BMW Official Travel Partner
We’ve had a long connection with BMW Motorrad ever since the first 28,000 kilometer charity ride that we did from London to Magadan in Siberia all those years ago.
The R1200GS is probably the most well-known motorcycle chosen by long distance world travellers and that history stretches back through the previous variants of the bike, the R1150GS, the R1100GS, the R100GS, the R80GS and right back over the thirty or so years to 1980. Motorcycle fans were back then offered machines that increasingly were becoming more specialized towards specific applications and so riders were having to customize machines to suit their plans. Often this resulted in major compromises such as comfort or performance.
The introduction of a large capacity touring enduro bike that performed well off-road and yet was capable of being a reliable touring bike, for carrying a rider and a pillion, and performing well on road was very well received by the German motorcycle community. BMW proved the performance of the bike through a series of Dakar successes and the reliability of the new designs was proven due to huge journeys undertaken aboard the bikes.
The R1200 GS and its predecessors have constantly pushed the technical boundaries with its single sided Paralever rear drive/suspension and later in 1993 the inspiring Telelever design which would become a feature of all later model 1100GS, 1150GS and 1200GS models. They have also continued to evolve the motor with fuel injection, improved fuel consumption, ABS, Traction control, advanced electronics and the new water-cooled variant which has a multitude of functions such as power delivery settings for rain, enduro, road, dynamic, etc to further improve the experience.
Their development of the F model GS such as the F650GS, F700GS, F800GS was eagerly received also with many of these technical advances being transferred over to the smaller non-boxer engine models. These models also proved popular for their lighter weight and easier to manage feel, yet they retained the ability to perform on and off-road with many F800GS being set up for Round the World type trips also.
Compass Expeditions choose to use BMW F700 GS motorcycles for all of its tours in South America and this overwhelmingly comes down to a few important factors:
Reliability – BMW Motorrad has proven itself to be a reliable brand over the years with a consistent attention to detail incorporated into its engineering program. The result is that bikes are capable of travelling vast distances and managing a variety of situations and terrain easily. This has long been proven by the “Round the Worlders” and now is something that we witness year after year from our fleet. Compass Expeditions needs a bike that can reliably perform in all conditions and cover large mileage from Ushuaia, Argentina to Pucon, Chile (4 times); Iquique, Chile to Machu Picchu, Peru; Machu Picchu to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Rio de Janeiro to Lima, Peru; Lima to La Paz, Bolivia; and La Paz to Pucon, Chile.
The bikes must cope with sand, gravel, corrugations, pot-holes, driving wind, rain, snow, salt, dust storms, mud, asphalt as well as extremes of temperatures from the hot and humid air of the Brazilian coast, to the high-cold temperatures of the Atacama desert. Our motorcycles also have to cope with the rarified air of the Andean mountains and the fuel injection plays a huge part here, allowing the bikes to run smoothly in-spite of heavier loading due to steeper climbs and descents. Another huge factor is the varying quality of fuel found throughout South America. The F700GS has proved in all aspects mentioned above to be a well-suited solution. Very rarely do our bikes suffer a breakdown and when they do it tends to be something minor such as a loose battery connection which is a inevitable consequence of riding on roads that are sometimes not the smoothest in the world.
Ride Experience – The second reason we choose the BMW F700GS for our scheduled tours in South America is for the simple reason that it is a bike that suits a large variety of riders. Its lower seat height makes it manageable for those who are perhaps a little shorter or for female riders which is an area of growth within the industry. The option of lowered seats further improves accessibility to those who are perhaps on the shorter side of the bell curve and what this also means is that when the bikes hit areas of sand, deep gravel or dirt/mud the bikes are far more manageable.
In South America there is also a large number of roads which tend to have tighter curves following the edges of steep geological features. In Brazil on the Serra do Rio Rastro road the bikes are faced with many, many switchbacks and the same can be seen through Peru, Bolivia and Chile and often in the latter countries the road surface will be gravel as well. The F700GS with its smooth power delivery and torque usability combined with its good ride height is by far the most suitable bike for the job for the largest variety of riders and skill levels.
In Australia our rental fleet is also made up of BMWs and there is no question that the bikes handle the conditions in Australia amazingly well. The riding is different in Australia then the type of conditions experienced in South America. Longer distances with less altitude changes but often with hotter, drier temperatures are the norm. Dust is a factor and again, under fairly harsh conditions the BMW have proved to be reliable and suited to the riding that our rental bikes are subjected to.by