The Bike

R1200GS Adventure

BMW R1200GS Adventure

The bike I’m taking on this trip is a 2012 BMW R1200GS Adventure. If I said I had considered other bikes, it would be a lie. I bought a standard R1200GS in 2007, after watching Long Way Round and Long Way Down, I had a dream that one day I’d do the same – according to BMW sales figures I wasn’t the only one! Many people have told me the R1200GS (and Adventure) are too big for riding off-road, I think I’ve proved them wrong. Riding the R1200GS felt right to me and, on long distance riding, the R1200GS Adventure feels even better.


Since buying the bike I’ve made a few tweaks to it:

  • Sump guard: The standard sump guard on the R1200GS Adventure looks the part but if you intend doing any serious off-roading it will pay to upgrade it. I went with the Touratech Extended sump guard.
  • Screen extender: Whilst the screen on the R1200GS Adventure is very good, it’s just a fraction too short for me. The Touratech lockable screen extender does a perfect job at deflecting the wind away from the top of my head.
  • Headlight protector: I’ve had to replace a broken headlight in the past. The AltRider headlight guard is much cheaper that a new headlight, so now I’m not taking any chances.
  • HID upgrade: The standard 35W H7 bulbs that come with the bike are poor to say the least. I’ve installed a HID conversion kit from and the difference is amazing.
  • Autocom comms unit: I bought an Autocom Pro AVI comms unit in 2007 (or before) and it’s perfect for integrating GPS, phone, music, bike-to-bike radio. Most people seem to be opting for Bluetooth but I personally prefer the simplicity of the Autocom. The AVI Pro is no longer available, it’s been replaced by the SPA
  • Dashboard surround/power socket: with all the electronic equipment I’ve got (phone, tablet, GPS tracker, etc.) I’ve installed the Touratech 2-socket cockpit cover.
  • Side-stand foot extension: I’ve had experience of trying to find firm ground to put the side-stand down on. Now I have an AltRider side-stand foot extension I’ve not had any problems. Sam Manicom and others warn against using these but I’ve personally not had any problems.
  • Potentiometer Guard: I got an AltRider potentiometer guard because the supposedly it’s a vulnerable part. Really it’s just a bit of “adventure bling”. I’ve flipped, rolled, slid, dropped, submerged and abused my old R1200GS and not once did I get a scratch on this guard. Still, it looks makes the bike look more “adventure”.
  • Pannier Accessory Brackets: With the mileage I’m going to be doing in the back-country I wanted storage for a little extra fuel for my bike and stove, so I’ve got a couple of pannier brackets and mounts.