The BMW R GS
The Paralever generation
An upgraded bike arrives with a new rear suspension, the Paralever in place of the Monolever. A change also for the name, the most visible is that the '/' between the G and the S disappears, but also the meaning of the letters changes. Now, the S is for Sport (in place of Strasse, "street" in German).
Two engines are available, a 798 cm³ for the R 80 GS (not available in all markets) and a 980 cm³ for the R 100 GS.
The major differences between the two bikes are :
The differences from the previous generation are:
Like the monolever, the mono suspension flexible arm contains the drive shaft, but this one is dry (a source of problems). The rear wheel is fixed by 4 lug bolts in place of the previous 3 lug nuts and the final drive pivots against the swingarm to reduce its rotation as the suspension moves
At the 1988 IFMA (Internationalen Fahrrad- und Motorradausstellung) in Munich, a new R 100 GS Paris-Dakar was on the BMW stand. First, it was only available as a kit made for the GS. The complete GS-PD bike was on the market in September 1989 with a new look and a lot of differences regarding the "nude" GS:
The two notable differences from the previous R 80 G/S PD are that the R 100 GS PD solo seat pops off separately from the rack and that the R 80 G/S PD tank puts the gas farther back than the new one.
For some countries (Switzerland, South Africa,...) a R 80 GS PD was available (like the R 100 GS PD except the oil-cooler).
During this period (87-90), the first G/S version continues with a smaller engine (650 cm³, 82mm x 61,5mm, 27 hp (20 kW DIN) at 5500 rpm, 43 Nm at 3500 rpm, Compression: 8,4:1, 2 Bing carburators 26mm, 5 speeds), it's the R 65 GS. It is exactly like the R 80 G/S except for the chrome exhaust, the GS mirror, the battery (12v/20Ah vs: 12v/16Ah) and the weight: 198 kg.
It is really the same bike but now has the look of the 1990 R 100 GS PD, and all bikes have a new dashboard (with large speedometer and tachometer, no clock). The differences between the previous generation are:
The last version of the airhead GS was the PD Classic. A beautiful black (all the dress) and chrome (protection bars and rack) with the round cylinder head cover version of the R 100 GS PD. The PD Classic was available in R80 version in some countries (South Africa,...).
Since the 'death' of the 2-valve boxer in 1995, news about a possible future "last version" bike with this engine had appeared from time to time. It became a reality.
The R 80 GS Basic is a like a 1988-90 Paralever R 80 GS but with the G/S seat, rear subframe and tank (with flush cap) and with the 1991-on controls. These were equipped with a high fender and a White Power rear shock. Its weight is 209 kg. The frame and the center stand are painted blue; the tank, cockpit and fenders are white. Engine protection bars were omitted, so there was no sidestand.
Here, you can find more info with pictures and the English translation (courtesy of Kari Prager) of a test done by the German magazine Motorrad.
The South African's BMW R 80 GS Kalahari version was a version of the R 80 GS Basic model with the R 80 G/S PD 35 liters steel tank, hand guards and the small windshield of the "nude" R 100 GS (1988-90).
Here, you can find more info with pictures and a small test done by the South African magazine BikeSA.
Updated November 2009