BMW unveils the new R 1250 GS and RT
ShiftCam Technology

BMW Motorrad launched the new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT to the press in Portugal earlier this week and the feedback so far is that the new bikes are very impressive indeed.

As the name suggests, the boxer engine’s capacity has been increased, but the main talking point has been the introduction of BMW ShiftCam technology that allows the camshaft profile to be interchanged between high and low valve lift depending on the load on the engine. Power is up to 136bhp (from 125bhp) and the torque increases to 143Nm (also from 125Nm) with improvements in engine refinement and emissions. The transition between the two cam profiles is imperceptible to the rider but the benefits in performance and feel are significant.

Familiar to the GS but now standard on the R 1250 GS is the BMW Connectivity TFT colour screen with its clear information display, intuitive control along with navigation, music and telephone connection and control. Also standard is the bright and instantly recognisable LED headlight for the GS and the functional Hill Start assistant that automatically holds the brakes on when stationary on an incline.

Another useful safety feature is that the fly-by-wire throttle now automatically shuts when braking hard. It sounds nonsensical to have the throttle open when braking but it does happen, especially when in emergency, and those vital few seconds until you realise what’s happening can make a real difference to your stopping distance.

New accessories, colours and options all add up to make the latest GS and RT their best yet.

R 1250 GS starts at £13,415 on the road with a 3 year warranty, the R 1250 GS TE starts at £16,200, the dynamic looking Motorsport Rallye TE starting at £16,975 and the all-black R 1250 GS Exclusive TE at £16,500.

R 1250 RT starts at £14,415, the SE starts at £15,615 and the LE starts at £16,710 with demos and the retailer launch expected early November this year.

Demos are available on the R 1250 GS at Bahnstormer from Saturday 6th October and official launch and customer deliveries a week later on Saturday 13th October.

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What is BMW ShiftCam and how does it work?

The valve timing (when does the valve open and how long for) and valve lift (how far does it open) for an engine differ depending on whether you want smooth and economical riding or out-and-out performance. For the engine designer, it’s either a decision to go for the compromise or come up with a way of altering these parameters on the fly.

BMW’s solution is to incorporate two different camshaft profiles on the inlet side that can be independently engaged by way of an electronic actuator via a worm-gear (camshaft gate on the illustration) that shifts the whole camshaft physically along, presenting the follower, and therefore valve, with the different camshaft lobe. The result is when you ask the engine for more, the engine is able to give you more and, importantly, the transition is super smooth.

Two knock sensors allow for fuel grades below 95RON if you are ever stuck in some far corner of the earth that doesn’t have this grade of fuel whilst improved injection, cooling and oil supply all add to the further improvements in engine refinement and performance.

The new Hill Start Control Pro builds on the now standard HSC by holding the brakes on when you are on a +/- 5% gradient and the hand/foot brake has been applied. Previously you would have to hold the hand lever on firmly to engage HSC.


A whole host of new accessories are now available for the R 1250 GS with the sporting HP range being the most eye-catching with its milled, anodised finish and striking blue detailing. HP Cylinder heads, front covers, foot pegs, levers and Option 719 mirrors now allow you to really accentuate the looks of the GS.

Option 719 milled components are also available for the R 1250 RT along with Option 719 colours and seats. More individualisation potential with the reassurance of BMW quality than ever before.

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