BMW R1200GSW – my progression with the GS family



I always wondered if I would ever get the Giant GS model – 1200.  I have had a 2010 BMW F650GS and that was when I got bit by the Dual Sport bug. 


Although truly meant as a road bike my 650 took me across countries, USA/Canada in 2010 and rode thousands of miles in and around the PNW and BC, Canada.  Sold that bike with over 60 thousand KM. 

My 2010 BMW F798GS
On top of Mt. Washington, NH

I loved the concept of the GS bike.  Added some Heidenau Tires

LOVE this pic, Glen got a Tat of the K60 Tread…now that is LOVE

Glen from WA State..Loves his K60’s

right from the get go and found roads in the back country to stay away from traffic as much as I could. 

Ok, GS bikes like dirt but not snow. At least I tried and made it through eventually

Not a technical hardcore off road rider, more like explorer, checking out scenery you can’t see from the pavement and meeting like minded riders has made me crazy in love with this type of riding.

Custom branding 😉

It was clear that long distant riding was also my calling.  Power trips, long trips, commuting…anything to ride.  I ride to escape reality, enjoy the outdoors, challenge myself and test my skills. Riding is my “happy” place that many who do can relate.  After a few years of owning the 650 the logical upgrade was the F800GS. 

says it all to me

I got my F800 after I was fortunate enough to borrow a 2011 Triumph Tiger XC to ride the remote lands of the Yukon, Canada and Alaska. 

my 2011 Route, AMAZING 44 day trip

You can see my ride report that I did LIVE from the road that year by clicking Triumph & Alaska

Dempster Highway

Oh that front 21 inch wheel.  Wider handle bars and suspension.  While the Tiger really peaked my interest in a more “off road” bike, when it came to spending my money…back to BMW I went.  Not sure why.  We all have our attractions and in the end I was very pleased with buying a stock height, lowered seat 2013 BMW F800GS.  Now we were talking about a great touring bike and very competent off road machine as well.

I called her Beauty – 2013-2015 😉

At first I wasn’t sure about the stock height.  Like many I am vertically challenged.  My sales guy Sheldon who knows how I ride back in the day when I was contemplating ordering a low suspension told me height is a state of mind.  He encouraged me to not lower the bike, trust my riding abilities and after a week on this bike I would be thanking him for not lowering this bike.  Well, history speaks for itself.  Sheldon was CORRECT.  At a mere 30.5 in-seam the height was not an issue at all but a blessing.

Stock height, great suspension – LOVED this bike

I wrote a BLOG post on “How Tall is too Tall” awhile back that got a lot of attention and tons of messages from all types of riders.  I stand by my post, should add the secrets of the 1200 suspension but you can read it here.

She LOVED dirt and LOVED pavement

I am very fortunate to been able to own or ride the top DS bikes out there minus the KTM.  👀  Each experience was different than the other.  Hardly any negatives to be honest and as my life changes, having a new partner in my life who likes being a passenger, my bikes evolve.

Did I mention I ride in crazy conditions too? I am safe but nuts at times.

Evolution of a GS rider.  Now what?  Yep, I got myself a real beauty…to be honest, I never test rode the new liquid cooled 1200GS.  Why?  I was afraid I was going to want one before my time.  Instead I bought without really knowing too much about the bike other than I knew one day I would own one. 

Lou, Joey and Ben, a young very intelligent owner made my buying experience a pleasure at GOLD COAST MOTORSPORTS plus, the almost $2100 rebate didn’t hurt too.

Ben, Owner and Manager

It’s funny, AltRider gave me a T-shirt 2 years ago with the 1200 on it.  Foreshadow?  Perhaps eh?

TT East Rally…brought there with 300 miles on her. Came home with 1200.

I was told by many “you are GOING to love this bike”…others?  It’s too tall and too heavy.  Well…it’s not too tall at all and I haven’t dumped it yet so as far as riding weight?  It feel lighter than my F8, more nimble and so incredibly well balanced.  Funny though, I haven’t had a top gas filler in so long.  Filling up for the first time was interesting as I sprayed myself with gas.  Got it down to a science now but having the filler towards the back side of the bike, (F650/F8) made this as simple as it sounds just different.

Since I have been riding these types of bikes for awhile now I knew how to protect her and exactly what my pannier choice would be….Jesse Luggage.

Full set of 8 inch Odyessy II panniers and Top box

I like the the other Aluminum bags companies offer but for ME, I want to stay within my handle bars, Have a mount that looks good without the bags off and that look symmetrical while on the bike.

8″ Odyssey II

  • Our 2mm thick 5052 aluminum is welded inside and out
  • Jesse Luggage multi-angle construction means stronger boxes
  • Offers maximum capacity yet maintains a narrow profile
  • Durable powder-coated inside and out — in your choice of 3 colors
  • Even our lids offer 10 liters of storage space
  • Jesse Luggage friction hinges mean precision movement
  • Luggage includes locking handles
  • Enjoy the security of our watertight seals
  • First and only with adjustable mounting system
  • Quickly attach or detach bags from the mounting hardware

Dimensions: 8″D x 18″H x 20″L

Left Side – 44.0 liters
Right Side – 34.9 liters

Total width: 32″
Weight: 10 pounds each

Just need to install the passenger grips-I love the Charcoal color I picked. Always nice to have a good looking bike too.

Again many have chimed in that they are so heavy.  But I have dumped my other bikes with these on and only scratches.  They are tough, keep their shape and are H20 proof after bumps. Plus, they don’t look half bad.  👌


This USA based Seattle company has earned my respect big time.  Small company BIG adventure riders.  They know what we want, or at least what I want.  It was a no brainer to make sure this unbelievable machine was well protected as well as me.  Oh, that would be KLIM gear that protects me.  

nice view of the AltRider crash bars-so well made and in the USA

Crash bars, upper and lower….very well designed.  Kick stand enlarger, skid plate that makes changing the oil filter and oil in general easy. Other gadgets as well…in the end I felt do it all now and be ready for the road.  My passenger, a little blog shy is a true trooper.  Never been on a bike before has entrusted me from the get go with her life.  As we get her better gear slowly I will do my best to make her comfy back there and if I had to buy a new bike LOL than perfect for us both.

The integrity of these bars not in question by me

I am enjoying finding out what secrets this 1200 offers.  If you are short?  I use the suspension adjustments to help me ride and park in all situations.  The one up setting lowers me in awkward parking areas.  2 up great for 2 up and off road.  One up plus luggage?  I think you get the picture.  Dyna Pro, Enduro Pro, Rain, Road all are amazing settings that work.  Cruise control?  I have used it on straight pavement and LOVE it.  Techno bike?  Yep…will things go wrong?  Probably but got to love the BMW warranty and roadside.  😉

The dash is awesome

I can’t compare this bike to my other GS versions.  It’s like apples to oranges.  What I can say I am experiencing a whole new riding set up.  Learning about this bike is half the fun.  I took it off road at Touratech’s first East Rally.  Real basic dirt and gravel.  20 mins into the ride I was craving more technical conditions.  Business as usual on this bike and really didn’t take long to fall in love.

My obsessions with bike pics begins again.

I hope all bikes eventually get a LED headlight.  So much brighter, safer and serves a HUGE purpose riding at night.  I am so impressed with lumen out put. I got the BMW aux lights as well and that doen;t hurt at all for night and day visibility.

BRIGHT…all bikes should have STOCK LED headlights

I have decided to stay on Long Island.  My move from BC, Canada back to my birthplace has been an adjustment.  Having a bike on LI feels a bit like I am in flat land lock.  Good news is I can easily take two ferries off the Island to get to proper riding states.  Where is my next trip going to take me?  I hope in September to ride up to New England with my other half and catch some fall foliage.  I have not been on the east coast during fall for 19 years.  I look forward to those crisp cool mornings, warm days a cold nights.

My ride through mid town Manhattan

Side note…On the way to TT rally I had to ride my 1200, bags on through NYC…this is me, cars honking at me, guys asking me while at a traffic light, “WTF are you riding”…it was hysterical.

That’s it for an update…and this is why I ride…

Pick up Day
Inaugural ride off the dealers lot

Author: advgrrl

Avid ADV rider! This Blog is all about the adventure in adventure riding. Researching new bikes, routes, accessories, learning about other riders and hopefully a great place for others to comment and explore with me. PLUS, up and down's, wildlife, my dogs, my life!

14 thoughts on “BMW R1200GSW – my progression with the GS family”

  1. Congrats on the new bike and significant other! I love that bike and I’m so glad BMW finally got the liquid cool system on the GS1200 – way to go! Wishing you many happy trips and new memories on your gorgeous machine! 🙂

  2. Perfect read with my favorite cup of tea – thanks, Leslie. 😉 Any thoughts to upping the rider visibility to all that crazy traffic?

  3. Hi Leslie! Very nice bike! Have bike envy.*) Love everything about your new GS. Can tell there are endless smiles when you are on it or taking pics. Keep them coming. Congrats, happy trails. Cheers, Maria 8)

  4. I too went from an F800GS to a R1200…I got the adventure model solely for the added fuel capacity…otherwise I’d have bought the standard GS and outfitted it exactly as you have yours. But it’s hard to argue with 300 miles on a tank without extra gas cans! The engine is somewhat noisy, and it doesn’t shift as smoothly as the F800 (or any other bike I’ve owned), but in spite of those two little observations, I’m deliriously happy with the big GS. I find myself going for 200 mile rides in the afternoons, just because. Good luck!!

  5. Congrats with your new GS, I’ve riden one for two days, and with the lower center of gravity feels lighter then my 800GS. It’s an amazing piece of machinery 🙂

    I agree with other comment about the engine noise, but other that that – perfect

    Enjoy it and make great roadtrips.


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