Home, sweet home

A little update on my experiment. I have been riding R1200GS for two weeks. At first, I didn’t like it much. It felt really awkward. Then I started to get used to it. A couple of observations:

GS feels very long. Kinda like you are riding on top of a dolphin.

GS rocks on the freeway. I can cruise comfortable at 80mph all day long.

GS rocks for the passenger. Because it’s longer and the top case is
further away from the passenger, the pillion is able to lean back more and relax. Not to mention less wind from taller screen.

GS has very good ergonomics. Riding position is not as aggressive as on Multi, and you are comfortable at all times.

GS brakes give you a lot of confidence. So does the suspension, even though you have no idea what it’s doing, the bike is rock stable in turns.

GS is a lot stiffer than you may expect. You can feel every bump you are going over.

GS transmission is absolute garbage. I can bet they are still using design URAL allegedly stole from them seventy years ago. Clunky, long throws of the shifter, missed gears, false neutral, the whole package. Reminded me Russian cars of 70′s. You absolutely cannot shift fast, you have to baby the shifter and go ssssloow. I cannot believe something like this can exist in 21st Century.

After two weeks the bike actually grew on me and I discovered completely different aspect of motorcycling. Not riding for feeling of connecting with the road and the machine, but riding for seeing things, feeling the wind and getting somewhere without stress. My friend summed it up perfectly: “R1200GS is the Harley of Adventure bikes”

I got back onto my Multistrada with contradicting feelings growing in my head. Do I really like the GS or I just got used to it? Could I live with it on daily basis? And then I hit the starter button on the Multi.

Oh my God. I have been riding motorcycles for 10 years, and I have never experienced anything like this. I was grinning and laughing like a mad man for 40 minutes of my commute home. Multistrada is the best damn bike I ever had. I feels like it’s 3x more powerful, 3x lighter and 10x more flickable than GS. It has the character of lean welterweight kick boxer. This is what motorcycling is all about. Fun.

Summary MS VS GS


Engine – Multi
Suspension – Multi
Brakes – GS (if Multi had ABS option things would be different)
Ease of service – GS
Crash damage – GS


Fun – Multi
Commuting – Multi
Freeway – GS
Off – Road – draw (depends on balls of operator)
Canyons – Multi
Track – Multi

Overall, R1200GS is not a bad bike, it just takes certain type of person to ride it. That guy either doesn’t care about emotions while on the bike, or hasn’t tried other bikes. Poor victim or marketing.

As for me, I will be sticking with Multi for now. I’m still alive and kicking.

One Response to “Home, sweet home”

  1. Kevin Says:

    I’m glad to see this write-up as I’ve been experiencing the same dilema. I have a Multi 1000 which I love, and (knock on wood) has been problem free. Naturally, I’ve always been interested in the *idea* of the GS and more importantly the BMW support network if something does go t*ts up while I’m on a longer tour.

    Unfortunately, regardless of how much I tried, I’ve never been able to like RIDING the GS. As you’ve so eloquently covered, it’s a bike sans emotion. It does the job but it’s not FUN. The BMW boxer is the only engine that I’ve pinned to WOT and couldn’t muster more than an unenthusiastic “meh” in response.

    Granted, I’ll be trying the 1200GS on another demo ride this year. Maybe I’ll like it this time. Maybe…

    On the flip side, I’d probably buy a newer Multi 1200 without even bothering with a test ride. Again, the ability to find good dealer support is the only thing holding me back…

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