Capable sport tourer
JOHANNESBURG — BMW have been accused of fitting the liquid-cooled 1200 Boxer motor into too many types of frame, and the temptation to bolt this block in a sport-touring frame may have seemed too much to resist.
Especially as BMW’s current Boxer line-up lacked a sports tourer. The previously nimble and dynamic RT seems to have gained weight in its move closer to the K 1600 tourers, and while both the R 1200R and R nineT are pleasantly light, they’re both nakeds and as such ill-suited to open-road use.
Enter the faired R 1200 RS, successor (in name at least) to the Hans Muth-designed R 100 RS of the late 1970s. BMW have effectively taken the R 1200 R and clothed it in a fairing to create a credible and capable sport tourer. Although there is nothing about the bike that will make your jaw drop at first sight, there is plenty to like once you start riding it.
The seating position is upright, but slightly forward-canted, making it equally easy to ride upright in town and crouched behind the screen when going through the twisties at high speed. The fairing with its two-position screen give more than adequate protection from the elements, without falling into the trap of insufficient ventilation that was a cause of many complaints against its forebear.
Thanks to revised gear ratios the Boxer mill delivers more lowend punch than the GS and RT. The bike is actually deceptively fast — the almost-unchanging drone from the engine doesn’t offer the same speed cues as a screaming four-potter. And despite the inherent roughness of the Boxer motor, the RS feels refined at almost any speed.
I rode it hard and fast during the launch, and I came to the conclusion that handling is more than up to par.
By the time I returned the bike to BMW, I felt that it was probably my favourite Boxer Beemer.
It combines the best of both worlds by being a light bike with long-distance potential.
If you feel this is not the bike for you, I challenge to take it for a spin before making up your mind — you might just have a change of heart.
BMW R 1200 RS
Displacement: 1 170 cc Power: 92 kW at 7 750 rpm Torque: 125 Nm at 6 500 rpm Transmission: Six-speed Final drive: Shaft Curb weight: 231 kg Fuel tank: 18 litres Brakes 320 mm disks front and 276 mm rear Price: R173 550 (base).
The BMW 1200 RS is a deceptively fast sports tourer that puts the rider in full control.