‘It’s a typically accomplished boxer’
‘Keep an eye on the oil and don’t assume it won’t need a top up’
“The R1200S is a really good bike, very solid and a typically accomplished boxer-engined BMW. However, there are a few things to look out for when buying a used one that will ensure you get the best possible example.
“When new you could have opted for a Sport package when buying the bike. This consisted of an Öhlins shock, heated grips and wider six-inch rear wheel, and it only cost about £500 more, so most buyers took up this option.
“But there is a catch. The Öhlins shock needs to be refreshed every year and rebuilt every few years as it is a genuine over- the-counter Öhlins and not a cheaper mass-produced item. Few owners realise this as it is not something you usually have to do to an OE shock and if left unserviced for longer the seals tend to go. The shock service isn’t too expensive, around £150, but it is a consideration when buying a used bike.
“The front of older boxer BMWS often sees corrosion issues as behind the plastic cover is a bit of sounddeadening foam, which absorbs water and then causes corrosion to form around it. We just remove this foam to stop it happening. The corrosion doesn’t affect the engine’s performance or physical structure, but it can look very tatty and the only real fix is to strip and powdercoat the whole motor, which is very expensive. “Very occasionally the rear drive bearing needs to be changed, but most times this is down to over-enthusiastic cleaning. It’s an exposed wheel bearing and pressure washing blows the grease out, causing it to wear prematurely. Swapping it takes a few hours and you need to change both bearings, so it’s a good £400 bill.
“The boxer engine itself is very solid but it will burn oil if you thrash it, that’s just what they do and is nothing to be concerned about. Always keep an eye on the oil-level window and don’t just assume it will go to its next 6000mile service without needing a top up. If you run it low on oil you can wreck the main bearing and that means a complete engine rebuild and a massive bill.
“Overall, the R1200S is pretty much bullet-proof and if it has a good Bmw-approved service history is a very safe used buy.”
Jet washing can blow grease out of the rear bearing. Watch the oil level, too
OLLIE NEWBY-ROBSON, technician at Balderston Motorcycles, Peterborough