Jörg Künstle

Driving report BMW R 1200 S

One like none

After the R 1200 GS and the R 1200 RT, BMW has now renovated the sports boxer. Weight down, performance up – this is how the R 1200 S has a significantly more robust profile. And yet it is whole "S." remained.

If you take a closer look, the R 1200 S is the model athlete in the BMW model range.

Because in view of what the Nippon Connection has to offer in the four-cylinder supersport sector, the four-cylinder K 1200 S can at best be seen as a comfortable wing chair, despite its brute performance. The R 1200 S, on the other hand, is completely different: the latest edition of the new sports boxer shines with values ​​that have come close to the two-cylinder top stars in terms of both performance and weight. 122 hp, 213 kilograms with a full tank. With this you can definitely target a Ducati 999 and Aprilia RSV 1000 R..

And who BMW motorcycle boss Dr. Herbert Diess heard the new S at the first public presentation at the Milan trade fair, could assume exactly that. “The letter S traditionally stands for sport – we mean it seriously, ”he said to the specialist audience. The first time you try it out, however, it becomes clear that "sport" in the motorcycle sector at BMW is still more of a popular tradition, despite all efforts to the contrary. The handlebars are comfortable, but not too close to hand. The footrests up, but not too high and more in front than behind. In addition, a comfortable seat pad and a slimmer waist than its predecessor. All of this gives rise to very concentrated, but by no means tense, feelings; it is more popular than top-class sport. We know that differently, especially from Italy.

At least when you brake to the last millimeter and accelerate on the last groove. On the racetrack, with recurring radii and always the same braking points. When BMW-Motorrad says “Sport”, it means something else. The country road, civil life. The daily grappling with constantly changing conditions, always new curves and pitfalls.

The new R 1200 S is better equipped than ever for this task. There are 122 hp at 8250 rpm and especially 112 Newton meters at an early 6800 revs a pound with which one can proliferate. Compared to the GS model, this increase in performance has been achieved through extensive modifications to the cylinder head, in which the camshafts with modified timing and larger valve lifts are now triple bearings and harder valve springs and reinforced rocker arms take the higher speeds into account . Add to that new pistons, which drive the compression to 12.5: 1, 52 instead of 47 throttle valves, 50 manifold – and you have the strongest, highest turning series boxer of all time, which, however, requires an expensive Super Plus due to the high compression. to achieve optimal performance.

Nevertheless: With the reduced weight of the new R 1200 S, this showcase boxer has an easy time of it, even if the presentation motorcycles made available in Cape Town, South Africa, including ABS (1.5 kilograms) and wide six-inch rear wheel rims, according to the official announcement, were a good 217 instead of the advised 213 kilograms. After all, the predecessor, the R 1100 S, weighed in at 243 kilograms when fully tested. And pressed just 97 hp and 94 Newton meters on the roll.

So there is great progress when the sports boxer competes. Mainly because, despite all the striving for performance, he has retained the virtue of pecking away with power even from low speeds. What is new, however, is the second air, which inspires it beyond 6000 revolutions. Then suddenly the smock burns, yes, even the front wheel becomes light in the first two gears. Then the S storms forward with vigor, indeed does top-class sport. At these moments it is a shame that the rev limiter puts an end to driving at 8800 rpm. But because of the far outside cylinder heads and all the resulting handicaps in the design of intake and exhaust ports and valve control, much more is not to be expected anyway. It is also the high engine speeds that, despite the balancer shaft, keep reminding you of the masses and forces at work in the boxer. The handlebar ends, the seat and the footrests are particularly tingling under load. The predecessor already vibrated considerably, and nothing decisive has changed about that.

In contrast to the throttle response, because it has its pitfalls after the performance priest. Not so much in the lively country road operation with gentle and discreet gas application, but when the throttle valves are suddenly set to full power, for example during an overtaking maneuver. In this case, the engine responds hard at first, only to allow itself a moment to think about it before it finally starts. This causes unrest in the chassis, especially since the front of the new 1200 series also dips far, as is typical of Telelever, when there are load changes. It is therefore recommended, as with all BMW boxers, a round, relaxed driving style in order to enjoy the strengths of the idiosyncratic construction and to eliminate its weaknesses.

One of the former is undoubtedly comfort. Even with the optional Öhlins sports suspension, which the presentation motorcycles were equipped with, the R 1200 S is one of those litters among sportspeople that doesn’t make even long country road trips a torture. The fact that the steering head is one degree steeper than before at 66 degrees and the caster has shrunk from 100 to 87 millimeters has improved handiness without compromising stability. Equipped in this way, despite the slightly longer wheelbase (1487 instead of 1478 millimeters), you can swing easily through the South African curve landscape, and thanks to the ample freedom of lean angles, you can quickly make robust bends. If necessary, the braking system (two 320-millimeter discs at the front, four-piston calipers) also decelerates brutally, as befits its standing. In fact, there is no brake booster, since BMW is now leaving this electronic helper out of the sports boxer.

This is good for the metering, although the system is not one of the best in this look. The effect, on the other hand, is beyond any doubt, especially since with activated ABS (optional equipment) you can safely access it heartily.

Should it be the circuit after all, the anti-lock device – for the sporty S without integral function – can simply be switched off at the push of a button. The main occupation of the strongest and sportiest boxer of all time is still the sporty country road ride. And so the R 1200 S is pretty much alone after Suzuki discontinued the SV 1000 and Honda has stopped developing the VTR. Just like none. Unfortunately, this applies in the same way to the price extras such as ABS, Öhlins spring elements and the six-inch wheel soar to over 14,000 euros.

Technical data – BMW R 1200 S.

Engine: air / oil-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke boxer engine, crankshaft lying lengthways, one balance shaft, one high, chain-driven camshaft, oven valves per
Cylinders, bucket tappets, bumpers, rocker arms, wet sump lubrication, injection, Ø 52 mm, regulated catalytic converter, alternator 600 W, battery 12 V / 14 Ah, hydraulic
actuated single-disc dry clutch, six-speed gearbox, gimbal.
Bore x stroke 101.0 x 73.0 mm
Cubic capacity 1170 cm3
Compression ratio 12.5: 1

Rated output 90.0 kW (122 hp) at 8250 rpm

Max. Torque 112 Nm at 6800 rpm

M-chassis: load-bearing motor-gearbox combination, telescopic fork, Ø 41 mm, two-jointed 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, discs-
rear brake, 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

Dimensions and weights: wheelbase 1487 mm, steering head angle 66.0 degrees, caster 87 mm, spring travel f / r 110/120 mm, seat height 830 mm, weight with a full tank 213 kg, load 197 kg, tank capacity / reserve 17.0 / 4.0 liter.

Warranty two years

Colors yellow, red / silver, silver

Price 12,500 euros

Price test motorcycle * 14,300 euros

Additional costs 262 euros

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