The GS is the Range Rover of motorcycles – and that’s a compliment for the Rangie. The GS is so good, it’s hard to believe it’s man-made. The ever-popular boxer twin displaces 1170cc and develops 110 bhp@7750 rpm and 12.23 kgm@6000 rpm. Despite being 14 kg heavier than the Multistrada, it remains on the Ducati’s shapely tail, hitting 0-100 kph in 3.4 seconds, steamrolling its way to a top speed of 220 kph. However, just like the Ducati, numbers don’t do this one justice.
The moment you start rolling on the GS, you are immediately at peace. That motor is so smooth, especially after getting off the Ducati, it’s unbelievable. On the GS, you sit more ‘on’ the bike than the Ducati, but I found the GS more roomy than the Ducati and a bit more comfortable, but I’m just splitting hairs here. As you can tell, the Beemer makes its power pretty low down in the rev range and all that torque makes the GS a quick mothership off the blocks. Even popping wheelies is easier on the GS than on the Multistrada, at least on wet roads – the Ducati’s traction control cuts in rather violently as soon it senses even the slightest bit of wheel slip as I dump the clutch on a wet road. No such thing with the GS.
The GS too comes with its share of electronic wizardry, namely Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) and Automatic Stability Control (ASC). Now I’d be lying if I said I reached the limits of the stability systems on both motorcycles – I don’t have the guts to push these hulks on wet roads, especially since I don’t own them. But ABS worked fine on both, and the ESA worked brilliantly on the GS. The Hard, Soft and Normal options allow for a wide range of suspension settings for the Telelever front and Paralever rear. What I found most baffling was that even in Hard, I didn’t feel a thing on the worst of bumps, while Soft can be likened to riding a cloud with an angel for company. Serene.
And all that compliance doesn’t come at the cost of high-speed stability, though the Multistrada is miles ahead of the GS in this respect. But land speed records aren’t what the GS is made for. Even if I had no prior idea about this motorcycle, I’d know that it will go around the world without missing a beat, and that’s one hell of an achievement by BMW.
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