I have a 2005 GS and have been waiting for the "big change". I ride 80/20 pavement/dirt and usually do at least two longer trips per year. I have had many bikes but have never wanted to get rid of the GS. Too dependable, does everything reasonably well. I was very close to getting a multistrada from Ducati because I like the brand and they perform very well on the street. I recently went on a day ride with my buddy who has a Pikes Peak Multi. We decided to take a detour home along a well traveled dirt fire road. It was technical in some sections but over all it was tame. After about a half mile I looked back and no Ducati. I turned around and it had buried itself in some gravel up to its gearbox. It took some very light feathering of the clutch to get it out. He was in "enduro" mode. So no Ducati for me.
I saw the new Triumph Explorer at the moto show in December and was not impressed. You sit "in" it. Very high tank in front of you. The fit and finish was all plastic and it felt like a giant scooter/moped. One thing I like to tell my friends with Multistradas is that I can kick my bike down a hill, pick it up, and ride home. I did not have that confidence with the Triumph. Also, the frame is almost exactly the same as the GS. It is really a shame how much they copied. At least the Tenere is trying to be a little different.
Engine: I was actually hoping that BMW was going to "retire" the boxer for another engine in the lineup. Trust me, when a new rider to the Adventure Touring segment says they are going to buy a GS your never hear, "Gee, i went with the GS over the Triumph, Ducati, Tenere and Vstrom because of that air cooled boxer engine!" For how wide the boxer is BMW could probably wedge the 1600 in there! I was also thinking that the 1300 would work well also. Heck why not the S1000RR! Also, I know that Rotax also makes some engines for BMW so they might have a 150hp, 100ftlb torque beast they could develop for the GS. Liquid cooling makes all the sense in the world. There are physical limits that just can't be overcome without increased displacement. Trust me, we don't need more displacement in the GS. Just ask BMW, many 1200 GS riders have gone down to the 800GS. This thread is called the "1250" post but I would think they could go with a 1100 boxer and still have a horsepower jump with liquid cooling. Torque is the key to this beast. There is something so satisfying when you are in second gear and roll back the throttle on an uphill dirt section and feel the GS literally move the earth beneath you as you power up the hill. That's torque!
Electronics: half of the posts in ADV are all about how to bypass the canbus or modifying the electronics. Lights, monitoring, GPS, comm systems, electric clothing, blah blah blah...I hope the new GS has plenty of that stuff built in. BMW, don't develop this yourself! Contract with Touratech, Powerlet, Garmin, and others to help you! The biggest things for me are solid protection for the bike in dirt and when it is dropped. Wider foot pegs (pivot pegs). GPS, big lights, great seat that works both sitting and standing, REAL panniers, powerlet outlets everywhere, USB power plug, heated grips, tire pressure monitor, outside temp monitor, trip computer, barometric pressure, elevation, Bluetooth, oh yeah...the kitchen sink as well.
If the engine is up to snuff and full of usable horsepower it must be selectable. Also, turning off ABS easily is key as well. I think three engine modes and three suspension modes are plenty. Just make sure we can tell the difference in our rear ends when we make a change. If its soft suspension, make it soft. If it is hard, by goodness, it better be stiff (insert joke here). can you hire Ohlins to make the suspension? Just so we don't have to all switch when we get the bikes.
Some other things: put the catalytic converter in the exhaust can, makes for a cheap easy modification! Triumph does that and it is great! Do some wind testing on the windshield. One that moves up and down would be cool. Just make sure it covers the rider well. Still unclear why the Adventure has a full windscreen with wings and the base model, does not. Electronic cruise control. Triumph has BMW beat there. Twisting a bolt on my throttle until it "locks" the throttle is not my idea of cruise control. More like suicide. LED headlight and turn signals, wet clutch, larger diameter front wheel, spokes are the only option
Ok, thats my GS rant. See you all next year when I trade in the 2005 for the new GS. Cheers!