BMW’S R1200S boxer is a serious used bargain
What we said then
“Somehow you already know if you want the BMW R1200S. The looks divide opinions, but only half as much as the boxer engine and the Telelever/ Paralever suspension do. BMW have strained the limits of these design parameters – and it only just comes off. As an oddball track motorcycle it works, but as an accomplished allrounder it falls short of the standards set by the R1100S that preceded it.”
MCN launch report
But what is it like now?
I’ve always had a soft spot for sporty boxer-engined bikes and while in terms of pure performance there is no way the R1200S can hold a candle to the HP2 Sport, it isn’t a bike to be dismissed. This is a uniquelooking boxer that, like so many of BMW’S models, is actually extremely accomplished at just being a really enjoyable road bike. Although back in the day this point was lost in translation.
BMW dropped the ball with the R1200S and that’s why it was only in the range for two years. After the popularity of the R1100S, the R1200S was designed to be even sportier and as such shed weight, gained power and became sharper styled. But BMW overlooked the fact R1100S owners bought the bike as a sports-tourer, not a sportsbike, and the R1200S’S initial lack of luggage options killed its sales.
Nowadays luggage is readily available and the R1200S can be viewed in a different light. The sporty look remains fresh and it is great fun to ride, although still a little quirky.
When you initially accelerate on the R1200S it feels momentarily lethargic and muted before the power chimes in with surprising enthusiasm. This is a deliberate throttle reaction BMW gave the bike to spice up its character and it can make it a bit awkward at low speed. It’s something owners either like or loathe but thankfully once you are moving it doesn’t really cause too many issues and you are left unhindered to enjoy the delights of the boxer engine.
For simple cruising the R1200S is excellent. The riding position is far more akin to a sports-tourer than a sportsbike and it’s a very comfortable place to spend time, especially if heated grips and a taller screen are fitted.
To non-bmw riders the Paralever front end does initially feel alien but you soon dial into this unique ride, so go for a proper test ride rather than a short trip around the block. Much like the rest of the bike, it’s an acquired taste.
Any obvious faults?
This example has just over 23,000 miles on its clocks and looks very well cared for, as its detailed service history suggests. There are no signs of any of the mechanical faults such as the Öhlins shock leaking or hub bearing wear, but the black finish on the front of the engine has peeled. The ‘fork legs’ are pleasingly corrosion free.
Or worthwhile extras
This bike has the Sport package fitted and that means heated grips, ABS, a wider rear rim and an Öhlins shock. The official BMW soft panniers are also a very worthwhile addition as they cost over £650 new. Verdict The R1200S remains a bit of an oddball, but it is a great short-hop sportstourer at a good price. The panniers aren’t massive, but it is a comfortable bike with a lovely boxer engine and a pleasing degree of sporting spirit. THANKS TO: Balderston Motorcycles, Peterborough. This R1200S is for sale at Balderston for £5495. Visit www.balderston.net for more information.
‘Still a bit of an oddball’ and that’s just Jon Urry
Twist and (really) go The R1200S has a unique cam on its throttle, giving it a sporty throttle pick-up. It can be swapped for a more traditional one to remove this feeling.