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2024 BMW R 1300 GS REVIEW – Behold the top of the mountain…

...and the view is glorious.


It was a lovely sky that day.

Please forgive the lack of glorious Nick Edards images, but Nick was re-growing his knee, and bike reviews need to happen when they need to happen because, for reasons I don’t agree with, the importers want the bikes back. So I took these pics, and there are none of me riding the bike. Nor are there any images of a super-clean bike. BMW’s website has all of those if you need to see them. I ride the bikes I get and put a fair amount of miles on them, and when I stop to photograph them, they have bugs on them, and road grime. You want to see them clean, maybe go to a showroom. 

Before I show you the top of the mountain, let’s just consider what’s going on here. And to do that, we must first understand some things. This is called “context”.


So, for quite a number of years, BMW’s GS has been considered, by those who know and understand these things on a genetic level, one of the best bikes on earth. And in some circles, THE best bike on earth.

I lack the photographic skill to capture how stunning that green paint actually is.

Understandably so, when all the factors are considered. It is a superb touring bike – comfortable, well-appointed, and ridiculously capable of doing crazy shit – because any truly great bike must be possessed of this ability when called upon. It’s in the rules.


The GS is also, in the right hands, an amazing off-road bike, and will take you to places and down tracks which will astonish you. Even in the wrong hands, its off-road abilities are quite special.

Many bugs assisted me in my findings. Their sacrifice was noted.

And – and this is important – the GS can be called upon to terrify purpose-built sportsbike and their riders by overtaking them in corners and tearing off into the distance. It is, thanks to its incredible tele-lever front-end, ergos, ground clearance, and sheer engineering integrity, one of the best-handling bikes ever made for real-world roads.


If you’ve ridden one, you will know the above to be true. If you have not, then you need to ride one, and then you will also know the above to be true.


Put simply, and in capable hands, the BMW GS can bang on a level which will leave you slack-jawed with amazement. It is what it is. And it is great.

It’s an awkward angle to take a picture from. I did it anyway.

But, and yes there is always a “but”, it was big, and tall, and could be quite intimidating for smaller and rather hesitant riders. And it’s never been pretty, aesthetically leaning towards function rather than form, which has its own innate appeal. Like a UFC fighter with cauliflowered ears and a flat nose, who nonetheless has a supermodel hanging off his arm because she knows her cage-brute can do things prettier men cannot.


So that’s the context which will permit me to make the following statement: The new BMW GS is markedly better than the previous GS. It is lighter, slimmer, and more powerful. All the things that needed to occur to make it better than its previous iteration.

Gold wheels. The image does not do their wonder justice. And those Metzelers hang on far better than you’d think.

Here are some never-lying numbers. The previous R 1250 GS base model weighed 249kg, produced 134 horsies, and 143Nm torques. The new 1300 weighs 237kg, produces 145 horsies, and 149Nm of torque.


It’s still tall – and it kinda has to be to do what it does, but there are lower seat-options – but it is a lot slimmer, and thus less intimidating.


It is also much, much better-looking. It looks far less…well, aggro-gronky, I guess. It has become sleeker and its lines are far more pleasing to the eye. I’ve even seen some custom variants which are utterly stunning.

This is what they’re doing to them in Europe.

Right about here I need to pause and address some inanities which have appeared on-line. These inanities spring from two sources. The first is naturally from owners of the old GS, whose echo-chamber has convinced them the new GS is somehow not as good as their GS. They are wrong. It’s that simple. The new GS is very much better than the old GS – in every way. Owners of the old GS just need to find a way to cope with that.

See that button to the left of the red hazard light button? That’s the new God-button. It is causing unseemly and unreasonable angst. No idea why. It’s a good thing.

The other inanities have come dribbling out from reviewers whose fear of sliding further into irrelevance compels them to magnify “faults” they have “found”, and are now revealing to the world, and the aforementioned echo-chambers.

You want stunning bling? No problem.

What are these alleged “faults”? Well, the quickshifter is a bit notchy between first and second gear. Is it? Yes, it is. And? Like, seriously? And? So what? Use the clutch, don’t use the clutch and put up with the notchiness, or wait a bit until this software issue is sorted by the factory – which it doubtlessly will be. Talk about nit-picking bullshit. In no way does this notchy shift from first to second detract from the overall ride-experience, and anyone who says it does is being a yutz.

Adjustable rear-brake lever for when you wanna ride standing up.

The other issue for some, is the addition of the God-button on the left-hand switchblock. This button is intended as a programable shortcut to your fave settings for suspension damping, heated grips, and traction control, obviating the need to scroll through various menus and screens. One would think this was a good thing, right? Nope. Some reviewers aren’t coping with it at all well because you’re unable to fine-tune those adjustments with that God-button. You need to go to the menus to do that. I’m not even sure what kinda mugwumpy anorak needs to be able to make fine adjustments to, say the damping, on the fly.  No-one should even go riding with such people. “Why can’t I dial back the TC a poofteenth with this button as I hurtle through the scrub?” Because you can’t, champion. Does this honestly detract from the ride-experience? No. Shut-up. Move on.

The most beautiful gear-lever ever made in the history of the world.

I spent a few weeks squiring around a fully-pimped GS – the Option 719. It was painted in the most stunning green colour I have ever seen, and came with gold-anodised wheels and quite easily the finest billet bits and pieces I have ever seen on any bike. The levers were a work of art.


My wife said it was beautiful.

Trying to shoot arty stuff is not easy. But I try.

“Beautiful?” I asked her. “Seriously? This is an adventure bike. It’s a GS. I have brought them home before. You were indifferent and mentioned something about how I should not put gigantic tractor-things in the garage.”


“What’s wrong with you?” she said. “Look at it. It’s gorgeous. The colour, the gold wheels, that X stuff going on with the headlight…I love it. It looks very classy. And no, you don’t look classy because you’re wearing trackpants.”

For when you leap off a berm and smash your nuts into the Option 719 seat, know they shall be somewhat less damaged.

As always, she has a point. Several actually. The new GS looks very much better than the old GS. And men in trackpants are barely men.

The new pillion seat might look less…well, “ample” than the old one. But it gives nothing away in terms of pillion comfort. My wife found it excellent.

The standard GS comes standard with a boat-load of goodies – hill-start control, adjustable levers and screen, a bash-plate, a luggage rack, adjustable engine braking – the list is long and impressive. But spend the bucks, go the Option 719, and get the world and everything in it – and that includes the adaptive ride height device. This will lower you as you come to a stop, and rise up (as on the wings of Bavarian angels) as you ride off. The centre-stand is now electronically adjustable, the seats are heated, central locking, sexier ride modes…hell, there’s stuff here you didn’t even know you’d like on a bike. But that’s what “full-optioned” means, I guess. The price? Well, there are slight variations from state to state, but if I was to buy the Option 719 variant, I’d be looking at $40,056 ride-away.

It could be Bavaria. But it’s not.

The basic stock variant is a good deal cheaper, and like I said, still comes with an excellent array of standard equipment. The Option 719 exists for the people who want it all. And yes, I am one of them.

The bash-plate. Yes, it’s standard. And rightly so.

Just understand this – Option 719 or basic GS, the things that make the new GS so utterly sublime, ie. the chassis, engine, brakes, and suspension, are the same. I would not be any faster or smoother on the Option 719 than I would be on the basic bike. I would just feel much better about myself.


I chased maniacs up and down a vast array of superb and challenging roads (and you may read of that HERE), and I was completely blown away with how utterly satisfying and capable this thing is. This happens every time I ride a GS. I am reminded of how incredible it is. And this new one is next level.

It’s hard to photograph that tele-lever sorcery. But that white spring is part of it. I think it’s full of spells.

Care must be taken when climbing on and off, because as I said, it’s tall. But other than that, the thing is a weapon. That engine just geysers torque at the back wheel. And when that is wedded to what has to be the finest front-end ever clamped onto a road-going bike…well, what can I tell you that you can’t work out for yourself?


You understand there is no dive with a tele-lever front-end. Not so’s you’d notice, anyway. That permits you to brake deep, deep, deep, into a bend you’re entering too fast for your own sanity, and emerge grinning out the other end. It’s like some kind of sorcery which BMW has been offering for a long time now, and this is the best version so far. It is spooky good.

These are Brembos and they are excellent.
If you look to the top right of the image, you’ll see the Brembo logo.

The new GS is noticeably lighter as well, and that pays all kinds of dividends when you wish to engage with fast riders on sportsbikes. The ease with which it tips into and out of corners is wondrous. The lines it holds are true and bumps be fucked. And you can crawl off and on the seat in the finest Jorge Martin tradition, let it hook up with that fat torque gush, and simply appal the people chasing you, or the people trying to lose you. They will not lose you. You will constantly fill their mirrors with the GS’s unique X-styled daytime running light.

Behold the magic “Shit is coming up on you!” triangle in the mirror. You can see it against the black of my helmet. When it lights up, you’re not going fast enough.

“Christ, that thing goes!” was a common refrain when we stopped for petrol. You will hear that all the time from people who are maybe not familiar with just how able the GS is. They all act surprised and a little ashamed this not-a-sportsbike can bang with the best of them. Many of them just stare at it as if trying to rationalise how a bike that looks like it does, performs and out-performs “faster” bikes.

There is no problem with the road less-traveled.

All you need to do is smile knowingly, like so many GS riders do. And they’re the ones on the older, heftier girls. The new one is, like I said, better in every way.


And all the time, you sit high and handsome, super comfy (there’s nothing wrong with that seat, let me tell you), with your hands wide apart for superb leverage. It’s quite the Boss-level riding experience – and it all comes with a five-year warranty and road-side assist.

Clouds in the lake. One of life’s great mysteries.

You must also appreciate there are like 500 different variations of the new 1300 GS. Yes, that is an exaggeration, but BMW can provide you with a GS entirely aimed at road-use, to a GS entirely rigged for riding through Africa. And everything in between. And you can mix and match and basically build your own GS to suit your needs. What a time to be alive, huh?

It really is a great and good thing.

It was always kinda hard to argue how the GS was not the world’s best bike. It kinda is. And it kinda has been for a while.


But this new one? It’s better. You may draw your own conclusions from that. I have already drawn mine and I have shown you the top of the mountain.



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Boris Mihailovic

Boris is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.

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