Excursion: BMW Adventure Rider Challenge

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The GS brand isn’t big in America, and that baffles BMW. The R1200GS is one of the most iconic bikes in the world, with massive followings in bike-mad countries like Italy and South Africa. But America, which prides itself as adventurous, rugged and individualist, strangely remains an elusive market. After the windfall of sales from Wes’s favorite show, The Long Way Around and its sequel The Long Way Down, BMW has quickly realized the value of alternative approaches to marketing. They’re ditching traditional advertising and getting personal.

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Excursion: BMW Adventure Rider Challenge

  • Generic1776

    Of the “regulars” at work near my building, three of the 7 to 8 bikes are either a GS or ADV. (But that doesn’t include the other GS that parks near the next building over).

    But then again, another two of those 7-8 are KLR650′s.

    Adventure bikes are popular as far as I can tell.

    Only “fair weather pilots” ride cruisers and sport bikes. :P

    • http://Http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      They’re comparing themselves to the massive US cruiser market. BMW is one of the most of recognizable brands in the world. Marginal sales in the largest bike market doesn’t sit well with them.

      • Generic1776

        Oh yeah,totally, that is more due to BMW viewed as a “top brand” by those who ride, not by those who pose.

        How many BMWs have you seen sitting in garages with barely 5k miles on them?

  • http://ohoh2.blogspot.com/ doubleoh2

    Great shots Grant! Wicked!

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Thanks, doubleoh2.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/24829474@N03/ Enthusiast

    “which prides itself as adventurous, rugged and individualist” I had to laugh at that… how can we be adventurous when everything that’s not paved is illegal to ride on.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      That also has to do with America’s fierce notions exclusionary land ownership, fencing practices and protectionism. All of which go back well before the birth of the motorcycle.

  • Sid

    “The GS brand isn’t big in America, and that baffles BMW.”

    You think that is because of the funky beaks and Bill The Cat headlight treatments? I do.

  • meatspin

    Grant, who’d you bury out there in the desert?

  • http://artistruth.livejournal.com will

    Are they cool with letting you tag along and not take any pictures of GSes doing GSey things with their bikes?

    Totally for the initiative. The sooner people understand how deeply unamerican Harleys are, the better.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler


      • http://artistruth.livejournal.com will

        Please delete previous comment. My browser wasn’t showing the bottom scroll bar. All I was seeing was the blurb of text and landscape.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          No worries.

  • Kevin

    I know one of my next bikes is probably going to be either a R1200GS or an F800GS. My friend has an R1200GS and he has made me want to do some serious long distance riding that I can’t do on my Daytona 675.

    However I wouldn’t call myself a fair weather rider either. At least for California I have ridden through everything socal threw at me this last year while almost everyone else left their bikes at home. Pansies.

  • Michael

    The GS not big for BMW in the USA? Who wrote this? Without the sales of the GS in the USA BMW would be in a sorry state. In fact, in 2008 US sales of the GS outstripped every market in the world except Germany and Italy.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      “Big” is relative. They want a bigger piece of America’s bigger pie.

      • Michael

        Everyone wants a ‘bigger piece’ of the pie. Not sure how it’s newsworthy as they totally dominate the sector with about 50% share. The Japanese dont believe there are rich pickings as they dont import most models they offer elsewhere. Again, how is the USA ‘elusive’ when the bike sells in bigger numbers than almost any other market in the world, is BMW’s best seller in the USA by a mile, dominates the sector and is easily their most prominent model over here for the last 5-10 years…

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Well this isn’t a news piece. It’s about BMW determining that they want more sales from the GS, think Harley level, and they’re trying to find alternative means of marketing in order to obtain those sales. 50% of heavy bike sales here are Harley, BMW’s not thinking within a sector, they want some of that.

          Go look at the pretty pictures in the feature.