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The R designation in BMW motorcycles can be traced to the company’s very first motorcycle, the R32 in 1923. The engine was, of course, a horizontally-opposed, “Boxer,” Twin. BMW has developed other engine configurations: the early K series with its longitudinally-mounted, inline three-cylinder “flying brick” engine, the single-cylinder F650, the transversely-mounted, inline four-cylinder of the S1000RR, the parallel-twin of powering the F800S and the company’s transversely-mounted, inline six-cylinder of the K1600 series, but BMW has never abandoned the flat-Twin. Since the introduction of the R32 BMW has continually refined the boxer format over the last nine decades culminating into the BMW R1200 format powering BMW motorcycles today.

The first BMW motorcycle to utilize the new 1170cc Boxer engine is the model that’s no longer produced by BMW, the BMW R1200C. At the height of the cruiser craze in the United States BMW introduced the R1200C to motorcycle enthusiasts in a unique way, as the motorcycle of choice for James Bond in the 1997 movie Tomorrow Never Dies. This uniquely-BMW cruiser with its exposed Telelever front suspension was as polarizing in design as cruiser motorcycles got, especially from a conservative manufacturer such as BMW. The BMW R1200C was discontinued after the 2004 model year.

The next Beemer to receive the 1200 engine was the company’s legendary GS model. The BMW R1200GS was launched in 2004 and has since become BMW’s best selling model. The GS was first introduced in 1980 as the R80G/S and went on to win notoriety in world rally events such as the Dakar. In 2007 Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman rode a pair of BMW R1200GS’s from Scotland to South Africa in the television series Long Way Down.

2012 BMW R1200GS

In 2005 BMW’s flat-Twin touring model received the newest Boxer engine. The RT had been a part of BMW’s Boxer models since 1978, and the BMW R1200RT was the latest model to combine BMW’s traditional engine design with the most advanced technology currently available on a motorcycle. The BMW R1200RT featured touring niceties such as an electrically adjustable windscreen, anti-lock brakes (introduced in 2007 as replacement to the previously used integrated braking system) and BMW’s now signature Telelever front suspension. Optional equipment on the BMW R1200RT included cruise control, heated grips for the rider and heated seats for both rider and passenger, and an audio system. The BMW R1200RT has been a popular model for law enforcement services worldwide.

The BMW R1200R, introduced in 2006, is the no-frills, go anywhere, do anything BMW R1200 model. It was also the last R model to adapt from the previous 1150cc Boxer to the larger displacement 1170cc engine. The naked BMW R1200R is adaptive to what its owner wants it to be. The BMW R1200R can easily be turned into a long-distance traveler with the addition of the optional touring package which adds a windscreen, heated grips, a more comfortable seat, a centerstand and hard luggage. Other optional equipment includes electronic suspension adjustment, ABS and active stability control. The BMW R1200R may be standard, but it’s still a BMW and no Beemer motorcycle owner is ever left wanting.

In 2006 BMW also introduced the sporty BMW R1200S as a replacement for the R1100S. The new BMW R1200S was 22 lbs. lighter than the previous model and more powerful with a claimed 122 hp. In 2006 an R1200S won the eight-hour Moto ST endurance race at Daytona.

BMW R 1200 Reviews

Intermot 2014: BMW R1200RS

The 1976 R 100 RS was the first mass-produced motorcycle in the world to come with a full frame-mounted fairing, a ...

2013 BMW R1200GS Review - Second Ride

We've ridden the 2013 BMW R1200GS in South Africa and through rush-hour traffic in southern California. Regardless of where you ride, this Adventure-Tourer is a remarkable motorcycle.

2013 BMW R1200GS Review - Video

The 2013 R1200GS is a multi-faceted success. Its ground-up redesign means everything has changed. That means there’s a lot of places to potentially go wrong, yet each change to the new GS is a definite upgrade.

2013 BMW R1250GS Preview

Big news is leaking out from Bavaria. The next BMW GS is undergoing final testing, and the successor to the company’s best-selling model, the R1200GS, will be powered by the first liquid-cooled Boxer-Twin engine ever!

BMW R 1200 Comparisons

2012 Adventure-Touring Shootout - Video

BMW’s R1200GS has long been the cock of the walk when it comes to big-bore Adventure-Touring bikes, but it’s now got competition from Yamaha, Triumph, KTM and Moto Guzzi. Have any of these newer models surpassed the mighty GS as the class benchmark?

2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200 vs. BMW R1200GS

BMW’s go-anywhere GS has a 30-year history of leading the now-popular adventure-touring segment. But Ducati’s all-new Multistrada 1200 says “Game on!” to the venerable R1200GS. We pit ‘em together to see if the Duc has what it takes to overrule the GS.

Three Naked Euros

If you have a young child, you know that they have more fun when they are naked. Come to think of it, doesn't everybody have more fun when they're naked? Motorcycling is actually an exception; the rider gets either very cold or very sunburned, plus nude r

2015 BMW R 1200

2014 BMW R 1200

2013 BMW R 1200

2012 BMW R 1200

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Looking for a specific make, model or year of BMW R 1200, and how it compares to the competition? Looking to design your own BMW R 1200? Use our Motorcycle Finder, below, to get everything you need on 2004 to present BMW R 1200s.
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