This year I’ve been travelling on two wheels as well as four, in between all the foreign trips for new car launches, I’ve been spending a fair degree of time on motorbikes. I’ve primarily been riding a BMW R 1200 GS Adventure, a Triple Black model, finished in sapphire black metallic.
The GS Adventure I’ve been riding benefits from the optional Dynamic (€480) and Premium (€1,780) packages, these are factory fitted and certainly enhance the riding experience. The Dynamic package consists of a tyre pressure control monitor and Enduro ASC (Automatic Stability Control). There’s a host of equipment fitted with the Premium package, this includes ESA, heated grips, fog lights, a chrome exhaust, on-board computer, led indicators and pannier brackets for the optional aluminium cases.
One of the most beneficial features is the Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA), this allows you to choose between three main settings comfort, normal and sport, enabling the correct setup for all types of surfaces. If you’re travelling with luggage or a pillion on board the ESA can be set to reflect this and accommodate the additional weight. The three main settings can be adjusted whilst on the move, which is useful when encountering multiple surface changes on a long journey. The GS Adventure is a hefty piece of kit, weighing 225kg it’s 16kg heavier than the standard GS. Whilst it’s cumbersome to manoeuvre by hand, once on the move it’s reassuringly stable. It excels at long-distance touring, with its immense 33-litre fuel tank, riding for long durations is taken in its stride. This year I’ve covered many parts of Ireland, including riding to the very northern tip of the country at Malin Head, even taking some off-road tracks along the way. With the optional luggage panniers fitted, there’s a copious amount of space for all your clothing for a few days away.
The GS Adventure isn’t the most attractive motorcycle in the styling department, it’s more functional then elegant. Its success has been phenomenal over the years and despite having more competitors then ever before, the GS and GS Adventure still offer class-leading, all-round performance. Triumph, Honda and KTM all now offer competent enduro motorcycles in a sector that continues to grow. For Irish roads, along with our inclement weather, these versatile machines are a sensible choice. With this in mind, BMW has just recently launched its all-new R 1200 GS, due to arrive in Ireland next March. Its key new features include the addition of liquid-cooling along with a 15hp increase.
The GS Adventure’s boxer engine produces 110hp and 120Nm of torque, accessing this power is achievable through all weather conditions. It’s this all-year-round usability that appeals to me, you don’t need to be concerned if you encounter a downpour on your weekend away or short commute to town, the GS Adventure takes it in its stride, providing reassuring grip despite the miserable weather conditions you may encounter. The handling is impressive for such a large motorcycle, the upright seating position makes cornering an ease, a well-ridden GS will have no difficulty keeping pace with a sports bike. There’s a pleasing rasp emitted from the single exhaust on acceleration, with some entertaining pops released when you lift-off.
When motorcycling in Ireland you have to be prepared to experience four seasons in one day. For the past few months I’ve been wearing BMW’s Rallye Pro 3 suit, at just over €1,000 it’s not economically priced, but it’s a quality piece of equipment that should be seen as an investment. I found it to be comfortable during our short summer, with sufficient air vents allowing a constant airflow through the suit. I’ve ridden in heavy rain on more than a few occasions, and whilst sometimes cool, my clothes remained dry underneath. If you purchase a GS or GS Adventure motorcycle and intend on touring, the Rallye Pro 3 suit is the ideal companion, I wear a variety of motorcycle apparel and after months of use it’s showing no sign of wear and tear.
Winter may have arrived but that’s no reason not to continue riding, with the correct gear and the right approach, there’s plenty of motorcycling enjoyment to be experienced. Although the trusty Triple Black has moved on to pastures new, I’ll be riding another GS Adventure for the next few months, a shiny red one. It’s not going to stay shiny for long though.[table “91” not found /]