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Home » BMW Motorcycle, motorcycle

BMW K1200R 2006

Submitted by on March 29, 2012 – 11:19 pmNo Comment

“How great would it be”, you’ve all wondered “if only we could have a motorcycle with superbike motor and handling, except without the big fairing and windscreen and with a more comfortable seating position?” In the past, big standards from the major manufacturers have always been heavier, slower and softer handling than the bikes the motors were poached from. The Honda 919, for example, uses the motor from the feared and respected Fireblade (CBR 900 RR on this side of the Pond), except it’s dumbed-down to produce less than 100 HP and housed in a steel-tube chassis that is heavier and more flexy than the twin-spar aluminum job found on the RR. The Yamaha FZ-1 (2001-2005) uses a “tuned-for-torque” version of the first-generation YZF-R1 motor, also in a tube-steel chassis. It’s a little better than a 919, but not the naked street-fighter we were hoping for.

BMW, of all people, may have come the closest of anybody to giving us what we wanted. In 2005, they introduced the most powerful BMW motorcycle ever, the K1200S.
This bike had a host of technical achievements in addition to being incredibly fast for a BMW. The engineers at the Motor Works removed the fairing, slapped on a headlight and a few other necessities, and changed the S for an R.

Therefore, technical specifications of this bike are pretty close to the K1200S. It all starts with a sophisticated aluminum alloy frame that bolts the motor in solidly–without rubber-mounting–as a stressed member. Attached to a front is a Hossack-type “duolever” front fork that isolated braking and steering forces in a clever, innovative way; clever enough for the legendary John Britton to include it on his racers. In back is the BMW paralever swingarm, which keeps the dreaded shaft-jacking that makes other shaft-driven bikes unpleasant to ride at a minimum.

What hangs between those two examples of Teutonic wizardry is what makes this bike interesting. The motor is a liquid-cooled four-cylinder inhaling machine with a 79 mm bore and 59 mm stroke for an 1157 cc displacement. Compression is most un-BMW like at 13.0:1, matching its un-BMW like perpendicular-to-the frame engine design. The thing breathes mixture through Bosch fuel injection and an airbox slightly smaller than the S model’s.

That smaller airbox is the only major difference between the S and R motors. It costs the bike about four horsepower and two foot-pounds of torque, but the engineers changed gear ratios to compensate, both in the six-speed gearbox and in the final drive. Last year we measured 144 hp and 85 foot-pounds of torque on our DynoJet dynamometer from the K1200S testbike we had, so expect 140 hp and 83 foot-pounds of torque from the K1200R. The new FZ-1 might make that much horsepower, but we doubt it makes that kind of torque. The best part about this all-you-can-eat-Indian-restaurant-lunch-special-buffet of torque is that this motor is making 60-plus foot-pounds at 3,000 rpm and never lets up until the 10,900 rpm redline.

The K1200R makes a striking first impression with its size, heft and styling. The look is unmistakably BMW, with crazy, Cubist styling that’s all harsh, angular shapes thrust together. The motor is huge, with the massive cylinder block sticking out in front and the big clutch cover sticking out to the side. Steel braided hoses are everywhere. The overall effect is like a piece of equipment from one of the “Alien” movies.

It’s functional, though. The instrument panel is very legible and visible, with the speedometer being a fashionable ovoid rather than a boring circle, and there’s a tiny flyscreen about where the windscreen would be on the K1200S. (Our test unit had the optional larger screen, which lists for $200.) Built-in frame sliders are also a nice touch, although they don’t appear to stick out far enough to protect the radiator or hoses. The bike is finished in urban chic matte silver paint, which tones down the bike and makes it look smaller. However, the paint also makes the plastic panels and trim seem chintzy, even though fit and finish is very nice.

The bike is so interesting visually you want to stare at it all day, but we’re here to ride, right? Switch the key on and thumb the starter and you are treated to a Dizzy Gillespie Big Band of mechanical noises like raspy intake growls, a rhythmic exhaust note and a busy valve train. Throttle response is crisp and precise, and the bike is ready to ride immediately.

On board, the seating position feels perfect. The bike is top-heavy, but the seat is reasonably low, thanks to cut-outs at the front of the seat which allow shorties to just barely put their feet flat on the ground and easily manage the machine (a lower seat is available as an option). The bars are the same as on the K1200S, and place the rider in a very mild forward lean. For something that looks so fierce, the K1200R coddles the rider.

** Specifications Courtesy of BMW **
BMW K1200R – MSRP: $14,300
Type Transverse mounted, liquied cooled inline 4-cyclinder
Displacement 1157 cc
Bore X Stroke 79 mm x 59 mm
*Claimed* Horsepower 163 bhp @ 10250 rpm
*Claimed* Torque 94 lb/ft @ 8250 rpm
Valve Gear DOHC, chain-driven with bucket tappets
No of cylinders 4
Compression Ratio 13.0:1
Engine Management BMW Engine Controller – BMS K
Valves per Cylinder Four
Valves 2 x 32.0 mm intake / 2 x 27.5 mm exhaust
Fuel Tank HDPE, internal pump and internal filter
Alternator W 580 Watts @ 14 Volts
Battery V/AH 12 Volts / 14 Amps/hour
Engine Summary Laterally mounted, this 16-valve, water-cooled K series engine angles the cylinders forward by 55 degrees, lowering the center of gravity significantly. Inspired by Formula One technology, this high-powered engine has a narrow profile, close gear ratios, and precise 6-gear shifting. Gearbox response is immediate, which means startling acceleration, amazing horsepower, and absolutely mind-bending performance.
Clutch 151 mm, multi-disc oil bath
Gear Box 6 speed gear box
Primary Transmission 1:1.559
Gear Ratios I: 2.52:1
II: 1.84:1
III: 1.45:1
IV: 1.28:1
V: 1.14:1
VI: 1.01:1
Final Drive System Enclosed driveshaft with two universal joints
Final Drive Ratio 2.91:1
Frame & Suspension
Frame Composite aluminum frame
Front wheel suspension BMW Duolever
Rear wheel suspension BMW EVO Paralever
Spring Travel front/rear 4.5 inches / 5.3 inches
Ground Clearance N/A
Handlebar center point angle 61.0 degrees
Brake System BMW EVO
Front Brakes Two, four-piston fixed calipers
Front Rotor 12.6 inch dual floating rotors
Rear Brakes Single, two-piston fixed caliper
Rear Rotor 10.4 inch single, fixed rotor
Actuation Hydraulic, DOT 4 fluid type
Wheels & Tires
Front Wheel 3.50 x 17 cast alloy, five double-spoke
Rear Wheel 5.50 x 17 cast alloy, five double-spoke
Front Tire 120/70 x 17 tubeless
Michelin Pilot Road N 120/70 ZR17 M/C (58W)
Bridgestone BT014 F Radial F120/70 ZR17 M/C (58W)
Bridgestone BT020 F L Radial 120/70 ZR17 M/C (58W)
Dunlop D220F ST 120/70 ZR17 M/C (58W)
Metzeler Sportec M-1 B 120/70 ZR17 M/C (58W)
Metzeler Roadtec Z6 K 120/70 ZR17 M/C (58W)
Michelin Pilot Power B 120/70 ZR17 M/C (58W)
Rear Tire 180/55 x 17 tubeless
Michelin Pilot Road K 180/55 ZR17 M/C (73W)
Bridgestone BT014 R Radial F 190/50 ZR17 M/C (73W)
Bridgestone BT020 R CC Radial 180/55 ZR17 M/C (73W)
Dunlop D220 ST P 180/55 ZR17 M/C (73W)
Metzeler Sportec M-1 B 190/50 ZR17 M/C (73W)
Metzeler Metzeler Roadtec Z6 C 180/55 ZR17 M/C (73W)
Michelin Pilot Power W 190/50 ZR17 M/C (73W)
Overall Length 87.7 inches
Overall Width 33.7 inches
Wheelbase 62.2 inches
Seat height 32.3 inches
*Claimed* Weight, unladen, with full tank 546 lbs
Max permissible weight 992 lbs
Fuel Capacity 5.0 U.S. gallons ; including 1 gallon reserve source article:

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