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BMW K 1200 S against Honda CBR 1100 XX, Kawasaki ZX-12R and Suzuki Hayabusa

The strongest temptation

Ever since BMW motorcycles have existed, the K 1200 S, a motorcycle with 168 hp and full of innovation, has been the strongest temptation. She arouses the irresistible urge to get to grips with the established Japanese competition.

For an initial determination of your position.

Warning, this is not a comparison test. For that was the time that the
MOTORRAD testers were able to spend with the K 1200 S, unfortunately far too little. But this story is always exciting, because it offers much more than a first driving report can provide. MOTORRAD has already determined the acceleration and pulling power values ​​of the K 1200 S and is only a few hours, but at least in direct comparison with the
ridden Japanese motorcycles that
the new BMW has precisely in its sights: Honda CBR 1100 XX, Kawasaki ZX-12R and Suzuki Hayabusa.
The first question that arises in connection with the K 1200 S is the engine. Does it have the performance that BMW claims, how does it develop it, how is it drivable? Even a quick look at the measured values ​​gives the K’s driving dynamics very good marks. Accelerated up to 140 km / h and a little more
it is only three tenths of a second slower than the Hayabusa, the fastest in its class, and the BMW then loses a second up to 200 km / h.
The best thing about it: Despite all the force of acceleration, the new K feels more comfortable
unspectacular, remains exemplary driving-
bar. Even if it tears properly at 8000 rpm. How close the motorcycles are
Driving along the physical limit is demonstrated by a comparison with the values ​​of the much lighter and shorter super athlete Kawasaki ZX-10R. Because of the acute tendency to rollover, it even accelerates a blink slower than the best big bikes and can only use its better power-to-weight ratio to catch up from 150.
The pull-through measurement from 60 km / h in sixth gear shows practically the same picture as when accelerating through the gears from standstill: Up to 140 the BMW is practically on par, from then up to 180 km / h it loses half a second on the ZX -12R as best of the quartet. It doesn’t outstrip the competition, but the message is clear: I’ll be there and keep up, you don’t sink me as easily as a 130 hp K 1200 RS or GT weighing over 290 kilograms.
The performance of the K-1200 engine becomes even more remarkable when you can experience it not just in numbers, but in real life and in combination with its excellent running smoothness. Although
Like the BMW, the Honda and Suzuki are each equipped with two balance shafts
are, the Bavarian vibrates most of all
least, the Kawasaki the most powerful without a balance shaft.
The K 1200 is roughly on par with the Hayabusa in terms of the flexibility of load changes. Both of them really have what it takes to switch from pushing to load operation in the middle of the curve, as if their throttle handles were always being operated by sensitive precision mechanic hands. The ZX-12R with the latest revision
for the 2004 model year it creates smoother transitions than before, but the load changes are still a bit rougher in direct comparison. The least popular here is the CBR 1100 XX. Mixture preparation and play in the drive train cause explosive blows if one does not work very concentrated on the throttle grip. If Honda doesn’t bring a successor to the double X, at least a targeted revision would be urgently needed.
On the other hand, the Honda likes the shiftability of the gearbox, which, like the Suzuki gearbox, works with dabbed gear changes. The BMW and the Kawasaki require more hearty kicks, which are then accompanied by robust switching noises. But that is also the only downer that the power transmission of the BMW mixes into the driving experience, because the cardan drive does its job unobtrusively, dispensing with rough load change noises and hearty cardan torques. Better can hardly be said about a shaft drive compared to the more elastic chain drives.
That in this text the focus was first on the new BMW engine and then on other aspects of the
K-1200 driving, corresponds to the actual driving impressions. Even more: with every kilometer it becomes clearer that, contrary to original expectations, the four-cylinder is not the most fascinating thing about this motorcycle. It is an essential part of the whole system, of course it alone brings that
K 1200 S at eye level with the three Japanese women, okay, but the breakthrough in the favor of all those who test drive it will succeed because of other qualities. A bold claim? Not at all, but at the latest after a half-hour drive, a definite thing.
Would you like some examples? It starts with maneuvering and getting on. The low center of gravity, which is praised in the press release and mainly results from the extreme forward inclination of the engine, proves to be a real advantage. Because the tank is full
Weighing 248 kilograms, the K 1200 S can be more confidently and less shakily
Balancing pushing from the parking lot than the roughly equal competition. And the seating position behind the narrow tank flanks with a comfortable height
lying halves of the handlebars immediately appeals to you. Except for the Honda, the other motorcycles require more getting used to the crouched position and stretch the riders more over tea long tanks.
Ace another example, let’s take the opposite pole to motor power, the brakes. Here, the new K offers a further developed, semi-integral system with brake booster as standard, which can be dosed much better than the previous one during normal deceleration and destroys speed when braking hard, as if a jet with a braking parachute and catch hook were landing on an aircraft carrier. Without the risk of blocking, so for those who have internalized it, without psychological stress. The comparison with the catch hook is
therefore a fitting one, because thanks to its long wheelbase and the anti-dive effect of its front suspension, the BMW actually remains as stable as if it were pulled down at the rear. It is quite possible that some drivers do not even come close to exhausting the braking potential of the BMW, because they simply do not think it is possible.
As far as the pure braking effect is concerned, the Honda is enough at best
their composite braking system CBS. However, on winding roads you succeed
the combination of front with rear or rear with front brakes is not as elegant as the BMW. If you only operate the lever at the front, it brakes much more strongly at the rear, which in connection with downshifting, engaging and steering
unintentional locking of the rear wheel. If you press the footbrake lightly in curves, the Honda causes an unnecessary righting moment via the front wheel which is forcibly delayed. You are better served on the BMW with the independent rear brake.
The brake system of the Kawasaki with the radially screwed calipers also decelerates excellently, but in terms of braking stability it is noticeable that the ZX-12R is the shortest motorcycle in this group of four. Despite the hard suspension fork, it is most likely to struggle with a rising rear wheel. And the brakes of the Suzuki are simply too blunt. What is apparently supposed to prevent the locking during panic braking, in the extreme leads to the fact that you pull harder and harder on the lever because of the slow build-up of the delay until the front wheel locks.
With the chassis, the BMW really takes off. Compared to its conservative competition, it burns a real one here
Fireworks of new ideas. Sure, there is also a lot that is new in the engine. But while a revolutionary oil or cooling circuit does not have a direct effect on the driving experience, the Munich motorcycle builders’ enthusiasm for innovation in terms of chassis technology
an experience that gets under your skin immediately. First of all, there is the front wheel guidance and suspension thanks to a double longitudinal link construction. Their advantages consist in the already mentioned braking compensation, extremely sensitive response behavior and, above all, in the fact that the chassis geometry changes only minimally during compression and rebound, i.e. also during acceleration and braking. What about the front wheel guidance in the K 1200 S, denoted by this Duolever?
Comfort and mechanical grip is generated at the same time is brilliant. With their tight coordination, the ZX-12R and the Hayabusa can always be used for
give the sporty ride the desired crystal-clear feedback, especially from the front wheel. But on roads that are a bit bumpy, this interpretation works
Uncomfortable around. The somewhat softer
tuned, also finely balanced Honda covers this area better. All three, however, will find their master in the new BMW, which simply does one thing and won’t leave the other.
This applies in this clarity to a machine that was equipped with the new electronic suspension adjustment (ESA), which costs 650 euros extra. The driver can even use it while driving
Adapt the coordination of the spring elements to changing track conditions. And not individually in every function, which can lead to utter chaos
would, but among the bold ones
General terms comfort, normal and sport.
It will be the same in about 1.2 seconds
the whole range ?? Front rebound, rear compression and rebound ?? suddenly adjusted what works best. The Comfort and Normal settings are ideal for country roads; the sporty one
The variant is less cheap there, although it is still easy to drive.
If necessary, the spring preload at the front and rear can be set precisely to different load conditions before driving, and this also worked splendidly. As a comparison drive with a pillion showed, the BMW is much higher in the two-person trim than in the normal position, remains
therefore more agile and precise. And it holds the tight line in an exemplary manner when accelerating in an inclined position. Anyway, the K 1200 S can be so dynamic with a pillion passenger
move like no other motorcycle. How does the new K compare with the Standard-
Spring elements makes the front not at all and rear in the spring base and rebound
are variable remains to be seen. In any case, the ESA is convincing.
Anyone who carefully reads the chassis geometry data will register a strangely flat steering head angle, which suggests that the K 1200 S is driving like the Japanese
to catch. The caster and, as already mentioned, the wheelbase are also quite long. Here, of course, there is no evidence of unwieldiness, but rather the successful endeavor to adapt the front wheel suspension invented by the Englishman Norman Hossack for this motorcycle class and for large-scale production. You really can’t call the BMW unwieldy-
nen. Even if it does not change lean angles as agile as the Honda,
which benefits from the moderate width of its 180 rear drawn, the K folds on the level of the sporty
ZX-12R around winding alternating curves.
On the autobahn, the BMW finally proves that it is actually on the more manageable side of the spectrum. Near the measured top speed of 278 km / h ?? then the K 1200 S rushes into the rev limiter ?? it shows tangible pendulum movements. They cannot be compared with the Kawasaki, which already fluctuates significantly from a speedometer of 270. But
Compared to the Suzuki, which moves completely unmoved over its entire speed spectrum, and even with the Honda, the K 1200 S already has a lot to do with the steering.
In any case, it is more sensitive to keep a high average speed on stretches of the Autobahn by taking advantage of other virtues
to reach. A very good windbreak, for example, that the BMW can offer. The best in the field. The Kawasaki and Honda force their riders further down onto the tank to shield them. Not to mention the Suzuki, behind its flat, short fairing
the current falls so violently that the pilot is shaken even in an extremely crouched position. In addition, a consumption-optimized driving style is recommended, as otherwise the not overly large 19-liter tank will be emptied too quickly and the gain in speed will be eaten up by the refueling breaks. Because the basal fuel metabolism is the same with the new BMW as with the other big ones
Bikes too, rather high up. In any case, it tends to be higher than the exemplary frugal Hayabusa.

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BMW K 1200 S against Honda CBR 1100 XX, Kawasaki ZX-12R and Suzuki Hayabusa
The strongest temptation

Technical specifications

Water-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, two balance shafts, two overhead camshafts each driven by gears and a chain, four valves per cylinder, rocker arm, dry sump lubrication, injection, Ø 46 mm, regulated catalytic converter , 580 W alternator, 12 V / 14 Ah battery,
hydraulically operated multi-plate oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, cardan shaft.
Boron x stroke 79.0 x 59.0 mm
Cubic capacity 1157 cm3
Compression ratio 13: 1
Rated output 123 kW (167 hp) at 10250 rpm
Max. Torque 130 Nm at 8250 rpm
Pollutant values ​​(homologation) in g / km
CO 0.313 / HC 0.078 / NOx 0.092

landing gear
Bridge frame made of aluminum, double longitudinal control arm made of aluminum, two-jointed single-sided swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base, rebound damping, double disc brake at the front,
Ø 320 mm, four-piston fixed calipers, rear disc brake, Ø 265 mm, double-piston floating caliper.
Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 6.00 x 17
Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 190/50 ZR 17
Metzeler Sportec M-1 tires
mass and weight
Wheelbase 1571 mm, steering head angle 60.6 degrees, caster 112 mm, spring travel f / h 115/135 mm, weight with a full tank of 248 kg, payload 202 kg, tank capacity 19 liters.

Two year guarantee
Service intervals every 10,000 km
Colors blue, gray, yellow / aluminum /
Graphite metallic, white / blue metallic
Price 14850 euros
Price test motorcycle ** 16,140 euros
Additional costs n.a..

Conclusion: BMW K 1200 S.

Bmw k 1200 s No test result, but a clear trend: the BMW will be a tough nut to crack for its competitors. With a multitude of successful innovations, it leads the touring athlete class far beyond previous limits.

Conclusion: Honda CBR 1000 XX

honda cbr 1000 xx Still a very good motorcycle. It is all the more incomprehensible that the XX urgently needed model update is denied. More torque, smoother load changes and an ABS ?? that would be it.

Conclusion: Kawasaki ZX-12R

kawasaki zx-12r The Kawasaki is the sportiest of the four and
consistently lives out this character. A smoother gearbox, less fuel consumption and less tendency to swing would do her good.

Conclusion: Suzuki Hayabusa

suzuki hayabusa A stable, relaxed and powerful motorcycle, the Hayabusa. A personality that deserves all respect as well as a more comfortable seating position, better wind protection and snappy brakes. Also with ABS.

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