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2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure

Welcome to 40 years of "GS" with the most sophisticated R 1250 GSA to date

LISTEN 12:25

The 2021 model year marks an important milestone for BMW’s “GS” platform as the 40th year of adventure-enduro magic to come out of Germany. There’s a special limited-edition model this year of the R 1250 GS Adventure to celebrate the GS line’s success through a special trim package and color selection, but even the base platform was improved, largely due to feedback from riders of the previous generations. New features join equipment that was previously considered optional along with an expanded range of ex werke features and gear.

  • 2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Flat-twin
  • Displacement:
    1254 cc
  • Top Speed:
    120 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    20345

2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure Design

  • Full LED lighting with DRL and optional adaptive headlights
  • Adjustable ergonomics
  • 6.5-inch full color TFT display with Bluetooth® connectivity
  • Optional five-level heated seats
2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
- image 988879
2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
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The intended purpose and use of the R 1250 GS Adventure is right in the name — “GS,” or gelände-straße (land-street) — and Beemer doesn’t use that term frivolously. Not even close.

Those clever Bavarians manage to hit all the pertinent high points for a proper adventure-bike experience while adding significant notes to the finished product.

The R 1250 GS Adventure leads the way with a split bird’s beak fairing that sets it well apart from the rest of the pack with a fully-vented, rally-style windscreen up top for pilot comfort. Stock handguards expand the comfort zone, but if you’re into cold-weather riding you’ll be glad to see heated grips and seats on the optional equipment list. It ain’t just about pilot comfort though. The pillion pad has a separate climate zone from the front seat with two heat settings from which to choose. If you opt for the heated seats, five-level heat adjust-ability is in a menu in the TFT display.

The new lighting is extra special for this year-model. Naturally the factory went with high-visibility LED technology for its inherent safety, but that’s just the start. A stylized “X” light serves as a DRL for improved daytime visibility while the headlight itself can move along both the vertical and horizontal axis to illuminate the road ahead in the curves and enable the “hello” and “goodbye” signal when activating or shutting down the bike. An LED highlight around the perimeter of the turn signals acts as a marker or running light while the middle of the field actually handles the blinker duties. Same with the rear turn signals, though they add a brakelight function to the mix to maximize your visibility from the rear and make it easier for surrounding traffic to read your intentions and anticipate your moves.

The instrumentation is contained in a single full-color TFT display that comes with wireless connectivity to network with your smartphone and sports a USB port so you can power/charge your mobile device on the fly. If you want navigation support, the bike comes ready to accept the device, but you’ll have to dip into the optional equipment to get it. Also in the options is a set of tall handlebar risers meant to shape the upper line of the rider’s triangle to accommodate a standing riding position for technical, off-road work.

The fuel tank is the mechanical embodiment of a camel’s hump with a voluminous 7.9-gallon capacity that’s sure to cover long distances between fill-ups, both on-road and off. An adjustable pilot’s seat rides in a very deep swale to pull the rider down into the machine for an uncommon level of man-machine integration. Seat height is set at 35-inches high or jacked up 0.8-inch (20 mm) if you prefer, with the removal and replacement of just four bolts. Across the board of color and trim packages, you can count on a passenger grabrail and p-pad of some sort, though the Rallye and Anniversary models come with dead-flat pillion sections while the others rock stadium seating for your riding partner with extra cushion for long-distance comfort.

2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure Chassis

  • Hill-Start Control
  • Optional Electronic Dynamic ESA “Next Generation” chassis
  • Optional handlebar risers
  • New integral ABS Pro
2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
- image 988887
2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
- image 988877
2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
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The frame on the R 1250 GS Adventure is broken up big-time by the load-bearing engine that provides much of the actual structure. A bolt-up front frame section carries the headpipe and establishes a 24.9-degree angle of rake from the vertical with a dead-short, 3.8-inches of trail over a 59.2-inch wheelbase for a very willing personality in the curves indeed.

The front end is kind of unusual if you aren’t familiar with Beemer’s way of doing things. The telescopic forks carry neither springs nor damping equipment. All of that falls to the central, coil-over spring strut that’s tucked up behind the stems. Out back, a cast-aluminum, single-side swingarm articulates for the rear wheel with its WAD strut that delivers travel-dependent damping with handwheel-adjustable spring preload- and rebound-damping levels. At 8.3 inches up front and 8.7 inches out back, the suspension travel is ample for genuine rough-terrain adventures.

Ever the favorite of off-road riders, the wire-spoke wheels round out the rolling chassis with a terrain-busting 120/70-19 hoop ahead of a 170/60-17 in a tread pattern that will be good on road and loose surfaces alike. Dual, 305 mm discs and four-pot calipers haul down the front end with a double-bore anchor and 276 mm disc out back. BMW’s Motorrad ABS Pro comes with the stock equipment package to deliver corner-optimized interventions, plus it rocks a Hill Start Control feature that holds the brake for you so you can put both feet on the ground for safer take-offs on an incline to wrap up the electronic chassis aids.

Frame: Two-section frame, front- and bolted on rear frame, load-bearing engine
Front suspension/ Travel: BMW Motorrad Telelever; stanchion diameter 1.5" (37 mm), central spring strut/ 8.3" (210 mm)
Rear suspension/ Travel: Cast aluminum single-sided swing arm with BMW Motorrad Paralever; WAD strut (travel-related damping), spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable (continuously variable) at handwheel, rebound damping adjustable at handwheel/ 8.7" (220 mm)
Steering head angle: 65.1°
Caster: 3.8" (95.4 mm)
Wheels: Cross spoke wheels
Rim, front: 3.00 x 19"
Rim, rear: 4.50 x 17"
Tire, front: 120/70 R 19
Tire, rear: 170/60 R 17
Brake, front: Dual 305 mm floating discs, 4-piston radial calipers
Brake, rear: 276 mm disc, double-piston floating caliper
ABS: BMW Motorrad Integral ABS Pro (part-integral, slant-layer-optimized)

2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure Drivetrain

  • Proven 1,254 cc boxer engine
  • 136 hp and 105 lb-ft of torque
  • Ample power and torque throughout the rev range
  • Knock sensor system reduces octane requirements
2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
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2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
- image 988870
2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
- image 988880
BMW's proven boxer engine churns out 136 horsepower at 7,750 rpm with 105 pound-feet of grunt that maxes out at 6,250 rpm.

As an “R” model, the new 1250 GSA carries Beemer’s signature Boxer-Twin engine that rides with its horizontally-opposed cylinders sticking out into the slipstream on both sides of the bike. Normally this would leave them a bit vulnerable to damage during a drop or terrain strike, but the GSA rolls with tubular engine guards that protect the jugs as well as the radiator mounted right up under the steering head.

In the heads, dual over-head cams time the poppets with a balance shaft that phases out some of the engine vibration, but the real magic is in the cam drive itself. Beemer’s ShiftCam technology allows the intake cam drive gear to rotate independently of the actual camshaft to deepen the powerband for more tractable power earlier in the rev range without sacrificing top-end performance.

Massively oversquare, the mill runs a 102.5 mm bore with a 76 mm stroke for a total displacement of 1,254 cc. The compression ratio is near the top of the range at 12.5-to-1, and normally that would be a concern if your ride takes you to places where premium fuel is scarce. A knock-sensor system allows the use of lower octane fuel, so you aren’t stuck carrying octane booster with you if top-hook road champagne isn’t available.

The electronic goodies continue with a trio of Ride Modes now come with an ECO (economy) mode that trades a little acceleration for a slower fuel burn rate so you can wring the absolute maximum mileage from each drop of dinosaur juice, riding style notwithstanding. If those three aren’t enough, you can spring for the optional Ride Modes Pro to boost your power-delivery options.

A wet, slipper-type clutch provides an extra layer of safety by preventing excessive backtorque from ever developing in the first place, thus preventing the dreaded rear-wheel hop on hard downshifts. Power flows through a six-speed gearbox that boasts helical-cut gears for their strength and quiet operation with a shaft-type final drive to put the power to the pavement.

What kind of power? Well, the numbers are impressive. The Boxer-Twin churns out 136 horsepower at 7,750 rpm with 105 pound-feet of grunt that maxes out at 6,250 rpm for a top speed of “over 120 mph” according to the factory.

Engine: Air/liquid-cooled four stroke flat twin engine, double overhead camshaft, one balance shaft and variable engine timing system BMW ShiftCam
Displacement: 1,254 cc
Bore x Stroke: 102.5 mm x 76 mm
Rated output: 136 hp @ 7,750 rpm
Max. torque: 105 lb-ft @ 6,250 rpm
Compression ratio: 12.5 : 1
Mixture Control: Electronic intake pipe injection
Emission control: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-5
Clutch: Wet clutch with an anti-hopping function, hydraulic activation
Gearbox: Constant mesh 6-speed gearbox with helical gear teeth
Drive: Shaft drive

2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure Price

2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
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2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
- image 988871

The base-model 2021 R 1250 GS Adventure fetches a $20,345 starting sticker and comes in a selection of paint packages. First there’s the white with red and blue trim Rallye Style package that is sure to appeal to race fans. The Ice Grey package tones things down a bit with less-jarring colors save for the red saddle detail and nose badge. If you prefer your bikes to be a bit understated, even a bit stealthy, the Style Triple Black might be a good fit for you. At the top of the range is the 40 Years GS Edition that runs with black paint, yellow details, and gold-anodized rims for a bit of bling down low, but it will set you back a bit more with its $21,895 MSRP.

Standard equipment: TFT color display with connectivity, Full-LED headlight, DTC (Dynamic Traction Control), Integral ABS Pro (inclination-optimized ABS), 3 Ride Modes (ECO, Rain and Road), HSC (Hill Start Control), USB charging socket
Optional equipment: Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment with automatic load leveling and automatic damping mode), Seat heating (rider and passenger), Handlebar riser, Option 719 milled parts, Ride Modes Pro, Style-variants Rallye and Triple Black
Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Color: Rallye Style (Light White/Racing Blue Metallic/Racing Red), Ice Grey, Style Triple Black, 40 Years GS Edition (yellow/black)
Price: $20,345, Edition 40 Years GS: $21,895

2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure Competitors

2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
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2018 - 2019 Triumph Tiger 1200 XCx
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Beemer’s newest big-bore adventure bike brings a lot to the table, it’s true, but it enters a market that’s awash with top-tier competition, including some foes with bona fide rally success under their belts. With that in mind, I went straight to British giant Triumph for its dual-surface Tiger XCx model.

Triumph Tiger XCx

2018 - 2019 Triumph Tiger 1200 XCx
- image 802771
Like the Beemer model, the Tiger carries itself with a function-driven form that fits into the ADV-bike mold like a hand in a glove.

Frame-mount front fairings, a bird’s beak at the entry, and a tall windshield lead the way on the Tiger. The instrumentation is consolidated into a new, full-color, five-inch TFT display, along with the ride-quality features that add “Off-Road Pro” to the five power-delivery profiles.

Corner-optimized ABS and traction control are joined by a slipper clutch to gain a razor-thin edge in safety over the BMW. Fully adjustable WP suspension floats the Tiger, but since they have a 7.48-inch stroke up front ahead of 7.6 inches of travel at the rear axle, they fall a tad short in the terrain-tackling department compared to the GS Adventure.

Trumpet powers its entry with a 1,215 cc in-line triple that’s on record with 141 horsepower and 90 pound-feet of torque against the Beemer’s 136/105, and this is the kind of trade off I’d expect when going from a twin to a three-cylinder lump so I’m calling the drivetrain a wash.

Triumph gets another painfully slim victory, this time at the checkout, with its $19,950 sticker – a difference that’s unlikely to buy it any business or convince the indoctrinated to jump the fence.

Read our full review of the Triumph Tiger 1200 XCx.

He Said

This is a proper-serious machine, whether you’re into touring, globetrotting, or just commuting. If I had to find fault somewhere, it’s in the lack of stock baggage. Yeah, I know there’s always the accessories and aftermarket, but a set of hard side cases and a top case would just put this bike over the top for having full touring functionality right off the showroom floor. That aside, this is exactly the kind of bike I’d expect to see on one of those “Long Way Down/Round/whatever” shows, maybe with some stealth knobbies instead of the street-biased hoops it mounts.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The drivetrain is smooth running. That’s a nice feature when on a long trip. The electronics suite is top-shelf, and the optional ESA suspension is heavenly. Every aspect of the GSA says it is built for long-touring. Combine the ESA with the Sport Suspension or the Enduro Pack options and you have extreme tune-ability in the suspension, that once you go there, you’ll never want to go back.”

2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Air/liquid-cooled four stroke flat twin engine, double overhead camshaft, one balance shaft and variable engine timing system BMW ShiftCam
Displacement: 1,254 cc
Bore x Stroke: 102.5 mm x 76 mm
Rated output: 136 hp @ 7,750 rpm
Max. torque: 105 lb-ft @ 6,250 rpm
Compression ratio: 12.5 : 1
Mixture Control: Electronic intake pipe injection
Emission control: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-5
Clutch: Wet clutch with an anti-hopping function, hydraulic activation
Gearbox: Constant mesh 6-speed gearbox with helical gear teeth
Drive: Shaft drive
Chassis:
Frame: Two-section frame, front- and bolted on rear frame, load-bearing engine
Front suspension/ Travel: BMW Motorrad Telelever; stanchion diameter 1.5" (37 mm), central spring strut/ 8.3" (210 mm)
Rear suspension/ Travel: Cast aluminum single-sided swing arm with BMW Motorrad Paralever; WAD strut (travel-related damping), spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable (continuously variable) at handwheel, rebound damping adjustable at handwheel/ 8.7" (220 mm)
Steering head angle: 65.1°
Caster: 3.8" (95.4 mm)
Wheels: Cross spoke wheels
Rim, front: 3.00 x 19"
Rim, rear: 4.50 x 17"
Tire, front: 120/70 R 19
Tire, rear: 170/60 R 17
Brake, front: Dual 305 mm floating discs, 4-piston radial calipers
Brake, rear: 276 mm disc, double-piston floating caliper
ABS: BMW Motorrad Integral ABS Pro (part-integral, slant-layer-optimized)
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length (over mud guard): 89.4" (2,270 mm)
Height (over windshield): 57.5" (1,460 mm)
Wide (over hand guard): 38.6" (980 mm)
Wheelbase: 59.2" (1,504 mm)
Seat height: 35.0" / 35.8" (890 mm / 910 mm)
Inner leg curve: 76.8" / 78.3" (1,950 mm / 1,990 mm)
Fuel capacity: 7.9 gallons with approx. 1 gallon reserve
Curb weight: 591 lbs 1)
Permitted total weight: 1,069 lbs
Payload (with standard equipment): 478 lbs
Maximum speed: over 120 mph
Fuel type: Unleaded super, octane number 95 (RON), adaptive fuel quality regulation (91 to 98 RON)
Electrical System:
Alternator: Three-phase alternator with 510 Watt nominal power
Battery: 12 V / 11.8 Ah, maintenance-free
Details:
Standard equipment: TFT color display with connectivity, Full-LED headlight, DTC (Dynamic Traction Control), Integral ABS Pro (inclination-optimized ABS), 3 Ride Modes (ECO, Rain and Road), HSC (Hill Start Control), USB charging socket
Optional equipment: Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment with automatic load leveling and automatic damping mode), Seat heating (rider and passenger), Handlebar riser, Option 719 milled parts, Ride Modes Pro, Style-variants Rallye and Triple Black
Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Color: Rallye Style (Light White/Racing Blue Metallic/Racing Red), Ice Grey, Style Triple Black, 40 Years GS Edition (yellow/black)
Price: $20,345, Edition 40 Years GS: $21,895

Further Reading

BMW Motorrad

ALLYN IMAGES: DO NOT DELETE
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Read more BMW news.

TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
About the author

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: bmwmotorcycles.com, triumphmotorcycles.com

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