Ca­pa­ble sport tourer

The Witness - Wheels - - BIKING - DRIES VAN DER WALT

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).

PHOTO: BMW

The BMW 1200 RS is a de­cep­tively fast sports tourer that puts the rider in full con­trol.

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