Those of you with good memory might remember the early 80s when BMW launched its liquid-cooled, four-cylinder K-series motorcycles. It was a move that spelled the end of the air-cooled Boxer engine. Except it wasn't. The liquid-cooled, fuel-injected K-series were good motorcycles but we weren't finished with the windy twin just yet and 10 years later it was back with a couple more valves, fuel injection and ready to take over motorcycling.
BMW chose the recent Cologne motorcycle show to launch its new liquid-cooled Boxer engine and this time, it appears, it really is the end for the old-school air-cooled Boxer engine.
The first motorcycle to get the new liquid-cooled engine is the new R1200GS. BMW is claiming 126 horsepower and 124.7Nm of torque for the new engine, fitted in what appears to be an almost entirely new GS that manages to look very similar to the old model. A BMW spokesman told the press “The move to liquid-cooling was inevitable. It's increasingly difficult to get air-cooled engines through noise and emissions regulations. BMW likes to work with the future in mind – our motorcycles are designed not just to meet current regulations, but at least the next set of legislation too.'
As well as the new engine, the 2013 BMW R1200GS gets even more complex electronics with all manner of traction control settings for every eventuality. Which is comforting for inexperienced riders, but we've found a bit of common sense and enough kilometers under your wheels renders most of them irrelevant.
No word on price yet, but the old BMW GS in both standard and Adventure forms has been BMW best selling motorcycles for the last few years, so there are some big boots to fill.