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BMW R 1100 S versus BMW R 1150 GS

Two boxers on the ring

If BMW had its way, the matter would be clear: the R 1100 S is an athlete, the R 1150 GS an enduro. Basta. The defiant heads on the other side of the white sausage equator persistently refuse to follow this diction. BMW could add a 135 S to the R 1100 S, but it would still only pass as a sports tourer.

And the GS? That’s where things get ticklish. Because for the proud owners and for those who have ever been dizzy with a GS, the 1150 should actually be called GSS, abbreviation for "Quite fast". If you combine the BMW typology with the empirical findings of the GS drivers, one thing is clear: This duel has to be carried out. Athletes or sports tourers.
In order for the S to meet its sporting demands, MOTORRAD ordered the special model from BMW. 5.5-inch rear rim, 180 Bridgestone BT 56, longer struts for more ground clearance, steering damper, but no ABS. Save weight. Equipped in this way, the sports boxer rushes into the winding curves of the Hatzenbach and the GS drives away a few meters away. Not because the fat one with 84 hp would lack performance compared to the 98 hp of the sports boxer? it doesn’t play a major role in this section of the route. And not because it would be too heavy with a full tank of 254 kilograms. On the contrary, the GS shines with its feather-light handling. It is rather unsettling that there is a lack of ground clearance in spite of the maximum pre-tensioned springs. Even if the Nordschleife is not as mercilessly knocked over as on a thoroughbred racetrack: These inclines simply go beyond what is common on country roads.
The S is quite different: Even with the courageous driving style of a Bertrand Sebileau, the fear nipples rarely have asphalt contact. In addition, another advantage of the 1100 is already apparent in the Hatzenbach, which becomes even clearer in the following, fast sections of the airfield and Schwedenkreuz: the overall tighter coordination of the S. While the comfort-oriented GS rocks and lurches like a cutter briefly in these passages before the accident, the sporty sister stays on course. The most irritating factor here is the high braking compensation of the Telelever, through which the front section is hardly immersed when braking. In addition, the front wheel tends to jump on bumps in rapid succession. And a bike that is in the air does not build up grip. This applies equally to S and GS. The GS has a second shortcoming: its high disc, which is geared towards tourist demands. While big drivers like test boss Lindner complain of constant turbulence, smaller testers like Corsetti and Casas lack a perspective.
This is a shame because the enduro can also show off some of its qualities on the Eifel circuit. Their excellent handling, for example. A real plus compared to its sporty sister, especially for newbies on the unknown route. A real minus, however, is the performance of the GS boxer. 84 HP in combination with a weight of 254 kilos is always enough in everyday life, here almost always too little, even if responsiveness and power delivery are convincing. The very fast passages in particular, such as the long ascent between the mine and Klostertal or the Döttinger Höhe, put the GS mercilessly behind, even if the pilot on the much stronger and lighter 1100 S would also like a few additional horses.
W.What remains the bottom line? The GS, which started with many praise, has no chance against its sporty sister. And it’s less the racing drivers? they can deal with inadequacies in chassis ??, but rather the rural road drivers who are unsettled by the GS. The latter also complain the loudest about the GS transmission because they often find themselves between the gears in the hustle and bustle. In this regard, the S also does better, but by no means well. Nevertheless: The ring ranking goes to the sports boxer on points. Its combined seating position, in combination with the stiffer chassis, gives more feeling, the engine pushes forward more sustainably, the lean angle is greater. And the GS thinks about what it was built for. Travel is her passion, not lawn. Even if you go crazy sometimes.

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