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Rally legend

autos Updated: Jul 09, 2011 02:30 IST

Having been the company's best-selling model for over three decades, this Paris-Dakar Rally leading motorcycle is a prime example of a legendary bike hitting our shores.

A cursory glance at the Beemer and it's apparent that the massive dimensions of the bike take getting used to.

The BMW-typical asymmetric headlight brings to light the finer details of the bike, while the towering and adjustable windshield provides good wind and dust protection. Instruments include an analogue speedometer and tachometer, plus a digital readout that displays fuel level, oil temperature, gear position and the time.

A large 20-litre fuel tank provides excellent support for the rider's thighs, and comes with smart cladding on the side.

Both the rider and the pillion will take to the GS's commodious riding saddle. The only niggle is that shorter riders will find the riding position really high.

The end-can looks fabulous, while the exposed rear wheel is a visual treat. The Rs 1200 GS is powered by an air and oil-cooled 1,170cc, twin-cam boxer engine. In keeping with the character of a GS, the engine rocks to the right when revving hard in neutral. There's 110bhp at 7,750rpm and 12.23kgm at 6,000rpm.

Adding to the histrionics is a character-rich exhaust note. That it can cruise at 140kph all day only sweetens the deal. Top whack is close to 200kph but a wide spread of torque also makes this bike easily useable on crowded Indian streets. The gears shift nicely on the one-down, five-up gearbox, and the hydraulic clutch is a pleasure to use.

The commanding riding stance makes this an ideal tourer and the ride remains absolutely flat over even the worst potholes. Off-road mannerisms are even better: the tank-like 1200 aided by traction control is capable enough to traverse any terrain you throw at it.

The 1200's pièce de résistance is its 'Telelever' front suspension. The telescopic forks seen are actually the only dampers. At the rear, the 'Paralever' suspension is similar to a standard single-side swingarm with the driveshaft running through.

The 305mm front disc brakes and 265mm discs at the rear offer tremendous stopping ability and the ABS stays non-intrusive throughout, save for a slight pulsing feeling that can be felt at the rear brake lever during hard stops.

Autocar India

BMW R 120 GS | Verdict