BMW R1200

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.

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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.

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