BMW enters the high-performance motorcycle market
By Mike Hanlon
January 20, 2004
BMW's K1200S is the first model from BMW to directly address the ultra-high speed sports bike market dominated by the "big four" Japanese manufacturers. The new K1200S high performance sports bike began production on the June 1, 2004 with more performance credentials than any previous BMW two-wheeler - 167 horsepower and a top speed in excess of 300kmh. The overriding target for the engine developers was “to achieve sports type characteristics while offering rideability and fully controllable performance”, according to BMW.
The four-cylinder inline engine generates 123 kW (167 bhp) at 10,250 rpm from a capacity of 1157 cc and peak torque of 130 Nm is achieved at 8,250 rpm, and more than 70 percent of maximum torque is available from as little as 3,000 rpm. Light and rigid cam followers operate the valves of the dual camshaft engine.
With a bore/stroke of 59 x 79 mm, the short-stroke engine has two balancer shafts to ensure low-vibration and the 55-degree forward tilt engine is set low in the fram to achieve a low centre of gravity. One of many unique features in a production bike of this class is the cassette-type construction of the 6-speed gearbox.
Another of the technical highlights is the suspension and chassis which employ a new "Duolever" design and electronically adjustable suspension. The Duolever, seen from a kinematic point of view, resembles a link square made up of two virtually parallel longitudinal links, mounted in the frame so they can swivel and thus permit a precise up-and-down movement of the front wheel. This is mounted in an extremely rigid component, the so-called “wheel carrier.”
The wheel carrier, a light component cast from high strength aluminium alloy, is connected to the longitudinal links via two ball joints and can thus steer at the same time. A longitudinal link connected to the central spring strut is responsible for suspension and damping. The benefits of this system are extremely high rigidity combined with low weight and an ideal wheel and lift curve. The Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) will be available as an option and enables suspension spring preload and damping to be adjusted electronically from the handlebars.
The K1200 S features further advanced electronics. A whole series of functions is facilitated via CAN-bus technology, which is simpler than conventional systems and also offers full diagnostic capability.
Together with the catalytic converter (as on all BMW motorcycles), standard ABS (part-integral version of the Integral ABS) and the maintenance-free shaft drive, the K 1200 S represents a unique premium entrant to the sport segment. The K 1200 S will be available in a wide variety of paint colours. The two non-metallic paint finishes (indigo blue metallic and granite grey metallic) will be joined by several multi-coloured variants.
Since the arrival of the K1200S, it has spawned another variant - the K1200R - a naked version of the machine.