight of a GS on song
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I've always found something vaguely regal about the sight of a GS on song
The R1250GS (right), an enormous bike, and the R1250GS Adventure (left), even bigger and with more crash bars
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The R1250GS (right), an enormous bike, and the R1250GS Adventure (left), even bigger and with more crash bars
Just look at that monster
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Just look at that monster
Basic shape and engine remain the same, but there are plenty of new electronic goodies
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Basic shape and engine remain the same, but there are plenty of new electronic goodies
Big digital dash and enormous numbers of buttons on the switchblocks
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Big digital dash and enormous numbers of buttons on the switchblocks
A new, optional adaptive LED headlight is capable of looking around corners in the dark instead of plunging riders into darkness as soon as they lean the bike in
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A new, optional adaptive LED headlight is capable of looking around corners in the dark instead of plunging riders into darkness as soon as they lean the bike in
BMW's ShiftCam technology enables variable valve timing for optimizing power at all rev ranges
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BMW's ShiftCam technology enables variable valve timing for optimizing power at all rev ranges
Full color dash now includes an "eco" mode that'll slap your wrist with graphics if you use too much gas
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Full color dash now includes an "eco" mode that'll slap your wrist with graphics if you use too much gas
Electronic self-leveling suspension and lean-angle-sensitive ABS Pro brakes
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Electronic self-leveling suspension and lean-angle-sensitive ABS Pro brakes
Sitting on a GS Adventure feels like you're a two-year-old riding your dad's shoulders – this bike is enormous
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Sitting on a GS Adventure feels like you're a two-year-old riding your dad's shoulders – this bike is enormous
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The original intercontinental overlander of the motorcycle world, BMW's R/GS series, has received a bunch of high-tech electronic upgrades for its 40th anniversary incarnation, giving an already well-appointed bike even more appointments for its hoard.

The 2021 R1250GS and its massive Adventure variant keep the same familiar and successful shape, as well as the current model's 136-horsepower, 1,254-cc boxer twin engine. Indeed, apart from some new paint jobs the main upgrade from a physical standpoint is the fact you can now easily screw on an optional set of bar risers without having to get all your cables and hoses extended. That'll be handy if you're really going to plow this thing about off-road or just like standing up.

Otherwise, the majority of the upgrades are electronic, and many are optional. My personal favorite is the new headlight unit, which can now be upgraded to include a tilting, adaptive headlight like the revolutionary unit first debuted in the K1600GT back in 2010. This headlight uses the bike's IMU to read pitch and lean angles, and adjusts the headlight to stay flat and level at up to 45 degrees of lean in either direction, with a few degrees of pitch as well.

A new, optional adaptive LED headlight is capable of looking around corners in the dark instead of plunging riders into darkness as soon as they lean the bike in
A new, optional adaptive LED headlight is capable of looking around corners in the dark instead of plunging riders into darkness as soon as they lean the bike in

That means when you lean the bike into a turn at night, the headlight won't tilt itself completely off the road and leave you hunting in the dark for your path forward, like nearly every motorcycle headlight on the planet does. Personally I can't believe adaptive headlights are taking so damn long to become standard equipment; do people just not go around corners in the dark?

BMW should be commended for pushing this tech forward, even if it's optional. The GS bikes are not your typical city runabout, they're for serious on- and off-road touring, and while we wonder how long a potentially delicate tilting system like this one might stand up to the rigors of serious bush-bashing, it's a genuine safety feature and an excellent option to have.

The GS bikes will now get lean-angle-sensitive ABS Pro and Traction Control as standard, which is always nice, and the suite of riding modes, which control everything from throttle response and rider aid interventions through to settings for the electronic ESA suspension, have been expanded with the addition of a new Eco mode that's basically a new dash outlay designed to help you lay off the throttle and slow down on the fuel consumption, you giant hoon bag.

The R1250GS (right), an enormous bike, and the R1250GS Adventure (left), even bigger and with more crash bars
The R1250GS (right), an enormous bike, and the R1250GS Adventure (left), even bigger and with more crash bars

A further optional upgrade to the ECU can unlock extra Pro riding modes, including dynamic engine brake settings and the ability to change the default mode on startup, as well as assigning different things to your handy mode switch.

There's now an option for hill start assist, which honestly might not be a bad idea on a bike this damn big. There's a 12-V cigarette lighter socket and a 5-V USB port for gadgets, and the option of heated seats, with the ability for the passenger to change their own settings so you can each choose how much you want to feel like you've peed your pants.

In short, it's the big GS's 40th birthday, but you get the (opportunity to pay for your own) presents. This has long been a popular and well-regarded model among older, cashed up adventure-seekers dreaming of long highways, twisty roads, mildly gnarly trails and the odd river crossing. Absolutely adept as a road-going tourer, the GS can make a surprising fist of rough terrain if its rider has the chops to make it dance.

These 40th Anniversary editions make for an even broader range of capabilities. Check out a video below.

#RideAndTalk - 2021 Model Update BMW R 1250 GS & R 1250 GS Adventure

Source: BMW Motorrad

View gallery - 15 images
4 comments
vince
You call a fossil fueled bike a high tech upgade? Get real. EV bikes are the only thing thats an upgrade.
Komakai.Okane
40 years is an amazingly long run, especially for a segment outside of the Honda Cub. My 1990 R100GS PD seems so technologically primitive in comparison. The 1990 version weighs a baffling 550lbs. wet, the new 1250 weighs in at +40 lbs. more. This is not following the weight reduction trend of high end mountain bikes.

On a side note, it's baffling that Harley Davidson believes they can have any real competition in this segment against BMW, KTM, Honda, etc. Apparently being a marketing executive at HD requires the same degree of precision as being a weatherman.
guzmanchinky
I just bought KTM 790 Adventure R with heated seats, cruise control, lean angle ABS and traction control, and variable slip. The thing is incredible off road and on. Not sure I would want anything heavier...
David V
Most GS riders never go off road. I've only met a few that would have any need for all the tech possibilities this bike offers. I can count them on the fingers of my hand. I've ridden GS on holidays and I don't like them. The engine is fantastic but I don't really like the boxer motor. And the comfort is far from optimum - for me.
I saw the HD Trial this weekend for real. It's better looking in reality than in the photos. Agree that HD have been lost for the last decade on the way to go forward but this is an interesting approach. They may not be able to match the BM or the KTM and even be laughed at but if you prefer V twins like me, and you spend 90% or more of your time on normal roads - like me - but want a lighter V twin, go to go anywhere on your free time then the HD could be an option. Comes in at 25kg less than the BM with 145cv. Not bad.
On this GS, I totally love the headlight though. Far more useful than so many driving modes.
Just ride !