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40 years of the GS: The original adventure bike!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020   (2 Comments)
Posted by: BMW Motorrad
A concept that changed the motorcycle world: BMW Motorrad celebrates 40 years of the GS

A motorcycle concept that is as legendary as it is sophisticated celebrates its anniversary in 2020: The BMW GS models are turning 40. In autumn 1980, BMW Motorrad presented the R 80 G/S, a motorcycle combining off- and on-road riding for the first time. Thanks to its unique combination of road, touring and off-road capability - without compromising on everyday use - the R 80 G/S became the conceptual forerunner of the new motorcycle category of touring enduros - now known as adventure bikes - created by BMW Motorrad. BMW GS models became the perfect partner for two-wheeled exploration to even the most remote corners of our planet. To date, BMW Motorrad has sold over 1.2 million GS motorcycles.

Legendary BMW GS talents: Riding dynamics, off-road mastery, comfort and robustness
It wasn't just motorcycle adventures ideally suited for the BMW GS right from the outset; the R 80 G/S and its descendants also quickly proved their qualities in racing. In 1981, Hubert Auriol rode to victory in the prestigious and challenging Paris-Dakar Rally. This is just one of many motorsport successes BMW Motorrad celebrated with a GS. The outstanding talents of the boxer GS models - riding dynamics, off-road mastery, comfort and robustness - have been continuously maintained and developed by BMW Motorrad over the past 40 years and successfully transferred to other BMW Motorrad model series. In 1993, the F 650 Funduro was the first single-cylinder BMW enduro to come onto the market. While this bike drew its riding dynamics from its low weight and the thrust of the 47 HP single cylinder engine, the changing of the guard took place simultaneously on the BMW GS models with boxer engines.

The GS as an innovation driver: Four-valve technology and Telelever
With the BMW R 1100 GS, BMW Motorrad presented the first GS with a four-valve boxer engine and 80 BHP output and carved new paths with suspension technology for large touring enduros. For the first time in an enduro, the engine and gearbox acted as load­ bearing elements of the chassis, making a main frame superfluous.

While the BMW Paralever rear wheel suspension system eliminated the drive reactions of the shaft drive in the models with the two-valve boxer years earlier, BMW engineers created an innovative way of guiding the front wheel using the Telelever. With pitch compensation and highly sensitive response, they set new standards in this area. The new R 1100 GS was the first enduro ever to be equipped with ABS - a safety plus that is now standard equipment on all BMW motorcycles.

The GS models of the F series: GS fascination for the middle range
In addition to numerous new and further developments, including the F 650 GS (first single-cylinder with electronic fuel injection, catalytic converter and ABS), manufactured in Berlin from 2000 onwards, the F 650 GS and F 800 GS models launched in 2007 marked another outstanding milestone in BMW GS history.

With their powerful, high-torque parallel-twin engine and torsionally stiff tubular frame, they interpreted the BMW GS theme in their own, yet typical BMW way. With these new models, BMW Motorrad not only presented the successors to the extremely successful single-cylinder F 650 GS, but at the same time expanded middleweight enduro offerings.

Advanced DOHC boxer with two overhead camshafts
BMW Motorrad presented another highlight in autumn 2009 with the launch of the revised BMW R 1200 GS. Now equipped with the even more free-revving DOHC boxer with two overhead camshafts per cylinder, it offered 81 kW/110 HP and even more advanced riding dynamics. In 2010, BMW Motorrad paid tribute to the 30th anniversary of the GS models and their successes in both production motorcycle manufacturing and motorsport alike with special models of the BMW R 1200 GS, R 1200 GS Adventure, F 800 GS and F 650 GS painted in BMW Motorrad Motorsport corporate colors to celebrate the 30th anniversary.

BMW Motorrad continued the success story of the GS models in autumn 2010. With the BMW G 650 GS, BMW Motorrad added another attractive member to the GS family. Thanks to its slender, wiry off-road stature, the new single-cylinder enduro looked bold, light and adventurous. At the same time it clearly stood out from its competitors in terms of quality, equipment and comfort. In combination with its comparatively low weight and the reduced seat height, it was an attractive entry bike into the world of motorcycling and into the GS world.

The power GS: Newly designed boxer featuring vertical flow
Dynamic development of the BMW GS continued unabated in the fourth decade. When BMW Motorrad presented the new R 1200 GS at Intermot in 2012, interest was particularly focused on the completely redesigned engine. The air/liquid-cooled flat twin engine introduced cylinder heads featuring vertical flow; they had an integrated gearbox and a shaft drive on the left side from then on, supplemented by state-of-the-art chassis technology and electronic control systems such as ABS, traction control or semi­-active chassis. With an output of 92 kW (125 HP), the new R 1200 GS also provided superior riding performance. Barely one and a half years later, in March 2014, the 500,000th boxer-equipped GS rolled off the assembly line at the plant in Berlin. It was an R 1200 GS Adventure!

The GS for the segment below 500 cc: the G 310 GS
In autumn 2016, BMW Motorrad presented yet another GS model, the G 310 GS. It transferred the core qualities of a BMW GS to the engine capacity segment below 500 cc and interpreted these things in its own style. Extremely compact, yet fully grown and comfortable, it opened up a whole new world of experience in its segment and became unique in the entry-level segment, above all due to its versatility. With the new R 1200 GS, BMW Motorrad expanded the GS portfolio not only with further product optimizations but also by broadening the motorcycle's range of properties. For the first time, customers were able to give a BMW GS a more marked touch of enduro or distinguished style to suit its preferred area of use by ordering style packages (Rallye and Exclusive).

In the same year, a completely different interpretation of the GS theme came on the scene: the R nineT Urban G/S. The R nineT Urban G/S drew on the genes of the very first and legendary 1980 BMW R 80 G/S, transporting them into the modern era with contemporary technology in the form of a classic enduro-style BMW motorcycle with a boxer engine. As with the other R nineT models, the powerful, air/oil-cooled boxer engine with 81 kW (110 HP) output in combination with a six-speed transmission was installed.

New engine, new chassis: The new GS models of the F series
In 2017 BMW Motorrad continued to write GS history with the completely redesigned F 750 GS and F 850 GS enduro models. BMW Motorrad consistently built on typical GS strengths in the successor models to the successful two-cylinder F 650 GS, F 700 GS and F 800 GS motorcycles with the aim of making good things even better. As before, the GS abbreviation again represented a perfect synthesis of touring and long-distance capability combined with racing dynamics and supreme off-road performance.

A BMW GS is the perfect companion when it comes to discovering remote corners of the world by motorcycle. At the heart of the new development was a newly designed, powerful two-cylinder in-line engine with two balancer shafts and 270/450 degrees ignition distance for optimized performance characteristics and a sound sure to strike an emotional response. The new 853 cc parallel twin engine generated 57 kW (77 HP) for the F 750 GS and 70 kW (95 HP) for the F 850 GS, providing superior drive power for both GS models.

This meant even more power, torque and efficiency for the big boxer-engined GS.

In autumn 2018, BMW Motorrad once again introduced a radical upgrade for the boxer engine of the large GS models in order to further improve power and torque yield as well as reduce fuel consumption and emissions values. For this purpose, BMW used its ShiftCam technology for the first time in the serial production of BMW Motorrad engines; this allowed variable valve timings and valve stroke on the intake stroke. In addition, the intake camshafts offered asynchronous opening of the two intake valves, enhancing the swirl of fresh incoming mixture and therefore more effective combustion. Other technical changes to the engine related to the camshaft drive - now taken care of by a toothed chain (previously a roller chain) - optimized oil supply, twin-jet injection valves and a new exhaust system.

It has been a wild, around-the-world ride for the BMW GS lineup, and GS motorcycles continue to be BMW Motorrad's best-selling models year after year. In 1980, nobody could have predicted the level of popularity adventure motorcycles would enjoy in 2020, and certainly BMW Motorrad holding a position at the front of that wave of popularity is no surprise to anybody who has ridden a GS in the last 40 years.

(This is a heavily edited version of a press release sent out by BMW Motorrad.)

Comments...

Black Smith says...
Posted Saturday, September 12, 2020
Absolutely Excellent! I really enjoy this article. I Finally saved up enough if my hard~earned $ and got my dream bike: the R 1200 GSA. I Really dig this bike. It is the perfect bike for me. When I was a kid we had a local junkyard weld together a couple old bike frames and a mounting plate and I 'repurposed' the family lawnmower engine. (promising I'd still now the yard with the old wheel spinner.). It took a while to find a centrifugal clutch & impact driver but finally made everything work and rode that thing giddy as hell. I even talked my folks to bring it with us in the station wagon to our camping trips Upstate NY...woo~hoo ! Looking back on it now...I was an early diy adventure rider ! My favorite lifelong passions motorcycles & camping. I am looking forward to my Moto~Camping Adventure on my new (older) R1200GSA! Glad to be a member of BMW MOA. Hope to meet fellow Adventurers. Ride On....!🤠
John Weidman IV says...
Posted Sunday, August 2, 2020
Great stuff!

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