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Find my brake – BMW R1200 GS and R1200 GS Adventure

November 28, 2022 Tips & how-to guides
Bmw r1200gs feature min

We look at the evolution of the BMW R1200 GS/R1200 GS Adventure model range from 2006 to 2018, and what braking system parts Bendix supplies for these motorcycles.

Dating back to the first R80 GS that saw the light of day in 1980, BMW’s GS range - denoting either Gelände/Straße, German for off-road/road, or Gelände Sport – has been the marque's top-selling motorcycle both globally and here in Australia.

The most popular dual-sport bike in the world, the R1200 GS, has also found a ready following in Australia. Renowned for its down-to-earth character and powerful high-torque engine it offers an all-around, go-anywhere versatility that is ideally suited to Australia’s vastness. Not only can the 1200 GS go anywhere, but it does it in comfort while offering the rider a level of dynamic performance that belies the BM’s size.

And for riders wanting to cover greater distances and tackle even more challenging terrain BMW offers the R1200 GS Adventure, sporting a larger 30lt tank (up from 20lt), extra suspension travel essential for heavily laden outback riding, higher seat height, crash bars, and cross-spoked wire wheels.

BMW R1200 GS And R1200 GS Adventure 2006 to 2018

Since their introduction in 2004 BMW’s R1200 GS and 1200 GS Adventure (GSA) ‘bikes have dominated the heavyweight dual-sport segment. Arriving on Australian shores with a 75kW, 115Nm 1170cc four-valve, two-cylinder boxer engine, the BMW 1200 GS siblings were 19 per cent more powerful and 30kg lighter than the equivalent 1150 GS they replaced when it was discontinued in 2006.

Whilst both the R1200 GS and R1200 GSA are claimed to be very similar with the Adventure gaining a larger fuel tank, more ground clearance, more suspension travel, and more rider comfort features than the standard model, there are several other subtle differences.

The GSA’s saddle height is up by 40 mm over the GS, whilst it is 25 mm wider and 25 mm longer than its little brother, with a one-degree difference in the steering head angle. It also gains 20 mm in suspension travel front and rear. The ground clearance is raised 20 mm over that of the standard model, to 21.6 cm. The GSA also has an additional 8 kg of carrying capacity but also weighs 22 kg more than the GS.

In the years since their introduction, the 1200 GS and GSA have enjoyed several significant upgrades. In 2008 power was bumped up to 78kW with the ‘bikes also gaining significant electronic rider aids including Electronic Suspension Adjustment and Automatic Stability Control. Power was again upped to 82kW in 2010 thanks to a DOHC cylinder head and an 8500rpm redline (up from 7750rpm).

In 2013, BMW Motorrad introduced what was possibly the most significant update in the R1200 GS/ GSA’s history when BMW unveiled a water-cooled, opposed-twin engine for the first time on the GS platform. Although the boxer twin still relied on air/liquid cooling, water replaced oil as the liquid cooling agent; the water’s higher heat absorption capacity ensured more efficient heat dissipation. The new motorcycle, at 92 kW, delivered an additional 11 kW, while weighing about 9.1 kg more than the outgoing model.

Thanks to an E-gas ride-by-wire system, the rider’s inputs were relayed by a sensor on the throttle twist grip directly to the engine management, which adjusted the opening angle of the throttle valve accordingly. This produced a significant improvement in the new power unit’s controllability and response.

The BMW R1200 GS Adventure was further updated in 2014 with an increased flywheel mass damper and additional vibration damper “for even smoother running and superior rideability”, according to BMW. Spring travel was increased by 20 mm both front and rear compared to the R1200 GS, while ground clearance was increased by 10 mm. The geometry of the trailing arm was also modified to improve handling. A 30-litre fuel tank, ABS, ASC, and two riding modes came as standard, with additional riding modes available as a factory option.

The Enduro mode was ideal for experiencing the R1200 on off-road terrain, with the engine responding gently to rider inputs whilst corrective control by the ASC was more restrained, allowing the practiced rider to execute deliberate and controllable rear wheel slides. The operation of the ABS was also optimized for loose surfaces and road tires.

More ambitious enduro riders could engage the Enduro Pro mode to tap into the full off-road potential of the R1200. This riding mode with its spontaneous engine response was designed for use with studded tires. At the same time, the operation of the footbrake lever deactivated the ABS function at the rear with the optional Dynamic ESA switching to a firmer setting.

From the 2014 through 2016 model years, incremental annual updates were made, including adjustments to handling, and adding options such as LED headlights, keyless ignition, a quickshifter, an antitheft system, and another lower seat option. A new ABS mode available as a software update allowed for safer braking while cornering.

For the 2017 model year, the bike was given a facelift, with technical changes to meet European EU4 regulations. Side reflectors and an on-board diagnostic indicator light to indicate a malfunction were added. Like the R1200 GSA, all liquid-cooled boxer models were given a damper on the transmission output shaft. The selector drum actuator, transmission shafts, and transmission shaft bearing were revised. The GS was also given a new crash bar option, allowing cylinder protection covers to be mounted, as was standard on the Adventure.

And for owners wanting a ride customized to their needs, BMW introduced the Rallye and Exclusive style packages that allowed GS and GSA owners to add a more marked touch of enduro or distinguished style to suit their preferred area of use.

The very nature of this dual-sport motorcycle that it can be ridden hard on an outback trail over the weekend and then tackle a tortuous mountain pass on an overland trip places wide-ranging demands on the R1200 GS’ brakes, and even more so on the heavier R1200 GS Adventure. For this reason, Bendix has developed the Bendix Moto line of brake pads that covers a wide range of bikes and riding applications.

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Bendix Brake Pads For The BMW R1200 GS And R1200 GS Adventure

As Australia’s largest automotive friction material manufacturer, Bendix have been at the leading edge of braking technology for close to 70 years and have now taken that expertise to the world of motorcycles.

Bendix Moto currently offers two brake pad types – Ultimate+ and Street Road Track. Each pad type covers the needs of a range of motorcycles and how they’re used, whether it be putting around on the daily commute, to full-blown track use. Bendix Moto’s extensive catalogue also covers an enormous range of different motorcycle types including dual-sport bikes such as the BMW R1200 GS and R1200 GS Adventure.

Ideally suited to the R1200 GS and GSA Bendix Moto Ultimate+ Brake Pads have been developed for bikes that see a lot of hard work or time on the road day-to-day. They offer exceptional stopping power, low dust, and low noise, whilst offering high resistance to brake fade at higher temperatures thanks to a high friction ceramic formulation.

Whilst Bendix Moto Ultimate+ Brake Pads are built to handle the stresses of stop-start traffic they also offer high braking performance for when the weekend comes and it’s time to hit the trails or the open road.

Whether you are negotiating a rocky trail in the outback or just enjoying a fast ride down a twisty mountain pass, Bendix Moto Ultimate+ Brake Pads ensure you’re in control, no matter what the terrain or conditions.

Never get caught out by brakes that aren’t quite up to the job. Fitting a set of Bendix Moto Ultimate+ Brake Pads to your BMW R1200 GS or GS Adventure means you can brake with confidence - anywhere, anytime, in all conditions.