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First Ride: 2007 BMW K1200R Sport

Have the crazy Germans come up trumps with an entertaining, oddball parts bin special? BMW's K1200R Sport has arrived




It's barely spring and BMW has had a busy year already. First a new family of funky single-cylinder 650s - the G-series - and now, at the other end of the performance scale, we get this, the K1200R Sport.

BMW's latest K-series inline four is refreshingly indefinable. Is it a naked bike with half a fairing added, or a sports bike with half the fairing taken away? And does it matter?

Ask BMW and they say the K1200R Sport is a naked K1200R with a top fairing, seemingly one nicked from an R1200S. It works a treat too, both functionally and aesthetically, but could do with the R1200S's fairing mounted mirrors, not the bar-mounted ones it's stuck with. Everything else is either/or K1200S and/or R, including the motor, 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 163bhp - perhaps a tad optimistic, 140 or so feels nearer the mark.

All you really need to know is this is a serious, grown-up, hairy-arsed fast motorcycle. Good-oh.

The Duolever/Paralever set-up is predictably odd. On the one hand it's compliant and responsive, with a smooth, floating sensation over most surfaces. But hit a cat's eye 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 (there's a steering damper in there somewhere) but at least it's accurate.

As ever there's a raft of extras, all adding to the un-cheap £9695 basic price. Our bike had ABS, heated grips and that Laser can. Only the grips would be on my must-have list.

I'm not sure 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 possibly an existing BMW customer after more of an excitement fix. They'll find it here.

The Sport feels long, the steering's heavy at low speed and it's awkward in traffic. The riding position is odd with flat, wide bars and very rearset pegs, and the build quality isn't all that - fairing panels feel flimsy and don't line up well and there are cheap, wobbly bits of plastic here and there. Plus the mirrors aren't brilliant and the fuel injection sometimes hunts on a constant throttle. And it's hardly cheap either.

But, and it's a big 'but', the Sport is properly fast, it's got a hefty 160-mile plus range, the latest generation brakes are superb and the handling, once you're dialled in, is rewarding.

In a time when the Japanese are building ever more sanitised big bore muscle bikes for the masses, it's left to the Europeans to churn out some mildy loopy, uniquely individual motorcycles with real character, and this is one of them.

VERDICT 3/5

A fast, good looking, hairy-scary motorcycle. But it's expensive.

SPECS

TYPE - STREETBIKE

PRODUCTION DATE - 2007

PRICE NEW - £9695

ENGINE CAPACITY - 1157cc

POWER - 163bhp@10,250rpm

TORQUE - 94lb.ft@8250rpm

WEIGHT - 241kg

SEAT HEIGHT - 820mm

FUEL CAPACITY - 19L

TOP SPEED - 160mph

0-60 - n/a

TANK RANGE - N/A

It's barely spring and BMW has had a busy year already. First a new family of funky single-cylinder 650s - the G-series - and now, at the other end of the performance scale, we get this, the K1200R Sport.
BMW's latest K-series inline four is refreshingly indefinable. Is it a naked bike with half a fairing added, or a sports bike with half the fairing taken away? And does it matter?

Ask BMW and they say the K1200R Sport is a naked K1200R with a top fairing, seemingly one nicked from an R1200S. It works a treat too, both functionally and aesthetically, but could do with the R1200S's fairing mounted mirrors, not the bar-mounted ones it's stuck with. Everything else is either/or K1200S and/or R, including the motor, 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 163bhp - perhaps a tad optimistic, 140 or so feels nearer the mark.

All you really need to know is this is a serious, grown-up, hairy-arsed fast motorcycle. Good-oh.

The Duolever/Paralever set-up is predictably odd. On the one hand it's compliant and responsive, with a smooth, floating sensation over most surfaces. But hit a cat's eye 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 (there's a steering damper in there somewhere) but at least it's accurate.

As ever there's a raft of extras, all adding to the un-cheap £9695 basic price. Our bike had ABS, heated grips and that Laser can. Only the grips would be on my must-have list.

I'm not sure 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 possibly an existing BMW customer after more of an excitement fix. They'll find it here.

The Sport feels long, the steering's heavy at low speed and it's awkward in traffic. The riding position is odd with flat, wide bars and very rearset pegs, and the build quality isn't all that - fairing panels feel flimsy and don't line up well and there are cheap, wobbly bits of plastic here and there. Plus the mirrors aren't brilliant and the fuel injection sometimes hunts on a constant throttle. And it's hardly cheap either.

But, and it's a big 'but', the Sport is properly fast, it's got a hefty 160-mile plus range, the latest generation brakes are superb and the handling, once you're dialled in, is rewarding.

In a time when the Japanese are building ever more sanitised big bore muscle bikes for the masses, it's left to the Europeans to churn out some mildy loopy, uniquely individual motorcycles with real character, and this is one of them.

VERDICT 3/5

A fast, good looking, hairy-scary motorcycle. But it's expensive

BMW K1200R

TYPE - STREETBIKE
PRODUCTION DATE - 2007
PRICE NEW - £9695
ENGINE CAPACITY - 1157cc
POWER - 163bhp@10,250rpm
TORQUE - 94lb.ft@8250rpm   
WEIGHT - 241kg
SEAT HEIGHT - 820mm   
FUEL CAPACITY - 19L   
TOP SPEED - 160mph   
0-60     - n/a
TANK RANGE - N/A