Revealed: The First Photo of the BMW R 12 Cruiser

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Bobber variant to join R 12 NineT Roadster

Earlier this year, BMW announced it would release a successor to the NineT dubbed the “R 12 NineT”. Like the original NineT series, we expected BMW to release a number of variants, and now, we have the first photo of a new cruiser variant that will simply be called the “R 12”.

The photo comes to us courtesy of an Australian homologation document for both the R 12 and R 12 NineT. The Australian data corroborates information we’ve uncovered from similar certification data from Switzerland, though it appears the document from Down Under may have mixed up the two bikes.

The Australian filing includes a shot of the R 12’s left side from the rear. The photograph is in a very small resolution, so we enlarged it and added some slight sharpening to bring out a bit of detail. Most of the motorcycle looks similar to the R 12 NineT, but with a few notable differences.

The most obvious changes are the bobbed cruiser-style rear fender and solo saddle, which distinguishes the R 12 from the NineT model. The R 12 NineT (pictured below) had a single seat and a covered tail that extended the line of the bottom of the fuel tank. The R 12 also sports a cast five-spoke rear wheel instead of the wire-spoke wheel of the R 12 NineT.

As we mentioned, the Australian data appears to have crossed up some of the data between the R 12 and R 12 NineT. It lists the R 12 as having 17 inch wheels and the R 12 NineT as having a 19-inch front wheel and a 16-inch rear wheel, but the Swiss information has it the other way around, and the official photos of the NineT model clearly show 17-inch tires front and back. We’re going to assume the Australian document is in error and expect it will be corrected at some point, so we will turn our attention to the specifications revealed in the Swiss filings.

The Swiss data confirms both models will share the same 1,170 cc Boxer engine, but with slight differences in tuning. It lists the R 12 NineT as producing 107.3 hp at 7,000 rpm and 84.8 lb-ft. at 6,500 rpm. The R 12, however, produces slightly less power, with the data listing a peak output of 93.9 hp at 6,500 rpm and 81.1 lb-ft. at 6,000 rpm. Interestingly, the R 12 actually claims a higher power output than the R 18, which is certified as producing 89.9 hp at 4,750 rpm, though the larger bike does produce significantly more torque, with a certified output of 116.5 lb-ft. at 3,000 rpm.

Both the R 12 and R 12 NineT are certified to have the same 59.8-inch wheelbase, but the R 12 is slightly longer, at 86.6 inches compared to the 83.9-inch R 12 NineT. The R 12 is also listed as being taller than the R 12 NineT, and from the looks of the photos, we suspect the cruiser version has higher handlebars.

With its large rear fender, it’s no surprise the R 12 will be heavier than the R 12 NineT, with both the Swiss and Australian data listing the cruiser as being 15.4 pounds heavier than the roadster. Based on the tare masses, we expect the R 12 NineT to have a claimed curb weight of 485 pounds while the R 12 should come in around 500 pounds.

We don’t know exactly when BMW will announce full details of either model; the company has only said more information on the R 12 NineT will be revealed in the second half of the year. BMW is now teasing an announcement for the M 1000 XR for Oct. 26, so we expect a bit of a grace period before BMW starts ramping up for an R 12 model launch.

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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