BMW R1200R Review 2016

The new BMW R1200R  liquid-cooled naked just added some pepper to the old recipe. This one has the looks and the performance. 

Waiting patiently in the shop for an Owner!

The new BMW R1200R  is loaded with so much tech, I’m considering if the first trip to the moon used so much. I’m glad to report that unlike past experiences with tech – this bucketload simple works, and it works brilliantly. A Rip-snorting power-plant that is smooth and grunty from the bottom end, and unlike ye-old boxer, this one rips to the redline. On paper, the figures may not be that impressive, but the power is everywhere and I can’t quite recall being on a bike with quite the “slingshot” feel to the delivery. Instant punch that just increases. If you ever recall making yourself sick by continuous acceleration and outright torque, well – this will do it.

The previous BMW r1200r had been a solid motorcycle that fitted the “standard” category, but hardly a roadster due to its somewhat bland styling (blasphemy I know) and sub-supersonic power.

The 2015 R1200R BMW onward definitely looks far more aggressive and no longer looks fitting only to the 55+. For me, the Red+White is the pick because if you’re going to get a hooligan bike, why go half-arsed? In boxer world, this is as close as you’ll get to a mean streetfighter. I think BM have done very well. The big puffed-out chest, and tiny arse kind of looks like Arnie in his day. Directly front-on, it take the form of an ugly-brute bison with the protruding cylinders. The slanted light unit and red tubular frame is somewhat Monster-esque but thats a good thing.

This bike is turning out to be an excellent city and backroads machine. For a bike of its size and weight it’s certainly easy to ride. Easy to ride fast or slow. 

A light clutch, relatively low seat, great low-end balance, and great efficiency it’s an excellent commuter as well as the weekend fun machine. And with an engine mode to match your mood you really have a bike for all types of riding.

I find myself quite often using the ‘road’ mode instead of dynamic when I just want to chill out a bit (hangover perhaps!) as it overall rounds outs the sharp initial bite on the gas when rolling on. Surprisingly, it also changes the sound of the bike subtly. On dynamic mode, it’s more snarly, throaty with a side-helping of pops and crackles on the overrun. That all but disappears in ‘road’ mode, and the sound while not as snarly seem to get a tad deeper – which is cool.

R1200R BMW Gearbox

How about the box of cogs? The Shifting is great. It does give a resounding clunk when dropping it into first but that doesn’t bother me – it’s sort of reassuring. Without the quick-shifter, the shifts are easy and precise with a little bit of mechanical feel. I wouldn’t call it silky, but it is certainly very good and never feels clunky. There has been a lot of complaining about the web about the quick shifter not being as smooth as some on the market. While this is true, using it properly will take out any jerkiness.

A couple of things which should be obvious anyway; on the up-shift make sure you are accelerating decently – not just coasting. On the downshift, make sure you have the throttle all the way off. Shifting up-shift don’t just tap it, use your fut to push through and leave it their for a split second. The down shift it takes a bit more pressure, but push through and it works well. Using this technique I have a jerk-free experience 99% of the time. 

Oh, and if you’re wondering whether the quick-shifter is worth it – Yes. It’s more fun, takes away a lot of clutch work – and it’s faster. 

Efficiency, as on most BM’s, is great, and as tech gets better so does the range. I’m constantly getting 300kms+ per tank in the city and 400+ out of the concrete jungle. I wager that 450kms would be possible with a more relaxed right hand on the highway… Sometimes its gets to the point where I can’t even remember the last time I filled it up!

BMW R1200R Suspension

The suspension is about as good as you will find on any bike, you can really tell it is the next generation and the dynamic adapting suspension work really well. The way I know is that I don’t even know about it. It never feels too hard or too soft. There are two setting on the bike ‘road’ and ‘dynamic’. Effectively softer and harder. Unlike on the k1300r where comfort was a bit too soft and caused the bike to wallow around, ‘road’ setting on the r1200r lc works really well for 90% of riding unless you are going flat-chat through a set of nicely paved bends and want more stiffness.  

2015 r1200r

R1200r liquid cooled test ride - this thing hauls arse  

Expression detailing immediate thoughts after 12 minutes riding   

R1200R BMW 2015, Slip-On Line (Titanium), S-B12SO14-HLGT – Fitted!

I have ordered the Titanium Akrapovic slip on for this beast, stock standard, it is a tad quiet. The Chrome finish can of the stock I think is a little at odds with the rest of the bike (but certainly not bad).

R1200R BMW akrapovic titanium S-B12SO14-HLGT

Wanna hear what it sounds like?

This sound was taken with the baffle out (hard to remove!), and while it may not sound like it – the thing is loud, especially at revs when the exhaust flap opens. I’m undecided yet but it’s pretty darn loud so I’m alternating it a bit – baffle in baffle out.

Baffle out it certainly has changed the 2015 R1200R BMW into a snarling beast that snarls and pops on the overrun, then like the main tool used in texas chainsaw massacre when unleashed.

The performance gain is significant down low, you almost get another 1000rpm from where it pulls cleanly. Fire open the accelerator and it the difference is noticeable. More urgency and pop right away. Make sure you hang on properly!   Conveniently the baffle can go in and out depending on your mood or disposition. Baffle goes in on a hangover for sure. So is that Akra worth it? Absolutely. Not only does is give your bike a more premium look, it sounds better, goes better and saves a few pounds. I paid around $1000 AUD for it.

 I may look into changing the headers for a full system, but it currently goes like a bat out of hell so I’m undecided. According to the specs the full titanium Akra system should drop around 4kgs off the standard and gain about 10kw which is nothing to be sneered at! It will obviously drop the CAT and exhaust valve so would no longer be legal – if you care about such trivialities!

Thanks to Procycle Hornsby for the initial test ride!

R1200R BMW in metallic grey with touring screen and luggage rack - stock muffler
The R in black. Nice, but give me the minty-colour one any day!

R1200R BMW in metallic grey with touring screen and luggage rack To be continued….  

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8 thoughts on “BMW R1200R Review 2016

  1. I agree with most of your comments. The bike is brilliant for our typical, out of town Aussie roads. Very light on it’s feet. It’s agility belies its weight and bulk. I have had it out for a track day (not its intended role) and it acquitted itself very well. I don’t get the range that you are getting, but I do give it a good “spanking” when out of the built up area. My bike has a “clunky box”. it is without a doubt the biggest let down of the bike. The Dealer tells me they do vary a bit, and unfortunately for me, I got a “dud”. The demo I rode prior to purchase was fine. They have made some changes for the 2017 model so hopefully the issue is resolved.

    1. Hi Brian, sorry your particular example didn’t have a great gearbox. I’m super happy with this one and think it’s excellent – with the exception of the quickshifter. It takes some finessing and it really isn’t as smooth as you’d expect – really takes some getting used to.
      Regarding the range, I have a hi-flow filter, Akra exhaust and ‘booster-plug’ which no doubt makes it run better and further than stock.

    2. I have the 2017 and it’s amazing – even the cornering abs is amazing ! I love my racing red – fuel ….she’s thirsty in the twisters when rider hard but in 3/4 she sings through the bends – best boxer yet – under rated totally

      1. Yes, one of the most underrated bikes out there. It really is a swiss army knife you can do just about everything on.

      2. Hi James, completely agree that it’s very underrated. One of the most rounded and capable bikes out there for the road. It’s surprisingly fast and a complete demon in tight twisty roads. Combine that with amazing fuel efficiency and comfort. You just can’t do too much better. The K1300 was similar in it’s multi-tasking. In my opinion, the main difference being the 1200r is much better in the city and generally much easier to ride with far more modern tech on board.

    3. 2015-2016 demos I rode, seriously put me off replacing my 2013 Air/Oil model with their edgy behaviour, clunky gearbox & general ‘not quite right’ feel.
      The 2017- models had serious refinements implemented & it’s a different bike altogether, it’s smooth refined, powerful with quick shifter magic. It’s so good I bought one May 4th 2018 🙂

  2. Absolutely amazing bike, had mine (BMW R1200R EXCLUSIVE 2017) exactly a week! Only thing I’m going to change is that dam ugly exhaust but not sure which one yet Arrow , Akrapovic or Remus .

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