New BMW 1250 GS: What to expect

It’s a secret no more – BMW Motorrad will release the 2019 versions of its flagship 1250 GS and 1250 GS Adventure in October this year. For the first time since 2013, we’re expecting to see major upgrades. The first clue, of course, is in the name. The new GS and GSA will have a bigger engine, displacing 1250cc. Or 1254cc, to be exact. Here’s what else we know, and think we know. By Tyson Jopson.

The 1250 engine

With a displacement of 1254cc, the engine in the 2019 GS and GSA will be 84cc larger than the previous versions, at 1170cc. The big question is why? The current GS still boasts impressive figures in the power department, even against newer models from KTM, Ducati and Triumph. The main reason, perhaps a little disappointingly to some, is to reduce noise and emissions, and increase fuel economy. With ever-tightening restrictions looming in Europe, the big twin-boxer’s current noise and emissions levels may soon leave it out in the cold. The bigger-displacement engine (expect a larger bore and bigger valves) will reduce that. This is also due, in no small part, to the ace in the Bayerische sleeve:

A BMW GS leaves a trail of dust behind it.
Soon the new 1250 GS will emerge… at the Intermot show in Cologne in October 2018.

Variable valve timing for the 1250 GS

Yes, you read that right. The new GS and GSA (as well as the R1250RT, R1250RS and R1250R) will feature BMW Motorrad’s first engine with variable valve timing*. BMW is building an engine that will burn cleaner, run quieter and be more fuel-efficient. Speculation is that this ‘taming down’ will happen mostly in the mid range.

We should see a flatter torque curve between 3500rpm and 4500rpm, the rev range in which you’ll be sitting at most on longer tours. Top speed is unlikely to be affected. Leaked documents show the figures for the 2019 GS and GSA to be the same as the 2018 models’: 219km/h for the GS and 212km/h for the GSA. What we can also learn from these unaltered top-speed figures is that the gearing will remain the same. And that can really only mean one thing…

More top-end power and low-down torque

Numerous sources indicate the 2019 R1250GS and GSA will make 134hp (100kW), 11hp more than the previous model, which made 123hp (92kW). If the top-speed figures above are correct, the consensus is that most of the extra power will be felt at the bottom end. We expect the 2019 R1250GS to have even more torque than its predecessor. How much, and how exactly it’s delivered, is still a mystery floating somewhere in the Bavarian Alps.

A 1200 GS splashing up water somewhere in the Drakensberg region.
More low-down torque will make the big GS even more fun to ride.

Size and weight of the 1250

The 2019 R1250GS and GSA will reportedly be identical in width to their 2018 counterparts, with the R1200GS coming in at 895mm and the GSA at 980mm. The wheelbase on the GS, however, will be fractionally shorter, coming in at 1500mm (7mm shorter than the 2018 GS). The wheelbase on the GSA will remain unchanged at 1520mm. The weight will change, and, to many a rider’s dismay, it will be heavier. But not by much. Figures put both the GS and GSA each at 5kg over their predecessors. That’s a 249kg kerb weight for the R1250GS (was 244kg) and 268kg for the GSA (was 263kg). That’s not all that bad for an extra 84cc and a (presumably) heavier exhaust system. It also suggests that the bike has been trimmed down in other areas to compensate. And it’s here where speculation is rife…

A BMW 1200 GS wades through a river.
There’s consensus that the 1250 GS will not have a snorkel as standard equipment.

Styling of the bike

With no official images out of BMW Motorrad yet, it’s anyone’s guess what the 2019 versions look like. And guess they have. Many experts believe BMW will take a conservative approach – same trademark beak, headlights, tank contours and minimal change to bodywork. Given the largely unchanged dimensions above, this will likely be the case – although we could well be surprised. The marque’s manifest agenda of going after a younger market could bleed into the big-GS design too. We might see sportier headlights, a slimmer seat and perhaps a shorter beak with more contours leading down to the tank.

Less speculative changes to look out for in the 2019 GS and GSA, given all of the above, will be redesigned and reshaped cam covers to house the new variable valve timing system. Also expect an upgraded exhaust system, to help bring the noise down from 92dB to 88dB. You can also expect to see a revised dash, featuring the latest LED and TFT technology out of Munich as well as an upgraded navigation system with revised maps and BMW’s latest ‘winding road’ feature, which reportedly gets you from A to B via the windiest route possible (pretty cool, nè?).

A BMW 1200 GS with the Drakensberg in the background.
We don’t have pics of the new bike, so here’s an older GS for you to marvel at.

Other models

In its confirmed road-going counterparts (R1250RT, R1250RS and R1250R, all to be released soon too) this bigger-displacement engine will produce even more horsepower, with some expecting it to be as much as 140hp (104kW). Whether the 1250 engine gets slotted into the RnineT range remains to be seen.

A motorbike riding on snow and ice.
Adventurer and photographer Michael Martin on his GS, somewhere cold. Yes, it’s just a random GS pic.


As yet there is no indication of pricing. But with little under two months until the 2019 GS and GSA are revealed at the Intermot show in Germany, we won’t have to wait too long to get the full picture. And we can’t wait.

*The disadvantage of fixed valve timing is that there’s a choice between torque and top end power – you cannot have both. With variable valve timing you can combine the two and have more torque at lower revolutions and also have plenty of power (and speed) at high revs.