Nearly spring and BMW has had a busy year already. Last year a new family of funky single-cylinder 650cc bikes, the G-series, and now, at the other end of the performance scale, we get this, the BMW K1200R Sport.
BMW's latest K-series 1157cc inline, liquid-cooled, four is refreshingly indefinable . Is it a naked bike with half the fairing taken away? And does it matter?
Ask BMW and they say the BMW K1200R Sport is a naked BMW K1200R with a top fairing, seemingly one nicked from a R1200S. It works a treat too, both functionally and aesthetically, but could do with the BMW R1200S's fairing mounted mirrors, not the bar-mounted ones it's stuck with. Everything else is either/or BMW K1200S and/or R, including the engine, although the Sport felt much healthier in the low and midrange than the last naked R I rode. Maybe the optional Laser performance can was adding to the fluid, elastic delivery and gushing top end. BMW claim 163 horsepower, perhaps a tad optimistic, 140 horses or so feels nearer the mark. All you really need to know is this is a serious, grown-up, hair-raising fast motorcycle.
The Duolever/Paralever set-up is predictable odd. On the one hand it's compliant and responsive, with a smooth, floating sensation over most surfaces. But hit a stone-paved road or small pothole and the Duolever's forks, or prongs, or whatever they are, jar like they're locked solid. At other times it's hard to tell what's going on at all. Either that or they're so good at absorbing bumps you don't feel them.
Maybe that's the same thing. Whatever, you have to get used to a certain detachment from the road surface before the clever suspensions benefits, such as granite boulder, like stability, can be enjoyed. And it can be enjoyed. Steering is slow and heavy but at least it's accurate.
As ever there's a raft of extras, all adding to the 990,000 Baht basic price. Our bike had ABS and that Laser exhaust can. I'm not who's going to buy one of these or what other machines may be on their minds, but I do know they're going to be pretty well off, and quite possible an existing BMW customer after more of an excitement fix. They'll find it in this bike.