Mmmm, That's interesting...
I wouldn't have thought that the GS could be ridden in mud. Perhaps our mud is different, but with that low mounted guard the kind of sticky clay we get would gloop it up and the front wheel would stop going round.
You've ridden your GS in sand and had no problems, and no, I wouldn't take my CBR on sand dunes (I've ridden it on a sandy track, but that's not "sand"). I don't know if I'd take a GS onto sand either..... I rode an R80GS Dakar on a sandy trail, and it was good, by leaning back and powering it up you could get the front to float nicely at about 80-100 km/h (50-60 mph) however when I complemeted the owner on its nice manners on sand he went white as a sheet, and having seen photos of a later model paralever bike broken in two when crashing on sand at about that speed, I can see why. (by broken in two, I mean the suspension unit, swing arm and back wheel 20 metres from the rest of the bike)
I've ridden road bikes on snow and what I'd call "mountain trails" (the roads around Leh in the Indian Himalaya) and while I'd have prefered to have my XR600, I couldn't have carried my 60 year old Mum with me on the XR.
Perhaps I'm just coming from a very different angle. I'd like a bike that was better able to cope with long hauls on blacktop, but nearly as good off road. I think of my XR as being much too heavy to really have a good time off road. I have all sorts of trouble keeping up with the guys on KTMs that are just 10 kg lighter, but the BMW is more than 100 kg heavier than the XR!!!!
It's surprising as the first G/S from BMW was their lightest bike, and pretty strong with it at 167 kg oil but no fuel, only about 40-50 kg heavier than a "dirt bike" and by far the lightest of the BMs at the time. Same mass as a CB250N. It had a long range with the 36 litre (9.5 gal) tank. Their current offering is 62 kg (140 lb) heavier and only has a 22 litre tank... While everyone else has been making their bikes lighter and stronger, (Honda Australia's current replacement for the CB250N is 45 kg lighter and 60 km/h faster!) BM has made theirs over 1/3 heavier and more fragile. Sure it now has power outlets for your 12v fluffy slippers, but has it made it better for its intended role? You can only answer "Yes" if its intended role is poncing about in towns or cruising up the autobahn to Aunt Helgas (is that how you have your Adventures?). If its intended role is ultra high speed dirt over terrible conditions of deep sand, rocks, rivers and mud, where it's 500 km to the next fuel, (ie *Adventure* touring) then no it's not better...
I guess I'm just disapointed. I really would like a 2002 version of the R80G/S. 1/3 lighter than the 1980 version (rather than 1/3 heavier), stronger, faster, more reliable, with a foot of suspension travel at both ends and 700 km range. Insead we're offered an expensive off road hippo.
Cheers Jason =