Text and photos
courtesy of BMW AG
The New K 1200 R Combines a Bold Image With High Technology
Just when you thought the growing "naked bike"
segment - sportbikes shorn of their plastic wrappers, unveiled
for all to see - was all about showing off and nothing about
substance and style, here comes the 2006 BMW K 1200 R.
Unlike the weightlifter who can barely scratch his own back,
the K 1200 R is powerfully built yet agile, massively quick
yet perfectly docile for those times you want to take it easy.
It's the ideal combination of menace and class.
BMW has taken advantage of the incredible technology housed
in the new K 1200 S - a straight-line speed machine that also
accelerates, turns and stops like a truly modern superbike -
to create the K 1200 R. In fact, except for revised bodywork
and ergonomics, the two bikes are very much alike.
And yet the two motorcycles couldn't be further in temperament.
The K 1200 S is sophisticated, urbane, while the K 1200 R is
built for the rider who lives for sport riding and uncompromised
appearances. The K 1200 R eschews full bodywork for a tidy,
aerodynamically designed instrument-panel fairing that incorporates
powerful asymmetrical headlights and the engine oil cooler.
This is a face that performance-oriented riders won't soon
forget. Nor will race fans, as the K 1200 R will form the basis
for the BMW Power Cup, with races to be held all over the world
on special race-prepared machines. Taking up where the popular
Boxer Cup left off, it's likely that the best, hardest-fought
racing in 2005 will come from the ranks of the Power Cup.
Potent Acceleration From a State-of-the-Art Powerplant
Behold the most powerful production motorcycle engine BMW
has ever built, the beneficiary of decades competing at the
highest levels of motorsport. But it's not just about sheer
thrust. Indeed, the K 1200 R's revolutionary inline-four-cylinder
engine sets new standards not just for power - and, as important,
excellent power delivery - but it was designed from the start
to be compact and light.
Moreover, its unusual configuration - the cylinder block
is canted toward the front wheel by 55 degrees - not only reduces
the entire motorcycle's center of gravity but also permits innovating
packaging solutions. The K 1200 R's layout is as far from a
me-too arrangement as you can get.
Thorough development of the 1157cc, liquid-cooled engine
made possible the 167-horsepower peak but is also responsible
for the engine's broad, flat torque curve; although it peaks
at 94 pound-feet, 80 percent of the peak torque is available
from 3500 rpm all the way to the 11,000-rpm redline. That's
Maintaining high power and low emissions is one responsibility
of the K 1200 R's BMS-K (BMW Engine Management with Anti-Knock
Control) Digital Motor Electronics. This system features fully
sequential cylinder-specific fuel injection with integrated
anti-knock control and a three-way catalytic converter in the
Combining the use of a sensitive oxygen sensor and fast feedback
processing in the engine-control computer with special anti-knock
sensors, allowed BMW's engineers to tune the K 1200 R's engine
for maximum power yet retain the ability to use less-than-premium
fuel. (Maximum power will be obtained on premium fuel, however.)
This sophisticated injection system allowed BMW's engineers
to boost the K 1200 R's compression ratio to a race-like 13.0:1,
which benefits not only power, but combustion efficiency as
well. That gives the rider more power and torque, and increases
fuel economy at the same time.
A New Kind of Balancing Act
engines have characteristic vibration but the K 1200 R powerplant
uses a technology also explored in the new R 1200 Boxer engines
to make it inherently smooth. Twin balance shafts are driven
by a toothed belt from the crankshaft at twice the crankshaft
speed and employ elastomer isolators to reduce transmission
of noise and vibration. These balance shafts reduce transmission
of second-order vibration from the engine to the chassis and,
therefore, to the rider, who will experience four-cylinder serenity
as never before.
Dramatic advances in driveline technology abound in the K
1200 R. The cassette-style six-speed transmission uses stacked
shafts to reduce the engine's overall length and to form the
most efficient method of transferring power to the shaft final
Chassis Overview: High-Tech Alloy Frame and Uncommon Suspension
The K 1200 R shares the K 1200 S's chassis components, including
light-alloy main frame featuring dramatically tilted main spars
- to further reduce the machine's center of gravity - made up
of a selection of materials: pressure-cast aluminum, alloy extrusions
and special die-cast aluminum members.
Because the counterbalanced engine does not vibrate like
a typical four-cylinder, it can be mounted solidly to the frame
- no rubber isolators are necessary. In this way, the frame
is further strengthened by the engine structure.
BMW has always pushed forward on suspension design, and the
K 1200 R continues the tradition. Joining a revised, lightened
version of the company's famed Paralever rear suspension - much
lighter than conventional shaft systems and without a typical
shaft's squatting tendencies - is the Duolever front suspension.
Based on a concept developed by British inventor Norman Hossack
in the 1980s, Duolever effectively isolates suspension movement
from steering forces for smooth handling. Moreover, Duolever
has significantly less friction than conventional telescopic
forks, so its action is much more supple while also being given
spring and damping rates appropriate for a sportbike. Finally,
the Duolever has been designed to provide effective anti-dive
control so that the K 1200 R remains on an even keel during
And it's not just the suspension design that breaks new ground,
either. As with the K 1200 S, the K 1200 R features BMW's ESA
- Electronic Suspension Adjustment - as an option. Accessed
through the instrument panel display, ESA sets spring and damping
rates electronically. The rider can choose three combined spring
settings - solo, solo with luggage or rider with passenger and
luggage - along with three damping modes: comfort, normal or
sport. The spring settings must be adjusted at a standstill,
but the damping adjustments can be made while underway.
Impressive Brakes and Adaptive Anti-Lock Control
The 2005, 2006 and 2007 K1200R has either the “Integral
ABS” option (approximately $1000.00) or it has conventional
(normal) brakes, and they are “non-linked”. Only ABS-equipped
bikes would have the EVO system.
These powerful brakes work through new-design wheels that
are light yet strong. They carry traditional sportbike-sized
tires - a 120/70ZR17 in front and a large-footprint 180/55ZR17
at the rear.
Options and Accessories
A comprehensive list of BMW options and accessories are available
for the K 1200 R. These include:
- Anti-theft warning system
- Heated handgrips
- Low-profile seat
- ABS Brakes
- Luggage Rack
- Clear Turn Signals
- Cockpit Fairing
- BMW Navigator II GPS moving-map system
- Center stand
- BMW adjustable side cases
- Tank Bag
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