Latest posts by Warren (see all)

I have just completed a tour in Mexico on the BMW 1250GS, a tour in Colombia on the BMW 750GS and I own a BMW 310GS. Seems a good excuse to compare some notes.

BMW 310 GS

I’ve owned the smallest GS over a year but have not ridden it much. I got the 310GS primarily as a run around. Post covid there was a shortage of 2nd hand cars in the north (and 2 year wait on new cars). Old shit boxes with 300K on the clock were being sold for a fortune so I got the 310GS instead reasonably priced.

My current location is great for living but not good for motorcycling. The good roads begin about 1500km south from me so the 310 doesn’t see much action. I have done two tours on it and rode some of the dirt roads I had been curious about but found while I like the little bike on gravel the 310 engine is a little small for touring in Australia. The bike is good for about 140 kph and I often write how I prefer an engine I can use all it’s power over a very powerful engine that spinning up even in 1st gear is risking loss of licence but for touring on Aussie highways this bike is underpowered.

There is not enough get up and go in 110kph zones to pass the road trains or convoys of caravans we get up here before the overtaking lane ends (of course they all speed up once they reach the overtaking lanes grr…). But on tight curves like the Gillies highway where power is not important this little bike is loads of fun, so nimble. Also on the sugar cane farm roads I have explored locally with soft red soil or mud it’s easy thanks to only weighing 150kg.

I rode the same model bike down the treacherous Sani pass in South Africa. That road has claimed many a rider on ADV bikes and I would not have wanted to be on the heavier 750 or 1250 constantly sliding and crossed up on the loose shale going down there. If I lived closer to nice roads or had lots of gravel nearby to explore then this would actually be a fine machine and great value but for the very long rides I face living in the far north I want a bigger bike.

River crossing with the 750GS

BMW 750 GS

I have previously ridden the 700 GS and 650 GS and G650. The 750 GS is a significantly better bike than those older models.

The 750 GS engine seems greatly improved over the 700 GS I rode in Sicily. Smoother with better fueling and for me seemingly much better get up and go in the mid range where I want power for everyday real world riding. It has same large colour TFT as the 1250 GS that offers loads of information you can cycle through. It has various engine modes. I briefly tried but then just used road mode which gave a easy to live with throttle response. I didn’t fool with the suspension setting either. After riding so many rental bikes over the years I’m not sensitive to suspension or tyres.

I do like cruise control and the 750 came with that which delighted me. Coming from the 1250 to the 750 the drop in weight was noticeable and enjoyable. To get similar passing ability to the 1250 I needed to ride one gear lower all the time when we were on roads with trucks to pass (most of the tour) however the engine is remarkably smooth for a parallel twin (which I am not a fan of) and it really was not intrusive to ride the bike with it’s rpm sitting in it’s mid rpm range all the time to have good roll on for passing. Fuel economy was showing 4l per 100km despite the throttle being wide open frequently to pass vehicles and sitting at speeds up to 160kph on four lane expressways.

The brakes seemed to be an improvement on the 700 GS and offered good bite and plenty of stopping power which was used frequently to wash off speed rapidly and slot in between vehicles as an oncoming truck came into view on the endless passing we did. But some of that would be newer spec tyres and mostly very good hotmix surface. When it rained special care was needed as the double yellow centre line (which we constantly were crossing) had no grit in it whatsoever, full gloss and super slippery.

When hard braking I noticed how the front would dive which of course the 1250 never did. I prefer the telelever of the 1250 and despite being lighter the 750 imo did not handle as good as the 1250 even on quite tight corners I felt the 1250 was always better and especially on sweeping fast corners the 1250 was significantly better in my opinion.

I would have liked the seat to be higher but comfort wise about the same as the 1250, good for an hour and a half. Engine sound or character was nothing special. I much rather the boxer engine character and the 1250 gave the rider a nice exhaust pop at times whilst the 750 was largely very quiet and did the job but lacks character as all parallel twins do for me.

The only real fault I found with the 750 GS is the tiny screen fitted. It does very little and I thought at least a half screen on this bike would be fitted to give the rider some wind deflection. If BMW went as far to put the adjustable screen from the 1250 on this bike and you optioned the more free flowing muffler it really would be hard to find any fault in this mid size ADV bike.

1250’s in Mexico

BMW 1250 GS

I’ve already mentioned above a few things I liked about the 1250 but I shall recap. I really like the telelever front suspension and how the bike handled on both tight mountain roads or fast sweeping corners, especially how it remained so composed on bumps or dips or pot holes.

The 1250 engine is much better than the last boxer I rode which was the air cooled 1200. I never used to be a fan of the boxer but this new engine is pretty darn good, ample power without having to rev the engine but then well fueled rush of power when you do ‘ give it the beans’ – and all so smooth compared to the air cooled boxer. The engine also had a nice enough note to it and the occasional pop, I would even say it has an decent character that I came to like much to my surprise. I briefly tried the other engine modes but just left it in Road which was fine for me and did not fiddle with suspension.

Chassis is great and I presume benefits from being a long running model. The 1250 cornered notably better than the lighter 750. In the tight stuff one of the most composed cornering bikes I have ridden in a long time and I wonder if the lower COG from the boxer engine contributes to that or just a bike that has become polished over it’s long production run. My FJR1300 was in many ways a bike slowly tweaked to be a very good.

Brakes also very good, never needing much effort at the lever even for heavy braking. Something Yamaha never got right on the FJR1300 due to penny pinching. The 1250 despite having water cooling still conveys the feeling of being well balanced same as the air cooled boxer’s I have ridden. At low speed or car park moves it did not feel heavy to me although at one petrol station my foot slipped and the bikes real weight caught me out.

I liked the keyless ignition and I guess the large colour screen is good, heaps of info but to be honest digital screens all seem boring to me and I prefer analogue with dials that sweep. The new Goldwing has a beautiful blend of old and new and so does the Gen 3 Hayabusa IMO.

The adjustable screen is excellent providing good wind deflection and the frontal body work offers a surprisingly good amount of protection from wind also. Highway touring was very easy and I can see why so many people like this bike. If I was wanting to still explore gravel roads in Australia then this would be a great choice. I do still like the Moto Guzzi V85TT, especially with the 2024 updates and a lower price – but the BMW is very good.

Personally I am not so interested in riding more gravel in Australia. I did moto-x when younger and since 2013 have ridden many ADV style rides in Asia. I am going to pivot back to a big tourer in 2025. The R1250RT now surely has to be a candidate but having mastered the slow ride in Japan I am also looking at the luxury tourers because I like to just cruise and not really carve corners like I used to so don’t really need the cornering prowess of more sporting bikes.

But first things first. Gotta get an all clear on my cancer at my PET scan next month then I am renting the BMW K1600 in Portugal in May to weigh up (literally) that machine and see how a straight six compares to the Gold Wing’s boxer six. Before all that however I am revisiting one of my favourite riding destinations on earth. New Zealand. See you again at that ride report.


  1. Wallace Bradley

    I always look forward to seeing your articles pop into my Inbox, Warren, and this one is another good writeup. Your experiences mirror my hunches regarding these GS models.

    There is no substitute for a clean bill of health. Fingers well and truly crossed for the all clear on the PET scan next month and enjoy your ride in Portugal.

  2. I would consider the R1250RT a luxury tourer. It would be a good fit for touring around Australia, plenty of overtaking power. Nice comparison blog Warren. Looking forward to your NZ trip report, I’d love to do NZ again it’s a special place that’s for sure, but I’d only do the South Island again, North Island is quite boring and potholey like NSW roads compared to the billard smooth roads down south.

    • I’m riding the South this trip Steve.
      Yes the R1250RT has to be candidate for me, it could even be the new engine 1300 by next year.

  3. Like Wallace I always enjoy seeing a new post from you, Warren. Wishing you all the best for your scan – fingers crossed here too. South Island and Portugal should be fantastic and a great contrast to each other. Be careful of the driving in Portugal – they are at Georgian levels of insanity in my experience.

    I am a newbie rider and only have my LAMS licence here in WA so limited to derated 650cc maximum. TBH I cannot imagine riding big bikes yet as my CB500X feels like a tank to me as it is. I really notice how much more confident I feel on the smaller bikes. Australia is difficult though due to the huge distances and high speeds. Even a CB500X is barely adequate and anything smaller would be a bit of a trial and even a little dangerous.

    • Thanks very much Tim.
      It’s always a compromise for me with bikes.
      I like the luxury of big tourers but also the playful nature of small light bikes when I arrive at roads like The Oxley highway.
      Rather than compromise I am most likely going to choose a luxury bike. Most of my riding is cruising with roads like the Oxley only small percentage of my riding.

  4. Sunshine handsome boy! Your knowledge is profound! I want to be your little fan!

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