The iconic GS is an adventure motorbike to bring out the Ewan McGregor in riders – motoring editor Jeremy Taylor tries to lure sustainable fashion expert Jessica Saunders onto the pillion seat of the BMW R 1250 GS 2023 Edition.
The Green Lane: BMW R 1250 GS 2023 Edition
JS – I know we have seen this bike on our driveway before. What’s the story – have you actually bought a BMW?
JT – I didn’t think you paid any attention to my test motorbikes! Yes, this is the latest, 2023 model. Slightly updated from the machine we tested last year and likely to be replaced in 2024 with an even larger engine.
And is the GS still as popular as ever? It’s a big bike but I imagine that makes it great for touring?
Yes, especially with a full set of panniers. The riding position is excellent for munching miles and, with the adjustable windscreen, most of the weather is deflected around the rider. This particular bike is also the Triple Black model, with a special £830 paint job on top of the standard £14,990 price.
So, this is the ultimate, do-it-all motorbike. Doesn’t that make it a bit, well, common?
You might think so but only because it has few rivals that do everything quite so well. Honda, Ducati, Triumph and KTM are among the contenders. Most riders rather begrudgingly admit that the BMW is the benchmark in adventure bikes.
No wonder this bike dominates the sales charts.
And our particular bike also played a star turn in this year’s London Marathon. Organisers borrow a fleet of GS bikes to use for film crews. One of them almost collided with the eventual winner, as she suddenly swerved across the road at a drink station.
Crikey! The BMW really is king of the road – amazing another manufacturer hasn’t come up with a better bike. What do you like about it?
Well, despite being a big bike, the GS instils confidence and is very simple to ride. A best seller since 2004, the BMW has a high definition TFT screen that offers all manner of information. The suspension and drive mode can be adjusted automatically – even the headlight turns as you enter a corner.
Any major changes for 2023?
Well, there’s one BMW don’t shout about but it will make GS owners happy. Instead of forking out £800+ for an additional satellite navigation unit that integrates with the bike, this model has a wireless charging mount. It grips a mobile phone and allows it to be used as sat nav screen.
I note some car manufacturers are using a similar system, as we have all become so used to relying on our mobile for directions these days. Why waste money on another screen when a phone does it just as well.
Indeed, it’s simple but effective – and much cheaper. Plus, the wireless charging is much more reliable than cables on a motorbike.
Well, go on then – you haven’t asked yet?
Would you like to come for a quick spin on the pillion seat? The GS has ABS brakes too.
Nice try but the answer is still ‘no’!
Discover the BMW R 1250 GS at bmwmotorcycles.com
Jessica Saunders is Director of Programmes at London College of Fashion, studying for a PhD in sustainable e-textile design.