New BMW R1300GS vs R1250GS Review
The brand new 2024 R 1300 Gs. Now naturally this bike is a, you know, real step up from the previous generation.
It’s basically been a ground up redesign and I wanted to put ’em side by side so I can tell you about all those key areas in which I think this bike is a big advancement.
Hopefully, if you’re thinking about upgrading then this will help you to make that decision. But also I do have a few reasons at the end that you might wanna still consider the 1250.
Let’s start with what I think is the most significant change to this bike. The one that affects nearly everything in terms of different riding disciplines and style and speed, and that’s the weight they’ve managed to shed a significant amount of mass and I think that’s gonna be beneficial.
Whatever you use the bike for, it seems like it’s been an extensive search for all the little places they could save weight. New BMW R1300GS vs R1250GS Review
And so a complete redesign of the engine gave them nearly four kilograms and that goes up to almost seven when you include the gearbox and the entire powertrain.
Then you’ve got this new sheet steel frame, which is a big departure from the steel trellis of the previous Gen 1250 and also a cast aluminum subframe, which again, very different to the trellis on this bike.
So look, as soon as I set off on my first ride on this bike, when I got it back to my studio, I noticed it straight away.
Especially just picking it up off the stand and moving off at low speeds and doing those low speed turns, but then also out on the apron road, it feels more agile, more nimble, and that’s gonna continue to be a benefit.
Of course, if you’re off-roading, the lighter the bike the better.
And even if you’re touring and you’ve got it loaded up, the lighter the bike, the more manageable it’s gonna feel even when it’s fully loaded with luggage and a passenger potentially.New BMW R1300GS vs R1250GS Review
Thing is though, as well as being, you know, physically lighter, the dimensions are much more compact as well.
It looks like a bit of a smaller bike and you can also feel that when you’re riding it specifically through the sort of seat here, it feels narrower and the way it progresses into this tank and this area feels narrower and lower.
And so not just when you’re riding it, but also when you’re pushing it around and things like that, parking it in the garage, you just feel like you can get a bit closer to it and it’s not coming up as high and it doesn’t feel as top heavy.
Now, yes, they have sacrificed a liter of fuel capacity in order to get there, but to me, 19 liters isn’t too bad versus the 20 of the 1250.
And also this engine is super efficient, much better than some of the other competition on the market and so you’re still getting a decent mileage out of this tank, I will say as well, despite the fact that it does feel a little bit smaller, you don’t necessarily feel like you’ve sacrificed much in terms of comfort because you’ve still got the very spacious ergonomics.
The bars are high and wide, there’s plenty of space back to the saddle and down to the pegs, and you still got that nice ride quality as well.
The real cushiness that you get with a GS, which you might expect to sacrifice a little bit of if they make it lighter. New BMW R1300GS vs R1250GS Review
Honestly, this bike now feels like somewhere in between the old GS and Something like a middleweight adventure bike.
It really does feel a lot slimmer and given that you’ve got pretty much the same comfort levels, lots of wind protection as well, I think it’s fair to say that’s a good thing.
Now, sort of speaking of ease of use and practicality and sort of day-to-day comfort, one of the things that I think this bike really, really benefits from is the adaptive ride height feature.
I think you’d have to spec up the dynamic package to get the dynamic suspension, which is electronically adjustable, and then on top of that it’s 490 quid to get the adaptive ride height. New BMW R1300GS vs R1250GS Review
But certainly if you’re somebody who is a little bit intimidated by the height and size of these bigger adventure bikes, or if you’re gonna really load it up and you’re not particularly long in the leg, then this is one that’s really, really worth thinking about.
And for me, I think it just makes it feel that much more reassuring to get both of your legs down.
So the seat heigh is 850 MM as standard and there’s no adjustability there like you get with some other adventure bikes.
So there’s no low and high setting for the standard saddle, but with the adaptive ride height, it sort of softens up the suspension as you come to a standstill and that takes 30 MM off the seat height and brings it right down to eight 20, which is much more on a par with like a regular street bike.
Now there is also a low comfort seat in the accessories catalog, so you could potentially take even more off, and while there are low seats and suspension loading kits available for the 1250, New BMW R1300GS vs R1250GS Review
I think the clear benefit here is that when you are on the move, the bike sits back up and that means you get the full suspension travel and ground clearance and also that tallest stance that gives you that commanding riding position and great visibility over the traffic.
So yeah, lots to like from an approachability point of view, but also I think this bike is quite significantly more snappy and lively.
And a big part of that is the new engine. So it’s a 1300 versus the 1250 of the previous gen, and that means you get nine extra horses peak, so it makes 145 and that’s pretty much at the same point in the rev range, so you’re not really having to work it any harder to get that extra snap.
On top of that, you’ve also got a little bit more peak torque in the middle of the rev range there. So six more new to meters.
And I think as opposed to, you know, top-end peak power, that’s what’s always made the Boxer Twin and the GS feel really usable and faster and fun to ride is that big dollop of torque in the middle there.New BMW R1300GS vs R1250GS Review
And so this one feels, you know, much the same, but just with that bit extra you’ve got pretty much the same feel and sound.
And so anyone who likes that bike is probably gonna like the way that this one feels as well.
But I’ve just noticed that extra quickness when you’re accelerating to get on the motorway for example, and that’s also aided of course by that 12-kilogram drop in weight.
Now look, one reason to almost unquestionably upgrade to the R 1300 GS is if you’re the sort of person who really likes the latest gadgets and gizmos and rider aids and tech. New BMW R1300GS vs R1250GS Review
And look, that’s not to say the 1250 GS is particularly archaic. There are plenty of features on there.
I really do like the dash and the way it’s laid out. I’ve always thought the dynamic ESA gives you a really nice ride quality, it’s semi-active, electronically adjustable suspension, and there are neat touches and
Features that that are carried over to this bike, like the SOS button mounted on the bars should you have some kind of incident.
But really this new 1300 not only makes that bike look relatively simple, but also versus any of the bike on the market, I think this is right at the forefront in terms of the latest technology. New BMW R1300GS vs R1250GS Review
The big change has to be the availability of the radar’s front and rear. And so with the front radar that opens up active cruise control where it’ll follow the traffic in front at a set distance, but also front collision warnings where it’ll flash the mirrors if it thinks you’re gonna hit something and also intervene with the brakes if it thinks you’re not going to stop in time.
And then the radar at the rear gives you lane change assist, which is their name for blind spot warnings.
And again, that’s gonna flash up in the mirrors with an LED if there’s somebody sitting off to one side slightly behind you, you’ve also got big updates to that dynamic suspension system where not only can it vary the DAMing rate as you’ll find with that bike and any other bike, to be honest, with semi-active suspension, but also the spring rate.
So it’s got an extra couple of springs in the piggyback reservoir and that means it confirm up the spring rate along with the dampen pretty much in real time.
And that’s gonna give you a bigger variation of suspension settings that should be suited to more scenarios and also different levels of load, you know, so if you’ve got a passenger and luggage, it’s gonna massively benefit from being firmed up on the spring as well as the dampening. I also really like the jack feature with the adaptive ride height.
So when you press the center stand down, it lifts the bike up and it makes it much easier to get up onto the center stand.New BMW R1300GS vs R1250GS Review
And then also you’ve got some really thoughtful bits of design like this new rocker switch on the left-hand switch gear, which means you can assign some of your most commonly used menu features to it, like active cruise control distance or heated grips and heated seat that we got fitted to this bike or the, you know, suspension settings like the dampen or the ride height.
I was even impressed with the levels of tech when I saw the press release for their new vario luggage system, which connects to the bike through these little ports on the luggage racks.
And that means that not only does it get central locking from the keyless ignition, but also you can charge devices through the USB ports in each case and they get a little light inside as well, which makes it easier to see your stuff and rummage through when you’re parked up in the dark.
So yeah, not only are there lots of impressive and fancy new features, but I also think they’ve made use of it in a smart way that makes the bike feel fun and easy to use.
So as you might have gathered, I’m pretty impressed with the new 1300, but where does that leave the 1250 and the bikes that are still left in dealers and also the bikes that are on the used market, are they still worth looking at?
Well, I think one of the things that people are struggling to get on with a little bit on the new bike is the massive transformation in terms of the looks.
You can see putting them side by side, how much more sleek and curvy, the new bite lux, whereas this is a bit more rugged and utilitarian looking, especially with things like the trellis frame and the blockier shapes around the tank.
And then also you’ve got the front end, which I think is just taken a little time to adjust to. New BMW R1300GS vs R1250GS Review
For a lot of people this sort of asymmetrical headlight design has long been a staple of BMW’s design and if you ever saw a bike coming towards you on the road at a distance and it had a bit of a wonky look to the front end, you probably think there’s a good chance of it being a gs.
It’s just how it looks now I would say this new LED headlight with the sort of X-shaped daytime running lights around it is equally as recognizable, but at the moment until you see more of them on the road and it’s a few generations down the line, it’s just not quite as immediately recognizable as a GS.
Now personally, when I first saw the pictures and the press release of this new bike, I was a little bit indifferent.New BMW R1300GS vs R1250GS Review
I thought it looks okay, not massively better or worse than the previous GEN, but I think the more I’ve spent time with it in the flesh and had a chance to ride it and just being around the bike, it’s really started to grow on me and especially in this tramontana addition with the gold wheels and the green paint job, it’s just a nice looking bike and I think realistically pretty much as desirable as the other bikes in this sort of large adventure segment.
But yeah, I fully acknowledge that not everyone feels the same about it. Certainly some of the customers that I’ve spoken to here today walking past have said they really like the way that the previous Gen 1250 look.
Now, the other thing that you might want to consider is the sort of size and cushiness of this bike.
And like I say, with that bike being a little bit smaller for me it’s I think preferable at five foot nine or 175 centimeters, but if you’re a bit bigger than that or you prefer this slightly larger form factor, then maybe this one is still gonna be preferable.
And I do think they’ve just firmed it up a little as well. Stuff like the saddle physically feels a bit squishy on these bikes. I think they feel a little softer.
And so I think really a demo ride on the two is the only way to figure out which one you’ll like the most.New BMW R1300GS vs R1250GS Review
Then number three for the 1250 is the fact that it’s still available as the GS venture with the much larger fuel tank.
That’s much better for covering significant distances. It’s up at 30 liters. And so with this very efficient shift cam engine, you can get astronomical range figures, which are pretty much unparalleled, certainly for a large capacity bike.
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