Top test BMW R 1200 R


Top test BMW R 1200 R

Top test BMW R 1200 R

Double whopper

Classic, but modern. Cruise casually or alternatively drive sportily? Two hearts beat in the new BMW R 1200 R..

It no longer whines or buzzes. Dead silence. And that with a current boxer BMW with the ignition switched on and the brake lever pulled! The humming noise, caused by the electric brake booster, which attracted large numbers of insects willing to mate and irritated BMW newbies, has disappeared. The R. The 1200 R is the first BMW to be equipped with a new partially integral ABS. From now on it will be used in all K and R models with the exception of the R 1200 S and K 1200 LT (see also interview on page 20). The new ABS should be less susceptible, simpler and easier to dose than the previous version…

We will see. But first the new roadster has to get moving. At the push of a button it comes to life and lets the two pistons tinkle acoustically slightly asynchronously in their air-cooled housing, the first gear almost engages with a gentle, uncharacteristic BMW "Click" one. The hydraulic clutch is easy to adjust, but the operating force could be a little less. The drive is an old friend. In almost the same configuration, it also accelerates the Bavarian Megatourer R 1200 RT. The manufacturer names the roadster’s maximum output of 109 hp at 7500 rpm and 115 Newton meters of torque at 6000 tours. These values ​​are almost identical to those of the MOTORRAD test bench. Whereby the specified power is applied 100 revolutions later, the torque of the test machine was measured with 112 Newton meters at 6500 / min. So then: release the clutch and go.

It sits casually. But also hard in the long run. After three days with an average of eight hours of driving time, the test driver wanted a cozy sheepskin. There is little space for the front passenger, and his knee angle is not as relaxed as one is used to with a BMW. The bench is optionally available in three versions and has heights of 770, 800 and 830 millimeters. It is narrowly contoured in the front part and ends neatly with the side recesses of the steel tank. This enables a large tank bag to be attached and allows even long-legged people to have a good grip on the motorcycle. In contrast to its predecessor, the R 1150 R, in which two oil coolers placed in front of the tank widened the overall width a little, only one oil cooler is now located directly in front of the engine. At the same time, the Munich-based company reduced the tank volume from 20.4 to 18 liters. These measures make the new R 1200 R appear less brawny and convey more dynamism just visually.

An impression that is confirmed when driving. In no time at all, the six snappy gears are quilted. With a little acceleration, the 1200 R runs into the limiter in last gear at 7900 rpm: a maximum of 218 km / h is possible. That is three km / h faster than the manufacturer states. And around 15 slower than the speedometer leads the driver to believe. The acceleration is respectable: It only takes 3.4 seconds from zero to 100 and 200 km / h after 14 seconds. Values ​​that easily overshadow their predecessor. And sister R 1200 RT too. Because in contrast to the generously dimensioned, 284 kilogram RT in the Roadster, the same drive only needs to accelerate its 232. In addition, the secondary gear ratio is shorter at 2.75 to 2.62 (RT). In short: it goes off.

And differently than the dips in the performance curve of the MOTORRAD test bench suggest. The only drawbacks of the Euro 3 boxer: slight constant jerking and a delayed throttle response in the lower partial load range. Noticeable and annoying, especially on narrow, unfamiliar terrain, in the rain or in city traffic. On the other hand, these bad habits are less relevant on good-mood tours on winding country roads. And that’s what roadsters are all about, right??

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Top test BMW R 1200 R

Top test BMW R 1200 R
Double whopper

The drive


The R hangs well on the gas.

Except for the delay described, the R 1200 R hangs wonderfully on the gas. Those who love it very casual can purr through the area with 2000 tours. If the switch is made, the boxer pulls hard and without choking, even from the deepest cellar. The boxer feeling that has been known since ancient times comes across best between relaxed 2500 and 4000 tours. The mass forces of the side romper largely balance each other out, the bubbling from the low-lying, chrome-plated muffler massages the hearing. In the middle speed range he looks very relaxed, for an effective sprint he would prefer to be shifted down a gear.

If you do it a favor and then increase the speed to at least 5500 tours, the 1200 roadster lets the pig out. Sorry, but the expression is correct. It’s kind of like pouring oil on the fire. This vehement propulsion actually holds up until the rev limiter puts a stop to it at 7900 rpm. The downside of the desire to turn: From 5000 tours, vibrations set in despite the balance shaft. But these revolutions correspond to speeds above a travel-friendly 130 to 150 km / h. And that makes it uncomfortable on a naked bike anyway. The windshield mounted on the test motorcycle is nicely designed and actually relieves the upper body a little of the wind, but unfortunately it causes more or less turbulence in the helmet area depending on the size of the rider. An optionally offered higher touring windshield should work better. Which, as already mentioned, is also promised for the new ABS.

MOTORRAD top test course, July 13, 2006. No breeze, 32 degrees, slightly cloudy. Tester Werner sweats in black leather clothes "Mini" Koch on the R 1200 R. He accelerates in a pylon lane, sweeps through the light barrier at around 100 km / h and brakes hard. The BMW is after 40.9 meters. This corresponds to an average deceleration of 9.4 m / s². No better or much worse than with the old BMW ABS. Nevertheless, Mini is satisfied: The violent pulsation in the handbrake lever has disappeared, the control intervals of the new ABS system are finer? As he says, the motorcycle doesn’t do anything when driving over hard steps or bumps, "Kangaroo jumps" more. Those sudden, hard forward movements, triggered by rough control behavior and early onset of rollover detection.

As with the use of the CAN bus system, in which the entire electrical lifeline of the vehicle consists practically only of one cable core, BMW also uses technology for ABS that has proven itself in automotive engineering. Instead of the previous back pressure method, the plunger principle, the new ABS works with electrohydraulic control valves. The brake pressure is transmitted directly to the corresponding brake via an open inlet valve. If a wheel locks, the inlet valve is closed and an outlet valve connected in parallel to the wheel brake circuit is opened briefly. This releases brake fluid into a reservoir, the brake pressure is reduced until the wheel turns again. The manufacturer of the new ABS is Continental-Teves instead of the previous FTE. The weight of the control unit was reduced from 4.35 to 2.3 kilograms.

Braking and driving impression


The R 1200 R scores over its predecessor.

The R 1200 R is offered with a partially integral ABS. When the handbrake lever is operated, the rear is also delayed. Pressing the foot brake pedal only activates the rear brake. While the brake pressure for the front wheel is built up hydraulically via the pull on the hand brake lever, an electronically controlled hydraulic pump generates the necessary brake pressure for the rear wheel. In addition, the system recognizes the load condition of the motorcycle and transfers more braking force to the rear wheel if necessary. By using the control valves, it is also possible to implement a drive slip control (ASC). The ASC system is said to be mature and available from 2007.

On the MOTORRAD test round, the new ABS impressed with its low actuation force and sensitive control behavior. The brake metering is improved compared to the previous system, although not yet optimal. Because in the first quarter of the lever travel, the braking effect is barely noticeable despite the pressure point, and the actuation is slightly pasty. Only then does it rise linearly, and towards the end the pads literally claw into the front 320 mm discs.

The handling of the new roadster is almost perfect. The R steers in precisely, stays on the ideal line as if glued on and is extremely handy. The first tires, Continental Road Attack, harmonize perfectly with the new R. Both grip, self-damping and neutrality of the rubber are convincing. The machine is stable and still acts like an oversized mock-up. The chassis also meets most requirements and does not show any weaknesses in normal country road use. Only in the fast top test course, tester Koch complained about the shock absorber: Both the compression stage and the spring could be designed tighter? the stern began to pump heavily, the strut went to block. Nevertheless: In all test disciplines, the 1200 trumped its predecessor. The improved dynamics, however, are not only due to the increased engine output, but also to the chassis: Compared to the 1150, the wheelbase of the new model has increased by eight millimeters to 1.495 meters. At the same time, the caster was reduced by six millimeters to 119 millimeters and the combat weight was reduced by a full 20 kilograms while at the same time the payload was increased: the R 1200 R is allowed to saddle up 218 kilograms. Remarkable: Despite the significantly higher output, the consumption is almost identical to that of the R 1150 R: The injection nozzles only atomize 4.8 liters of Super Plus on a swiftly driven 100 kilometers of country road and enable a range of 375 kilometers. Refueling breaks are also very convenient for the passenger. After all, it’s not just the hum of the brake booster that has disappeared. There is not much left of the comfort experience of older BMWs for the pillion passenger either.



The R tank is easy to overfill.

The new R could become a full family member. Because the 60-year-old father feels just as comfortable on it as his 20-year-old offspring. Thanks to the classic-modern design, both can be seen with their friends with the 1200 without being laughed at. The two ghosts of the boxer also allow the sporty or tourist gait.

  • Official market launch in mid-September 2006
  • ASC traction control available from January 2007
  • Electronic tire pressure control system RDC available from January 2007


  • Cranked tire valves ?? good access
  • Can also be operated with 95-octane super (very little loss of performance) and in an emergency even with regular petrol
  • Immobilizer as standard
  • Case holder very filigree and well integrated


  • Overfuel easily possible
  • Exhaust slap in push mode
  • Vibrate mirror ?? Limited visibility
  • The bench is no longer height adjustable

Suspension strut adjustment

  • Normal operation: spring base, four rings visible, rebound stage 1 ¼ turns open
  • Sporty driving or with a pillion passenger: spring base, a ring visible, rebound ½ turn open

Interview with Jurgen Stoffregen (BMW)


J. Stoffregen.

The introduction of the new ABS takes place due to the criticism of the previous system?

No. We follow technological developments and bring a new generation of ABS around every five to six years. The development of the new integral ABS started at the beginning of 2003.

Why does the new ABS do without a brake booster??

The brake booster was introduced in the previous system, among other things, to reduce the operating forces. Back then, the weight of our touring motorcycles was significantly higher than it is today. Our motorcycles have become lighter; we now only see the need for additional brake booster with the heavyweight K 1200 LT, which retains the previous system. In addition, due to the technological advances in valve systems, functional scopes and control convenience can be achieved today that could not be achieved with these systems in the past.

What are the advantages of the new ABS compared to its predecessor?

The control quality and functionality have been further improved, and weight and power consumption have been reduced. The construction volume of the pressure modulator is smaller, so it requires less space in the motorcycle. The additional function ASC is taken into account in the system layout, but the system as a whole is structured more simply, despite the higher functionality.

Why is the ASC traction control only available for touring-oriented models of the Boxer and K series, but not for the sporty and powerful models K 1200 R, K 1200 S and R 1200 S.?

In this first expansion stage, the ASC is initially an assistance system that supports the driver when accelerating on a slippery road surface. In our opinion, this fits very well with touring-oriented motorcycles. If the system meets with a high response, we can imagine expanding the range of applications and also offering an ASC for sports motorcycles.

Would ASC be possible in all models in which the new ABS will be used?

Basically and in terms of the system components, yes.

The ASC system will not go into series production until 2007. Can models built between September 2006 and 2007 be retrofitted with it?

This is not currently planned.

At ASC, you are talking about a first step in a series of driver assistance functions. More will follow?

That also depends on the customers. The acceptance of such systems is very important to us. Not everything that is technically feasible is also offered. But if the ASC is well received, we could imagine even more in terms of chassis and vehicle dynamics control.

MOTORCYCLE measurements

Top speed * 215 km / h

0 100 km / h 3.4 sec
0 ?? 140 km / h 5.7 sec
0 200 km / h 14.0 sec

60 ?? 100 km / h 4.3 sec
100 ?? 140 km / h 4.3 sec
140 180 km / h 5.7 sec

Speedometer deviation
Effective (display 50/100) 48/94 km / h

Tachometer deviation
Display red area 8000 / min
Effective 7900 rpm

Consumption in the test
at 130 km / h 4.6 l / 100 km
Country road 4.8 l / 100 km
Theor. Range 375 km
Fuel type Super Plus

mass and weight
L / W / H 2180/870/1340 mm
Seat height ** 820 mm
Handlebar height 1095 mm
Turning circle 5530 mm
Weight with a full tank 232 kg
Payload 218 kg
Wheel load distribution v / h 50/50%

Driving dynamics 1
Brake measurement
Braking distance from 100 km / h 40.9 meters
Average deceleration 9.4 m / s²
Comments: very fine ABS control behavior, which only triggers minimal pitching movements on the chassis, but clearly works at the slip limit due to the aggressive set-up and thus delivers good deceleration values.
The bottom line is that it is much more stable and safer than all previous BMW ABS.

Handling course I (fast slalom)
Lap time 20.6 sec
vmax at the measuring point 104.3 km / h
Comments: very little steering force required when changing slopes, which suggests subjectively good handling. Unfortunately, even with a high spring preload, the new R 1200 R springs to the stop at the rear, which leads to unrest in the chassis and a somewhat ruined line. At the turning point, the BMW takes the slightly larger radius despite the nimble steering. Great: the full, spontaneous and yet smooth engine start from low and medium speeds.

Handling course II2 (slow slalom)
Comments: good handiness and steering precision, paired with the neutral and grippy Conti tires, could inspire, if only it weren’t for the comfortable coordination of spring and compression damping, which causes the rear to deflect too far when it is jagged.

Orbit ø 46 meters
Lap time 10.7 sec
vmax at the measuring point 52.2 km / h
Comments: up to 52 km / h cornering speed good stability and almost force-neutral steering behavior. If it gets faster, the R 1200 R pushes for the wide curve, wobbles off the track with the transverse grooves in an inclined position and visibly loses stability, especially when footrest nipples or cylinder head covers are attached.

Technical data – BMW R 1200 R (top test)

Engine: air / oil-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke boxer engine, a balance shaft, one high-lying, chain-driven camshaft, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, bumpers, rocker arms, wet sump lubrication, injection, ø 47 mm, regulated catalytic converter, 600 W alternator, battery 12 V / 14 Ah, hydraulically operated single-plate dry clutch, six-speed gearbox, cardan.
Bore x stroke 101.0 x 73.0 mm
Cubic capacity 1170 cm3
Compression ratio 12.0: 1
rated capacity
80.0 kW (109 PS) at 7500 rpm
Max. Torque 115 Nm at 6000 rpm
Pollutant values ​​(homologation) in g / km
Euro 3 CO 0.455 / HC 0.135 / NOx 0.027

Chassis: load-bearing engine-gearbox combination, telescopic fork guided by trailing arm,
ø 35 mm, steering damper, two-joint single-sided swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut, directly hinged, adjustable spring base and rebound damping, double disc brake at the front, ø 320 mm, four-piston fixed calipers, disc brake at the rear, ø 265 mm, double-piston floating caliper.
Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 5.50 x 17
Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 180/55 ZR 17
Tires in the test
Continental Road Attack, “Z”, “C”

Dimensions and weights: wheelbase 1495 mm, steering head angle 62.9 degrees, caster 119 mm, spring travel f / h 120/140 mm, permissible total weight 450 kg, tank capacity / reserve 18.0 / 3.0 liters.

Service data
Service intervals every 10000 km
Oil and filter change every 10000 km / 4.0 l
Engine oil 20W50
Front fork oil SAE10
Idle speed 1100 +/- 50 / min
Tire pressure solo (with pillion passenger)
front / rear 2.2 / 2.5 (2.5 / 2.9)

Warranty two years
Colors black, light gray, dark gray
Price 11200 euros
Price test motorcycle *** 12,640 euros
Additional costs 262 euros

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