The BMW R 1300 GS is the latest evolution of the iconic adventure bike, which started in 1980 with the R 80 G/S. For 2024, the German manufacturer has given the GS a complete makeover with a bigger and more powerful engine, a lighter and stiffer chassis, a sleeker and more aerodynamic design, and a host of new technologies that make it smarter, safer, and more versatile than ever. I will look closer at what makes the new BMW R 1300 GS the best GS yet and why it deserves to be on your shortlist if you want a bike that can do it all.
More Power, More Torque, More Fun
The heart of the new BMW R 1300 GS is a revised version of the boxer twin engine that has been powering the GS for decades. The displacement has been increased from 1,254 cc to 1,300 cc thanks to a larger bore (106.5 mm, up from 102.5 mm) and a shorter stroke (73 mm, down from 76 mm). This results in a significant boost in performance, with a claimed output of 145 hp at 9,750 rpm and 110 lb-ft of torque at 6,250 rpm. That’s an increase of 9 hp and 5 lb-ft over the previous model.
But it’s not just about the peak numbers. The new engine also delivers more torque throughout the rev range, with at least 96 lb-ft available between 3,600 and 7,800 rpm. This means you can enjoy effortless acceleration and smooth cruising in any gear and at any speed. The engine also features the ShiftCam system that debuted on the R 1250 GS, which varies the valve timing and lift on the intake side to optimize power delivery and efficiency. The camshaft drive arrangement has been revised to reduce friction and noise, and the engine is now positioned lower in the frame to improve mass centralization and reduce vibration.
The new engine is paired with a redesigned six-speed gearbox that is now located under the engine, reducing the overall length of the powertrain. The gearbox features a sensor signal transmitter and a torsion magnet for the optional Shift Assistant Pro quick-shifter, which allows clutchless upshifts and downshifts with a more direct feel. The final drive is via a shaft with larger universal joints and a longer axle stub for easier wheel removal.
The 2024 BMW R 1300 GS also comes with a new stainless steel exhaust system that is lighter and more compact than before. The exhaust features two catalytic converters and two oxygen sensors to meet Euro 5 emission standards. The sound of the boxer twin has been enhanced by piping intake noises through the speakers, creating a distinctive and throaty roar.
Lighter, Stiffer, Nimbler
The new BMW R 1300 GS also benefits from a new chassis that improves handling, stability, and comfort. The main frame is now made of steel sheet metal instead of tubular steel, which allows for more compact packaging and increased rigidity. The subframe is now made of die-cast aluminum instead of tubular steel, which reduces weight and enhances stability. The new chassis also features an integrated self-supporting fuel tank that holds 5.3 gallons (20 liters) of gas.
The suspension consists of the front Evo Telelever and rear Evo Paralever systems that have been proven on previous GS models. The Telelever system reduces dive under braking and provides precise steering feedback, while the Paralever system minimizes squat under acceleration and ensures consistent traction. Both systems are fully adjustable for preload and damping and can be equipped with the optional Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) that automatically adapts to the riding conditions and preferences.
The brakes are also upgraded on the new R 1300 GS, with dual 320 mm discs with four-piston radial calipers at the front and a single 276 mm disc with a two-piston floating caliper at the rear. The brakes are linked by an ABS system that can be switched off for off-road use. The optional ABS Pro adds cornering ABS functionality that modulates brake pressure according to lean angle.
Depending on the model variant, the wheels are either cast aluminum or cross-spoke wire wheels. The standard tire sizes are 120/70 R19 at the front and 170/60 R17 at the rear. The tires are either road-oriented or dual-purpose, depending on the model variant.
Sleeker, Sharper, Smarter
The new BMW R 1300 GS also sports a fresh look that is more aerodynamic and modern than before. The most noticeable change is the new LED matrix headlight that replaces the asymmetric dual headlights of previous models. The new headlight features four LED elements that can be individually controlled to create different lighting patterns depending on the riding situation. For example, the headlight can automatically adjust the beam to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic or illuminate the corners when leaning. The headlight also features a daytime running light and an optional adaptive cornering light.
The new BMW R 1300 GS also features a redesigned front fairing that is more streamlined and integrates better with the fuel tank. The fairing also incorporates a unique adjustable windscreen that can be electrically raised or lowered to suit the rider’s preference. The windscreen also features an air duct that reduces turbulence and noise.
The 2024 BMW R 1300 GS rear is also more compact and elegant than before, with a shorter tail section and a new LED taillight. The rear also features a new luggage rack that can accommodate panniers or a top case. The seat height can be adjusted between 33.5 inches (850 mm) and 35.4 inches (900 mm), and optional low and high seats are available. The rider’s ergonomics can be further customized by choosing different handlebars, footpegs, and levers.
The new R 1300 GS also boasts a host of new technologies that make it smarter, safer, and more versatile than ever. The bike comes with a 6.5-inch TFT color display that shows all the relevant information and can be controlled by a multi-controller on the left handlebar. The display can also be connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth and display navigation, music, phone calls, and messages. The bike also features a USB charging port and an optional wireless charging tray for compatible devices.
The 2024 BMW R 1300 GS also comes with four standard riding modes: Road, Rain, Eco, and Enduro. These modes adjust the engine power, throttle response, traction control, ABS, and suspension settings to suit different riding scenarios. The optional Riding Modes Pro adds three more modes: Dynamic, Dynamic Pro, and Enduro Pro. These modes offer more customization options and finer tuning of the bike’s performance.