2013 BMW R1200GS – A Water-Cooled Icon

10/02/2012 @ 3:45 am, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

Building off of three decades of tradition and 170,000 units sold worldwide, the 2013 BMW R1200GS has some big shoes to fill. Officially debuting today at the INTERMOT show, the Bavarians have kept most of what makes a GS a “GS” intact, while of course adding a much speculated, hyped, and rumored water-cooled boxer-twin motor into the mix.

The big push with the new model is its ability to meet stricter noise and emission standards, hence the move to liquid-cooling. Though, BMW says it also aimed to improve the R1200GS’s on & off-road performance, increase the bike’s safety, and of course continue the GS heritage that has basically defined the segment.

Using “precision cooling” derived from Formula 1, the 2013 BMW R1200GS only uses liquid cooling on the parts of the motor that need the additional heat exchange, thus allowing the engine still to use a high-degree of air-cooling, which BMW says helps justify the continued use of the boxer-twin motor design. Other changes include a wet slipper clutch and left-hand side cardan shaft drive. As we reported earlier, power is 123hp and 92 lbs•ft of torque at 6,500 rpm, while the curb weight is 525 lbs (238 kg) without fuel.

Other features include a ride-by-wire “E-gas” system, which has an integrated cruise control option. The 2013 BMW R1200GS also has five riding modes (“Rain”, “Road”, “Dynamic”, “Enduro” & “Enduro Pro”), which affect how the Automatic Stability Control (ASC), Anti-locking Brakes System (ABS), and Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) semi-active suspension operate. Yes, the new BMW R1200GS gets the same semi-active suspension package as the BMW HP4 superbike, which should make it very competitive against the 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 and its Ducati Skyhook Suspension package.

The chassis of the R1200GS is new all-steel tube frame. It features a Telelever front-end, while an EVO Paralever setup is at the rear. The swingarm has been lengthened, and BMW has added 170/60 R17 tires to the rear, with 120/70 R19 tires at the front of the motorcycle. Radially mounted Brembo monoblocs do the stopping duties, with ABS being standard. BMW has added an LED running light into the mix as well.

BMW lists all of the features of the 2012 BMW R1200GS as the following:

  • Completely newly designed engine for top-level riding dynamics within the travel enduro segment.
  • Capacity 1170 cc, rated output 92 kW (125 bhp) at 7700 rpm and a maximum torque of 125 Nm at 6500 rpm.
  • Cylinder heads with vertical through-flow for increased efficiency and performance.
  • Compact air/water cooling for optimum heat management.
  • Basic engine with compact, light and yet rigidity-optimised crankshaft.
  • Vertically separated case in open deck construction.
  • 6-speed gearbox integrated in engine housing, including wet clutch with anti-hopping function and reduced lever operation force.
  • New intake system for optimum output and torque with 52 mm throttle valve diameter.
  • E-gas for improved ridability, running smoothness and special functions.
  • Innovative exhaust gas system with electronically controlled exhaust flap for optimum performance characteristics and an earthy boxer sound.
  • Freely selectable riding modes “Rain”, “Road”, “Dynamic”, “Enduro” and “Enduro Pro” with three different electromotive throttle actuator settings in conjunction with ASC (Automatic Stability Control), ABS and ASC settings for off-road riding as well as different mode-specific Dynamic ESA settings (option ex works).
  • New suspension with torsionally stiff tubular steel bridge frame and bolt-on rear frame.
  • Optimised lightweight cardan shaft drive now running on the left-hand side.
  • Newly developed and optimised Telelever at front and EVO Paralever at rear for an even more precise ride feel.
  • Refined master chassis geometry data and long swingarm for excellent traction.
  • Optimised seating width and position, and adjustable handlebars for even greater comfort.
  • Optimised ground reach for rider (inner leg length).
  • Tyre/wheel dimensions of 120/70 R19 at front and 170/60 R17 at rear as a world first, tailored specially to the R 1200 GS.
  • Revised BMW Motorrad brake system with radially mounted Brembo Monobloc brake calipers at front and 2-piston floating caliper with enlarged brake disc at  rear (Ø 276mm, previously 265mm).
  • BMW Motorrad Integral ABS as standard.
  • Semiactive suspension Dynamic ESA (ex works option).
  • Main headlight with optimised light efficiency and LED daytime running light (ex works option).
  • World’s first motorcycle with LED main headlight featuring integrated daytime running light (ex works option).
  • New vehicle electrical system with partitioning of functions.
  • Extended electric switch units.
  • Electronic cruise control (ex works option).
  • Preparation for navigation unit with Multi-Controller to operate the
  • BMW Motorrad Navigator IV (ex works option).
  • Windshield with one-hand operation for excellent wind and weather protection.
  • Seat with multiple adjustment functions for perfect ergonomics.
  • Number plate carriers quick to dismount for off-road riding.
  • Increased ground clearance (+ 8 mm)
  • New instrument cluster with on-board computer as standard. PRO on-board computer as an option.
  • Four main paint finishes to choose from: Alpine White, Racing Red, Blue Fire and Thunder Grey Metallic.
  • Extensive range of special accessories and rider equipment.

Source: BMW Group

  • Tedd Riggs

    Beautiful looking Bike ! Some great additions to the GS. Wonder if its nickname will be the “Wethead” :-)

  • Damo

    I have never been a huge fan of the GS, I respect it as a machine, but never really got into it. The new model for sure is a step in the right direction, much more modern looking.

    At least they aren’t resting on their laurels and aren’t letting the Panigales and Tigers of the world eat their entire market segment.

  • Sixty7

    Very tough looking would consider one now…

  • meatspin

    awesome bike. ADVrider must be buzzing.

  • RobG

    Nice looking, nice improvements. Like others, I’ve never been a big BMW fan. Too much techno-wizardry and too much weight. I’ll keep my DR650, thanks, while saving for a Tiger 800XC. Besides, I thought this thing was supposed to be a 1250. What happened there?

  • AK

    Awesome looking machine, will definitely consider getting one in future.

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  • MikeD

    Me gusta.
    Triumph…YOU got NOTHING to worry about……the damn thing doesn’t even come with standard Cruise Control and ABS included because it will be mandatory soon on the EU……BMW BEING BMW at it’s finest…..AGAIN. ROTFLMAO.

    @RobG: Yeah, i said the same…1170 ? ! W/e happened to “at least 1200” that seems to be the norm for the full size D/S class now a days ? lol.

  • Alex

    From the article – “Using “precision cooling” derived from Formula 1, the 2013 BMW R1200GS only uses liquid cooling on the parts of the motor that need the additional heat exchange, thus allowing the engine still to use a high-degree of air-cooling, which BMW says helps justify the continued use of the boxer-twin motor design.”

    Sounds silly – only cooling the heads so that you can justify still using the boxer layout. Still adding the extra complexity of water cooling but not using it to its full advantage just so you can justify the chosen engine layout. Sounds like marketing – I’m guessing many fans will not want water cooling so this is a compromise.

  • MikeD


    I said the same. Why not use it to it’s fullest ? Is already there ! They can keep the pretty cooling fins for all i care…plus they help more the cooling cause.

  • Johndo

    Love the new design except for that ridiculous beak…I guess they shared the designer with Suzuki for the ugliest beak design award on the 2014 Vstrom 1000.

  • Paul McM

    Technology marches on. But the more I see these big, heavy over-gadgeted rigs, the more I long for the original R80GS:


    Hopefully BMW lets Husky bring that Baja bike to market:


  • Luis Valentim

    Awesome will hand down my 2010 to my youngest son and will consider the watercooled gs.