BMW R1250 GSA


I have been lucky enough to have multiple BMW R1250 GSA's and each one was a great motorcycle.

Here are some of the reasons I decided to ride a GSA in the beginning and why I switched back to a GSA from a RT. The RT is a great motorcycle, and it can pretty much do everything well except when it comes to bad road conditions or places you need extra ground clearance. Another reason I switched back to a GSA from a RT was that the GSA just makes me smile more.

After months of thinking about how I can do some of the rides I have been thinking / planning about and if the BMW RT can be the best motorcycle for these rides I came to a conclusion. I have some good experiences between the two BMW RT’s that I have owned as I have ridden a little over 100,000 miles between them, so I have some good experience with the RT. You may not understand my issues with the RT because I just do things differently and I try to be a perfectionist.

I want to ride back to Panama, and I have done that on a GSA and RT and the GSA was a better option due to the road conditions. The RT really took a beating due to the large topes ( speed bumps ) and giant potholes that you don’t see sometimes until it’s too late. The RT bottomed out a couple times and it did not feel good.

I have had three previous BMW GSA’s ( one totaled in 2019 and two stolen ) I have ridden over 100,000 miles on them also and for ME the GSA just feels better and makes me SMILE more. If the two GSA’s would not have been stolen, I would not have bought a RT. I bought the RT hoping no one would want to steal it.

Here are some of the reasons I decided to ride a GSA in the beginning and why I switched back to a GSA from a RT. The RT is a GREAT motorcycle, and it can pretty much do everything well except when it comes to bad road conditions or places you need extra ground clearance.

Another reason I decided to switch back to a GSA may surprise you since I do like to have lots of electronics on my motorcycles. The RT is a modern motorcycle with many features that are great but for someone like ME the RT just has too many options that I want to use all the time. It would seem that all of the features on the newer RT’s would really benefit a long distance rider but it was not the case for me.

The electric windscreen was becoming an annoying issue because if I have an electric windscreen I am going to use it. I found myself raising and lowering the windscreen at every gas stop or any other types of stops, probably because I have the windscreen up pretty high while riding and I like it all the way down when I am stopping so I can see better. I just found myself raising and lowering the windscreen all the time. If I only road a few thousand miles a year I would not even think about it but that is not the case. The satellite radio and music options are great on long rides but because I like to change what I am listening too and how you must use the wonder wheel and menu to get to different options it can get to be cumbersome. Also, the built in speakers are only good up to 70 MPH so above that speed you can’t really hear what is playing. I do not like to listen to music in my headset, so I use the speakers and they are just not that good at highway speeds.

The adaptive cruise control is a great idea except it is not that conducive to MY style of motorcycle riding. It works best to keep you from running into vehicles in front of you while you may be looking at your GPS or eating. Other than that, it kind of keeps you from making progress as it slows you down to match the speed of the vehicle in front of you and you must basically disengage it to pass a vehicle. So, I found myself engaging and disengaging all the time. It is a really nice feature, but I ride a little funny, so it just became not so useful for me. I do like regular cruise control and would not buy another motorcycle without it.

The RT has some many cool nice features I just found myself using them all the time and it became less fun. It’s me that has the issue with the features it’s not the RT. If it has it I want to use it and that became a problem for ME as I found myself constantly pushing and turning buttons all the time. You may not have the same experience as I said the RT is a great motorcycle and has a lot of great features.

In 2022 I rode my 2019 GSA to the Panama Canal and back and then in 2023 I rode my 2023 RT to Costa Rica and I did both of these rides as a long distance endurance IBA style ride and it helped me understand that if I want to continue to do rides like these two rides I need something different than the RT, something more capable to handle all road conditions. The 2023 ride with my RT really gave the RT a beating, much more than my ride in 2022 with my GSA.


I have had the opportunity to ride my GSA’s over 120,000 miles and in all 48 states, Canada, Alaska, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, so all of North America and Central America. I have had some great experiences on these rides and that has helped me understand what I like about the GSA and what I don’t.

I rode the 2019 Iron Butt Rally ( 11 days / 11,221 miles ) on my 2019 GSA and it really performed great handling all road types and all types of riding from slow speed to high speed. A few times during the rally I rode 30+ hours nonstop and the GSA handled it well.

In 2021 I rode my 2019 GSA in the Senior Butt Rally ( 6 days / 6300+ miles ) with my teammate ( James Owen ) where we took first place. This proves that the GSA can handle what comes its way.

In the summer of 2021 I rode my 2019 GSA to all 48 states in 6 days and 11 hours covering 7,644 miles in those 6 days again proving the GSA can get it done. I rode in 48 degree to 112 degree temps and wind and rain that was crazy and the GSA just kept on going.

In April of 2022 I rode to the Panama Canal and back from Fort Lauderdale, FL covering almost 10,000 miles in 11 days on all types of roads in all types of weather. The GSA really did a great job handling the heat and the BAD roads in Central America.


I crashed and totaled the first BMW R1250 GSA, a 2019 model on my way home from the 2019 Iron Butt Rally. It was a low speed crash but the engine guard pushed into the engine and cracked the engine case which pushed the damage total to $20,000 and it was totaled. Now I buy the engine guard support that should help if something like that happens again.


Two other GSA's I have owned have been stolen, a 2021 and a 2019. Both were stolen out of the high rise building I lived in over a 20 month period. Be careful how you park your GSA!

Because I had two GSA's stolen I replaced the last one with a BMW RT and after 40,000 miles in the year I owned it I realized that it just did not make me smile like my GSA's did. So I traded it in on a new 2024 BMW R1250 GSA! Now I am smiling again.


I have some good rides planed for my new GSA including another ride to Panama and hopefuly the end of the road at the Darien Gap. I also plan on shipping my GSA to Columbia in South America to ride to Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. I may even do another ride back to Alaska. Long term I am thinking about shipping my motorcycle to London and riding it to China.


New 2024 GSA Photos


2024 GSA Farkles

I have this beautiful GSA setup to ride long distance and I only add farkles that make the motorcycle safer, more comfortable for me and the ability to ride farther. Some may ask why so many farkles but each one has a purpose. I also have had the benefit of riding over 120,000 miles on them so I  know what works for me.

I have added the following farkles to my GSA. I had many of these same farkles I used on my previous GSA's so I know they work as I expect.

Ergonomics

  • Wunderlich Marathon II Windscreen

  • Windscreen Air Deflector

  • Windscreen Left & Right Reinforcement

  • Left & Right Fairing Wind Deflectors

  • Saeng Quickscan Mirrors

  • Brake Pedal Extension

  • Gear Shifter Extension

  • Rox Pivoting Handlebar Risers

  • Sargent Seat

  • Foot Peg Lower Kit

  • Wunderlich Adjustable Brake Pedal

  • Hand Guard Extensions

Lighting

  • Denali Light Bar

  • Clearwater AUX Erica Lights

  • Ruby Moto AUX R7 Lights

  • LED Tail / Brake Light

Electronics

  • Hex EzCan

  • 5 Channel Audio Mixer

  • Valentine Gen2 Radar Detector

  • Garmin Zumo XT GPS

  • Garmin RV890 GPS

  • ALP Laser Jammers

  • Blindspot Radar Monitor

Other Farkles

  • Touratech XL Bar

  • Left Side Toolbox

  • Hella Horn

  • Exhaust Extension

  • Tank Protective Covers

  • Headlight Protector

  • Front and Rear Fender Extensions

  • TFT Screen Protector

  • TFT Screen Visor

  • Double Take Mirrors

  • Rear Pack For Passenger Seat Replacement

  • Engine Guard Supports

  • Side Case and Top Case Protective Covers

  • Cylinder Head Protective Covers

  • AUX Fuel Tank


GSA Seats

I have tried a few seats on my GSA over the years trying to find the one that gives me the most comfortable ride for long distance riding. I have ridden over 3,000 miles on the BMW GSA OEM seat and I rode 1,200 miles on the stock seat the first day riding home my new 2024 GSA from the dealer in Pennsylvania and it is not designed as a long distance seat. After more than a couple hundred miles of riding it just hurts my but and does not provide any support under the legs. I also tried a Touratech DriRider seat and it is better than stock but still not a good option for long distance rides as the seat pan is just not wide enough. I also tried a Sargent seats that I have used it on previous GSA's and have ridden over 80,000 miles on Sargent seats but it is not as good as the Sargent seat I had on my BMW RT, the seat pan is not as wide and does not provide as much room to move my butt around.

I ended up with a Russell seat that I found used on the BMW MOA marketplace website. The Russell seat has a wide seat pan and plenty of room to move my butt around. It also provides support under my legs to even out the load.

A Russell seat is not a good option if you are having issues touching the ground on a GSA as it is much thicker that the stock seat or a Sargent seat. For me I bought a low version of the GSA and the Russell is just fine and I can reach the groud flat footed.

There are other options to help reduce the height of the seat that you can buy and lower the seat up to one and a half inches. The part below replaces the BMW OEM part and lowers the seat by half an inch and the part below that one has the holes drilled off center to lower the seat another half an inch.

Another option is to remove any rubber bumpers under the seat. Sargent seats have screw in rubber bumbers that you can lower the seat up to half an inch.


GSA Seats

I bought the Wunderlich ERGO Screen Marathon II to replace the stock OEM windscreen and in the photo you can see the difference in size, taller and wider at the bottom of the windscreen.

I have also been experimenting with different non BMW GSA windscreens including a Puig FJR touring windscreen as I am also looking for a windscreen that is wider than the OEM and the Wunderlich windscreens. I will provide some photos of that windscreen later.


GSA Tires

This is a 180/55R17 rear tire on my GSA. It felt better than the OEM 170/60R17 and I got great mileage out of it.


After experimenting with the 180/55R17 tire I tried a 190/55R17 but I needed a spacer that goes between the wheel and the hub. This spacer is the same as the one I had used on my BMW RT's.

The tire felt great and worked very well on the road and I believe it reduced my stopping time due to the bigger rear tire and a larger contact patch on the road.

I had to replace the front TPMS sensor on my 2019 GSA at around 70,000 miles. There was a group buy on the ADV forum so I ordered one. I already had the GS-911 and the TPMS wakeup tool that is needed to program the new TPMS sensor. It was a pretty easy job to repalce the TPMS sensor since I have a No-Mar tire changer.

I used the GS-911 to change the TMPS sensor on the front wheel to the new TPMS sensor. Everything went as I expected and the new TPMS sensor worked just fine.


GSA Valves

I did a valve check at 40,000 miles on my 2019 GSA and all valves were in spec. Checking the valves on a boxer engine is pretty easy even the extra cam lobe for the shiftcam.


GSA Final Drive

During the 40,000 mile service on my 2019 GSA I also checked the drive shaft and greased the spline. It was not to hard to do this service but it does help if you have a second pair of hands when you are reassembling the final drive unit.


2019 BMW 1250 GSA Information

Below is some information on my previous GSA's and how I set them up.

So I did it, I bought my first GSA and it was a new 2019 BMW R1250 GSA to use in the western North Carolina mountains and beyond! When I first bought this GSA I had a house in the Smoky Mountains in western North Carolina. We have since sold the house.


I rode my new BMW 1250 GSA in the 2019 Iron Butt Rally and I think it did help me due to the lighter weight and easier handling.

 

 


The above photos is of my 2019 GSA setup to ride in the 2019 Iron Butt Rally. All of the farkles I installed where to make me comfortabe and ride long distance. I rode 11,221 miles in 11 days during the rally.


Some Thoughts

The Good

  • Great power – faster than the BMW RT up to 100 MPH – 0 to 100 was QUICK

  • Traction Control

  • Ride Modes

  • Better off road ability

  • Better gas mileage

  • More luggage space than 2018 Gold Wing

Not So Good

  • Engine is much louder – I like motorcycles that are quieter

  • Smaller rear tire - I prefer more rubber on the road


Farkles List

  • MachineartMoto Avant 12 Front Fender Extender
  • MachineartMoto Rear Fender Extender
  • Sargent Seat
  • BeadRider
  • Highway Pegs
  • Boyd Welding 3.5 Gallon AUX Tank
  • Ram Mounts ( 6 )
  • Moto Equip X-Pattern Reflective Tape
  • Wunderlich Touring Windscreen
  • Wunderlich Screen Reinforcement
  • Wunderlich Instrument Protection Film
  • Wunderlich Sun Visor for 6,5 In. Connectivity Display
  • Clearwater Sevina AUX Lights
  • HEX EzCan Controller
  • Hyper-Lites Brake / Tail Lights
  • AeroFlow AeroWings
  • AeroFlow HandFlare Extensions
  • Rox Pivoting Bar Risers
  • AltRider Lexan Headlight Guard Kit
  • SW-MOTECH Seat-Rack
  • Garauld TechWorks Hydration System
  • Saeng QuickScan Mirrors
  • Nelson-Rigg Black Holds 12.39/16.52 Liters RG-1045 Trails End Adventure Motorcycle Tank Bag
  • TankSlapper XPEL Protective Film
  • Excel Cycle Werkes Exhaust Extension
  • Kathy's Inner Saddlebag Liners
  • Eriding 2 USB Charger 4.2A Adapter Blue LED Voltmeter with Powerlet Din Plug
  • Sav-A-Deer Whistle
  • Grip Puppies
  • Ilium Works Side Stand Foot Englarger
  • APL Laser

BMW R1250 GSA - AUX Tank

First thing I do is to remove the passenger seat and replace it with a SW-Mototech Passenger Seat Replacement Rack. I latches in just like the passenger seat and you need the key to remove it.

AUX Tank Specs

  • Custom Aluminum Tank 10"L x 9"W x 9"t ( 3.4 Gallon )

  • From 1/8" Mill Finish 5052H32 Aluminum

  • Small Sump with -4 AN Outlet

  • 27038-4 NV Machined Cap And Neck

  • 1/8" NPT in Fill Neck

  • (1) Baffle

  • (4) Mounting Tabs 2x2x3/16"

BMW 1250 GSA AUX Tank Photos

Boyd Welding Invoice


Saeng Quick Scan Mirrors

I have been using Saeng Quick Scan Mirrors for 16 years and really like the rear visibility they give me. I mount them so they are at the height that I can just give them a "quick scan" to see what is behind and beside me. With these mirrors I can see vehicles right next to me so I have no blind spots. The mirrors mount with 3M VIRB tape that works well over triple digits. The mirrors have a lot of adjustability to allow them to work on many different windscreens.

 

 

More information coming soon ...

 

 


 

2024 BMW R1250 GSA

Miles - 4,000

2021 BMW R1250 GSA

Miles - 5,000

2019 BMW R1250 GSA

Miles - 108,000