BMW Files Trademark for ‘R12’

A Lower-cc Boxer Sibling for the R18 Range

A view of BMW's current range of 1200cc-1800cc bikes

First a trademark for a Yamaha XSR-GP, and now this – a new filing from BMW for an ‘R12’…

I think that we might be getting a smaller boxer twin to nip the chin of the iconic R18 range

Let’s get into the gritties.

A view of the BMW R1200C

As you all know, BMW discontinued the R1200C cruiser with the following reason offered by BMW Motorrad’s boss Dr. Herbert Diess (now the CEO of the Volkswagen Group) in a report from CycleWorld

“There will be no direct successor to the cruiser in our next model generation. This is due to technical considerations: The new engine you know from the GS is designed consistently for low weight and therefore – quite intentionally – offers only a small margin for an increase in engine displacement. 

A view of the BMW R1200GS

And since the trend in the cruiser segment has now been pointing far beyond 1,400cc for quite some time, a cruiser in its former, classic style with a smaller engine would no longer fit into our concept for the future. 

But this does not mean that we are turning away from the cruising philosophy with BMW motorcycles once and for all. On the contrary, it would be quite conceivable for us to reinterpret this theme quite differently some time or another.”

A view of BMW's current range of 1200cc-1800cc bikes

Currently, the brand’s iconic 1,803cc R18 cruisers and tourers are top of the heap for a reason; with the Bavarians under the impression that their older R1200C wasn’t getting the job done in the power department, the R18 came as a welcome addition – which begs the question, “why a lower-cc boxer twin now?”

Simple: There’s a bigger demand for punchy, smaller lower-displacement bikes than ever before. The industry’s range of clientele has expanded, and with the expansion comes a niche requirement for something to compete against Harley’s Sportster S/Nightster and Indian’s Scout range.

A view of BMW's current range of 1200cc-1800cc bikes

Here’s what we know so far:

  • With the trademark labelling the new bike as an ‘r12,’ we’re looking at a boxer twin (perhaps something similar to the old R1200c), but with a more refreshed powertrain. 
  • Current options for engine include the water-cooled 1,254cc engine of the R1250 range, or the older, 1,170cc, air-cooled engine used in the R NineT. Your guess is as good as ours there.
  • The bike will likely have a final shaft drive. 

A reminder – BMW has had an R12 in their lineup before. Back in 1936, the R12 was a “745cc with a flathead-flat twin and hand-shifted transmission…[and] was widely used by the military in World War II.”

BMW's old R12 motorcycle

Bottom line, BMW is about to hand us something that could very well speak to a wider range of riders. 

Stay tuned for updates, as there are always additional leaks for trademark files like this; drop a comment below letting us know what you thin BMW’s up to, and as ever – stay safe on the wisties. 

*Media sourced from Rider Magazine, SUWalls, BMW Press, and Cycleworld*