BMW K1100RS And K1200RS Go Toe to Toe

We were wrong on all counts

story by Billy Bartels, Created Mar. 16, 1997
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We won't lie, we were never huge fans of the K-Series BMWs. They were buzzy, slow, expensive, heavy. And downright automotive. We approached the launch of the K1200RS with some trepidation, thinking BMW was introducing a bigger-bore, still-buzzy sportbike to replace their aging sport-tourer, the K1100RS.

We were wrong on all counts.

To give a favorable basis for comparison they had a K1100RS on hand, so back-to-back impressions could be had. The old RS was what we expected from our experiences with the K1100LT. It's not slow per se (see top photo), but it certainly isn't sportbike fast. The steering is uncertain, and the center of gravity is high. A good touring bike, albeit awkward, but capable with some turns thrown in. Still, we expect more for $15,590. Enter the dragon. Let's start by saying this nearly full-fledged (BMW improved everything but weight) sportbike is every bit the tourer the old RS is and more. With better ergonomics, improved wind protection (some would say too much), and monstrous torque, the K1200RS delivers the goods for only $400 more.

In order to assist dealers in selling the remaining K1100RS stock, BMW is offering 2.9 percent financing. "Why," you ask, "would I buy a K1100RS after seeing what a great bike the K1200RS is?" Well, if you're lucky you might still be able to get one. According to BMW, they already have deposits on 500 of the 800 K1200's they are planning to bring in to the U.S., and they're going fast...

 

K1100RS looking a little long in the tooth Clearly, new K12 gets the nod for styling
 Old steel-tube frame was lighter and cheaper, due to its use of engine as a stressed member New, heavier aluminum frame kills the K-Bike buzz by isolating its engine
 The K11's blunt tail had no surface for mounting luggage.  New K12 tail section with optional integrated luggage rack/saddlebag support
 Automotive style front end of the K11, with cool integrated turn signals/mirrors  K12's wind tunnel tested fairing with ram-air, turn signal/hand extensions, and a cool headlamp that looks like dual lights when turned on
 Opaque windshield of K1100RS had a baffle at the top to direct air where you wanted it. Efficient cockpit of the K11 covers all of the basics with a few extras like gear selection and clock
 K12 cockpit is similarly equipped but much more stylish  

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