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BMW R 1250 GS Rallye X

Boxer Tour

BMW R 1250 GS Rallye X quick spin

(May 2023)

BMW's premium adventure tourers pack a lot of tech into an impressive touring bundle

BMW R 1250 GS Rallye X

Though sharing a version of the distinctive motorsport colour scheme with its great granddad, the R80GS of 1980, and the approximate engine configuration, BMW’s latest-gen GS series is quite simply a rocket ship by comparison.

Even if you walk back just to the previous-gen R 1200 GS, the changes are significant.

For this series the engineers bumped the engine capacity and went for variable cam- timing (aka shift-cam in BMW-speak) which has had a significant effect on how the thing comes across to the rider.

BMW R 1250 GS Rallye X

To put it simply, the 1254cc version is an absolute bullet, claiming 100kW (134hp) at 7700rpm and 143Nm at 6250. They’re fairly high-stepping numbers for a boxer twin and give the thing, despite its near 250 kilo wet weight, some serious straight-line urge.

Top speed is conservative at a little over 200km/h, but the real entertainment is in the low and mid-range performance, which is truly sparkling. In a way, that’s in keeping with a series that started off in a relatively modest way some 53 years ago and has now become the top-seller in the company line-up.

bmw r80gs paris-dakar

BMW arguably invented the whole adventure tourer class with this series, back in 1980 with the 37kW (50hp) 798cc R80. The idea was essentially a large-capacity motorcycle that worked well on-road and to some extent off-road.

The sheer size and performance of these things mean that only the brave and or the highly skilled would take one out on a gnarly track. There are much better (and smaller) options out there for that sort of work.

However the pay-off is these are supreme touring bikes on tar and on made dirt roads. Performance is more than adequate and handling is pretty good, while the relatively long- travel suspension does a decent job of soaking up less-than-perfect surfaces.

BMW R 1250 GS Rallye X

In fact the performance is now at a level where the condition of the tyres and chassis are critical. As we discovered, a half-worn rear hoop (a Metzeler Karoo 3) can have a detrimental effect on the steering to the point where if you had any brains you toss it and get a new one.

BMW R 1250 GS Rallye X

Of course electronics abound, with a comprehensive suite of rider safety nets, including ABS and traction control. The depth of electronic adjustment is impressive, to the point where the left switch block carries a rotary ‘mouse’ to help navigate what’s on offer.

BMW R 1250 GS Rallye X

In the suite is Dynamic ESA suspension – that is, suspension which alters its damping rates according to the conditions. Plus of course the rider can determine overall set-up via the dash. It may be complex, but the performance is impressive.

BMW offers numerous variants of the 1250 GS, including the Rallye X in the touring trim you see here.

Pricing is around $35,000 on the road, fitted out for, but not including, BMW satnav and hard luggage. The latter cost around $1200 and $2000 respectively.

BMW no longer owns the adventure tourer market as it once did, and that in turn means the company works pretty hard to ensure you get a compelling package, despite the cost.

BMW R 1250 GS Rallye X

BMW R 1250 GS Rallye X

Great touring potential

Not so good
Luggage & satnav are extra

BMW R 1250 GS Rallye X

BMW R 1250 GS Rallye X  2023


TYPE: Air/liquid-cooled, four-valves-per-cylinder, boxer twin with ShiftCam
CAPACITY: 1254cc

BORE & STROKE: 102.5 x 76mm




TYPE: Six-speed, constant-mesh, 

FINAL DRIVE: Paralever shaft


FRAME TYPE: Two-section construction with engine as a stressed member
FRONT SUSPENSION: 37mm Telelever, electronic adjustment
REAR SUSPENSION: Monoshock, electronic adjustment 

FRONT BRAKE: 305mm disc with four-piston calipers

REAR BRAKE: 276mm disc with two-piston caliper


WET WEIGHT: 249kg wet
SEAT HEIGHT: 850-870mm


FRONT: 120/70-R19
REAR: 170/60-ZR17


POWER: 100kW (136hp) @ 7750rpm

TORQUE: 143Nm @ 6250rpm

PRICE @$35,000 on road as ridden

BMW R 1250 GS Rallye X

BMW R 1250 GS Rallye X

BMW R 1250 GS Rallye X

BMW R 1250 GS Rallye X

BMW R 1250 GS Rallye X

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