ADV Talk with Touratech: BMW R1250GS – Part 2: Electrical

This is part 2 of our 3 part series focusing on the BMW R1250GS.

This part explains the changes to the Electrical System and some cool new features too!

The addition of the new member of the GS family to the ADV landscape is very exciting and Touratech is at the forefront with a full range of parts and adventure experts with the knowledge to take your ride to the max!

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A full transcript of this video is below:

Let’s break down the new electronics on the R1250GS. There’s a few things that they’ve carried over from the old bike that were previously options and are now standard equipment, so let’s cover those real quickly. One, the LED headlight. That’s now standard, it was optional equipment on the previous ones, now everybody gets it. That’s great. It’s very bright, it looks awesome. The next generation Dynamic ESA, that became available as an option on the 2018 R1200GS and GS Adventure, that is now standard on the R1250GS. What that does is it takes your Dynamic Electronic Suspension System that we’re all familiar with from the water-cooled GS and it adds a auto leveling feature so as you add luggage, you add passengers, you add riding gear on and off yourself, it keeps the motorcycle level so it adjusts the suspension sag on the rear end to keep the chassis in a good balance mode. It’s really nice, it’s really handy, and I should point that Touratech has electronic suspension that’s completely compatible with that system. You plug it into the motorcycle and it works awesome. All right, plug aside.

The next thing is the 6.5 inch TFT display. That became available on the 2018 R1200GS. That’s now standard on the R1250GS. That system has been added to with new technology. It has a connectivity system that is available that gives you Bluetooth control of music or navigation or any other thing like that through your cellphone. BMW makes their own app and a company called Rever makes an app that works with the dashboard on that motorcycle so you can get all sorts of information on the dashboard. You can even see navigation, it will give you an arrow of what direction to head, and it will record where you’ve ridden and you can share it with an online community if you want to. All that’s controlled with the multi-controller on the left hand side of the handlebar. We’re familiar with that, BMW’s been using that for a number of years on the 1200 now.

One feature that is totally new is the intelligent emergency call function. If you’ve watched my video about the F850GS, you’ll be familiar with that system already but it’s also carried over to the R1250GS. What that system does is it uses the BMW connectivity app on your cellphone and it uses all of the accelerometers and sensors on the motorcycle to detect if you’ve had an accident. If the motorcycle decides that you’ve had a very bad accident, it immediately calls emergency services in your area and sends help to you. According to their press releases, there is also two different levels of accidents that it can detect. One is the very, very bad accident that we already talked about, the second is an accident that’s not quite so bad and in that case what happens is the motorcycle has a button that you will have to manually cancel the emergency call if you are not injured or it’s not something that you need. The third step is if you manually activate the emergency intelligent call feature, that’s if you’ve come across an accident and you’re on a ride with somebody that’s gotten hurt. All of those things are very cool. There’s no doubt in my mind that they will save lives and that’s fantastic. I’m curious to see how that technology integrates with going out for an adventure ride and dropping your bike on the side of the road but we’ll have to see.

Another interesting thing about that emergency intelligent call system is that there’s actually a loudspeaker and a microphone on the bike. That gives the person at the BMW call center the ability to actually communicate with the rider if they’re conscious or if they’re near the bike and say, “Hey, have you had an accident? Hey, what’s the situation?” That’s again really important to be able to give the emergency responders more information so that they’re not showing up to a scene blind. I think that’s a super cool feature. No doubt in my mind that’s gonna save lives.

Dynamic braking control. That’s a new feature on the R1250GS. It sounds really fancy, but what it is is simply if the motorcycle detects that you’re stopping really fast like you’re making an emergency stop, what it’s gonna do is it’s gonna override any throttle input you’re giving it while you’re making an emergency stop. I don’t know if any of you guys have noticed this but I have noticed that if I’m super hard loaded up on the handle bars and I’m making an ABS-engaged stop, sometimes when I come to a complete stop if I pull the clutch in, the engine RPMs are actually up a little bit from where they should be. That’s simply because in the act of squeezing and grabbing the brake, I’ve rolled the throttle on a tiny bit. That’s what this dynamic braking control system does is in a panic stop situation, it simply tells the motorcycle, “Yeah, he probably doesn’t want any throttle input, so we’ll set the throttle to zero.” That’s actually a cool feature I think in the event that you need a full ABS stop, what it’s gonna do is save you two feet, five feet, ten feet, depending on how much you were accidentally sticking the throttle on. BMW says it’s just to prevent any inadvertent power application during an emergency braking maneuver.

The other thing that they’ve added to this motorcycle that I’m not super familiar with is something that they call Hill Start Control, and there’s two different versions of it available for the bike. It comes standard with what they call Hill Start Control, and my understanding of how that system works is if you come to a stop on a hill and you pull the brakes in and you pull the clutch in, when you release the brakes, the bike will hold the brakes on just for a moment so that the bike doesn’t roll back before you get a chance to engage the clutch and start pulling away. There is a second version available that they call Hill Start Control or Hill Start Assist Pro, Hill Start Control Pro. That one, the documentation is vague but what they say it does is it’s adjustable so if you stop on a slope that’s greater than a value that you tell the motorcycle like five degrees or ten degrees, then it will automatically apply the brakes and keep them applied.

I don’t know if that only works if you’re uphill or if it also works if you’re downhill but it’s just an interesting feature that could be really handy on these big bikes. If you come to a stop on a hill off-road and you’ve got the brakes on, now the bike will keep the brakes locked up until you tell it to move rather than creeping backwards or creeping forwards and maybe causing you to fall over. That’s interesting.

In a nutshell, those are the electronic changes on the R1250GS. If you want to learn more about the bike or the full product line that Touratech’s developing for it, visit our website,