Many other manufacturers have tried to peel back the BMW GS’s headlock on this category, and there are especially muscular contenders from Austria in the form of the KTM 1190 Adventure R (with a dirt bias) and the KTM 1290 Super Adventure (with a road bias). But no other manufacturer has quite managed the GS’s combination of off-road ability, commuting and sport riding manageability, and genuine cross-country comfort.
Balance. It’s all about balance. And the GS has this utterly nailed, as you might expect from a company working tireless on its core product for 35 years. You’d expect the tall Adventure model, with its 35-inch seat height, would be a handful for even average-size riders. And you’d expect that a machine weighing almost 600 pounds would be dismal off road. But it’s actually quite good.
Plus! Ride 500 miles to arrive refreshed at your favorite twisty road, thumb the BMW’s Dynamic ESA suspension to the stiffer settings, and enjoy peg-dragging fun. The GS’s water-cooled boxer produces excellent low-rpm torque for negotiating tough terrain but also revs smartly to enough peak power that you never feel cheated. From the saddle, the GS seems like it can do anything you ask of it and do it well.