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2018 BMW R1200GS Adventure Review - Context

Last week I did a review on the 2018 BMW R1200GS Adventure, and I said some things that could have sounded uncalled for. Although I stand by them, I feel I should provide a better understanding of the context in which I reviewed the bike.

As a stand-alone bike, I believe it is a fantastic one, just as I stated last week.

I did not love the buttons, no. But it is a detail that should be talked about. It is a high-end luxury bike, it needs to be held to higher standards than a mid-range bike.

The engine is fantastic, I just didn't like the way it feels. But a personal preference does not stop me from saying it is a fantastic engine, quite the opposite.

But if I say the bike is fantastic, why do I say I hated it?

The context is simple.

It is a BMW Motorrad GS, and that name, carries history, a legacy. That legacy is simple and bold, an off-road racing worthy bike that has fantastic road abilities. Pure and simple. Or at least, it is in my understanding of it.

Since the 1980's, the legacy GS's have won Dakar's and Super enduro races. Those were the roadworthy GS's you could by until 2008. Racing prooved bikes that handled beautifully on the road, and that off-road, gave you the confidence of a Dakar riding god!

Since 2008, with the production stopping on the HP2, the GS line took a different approach. Instead of off-road racing machines that handled incredibly on the road, you got fantastic roadworthy machines that performed surprisingly well off-road.

Still, that is a serious change in approach. One that is understandable due to market share, and acceptable because another HP2 could come down the line for the more off-road hungry GS lovers. However, that bike for the off-road hungry GS lover never came.

Year after year since 2008, the bikes, although performing surprisingly well off road for their size and weight, never stopped improving their road skills at the cost of the off-road side. Still, they carry the GS badge.

When I review a GS, I must review it taking into account the legacy they have, and as such, the off-road roughness needs to be there, regardless of how fantastic the bike rides on the road and the comfort it has. That's off-road. Rough, tough and you need to feel the road in your body, its part of driving an off-road bike, both on the road and off it.

I understand the need to make the bikes more comfortable, but then call them Touring GS's and gives us, the true GS believer, the GS Dakar wannabe winners, a GS that was designed for our Dakar dreams, that stands up to the legacy GS's heritage, DNA and soul. Afterall, BMW did create the Nine-T Urban G/S, stating it was not a stand alone GS, but an Urban G/S. A clear stance on the biased of the bike.

So yes, I do agree that this 2018 BMW R1200GS Adventure is a great bike that many will love. But for the off-road GS lover that lives in me, and that holds all GS named bikes to the standards of the ones that came before, of the race winning legacy GS's, I cannot like it.

I would love to know where you guys stand on this.

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