Further proof of the R1200GS’s all-rounder credentials was published in a recent issue of Motorcycle Consumer News (MCN) magazine, where it was the unlikely winner of a dedicated sport-tourer group test. We say ‘unlikely’ because the GS wasn’t even meant to be in the test at all – this particular comparison was to focus on four-cylinder sport-tourers. The BMW K1300GT should have been there to take on its Japanese rivals, the Yamaha FJR1300, Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 and the Honda VFR1200F.
However, a K1300GT was unavailable and two other bikes didn’t show up either (one being stuck in transit and the other crashed by another magazine journalist). So, the services of the MCN long-term test machine — a standard BMW R1200GS — was called into action. The plan was to load the GS with luggage for its rider, as well as all the camera equipment and various tools for tire repairs and chassis adjustments. It could simply tag along, out of sight, but little did the testers know what a fateful move that was…
During the test, the GS matched or outperformed the ‘dedicated’ sport-touring machines in many areas — even though it wasn’t meant to be there in the first place — leaving Editor Dave Searle to wonder if the “world’s best sport-tourer is disguised as an adventure bike?”
In a multitude of categories, such as ‘engine’, ‘suspension’, ‘handling’, ‘ergonomics’ and ‘overall riding impressions’, the GS came in first place, leaving the more focussed machines to fight for second, third and fourth places. And as the test neared completion, it was the GS that all four journalists wanted to ride when there was a chance to switch motorcycles.
The testers’ comments also make for interesting reading. Don Searle said: “What a delight! Among all of the four bikes in this comparison, the GS came in first in fun factor, grunt factor, comfort factor, sound factor, bells and whistles factor, and just plain ability to ride-fast-in-any-condition factor. For my hard-earned dollars, this is the only one of the four I would buy, and probably comes as my number one pick for all-around best bike in the world.”
LT Snyder agreed with these comments, noting that: “It’s so easy to ride fast, it offers all-day comfort, good range and fuel economy, and it hauls enough for a multi-week excursion. I also find it amazing that such a small windscreen can offer such excellent wind protection.”
The final word went to Editor Dave Searle, who summed up the general feeling by concluding that: “The GS was our unanimous favorite for its handling, engine character, riding comfort and pure mile-eating fun. At the end of the day, if it came to spending our own money for a sport-tourer, we all picked the GS. How’s that for a surprise?”
You can download and read a PDF of the test by clicking this link: http://www.mcnews.com/mcn/model_eval/2010AugGS.pdf