First Ride: 2006 BMW K1200GT

The new K1200GT adds a dash of touring elan to the existing K1200S, allowing you to cross continents with Teutonic efficiency and comfort

Posted: 20 September 2010
by Niall Mackenzie
I've owned smaller houses
Room for the kitchen sink and the whole draining board
Running wide on tightening left hander nightmare

Click to read: BMW K1200GT owners reviews, BMW K1200GT specs and to see the BMW K1200GT image gallery.

BMW ARE BEST known for tourers, and here we have the K1200GT, the more touring-oriented version of the sporty K1200S launched 18 months ago. The K1200GT has slimline, slab-sided, challenging looks but it's not the most unattractive sports tourer around by a long shot. The top-to-bottom quality finish is what we've all come expect, although there is an excess of black plastic around the dash area for my liking.

Having the optional multi-function computer fitted is one remedy I suppose, as this will make the flat screen dash more interesting to look at on long journeys. And cruising at high speed with a passenger and luggage is what this bike does well. With a claimed 152bhp and a 24-litre tank capacity, 200 miles or more should be a doddle in one stint. Rider comfort can be tailored to your individual requirements as the handlebars and seat height can be adjusted to suit nearly all shapes and sizes.

Where this bike is less able is on twisty roads that require lots of on/off throttle riding. While the mid-range response is fine, there is always a flat spot before the engine picks up, no matter how smoothly you try to accelerate from a closed throttle. Maybe this is strangulation while attempting to meet emissions rules, but a cleaner throttle response would make this type of riding a lot more enjoyable.

On the positive side the engine has a unique, almost race car-like sound, making it a joy to the ears whenever a blast up through the gears beckons.

The servo-assisted linked brakes work well, although, as is the case with all BMWs fitted with the EVO set-up, the feel could be improved. Initial braking is fine but this is followed by a strong surge then a solid feeling through the lever. There is no safety issue; it's just a different feel from conventional braking systems. No complaints on the ABS rear brake though - every bike should have one.

The suspension works well, with nice front anti-dive and the rear stuck like glue at all times, undoubtedly helped by the superb Bridgestone 020s.

Of the many options available the ESA, or Electronic Suspension Adjustment, is my favourite. Three settings - 'comfort', 'normal' and 'sport' - are changeable via a button on the left-hand controls with the setting registering on the dash. For an extra £1300 there is also an SE model available which, along with the ESA, will have heated bars and seat, a trip computer, cruise control and Xenon lights.

Colours (a key buying decision for me) are graphite, blue and silver grey, which gives the bike a lighter, brighter look.

BMW don't make a bad sports tourer and the new K1200 GT is no exception. Prices start at £11,995 but a few options are necessary to complete the package and accomplish maximum enjoyment.

It's not a bike if you're on a budget - but most BMW owners rarely are.


Yet another impressive sports-oriented continent crusher from BMW. Only  wooden brakes and high price let it down.

BMW K1200GT Specs

PRICE NEW - £11,995 / £13,295 (SE)
POWER - 152bhp@9500rpm
TORQUE - 96lb.ft@7750rpm   
WEIGHT - 249kg
SEAT HEIGHT - 820mm   
TOP SPEED - 150mph   
0-60     - n/a

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Discuss this story

Great tourer. The xenon motor is also a great option. Great for nighttime tourers, and your visibility. I don't understand why this K1200Gt is still one of the first bikes to have this option. Cars have it for a decade.

Posted: 21/09/2010 at 18:44

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