2005 BMW K 1200 S

The '05 K1200S: Revolutionary!

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As it happened in front of the cameras, with the K1200S, the more you push it, the more it likes it. On long 80-90 mph sweepers, it loves crouching at high lean angles, safe and steady while you slowly roll on the throttle towards the exit. The engine responds lively in the mid range, there's a feeling of utter control and the Duolever isn't fazed by late braking antics. It dives a bit, giving "telescopic" like feedback, yet overall bike stance is maintained without any nasty weight transfers. My guess is that the low CG is the reason for the relaxed reaction to braking inputs. Yes, it also slows the bike down in fast esses, but the excellent longitudinal stability gives you peace of mind when you really start pushing. One problem did surface when trying hard and it was a slow to shift gearbox. The problem was some clunking accompanying downshifts. Pity, because other than that, gear lever operation was rather slick.

It's time to head back and I can revel in 70 miles of pure Autobahn adrenaline until I get to Munich's airport. The highway that leads from the Alps to Munich has some proper fast sweepers and throwing the K1200S into them at 120+ is pure joy. While passing cars crawling along in the middle lane through fast right-handers, I don't hesitate to place the K on the outside lane while the Armco flies close. The front end really gives you the feeling that you could thread the K into a needle's eye at these speeds.     As the landscape flattens, there are no more sweepers and in the boredom of droning-along, you notice that at certain throttle openings and gears, a rather noticeable vibration is transmitted through the footpegs and seat. This is strange, because the K has a balance shaft and it's intended as a long range BMW. This spoiled the hypersonic cruising experience for me. Another gremlin surfaced, as the traffic starts to clog: Rather erratic low-rpm, low-speed throttle response. At very low, steady crawling speeds, the engine seems to "hunt". It makes you wonder if BMW can really get away with not using a double butterfly system like the big four products use in their intakes. Upon returning the bikes, BMW technicians debriefed us and confessed to be working on the vibration problems (seemingly shaft drive related) and mentioned that the fuel injection maps aren't final.

Talking about low speed issues, one big question remains open after a day in the K1200S' company. Do to a lack of time; we did not have the chance to try the thing on the really twisty mountain passes that are typical of the Alps. Will this excellent package still be as exiting, in slow hairpins and through wild direction changes? We'll have to wait for a more thorough road test in a variety of environments, in order to cast a verdict on this issue.

Even after a day with the K, I wasn't able to fall in love with its looks. So what? The K1200S' blend of supersport and touring capabilities fits my current riding profile so well that I wouldn't hesitate to live with it for a few years. This new concept of "Elegant Hypersport" is not casual. I can foresee typical BMW owners that love ultra-comfy tools but also crave some mad performance making queues in dealerships. On the other hand, I can foresee supersport riders that are a bit fed up with the extreme discomfort of recent bikes being happy to move over to something slightly less focused without giving up on excitement. This is of course an extremely European blend, tailor made for no limits Autobahns, Autostradas and for the fast and flowing roads in Provance or Spain. However, that hasn't deterred many Americans from buying Super Blackbirds and ZX-12Rs, has it?

Watch out Japan!The K1200S brings a philosophical shift to BMW. ÊMunich's very special take on sport bikes, reveals their desire not to entrench themselves in esoteric niches and to compete head on with the Japanese. If my eyes don't deceive me, this mill can also be equipped with chain drive. Considering how well the K1200S version works, the K1200RR should be a real belter..... Watch out Japan.

 





** SPECS PROVIDED BY BMW **

Engine Type

4-cyl - 4 stroke inline 4

Displacement

1157 cc

Claimed Horsepower

167 bhp @ 10,250 rpm

Claimed Torque

96 lb-ft @ 8,250 rpm

Gears

6

Valves

Dohc, 4 valve

Cooling system

Water

Secondary drive

Shaft

Frame

Aluminum frame

Front suspension

Double longitudinal link (Duolever)

Front travel

4.5 inches

Rear suspension

EVO-Paralever

Rear travel

5.3 inches

Brake system

Partial integral ABS

Front brakes

4-piston 4-cyl fixed caliper

Front discs

2 x 12.6 inches

Rear brakes

2-cyl fist caliper

Rear disc

10.4 inches

Actuation

Hydraulic, DOT 4 fluid type

Front wheel

3.50 x 17 cast alloy, five, double-spoke

Rear wheel

5.50 x 17 cast alloy, five, double-spoke

Front tire

Metzeler Sportec-M1 120/70 ZR 17

Bridgestone BT 014F 120/70 ZR 17

Rear tire

Metzler Sportec-M1 190/50 ZR 17

Bridgestone BT 014R 190/50 ZR 17

Overall length

7.26 feet

Overall width

33.8 inches

Wheelbase

61.9 inches

Ground clearance

4.65 inches

Seat height

32.3 inches/31.1 inches

Steering angle

60.6 degrees

Front wheel trail

4.9 inches

Weight - Dry

515 lbs.

Load Capacity

448 lbs.

Maximum load

992 lbs. GVWR

Fuel tank capacity

5.0 gallons

Theoretical range before refueling (75 mph)

218 miles

Colors

Granite gray metallic

Indigo blue metallic

Indigo blue metallic / alpine white

Sun yellow / white aluminum metallic / dark graphit metallic

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