The GS line of BMW motorcycles needs no introduction and it can be easily argued that this model is largely responsible for the meteoric rise of adventure motorcycles over the past 20 years. This latest offering from the Bavarian manufacturer has a tough act to follow and surpass its best-selling and class leading predecessor, the R 1250 GS. Alas, with the ground up new chassis, motor and styling design, the new 1300 GS is up to the challenge. The world launch of the new 2024 flagship offering from BMW was in Malaga, Spain at the end of October, with a 90/10 street to off-road riding terrain mix over two days of testing.
The new bike has shed 11.8 kg (26 lb) from the previous model and now weights 237 kg (523 lb) which is largely due to the new chassis, the diet of the characteristic and now most powerful GS boxer power plant engine (4 kg less) and of course streamlining of the various other components. The motor now puts out 145 horsepower and 110 ft-lb of torque. The chassis of the R 1300 GS is brand new from the ground up with a redesigned integrated frame and subframe and a completely new suspension system.
When comparing the flagship model of the GS line to many offerings from the competition, one thing that sets it apart is the customization of the bike you are buying straight from the factory. Literally, there are dozens of options and 100s of combinations on how you want to setup the bike. The new R1300 GS is no exception and takes this bespoke model to another level. For example, BMW offers four different seat variations that when paired with different suspension options can give many personalized comfort/performance combinations. Pair this up with the newly designed adaptive vehicle height control (AVHC) which lowers the bike by 30 mm as you start/stop, peg and handlebar height from the factory and you don’t have to be chasing aftermarket options for months on end to be able to flat foot this adventure bike if you haven’t been blessed with a tall inseam and still have the perfect rider triangle and suspension performance.
The electronics package continues the impressive customization range with plethora of comfort and performance options that address any fussy adventure rider. One of the features lacking on other models and brands that has driven me crazy in the past, is the inability to keep the rear-wheel ABS turned off permanently. Luckily, the 1300 offers this as a part of the Enduro Pro setting and will retain the settings even after the bike is fully turned off and then turned back on. This is one of countless electronic features that we will discuss in our full review.
So, how does the BMW Motorrad flagship model perform in real life? For the first day of the launch, we were given the standard version model of the bike equipped with various equipment and electronic options installed. Since the day consisted of 100 percent tarmac, the stock street Metzeler tires served as the primary contact patch with terra firma. Immediately upon swinging my leg over the bike, I noticed how much more compact and narrow the bike is compared to the predecessor R 1250 GS. On top of that, the standard GS trim (not the Trophy) has a very street-bike-like ergonomics. While the riding triangle is relatively upright, the high foot peg position and relatively low seat gives it a great cockpit configuration for carving up the twisties. After about an hour in the saddle, I felt comfortable throwing the bike around a little bit and really enjoying how easy it was to change direction.
The following day, we took the Trophy trim version out for the off-road test of the launch. The Trophy version comes with off-road tires, pegs, higher handlebar position, a sport screen and other various options. My bike came with the tall comfort seat and also sport suspension making it the tallest version of the bike in the launch at 890 mm of seat height compared to the standard 850 mm. For my 34-inch inseam and a bony butt, this was a great and comfortable combination. Even though technical off-road trails were limited, the bike felt very balanced and easy to drift while at the same time being very stable in the loose rocks and cobbles that the previous model had issues with.
For a full review and our thoughts on this newest adventure flagship from BMW, make sure you read it in the next issue of Inside Motorcycles.
- From Mark Dzikowski