2014 BMW R1200GS Long Term Review

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My long term ownership review of the 2014 BMW R1200GS TE (water cooled) model. I’ve had the bike for just over a year now so I think I know the machine pretty well – so time for my “warts…

Comments

Jacob Williams says:

Nice video, i also cant wait for the summer, as i have bought my first
bike, A mint condition 1980 Suzuki gsx250 with only 8000miles on the clock :) 

The Steel Horseman says:

Great review!!!! 

Joppie B says:

A good review, points positive and negative situations, in that case, you
are spot on.
And as with all “expensive toys”, it doesn’t mean that it’s “heaven” all
around. A GS is indeed a good machine, with maybe the well know BMW
negative points, as you speak about the GS, many say it in the same way.
Good work!!!

Harvey Williams says:

Great video im currently stuck on an a1 license at 17 and even though ive
done my test with the new laws i have to wait till im 19 to ride anything
bigger than a 125cc :( The Gs is my dream bike simply down to the fact you
could at any point choose to head abroad on an adventure and the bike would
more than happily cope :) Do you ride around white waltham often or just
fly?

gkm3838 says:

Hi
It’s good to see a review by someone with the same bike you have. I’ve
owned a water cooled GS for the past 20 months and have just had its 50,000
kilometre service done (that’s about 30,000 miles for those of you living
in the past – ha).

I find the bike fantastic. I’ve been riding for about 40 years and have
owned numerous bikes, mainly off road stuff, and it is by far the best
machine of them all.

What I find best about the bike is the sheer pleasure it is to ride long
distances on. Because of the nature of our country (Australia) it is
common to travel 1000klm’s (600miles) in a day. I get about 400klm to a
tank and do not need a “bum rest” until I stop for fuel. I recently did a
2,500 klm run in 36 hours and, although I did need to rest for a couple of
days afterward, I know that on another bike I could not have done the ride
in that time.

I agree that you don’t notice a great deal of difference in riding modes
under normal circumstances but you do appreciate the difference when riding
on different terrain. We do a lot of dirt riding and the enduro/endure-pro
modes are very helpful to get the most out of the machine. I also notice
that the bike is easier to ride in rain mode. I find that the rear end
won’t step out when pushing it into corners on a wet road.

I could go on for days about the positive aspects of this machine and yes
you do pay a lot for this motorbike, but you also get a lot of motorbike.

Thanks for your post.

grumble1968 says:

Hi TMF.

I pick up my storm black TE on saturday, and I’m a little less excited now!
That’s a fair few negatives you’ve pointed out there.
Not that they’re not all correct, I’m sure. The cylinder heads is slight
concern of mine too, as well as the width of the bars.
Do you struggle at all when filtering? My worst fear would be to come
across some traffic, where I would normally slip through, and find myself
stuck like a beached whale!! An experience of this? Good or bad?

The alternative was the KTM 1190, but no cruise control, a chain, and a lot
of reliability issues on forums made me go Beemer again ( my px is an
S1000rr).

Hoping to get LOADS more use out of the GS, with mrs on the back too, so I
hope I do love it, despite the faults.

Great reviews, thanks. This is what youtube should be about. And your are
very well put together.

Owen Orton says:

Great review and very accurate. I do notice the throttle response
differences on my 2014 TE. To the point that I normally slip onto rain mode
in heavy traffic to stop the “lurching” at slow speeds. My main grumble is
the ratting and “pinging” form the right cylinder once hot. I have been
told this is the decompression valve.This is my only complaint and I
suspect part of this is me coming from inline fours and triples to more of
a agricultural engine and gearbox which you touched on.

Mike Breen says:

At least you don’t have three switches to operate the indicators any more.
What in the name of all things motorcycling were BMW thinking of when they
insisted on using that system? I have heard riders defending the system in
the past, and not one of them made any sense. Unique selling points are
all very well, but not when they are rubbish.

But then my K1300GT has had two changes of switch gear even though I never
had a problem, though I know others did. Last year I had major suspension
work done by BMW when I took it in for an oil service. A five year old bike
and no additional charge at all for the rear suspension work.

Hat’s off to BMW for that.

Sadly I cannot recommend any early water cooled boxer while my BMW mechanic
says he would not touch one with my bargepole and to prove his point brings
me two sounding like somebody left a spanner in the engine when servicing
it.

TheMotonp2010 says:

Thanks for the great review. I have a 2014 R 1200 GS Adventure, and like
you, I love the bike overall. The boxer engine design, as you pointed out
makes the cylinder heads vulnerable, particularly if used off road, which I
do for about 5% of my mileage. Regarding the ride modes, suspension
settings, etc. The changes are subtle. This is the first bike I’ve owned
that has electronic suspension and engine adjustment, so I can’t compare. I
will say that when the roads are actually wet, traction control is much
more likely to kick in, say during an uphill start on wet asphalt. Not
surprisingly the reduced torque in rain mode makes it less likely. Yet,
because it does have traction control one isn’t likely to leave any
graffiti on the road anyway. Finally, as to the suspension settings, only
on very twisty mountain roads do I feel the hard setting really comes in to
its own. Otherwise normal or soft provide great comfort and a stable ride
for daily use.

mark pulling says:

Ive done 200 miles on one of these, rain mode is very soft throttle
response ,dyna is very instant and road is somewhere in between ..yes i
agree with you on the suspension settings not alot of noticeable difference
between soft ,normal and hard…but you can also adjust for 0ne rider two
riders with luggage etc which does make a difference …great review cheers
mark 

Peter Andrews says:

A good real world review of your bike and what you personally think about
it let’s hope that someone from BMW watches. I too have recently brought a
BMW motorcycle but not as new as yours,it’s been somewhat of the departure
from the usual Japanese machines I’m use too and is still taking a little
getting use to. Like you there are things in simply love about it and
others in find frustrating 

TheMissendenFlyer says:

Add a message to your video

Matthew Gravatt says:

Thank you, MissendenFlyer – very nice review. I have a US R1200GS
purchased in July 2014. I’m in love with this machine. However I’m in
love with anything on two wheels. I very much appreciate the review and
the tour through beautiful Jolly Old!

BubbaSatori says:

Great review. Better than any of the “professional” reviews I’ve seen.
Thanks!

ThePlymouthbikers says:

Nice good video, had my s1200 the now for 18months love it, a few flaws has
you have pointed out. But can’t see me getting rid of it as it has all the
good bits from every bike I’ve ridden and put it into this one fantastic
machine. keep up the great reviews.

RichyVida says:

Nice and informative, as usual! Enjoy your very thorough reviews mate. It
seems it’s been winter for ever here in the UK, I’m desperate for spring to
arrive and to get back out. My bike is all in bits at the moment, having a
good old deep clean & service. Upsets me seeing her like that! haha
All the best
RV

Ray Lombardi says:

Fair review mate. Ve useful points mentioned. Positives and negatives.
The issue with insurance is a never ending story and prices seem to be
rather random. Usually on the up, benefitting the insurance companies.
Anyway, another great video. Entertaining and useful.
Cheers. Ray. 

Alex Malcolm says:

Hi MF, I couldn’t agree with you more on all your comments. I to have a
R1200GS TE model which I have owned since November last year and have
enjoyed all your videos. It’s a fantastic bike but there are a few nigly
things which I dont like. It gets filthy really easily even with the
addition of a rear hugger and front mudguard extender. Also fitted to mine
which I didnt realise were not standard are frame infil pieces which stop
even more crud from covering your legs and passenger. There are lots of
places where water seems to get trapped like under the seat, beneath the
ECU you have to make sure that the drain holes are not blocked as mine were
which resulted in the wiring harness lying in an inch of water which could
have caused a few problems. Little things like that are a bit disappointing
from BMW. As you say the engine protection bars are a must have as I have
dropped mine twice while stationary. Once while the missus was getting on
and once when removing the top box while parked on a slight incline. Keep
up the great vids, very entertaining Regards Alex

Jordan Karim says:

I’ve slowly been attracted more and more to this bike.. one may be in my
future!

Michael Morrison says:

The main difference in the settings is from street to dirt. On the street
you won’t notice a whole lot. But you will off road. If you leave it in
dynamic in the dirt the rear wheel will try to swap places with the front
rather quickly. Same with the suspension. Soft, to medium, to hard is more
noticeable in the dirt. Don’t forget to mess with the presets too. Off road
I ride it set on driver with luggage and soft. Gives me the ground
clearance and ease of absorbing the bumps. Street I set to just driver on
medium or hard. Depending on how hard I’m hitting the curves.

steve page says:

hi Vstm
I have had the Ohlins on the bike for the past 6 years. I put it on the
bike to enable me to better adjust preload on various surfaces
-particularly gravel roads ( I live in Australia) and to ensure consistency
of damping over time with Ohlins being able to be serviced/rebuilt etc.
Initial difference against original ? Limited on road ( as far as I can
recall) and to be honest I was at the stage where , like many of us, I was
looking for accessories to improve the bike and this was a ” nice to have”
but not essential. I would add that of the many other improvements, the
most important were the Sergeant seat and a touring screen . The Sergeant
was IMHO absolutely essential after the plank that came with the bike.

Andrew Blanchfield says:

Hey… There is a BMW ride on Sunday in Hertfordshire from the dealer in
Welwyn. Thought you might be interested to know. Usually a great turn out.
May make for some good footage for you. Can give you details if you wish!

David Bock says:

Very nice well rounded review. I agree with your control settings
assessment. Especially with the turn-signal & cancel button. Due to the
lack of positive feel, I find myself always looking down at my display
panel to be sure I’ve engaged the signal, or have correctly cancelled it.
This is my 3rd BMW and absolutely love it (2014 1200GSA). My poor other
bike sits more than not in the garage. I guess my one other gripe would be
not being able to replace just the lens of the new LED headlight. If
cracked or taken out by a wayward rock, the entire assembly has to be
replaced! Here in the USA that runs about $420! 

Harold Clark says:

Thanks TMF for another informative review. I’m still interested in the
bike. Here in New York, we are enduring the coldest winter in years and
are still snowed in, so I won’t be able to sell my old RT just yet. I like
to think of the jugs sticking out as “leg protectors,” so they aren’t all
bad. That gap in the seat may be partly due to your having the low seat
version. With those added BMW LED’s, can you set them to stay on all the
time? I would use them for conspicuity and would want them on even on the
brightest days. There are aftermarket alternatives as well. Thanks.

kosta16auto says:

The rear seat doesn’t have two positions. Not that I know at least. The
reason for the gap is that you have the riders seat at low position. I do
have mine in high position and no gap. Used to ride it at low initially and
used to see same gap.
Mine is same color 2014. Heavy but so easy to ride though.

colin clewley says:

Hi MF, excellent review as always, the only thing I would take issue with
you is certainly the servicing costs they are simply unacceptable the
figures are you quoted are far too expensive, and although you say its not
an issue, but obviously the flimsy controls on the front bars bug you
somewhat, if BMW think they have got the best product they should make the
best product, what with high buying and accessory costs, as I said too you
I am about too purchase a new bike in the next few weeks, and at the moment
my money is on the new Triumph, free oil change and first service and all
the gadgets you could throw a stick at, have a look at them and let me hear
your thoughts, I would trust your judgement 100% safe riding, take care,
regards, Colin.

John Ball says:

Hi TMF
Well done that man! Great video just what I was wanting, very fair and
frank I believe.
After two long test rides- I’ve finally put the deposit down (Saturday) for
an “Alpine” (black engine & cases) model which has shift-assit fitted. I
pick it up in March.
I’ve also managed to get the “low” seat and crash bars FOC :-) , which as
you point out the bars are essential!
I also agree 100% about the speedo, I’ve decided to add a sticky on “dot”
to the 30mph position to help me out. Probably the 70mph position too, as I
don’t want any speeding penalties:-(.
I’m sure the sat-nav is truly excellent -but I’m buggered if I’m shelling
out £500+ for a speedo I can read??
Of course I forgot to ask about insurance while at the dealers. Sounds like
I’m in for a shock.
Anyhoo I’m looking forward to getting it. TTFN
Cheers

Beans says:

Hi MF, as you know I have an absolutely identical bike to yours, I’ve taken
it down through France, the Alps, monico, and Italia last year. I’ve booked
and planned for this year France, Switzerland, Spain and Gibraltar. Your
bike will certainly come in to its own on a trip like this believe me. You
must do this.
I completely agree with all you’ve said there mate, especially the gear
box. I’m looking into the bow gear assist pro which is fitted as standard
to the 2015 model, I’ve heard great things about this. Also ive just fitted
that MRA vario screen but not yet been out to test it so fingers crossed.
Also ive learnt something, I had no idea the rear seat had a forward
position so I’m just about to run out to the bike shed to try that.
I love my bike too and have no plans to change it as well, it’s stunning.
Ride safe mate and those vlogs just keep getting better. 

Carmelo Portelli says:

Hi there take the bike offroad then change the suspension modes soft to
hard the difference is like night to day. Also the difference in the riding
modes us not that marked but I do notice a difference in overall power,
throttle response and power going from rain to say dynamic.

I must agree about the switch gear and you can solve the difficulty of
cleaning by purchasing frame plugs.

Great review.

fivefootsixtriumph says:

Do you still have the Street Triple?

Dan Mac says:

I liked the review. I like critics.

tyke says:

Great video. Love the way you present an honest and balanced appraisal. I
have the same model GS and I agree with pretty much everything you say
except the bit about the difference between engine modes and suspension set
ups. I do notice a marked difference particularly between rain mode and
dynamic mode (as one should expect) and I like being able to choose beteen
them according to prevailing conditions.
You scared me a bit with the servicing costs. I had the initial check up
done when the bike was still pretty new and they reported a surprising
amount of rear brake wear. Maybe that’s going to be one of the negative
foibles of ownership?
I also agree that it sure is a pain to keep clean. I’m a bit OCD regarding
cleaning too!
One thing you haven’t mentioned and I’d be really interested to hear about
from other owners, is that the engine is prone to stalling. My model is a
2013 (manufactured in Aug/Sept I think) and on occasion it has let me down
by stalling. Rather dangerously this happened once whilst banked over
negotiating a roundabout. There doesn’t seem to be any pattern to this. In
fact it can run for weeks without problem and then suddenly it will stall.
It’s usually in low gear and at low revs. I’ve tried standard unleaded fuel
and I almost always now run it on the premium stuff. The dealer reckons to
have checked it over a couple of times and has (allegedly) downloaded the
latest software upgrade, but it hasn’t solved the problem and they say they
haven’t encountered it on any others. Be interesting to know if anyone else
has experienced anything similar.
Anyway, thanks for the video. Great work as usual. Ride safe!

Renato Lopes says:

Sorry…. But did you say £800???!!!

Mad!

zubtf says:

Great review. Had mine since Feb last year and by October she had 20 K Kms
on the clock. Ridden her once this year to the hanger for the 20 K
service.You will notice a difference with the ESA and Ride Modes on hard
riding track days and especially if you go Off- Road/ Gravel in Enduro
mode….huge difference and how it works is simply amazing.longest trip so
far was 5600 K trip to Oshkosh WI ( EAA convention ) and back from
Calgary,AB.Some legs were 12 hrs plus and night time 200 Kms in the dark to
Kenora,ON with plenty of wildlife on the road , well those LED lights do
work…kind regards.

RevvedUpBiker says:

Great review. The bike sounds good. :)

Patrick Allen says:

Really enjoyed your video. Leaning toward an RT but will definitely take a
hard look at the GS. Thanks

DervMan says:

Excellent video, thanks for uploading. Let me know when you want sell it
;-)

karl hance says:

Another fantastic vid mate. Just renewed my insurance through MCN compare,
£148 fully comp with 4 yrs no claims. Bike is alarmed, data tagged &
garaged. Must be something to do with you living in the posh part of the
country lol. Just booked Scotland trip for end of April. Hoping to purchase
a Go pro so may have a vid to post before long. Cheers, Karl. 

colin clewley says:

Hi again MF, after riding the Triumph 1200 Tiger Explorer, which was very
good, but the bike I really like was the new Tiger 800 XRX I found it
great too ride, it revs to eternity and handles beautifully , the whole
package was the best in my opinion, the switch gear seemed fine to me, so
this is the bike of my choice, I think again a personal opinion that the
quality of the dials/clocks etc on some of the new Jap bikes such as
Suzuki, yamaha, and Kawasaki are of poor plastic
and very poor quality indeed, I suppose we all see things in different
ways, I formed my opinions after looking around a dozen or so bikes, and
spoke too a few owners of them , too get there take on the different
models, and Triumph owners seem very satisfied by there choice, I am
looking forward too your touring videos later on in the year, safe riding,
regards, colin. 

Nick Laskaris says:

Thanks for this review – as an owner of the previous model it’s great to
hear your words of experience. I sat on one ;last Saturday to check leg
room etc but I thought that the mirrors looked a bit small and lacked
coverage. Obviously hard to judge in a showroom but what do you think in
practice?
Many thanks, Nick 

Garry Potter says:

Has nobody told these MAMIL about riding single file?

oneoctavelow says:

Great review ! Bought mine in August 2014 and must agree with much of what
you said. I thought that another possible down side (to what I think is the
world’s greatest tourer) i find, is that clunking – coffee grinder like –
noise I seem to get at highway speeds from somewhere in the transmission
when I ride alone but on an elevated suspension setting as if riding with a
passenger. Ie when choosing the ‘two helmet’ setting on the suspension. Th
bike lifts up beautifully to cater for the additional weight of a pillion
rider – but when riding without a pillion that grinding sound can become
quite annoying. I think it manifests mostly in the gaps between
accelerating through gear changes… I stand quite tall and I would love
for my bike to afford me the luxury to ride it solo on its highest
suspension setting. You get this very commanding view of over and above
traffic in front… a pity :-) 

reekeekee1 says:

Great review. I’ve had a 2014 R1200 GS since last May and I pretty well
concur with all of your comments. I have 2 major beefs however. First is
the seat. I got the standard height suspension with the low seat. In the
low position the seat forces me into the tank. Very uncomfortable after an
hour or so. The remedy was; high position in front and low position in the
rear. With this configuration the ‘family jewels’ are not being crushed
into the tank and the overall comfort increase immensely. My next complaint
is quite serious and might be a reason for getting rid of the bike. It has
to do with overall suspension compliance and the damping settings. As you
mentioned in your review there is not much difference in the settings. In
fact, I find it hard to tell if I’m in Soft Normal or Hard unless I look at
the info panel. I find the suspension very rough and quite jolting over
medium and large bumps regardless of the damping setting. As a check, I
placed an electrical tie wrap on one of the sliders to see how the
suspension was reacting to the bumps. What I found is that the tie wrap
indicates that I am only getting a little more than haff of the available
suspension travel on the front suspension, even over the hardest bumps.
Looks to me like the ESA is closing the compression valve on the front
shock way too early. I live in Northern Ontario in Canada and some of the
roads get beat up by the harsh winters and are very rough. On these roads
the ride is rough, feeding jolts right into the handgrips. This is very
disappointing as I expected the GS to be pillow soft over rough
roads….that’s why I bought the bike. How do you find your GS on rough
roads?……Cheers…. Rick

John Ball says:

Hi. Just to add my observations (however brief) about the riding modes; I
test rode the GS in ROAD mode with SOFT suspension, which was fine, but on
the return journey is slipped it into DYNAMIC which I thought was a marked
difference. As I understand it (from watching SurfPilot’s review) the RAIN
mode simply helps to keep you safe if you’re going daft in rainy
conditions? Which has got to be a good thing? Perhaps you are now so
familiar/ comfortable with the bike now you don’t notice it? Just a
thought? I’m betting I’ll be just the same when I’ve had my GS as long as
you have?

Knowing me I probably will get the Sat-nav at some point, but that will
have to be after I buy the panniers. Expensive hobby this biking mullarky-
BMW are one of the best at making it so. Lol

Anyhoo, good times-a-coming, Spring is in the air

Max Flight says:

Cheery commentary ! great job . ( so different to all the usual you tube
crap )

I agree with Mark , disappointingly ,” i agree with you on the suspension
settings not alot of noticeable difference between soft ,normal and hard..”

125 SM says:

Another great video, I am hoping by the summer I’ll be back on the road,
back surgery recovery taking longer than expected. Still got you vloggers
keeping me entertained.

Squigles says:

Will have to agree on the cost of running the BMW. Had recall letter and
informed rear pads were in need of replacing, “yeah go ahead” …… £85
supply and fit. Now that was only after 4100 miles too. 

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