New Adventure Bike Review: 2024 BMW R 1300 GS

Tour testing the new GS adventure motorcycle with Edelweiss in Spain

By Erin Sills, WRN Co-Chairwoman and adventure riding coach; Photos by Sophie Libion, So Creative Production and BMW Motorrad

When Temptation Calls, Literally

When one of my long-time moto friends, Jim Hyde of RawHyde Adventures, calls me with an opportunity to be among the first Americans to ride the brand new BMW R 1300 GS in the beautiful Andalucía region of Spain with Edelweiss bike travel, I jump at the opportunity.

BMW R 1300 GS Trophy
The new 2024 R 1300 GS is scheduled to be in U.S. dealerships in April.

If you haven’t ridden this area of the world, I strongly recommend adding it to your moto travel list. At first glance, Edelweiss’ riding itinerary looks like short days (about 125 miles per day.) But when those miles link twisty mountain turns and epic passes together, the days become long, adventurous, and splendid.

BMW R 1300 GS Edelweiss
While the distances seem short at first glance relative to many tours, the days full of mountain twisties, incredible vistas, and absolutely smooth paved roads are quite long. The BMW R 1300 GS is the perfect tool for this terrain.
2024 BMW R 1300 GS TFT screen display
The GS I am provided shows only 1 kilometer on the odometer when I throw my leg over the seat to ride it!
Erin Sills riding 2024 BMW R 1300 GS
Once underway, the new bike feels nimbler and more “flickable” than any adventure bike I’ve had the privilege of riding. Yet it is still comfortable for long highway miles. While there are other great features of the R 1300 GS, this combination alone is enough to make me want to own one.

BMW R 1300 GS — Same … but Different

I’m told there aren’t many screws or bolts on BMW’s new R 1300 GS that are consistent with its predecessors, the R 1250 GS and R 1200 GS. Yet, as a long time GS rider, I can say the 1300 has very much a “same, yet different” feeling about it. My travel mates agree.

2024 R 1300 GS
Standard equipment on the new R 1300 GS includes heated grips, keyless ride (steering, ignition and fuel tank lock), tire pressure monitor (RDC), engine drag torque control (MSR), BMW Motorrad full integral ABS Pro, cruise control DCC with brake function, LiO starter battery, hand protectors with integrated turn indicators, hill start control (HSC), and more. Four riding modes are also now standard—Rain, Road, Eco, and Enduro. MSRP starts at $18,895 for the Lightwhite R 1300 GS shown here.
2024 R 1300 GS Trophy
A total of three different wheel sets are available for the new R 1300 GS in 3 x 19 inches in front and 4.5 x 17 inches out back. The basic model and the Triple Black model variant have newly developed and very light cast aluminum wheels, while the Trophy (shown here) and Option 719 Tramuntana model variants come with newly developed cross-spoke wheels featuring aluminum rim rings for dedicated off-road use.
2024 BMW R 1300 GS Erin Sills woman rider seat height
I am 5 feet 7 inches with a 30.5 inch inseam and am easily able to flat foot the R 1300 GS with the adaptive vehicle height control lowering it to 32.3 inches.

As soon as I climb aboard and reach for the handlebars of Edelweiss’ GS Trophy version, the BMW R 1300 GS instantly feels familiar and comfortable. Mind you, I have more than 75,000 miles on the BMW GS, having ridden various versions in the past 10 years, covering asphalt twisties, high speed highway, rugged dirt mountain passes, water crossings, and the like.

The Bike That Can Do It All

The BMW GS is aptly called the “Swiss Army Knife” of motorcycles because it is capable at so many things. The R 1300 GS and its smaller cousins, 650, 800, and 850 GSes have always been comfortable and confidence-inspiring machines. While some initially say the BMW R 1200 GS and R 1250 GSes are “heavy” and “big” because of the large engines, I find that not to be the case at all. And once underway, they offer an exceptionally smooth comfortable ride.

That comfort remains true for the 2024 R 1300 GS, with one interesting twist. The new bike feels noticeably smaller, more narrow, lower, and more lithe than its 1200 and 1250 predecessors. The riding position is a bit more forward and aggressive.

Riding the New R 1300 GS

With thousands of miles on BMW sport boxers (such as the R 1200 S and HP 2 Sport), I find the new R 1300 GS to be BMW’s sportiest Boxer ever. But it’s an adventure bike—built for on- and off-road riding. The R 1300 GS certainly remains true to the brand’s image of being a machine well-suited for many purposes. This bike gets 9 more horsepower than its predecessor (145 hp vs. 136 hp) and more torque (110 foot pounds vs. 105 foot pounds), which seem like small changes on paper, but you really feel it.

2024 BMW R 1300 GS riders Spain Edelweiss
The R 1300 GS is more powerful, lighter, and more responsive than its predecessors. BMW is known for its class-leading technology, and this new bike doesn’t disappoint.

BMW’s multiple modifications from the R 1250 GS include shedding 26.5 pounds (523 pounds vs. 549 pounds,) and dropping the tubular steel chassis in exchange for compact pressed steel that uses the engine as a stressed member of the frame. The steel subframe is now a lighter cast aluminum version. The lithium-ion battery is lighter and the gearbox has moved under the motor for lower center of gravity. The powertrain is lighter and the transmission shaft is shorter. All this adds to the responsiveness you feel when you crack the throttle throughout the RPM range.

Retaining the “shift cam” technology introduced on the 1250 GS in 2019, running different lobes under 4000 rpm keeps the bike smooth in technical maneuvers. When you need more power it switches to higher-performance lobes.

2024 BMW R 1300 GS two-up rider and passenger
The R 1300 GS Comfort package adds $575 to the price tag and includes an electrically adjustable high windshield, centerstand, comfort passenger seat, comfort passenger footrests, and luggage carrier.

R 1300 GS Brake Technology

While modern BMW GSes have had linked brakes for a long time, the R 1300 GS introduces a new twist. When applying the front brake on earlier models, the technology engages a bit of rear to stabilize the bike. This also applies on the 1300, but the new braking system also adds some front braking when you only use the rear, stabilizing the whole chassis under braking. The result is a bike that feels more compact and nimble for street riding, while having strong power and acceleration.

R 1300 GS Fit Improvements

At first glance, the R 1300 GS looks taller and more narrow than its 1200 and 1250 predecessors, giving it a bit more “dirt bike” look. The LED cruciform headlight adds to the sleek styling and gives confidence at night and in the rain. The stock seat is also more narrow which I find quite comfortable, though BMW says it will offer eight seat options.

Erin Sills 2024 BMW R 1300 GS
Can you tell how delighted I am to ride the newest BMW GS?

While the bike looks taller than the R 1250 GS, with the optional adaptive vehicle height control feature (similar to Harley-Davidson’s Pan America), the R 1300 GS actually sits lower. I find it completely imperceptible as the bike automatically adjusts ride height depending on the conditions. With the adaptive feature, seat height is reduced from 33.5 inches to 32.3 inches during slow riding and at a standstill. The additional 20mm (.79 inches) of spring travel (front and rear) allows more clearance while riding. The automatic adaptive vehicle height operation is customizable and you can turn it off to maintain permanently low or permanently high settings.

GS Comfort

2024 BMW R 1300 GS footpegs
The R 1300 GS comes equipped with beefy footpegs for the rider and smaller ones for the passenger.

With the Enduro Pro Package ($695), the passenger footpegs are upgraded to match those of the rider, which would be an important option for riding two-up off-road. Also included in this package are handlebar risers, engine protection bars, enduro aluminum engine guard, short enduro handlebar levers, GS adjustable rider footrests, exhaust mount for single seat, adjustable foot brake and gear shift levers, large frame guards, and tight-fitting turn signal stalks.

BMW R 1300 GS turn signal hand guard
The R 1300 GS front turn signals are integrated into the handguards, which I personally think looks great but does make me wonder how expensive the first handguard brush with a tree off-road will be.
2024 BMW R 1300 GS headlight
The look of the R 1300 GS is radically different from its predecessors, with the front headlight assembly being a key differentiation. I find the headlights very effective, including riding the twisty mountain road leading to Ronda, Spain, in the dark and through a heavy rain storm.

The new R 1300 GS offers a new full LED headlight with a distinctive shape. The unique setup ensures better perception in traffic while illuminating the road with clarity. The light unit consists of two LED units for low and high beam along with four additional LED units for the daytime running light and the side light. With the optional Headlight Pro, the beam of the standard full LED headlamp turns into the bend according to the banking position.

The Premium Package adds $3,895 to the base price of the R 1300 GS. This package includes Headlight Pro, DSA, Riding Assistant, Shift Assistant Pro, Riding Modes Pro, Sport Brakes, central locking preparation for navigation, chrome-plated exhaust manifold, Vario side and top case mounts, and hand protector extension.

Tour in Luxury

2024 BMW R 1300 GS Edelweiss
The R 1300 GS has a lot of carrying capacity with the optional side bags and rear case attached. I easily fit my extra rain gear, layers, gloves, and helmet.
2024 BMW R 1300 GS TFT screen dash
The R 1300 GS is equipped with a TFT dash that is familiar on recent BMW models. While the menus are intuitive, they are quite extensive. I do miss the simple click of a single button to turn on hand warmers and the twist of a knob to raise and lower the wind screen. On the new 1300, those features are available but require setting up menus and traversing through the TFT menu to operate them.
2024 BMW R 1300 GS Erin Sills Edelweiss
The knowledgable Edelweiss team walks us through the myriad of dashboard features on the R 1300 GS.

BMW Automotive-Inspired Safety Technology

The R 1300 GS is more technologically advanced than anything I’ve ridden recently, which is good and not so good. On the plus side, it’s clear that BMW has rider safety at the forefront. (Thank you BMW!) If you drive a late model car, you’ve likely experienced it doing things to avert a potentially dangerous situation. BMW incorporates some of these features on the R 1300 GS, such as Active Cruise Control (ACC), Front Collision Warning (FCW), and Lane Change Warning (LCW), each of which use radar to assist the rider.

Active Cruise Control (ACC)

For riders who cover long distances, cruise control can be a wrist saver. Like BMW’s R 1800 Transcontinental we reviewed here, the R 1300 GS gets active cruise control which allows the motorcycle to maintain both speed and distance to the vehicle in front of it.

Front Collision Warning (FCW)

One of my less favorite technological safety advances, however, is the Front Collision Warning. Given that I race motorcycles and am used to riding close to other objects, it’s fair that maybe I’m not the best rider to test this particular feature. When the bike believes it is close to a crash situation and more brakes might avoid the crash, the brakes are applied for you and a large red warning light blinks. Rolling to a stop at a comfortable safe speed, the bike applies more braking than I do. I find this feature disconcerting but, thankfully, it can be disabled.

Lane Change Warning (LCW)

Both right and left rear view mirrors have a built-in light that blinks when there is a car in your blind spot. I find this feature useful and not at all distracting, maybe because I’m used to it in cars.

In Case of Emergency

Another great technological advancement is the Intelligent Emergency Call (“SOS button”) which is a red button under a hinged cover near the right mirror. It may literally be a lifesaver. If the bike’s telemetry senses a crash, the SOS feature communicates with the BMW call center operator who can report the incident to authorities. An operator then speaks to you, asking if you are OK. If you don’t respond quickly by voice or press and hold the SOS button for at least five seconds, the authorities will be dispatched to your location.

2024 BMW R 1300 GS SOS button
The optional Intelligent Emergency Call button is protected from accidental deployment with a hinged cover.

A few of my colleagues dropped their bikes, so we were able to see this system in action. In one case, there was a minor tip-over while exiting a parking garage and the SOS system did not initiate. On a second occasion, the rider was moving about 10 mph and had a tip-over and the system did initiate. A simple push and hold of the SOS button was all that was required to ensure authorities knew they were just fine. Like a few other features on the bike, this can be disabled for off-road riding where minor tip-overs are a regular occurrence.


With no opportunity on this trip to ride the R 1300 GS off-road (bummer), BMW incorporates a few modifications with the adventure rider in mind. Certainly the handling I enjoy on asphalt will be equally fun and nimble in the dirt. And with the on-the-fly variable suspension, I expect it will absorb rocky terrain and high clearance situations as well or better than its 1200 and 1250 siblings. There are also styling and ergonomic enhancements for the dirt.

2024 BMW R 1300 GS handlebar clamp
A simple, yet thoughtful off-road-ready detail: When riding in the common off-road standing position, it’s helpful to roll the handlebars into a higher position to ease the stress on the rider’s wrist and make reaching the bars easier. The adjustment markings that facilitate this are a nice touch.
2024 BMW R 1300 GS Edelweiss group tour
Our group includes riders from all over the United States with at least one thing in common … our love of the BMW GS platform.

About Edelweiss Bike Travel

Edelweiss is a long-standing first class motorcycle tour company that offers guided adventures around the globe. For our BMW R 1300 GS “First Ride,” opportunity, it modified one of its standard tour offerings to suit this ambitious group of American enthusiasts.

2024 BMW R 1300 GS Edelweiss tour Erin Sills
Though a bit haggard from the long travel to Malaga, the riders were excited to arrive and be briefed by the Edelweiss team on rules of the road and what lies ahead.
2024 BMW R 1300 GS Edelweiss tour
On any group ride it can be a challenge to ensure all riders get the experience they want. Some riders want to ride faster, some want to ride slower and take in the scenery. The Edelweiss team does an excellent job ensuring the “rabbits” in the group have a spirited ride experience, while other riders don’t feel left behind or pressure to pick up their pace.
The Edelweiss team consistently provides excellent attention to detail to ensure the group is taken care of.
Edelweiss luxury hotel
Edelweiss chooses world-class accommodations for many of its tours. We stayed at this luxury hotel, originally a convent established in 1570, situated southwest of Antequera, Province of Málaga, Spain.
Edelweiss luxury view
The scenery, culture and history never ceases to amaze you on rides like these. This is but just one example of the daily visual treats we encounter.
The Edelweiss team offers informative and fun morning briefings on what to expect during each day’s ride.
Erin Sills BMW suit
BMW generously provides me with its GS Rallye GTX jacket ($999) and pants ($799)for the journey. Check out the full review here.

Specs at a Glance: 2024 BMW R 1300 GS

Engine Size: 1300cc
Seat Height: 33.5 inches (32.3 inches at slow speeds and when stopped via adaptive vehicle height control)
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Wet Weight: 522.5 pounds
Colors: Lightwhite, TripleBlack, Aurelius Green metallic (Option 719 Tramuntana), Racingblue metallic (GS Trophy)
MSRP: Starting at $18,895

WRN Recommendation

The 2024 BMW R 1300 GS is unquestionably the best BMW boxer made to date, and regardless of manufacturer, if I had just one bike this would be my choice. It is powerful and comfortable with good ground clearance and sophisticated technology. Its approachable seat height and maneuverability will appeal to a wide range of riders. The new GS is reliable and downright fun. It’s big, but light and nimble.

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