BMW beefs up its boxer-engined road bikes
New 1,254cc engine adds muscle to the roadster, tourer and sports tourer offering in SA
Earlier this year BMW Motorrad brought out the new, more powerful R1250 version of its ever-popular GS and GS Adventure dual-purpose motorcycles in SA.
Now that same boxer engine has found its way into the three road-based derivatives of BMW’s twin-cylinder range: the R1250 R naked roadster, the R1250 RS sports tourer and the R1250 RT tourer.
Each one uses the same engine, six-speed transmission and shaft drive powertrain, but they’re three different bikes in terms of purpose and execution.
The popular flat-twin boxer engine, which has been around since grandpa was a toddler, has gained more muscle and technology in its latest incarnation.
Bumped up in cubic capacity from 1,170cc to 1,254cc, it has seen a power increase from 92kW to 100kW and a torque improvement from 125Nm to 143Nm.
Moreover, it uses the latest variable valve technology, called BMW ShiftCam, to enable the widest possible spread of torque across the rev range. Other technical changes include a toothed chain (previously roller chain) for the camshaft drive, an optimised oil supply, twin-jet injection valves and a new exhaust system.
Along with being beefed-up in performance, the engine also offers improved emission and fuel consumption.
All three bikes are hi-tech machines that come standard with ABS brakes and two riding modes that the rider can switch to their preferences. The standard Automatic Stability Control (ASC) ensures a high level of riding safety by limiting wheelspin should the rider get too frisky with the throttle. The set-off assistant Hill Start Control is likewise a standard feature, enabling you to pull-off on slopes without the bike rolling back.
At extra cost, Riding Modes Pro can be optionally specified which optimises the bike’s traction, even when accelerating hard or braking during banking.
Another optional extra is Dynamic ESA electronic suspension which adapts the damping to suit changing road conditions, thereby enhancing both handling and ride quality.
I rode all three models at the media launch in Mpumalanga last week on the famously twisty ‘biker heaven’ roads winding through Sabie, Graskop, and Hazyview.
This is the roadster version for riders who like their bikes unembellished with screens or fairings. It’s styled with an aggressive ‘streetfighter’ attitude and has an upright riding position that’s comfortable for commuting and breakfast runs, but its lack of wind protection makes it less suited to long-distance riding.
With its bigger muscles the new engine provides strong acceleration, with hearty torque across the rev range, while the typically gruff sound of the boxer-twin provides a charismatic aural accompaniment.
Clunky gearshifts have long been consigned to BMW’s biking history, but now things are even more seamless with an optional gear shift assist that allows up- and down-shifts without needing to tug the clutch, and without having to shut the throttle on the up-shifts.
A new feature on the bike is an all-digital 16.5cm full-colour TFT instrument panel that does away with analogue clocks.
With its large and colourful graphics it’s much easier to see than the previous monochrome liquid-crystal display, especially in sunlight.
There are quite a few settings to fiddle with including the different riding modes, the onboard computer, and different screen views.
NEW IS A DIGITAL 16.5CM FULL-COLOUR TFT INSTRUMENT PANEL THAT DOES AWAY WITH ANALOGUE CLOCKS
It’s all stuff that can potentially distract you from riding but BMW has made scrolling through the digital menus relatively straightforward with its multi-controller, which is mounted on the left handlebar grip.
Operated by turning it up and down or tilting it to the left and right, its advantage is that it can be operated without removing your hands from the handlebars.
This touring version is built for crossing continents with its large, wind-cheating fairings and electrically-adjustable screen.
It’s a large, comfortable bike with an upright seating position that’s purpose-made for long-distance cruising. It can be ordered with optional features like heated grips, heated seat, cruise control, and an optional set of panniers for the luggage.
Unlike its two stablemates the RT retains an analogue speedometer and rev counter, but can be specified with a 14.5cm colour TFT screen.
The RS is the sports tourer derivative which is positioned between the aforementioned two bikes.
It has long-distance cruising potential with a decent-sized windscreen that can be manually set to two heights, but it’s sportier and lighter than the RT, with a seating position that places more weight on the wrists.
Like the R model it has a 16.5cm TFT instrument panel and different riding modes, but it can be upgraded with a number of extra-cost options including keyless ride, cruise control, and gear shift assist, among others.
Full Spec - R212,000
Style Elegance - R220,500
Style HP - R222,500
Full Spec - R227,000
Style Elegance - R234,000
Style HP - R236,000
Full Spec - R252,400
Style Exclusive - R260,900
Style HP - R262,900