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New BMW 1200 has 25% more power, 10% less weight

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November 15, 2005

New BMW 1200 has 25% more power, 10% less weight

New BMW 1200 has 25% more power, 10% less weight

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November 16, 2005 BMW has rolled out an all-new replacement for the R1100 S at the Milan EICMA Show – the new R1200 S is the most powerful production Boxer (horizontally-opposed twin) the world has ever seen, with 25% more power than its predecessor and 10% less weight. With this new sports bike, BMW fully expects to tempt riders away from Japanese and Italian ‘supersport’ machines that it believes are too closely modelled on factory race bikes, to actually work in everyday riding conditions. Despite the R1200 S’s undoubted track capabilities an overwhelming number of owners will only ever ride the S on the road. With its sporty but relaxed riding position, the new bike’s strength is its practicality and versatility over other machines of the sports genre. All the usual fea-tures so typical of the brand complete the wish list of many BMW fans, such as a fully controlled catalytic converter, the single-wire system for the on-board network, an electronic immobiliser, maintenance-free shaft drive with a single-sided swinging arm, and Telelever front wheel suspension.

When the R1100 S was launched in 1998 it was the most powerful Boxer in the history of BMW, with 98 hp and 97 Nm of torque. The air-cooled horizontal twin inspired the popular and spectacular International BoxerCup race series and became the BMW of choice for many motorcycle journalists, who appreciated its true sports capability, despite the fact that it was built uncompromisingly for the road.

It remained largely unchanged throughout its eight-year life cycle and, unlike all the other models in BMW’s Boxer line-up, never appeared in an 1150cc engine configuration. Proudly making its debut in 2006 and aimed primarily at the pure sports end of the market will be the new R1200 S.

This new sports Boxer shares little with its predecessor and will neatly fill the gap between BMW Motorrad’s four-cylinder K1200 S and single cylinder F800 S sports bikes. Developing a punchy 122 hp, engine power is up massively compared with the 98 hp R1100 S, and the torque figure – at 112 Nm – is equally impressive and higher than any other bike in its class. This of course allows for instant acceleration with fewer gear changes, which is vital for quick track and road riding.

This superior performance and sporting power is matched by a quest for less weight and with the exception of the specialist HP2 Enduro, the 190 kg R1200 S is the lightest and most agile of all BMW’s Boxer machines – 18 kg less than its predecessor. Fully fuelled and with all operating fluids, the R1200 S weighs just 213 kg.

The wide range of BMW options and accessories also reflect customers’ special requests. Interestingly, a special ABS system has been developed for this bike that weighs just 1.5 kg. It can be deactivated when using the bike on the racetrack. There is also a choice of an extra-width rear wheel as well as fully adjustable, high-per-form--ance Öhlins sports suspension.

The wide range of other factory fit options and accessories are also available for the R1200 S, which will be on in BMW Motorrad dealerships in Spring 2006. Prices are expected to be confirmed shortly.

The most important features of the new R1200 S at a glance:

    Air-cooled flat-twin 1170cc power unit with balance shaft. Max output increased to 90 kW/122 hp at 8,250 rpm. Electronic BMS-K engine management with dual ignition, knock control, two oxygen sensors, and a fully controlled three-way catalytic converter. Light and stable, three-piece frame structure made of steel and alumini-um tubes. Extra-stiff Telelever with sensitive response and superior steering pre-cision. EVO Paralever with extra-light driveshaft. Dry weight 190 kg/430 lb, weight in road trim with full tank 213 kg/470 lb. Front fairing support made of extra-light pressure-cast magnesium. Tail light with 18 LEDs. Silencer with tailpipes positioned beneath one another directly under the rear fairing. Aerodynamically optimised, extra-slender body. Sports suspension with superior steering precision. High-performance brake system. New, extra-light ABS (optional). Wide range of accessories tailored to the sports rider.

Boxer engine with even more power

BMW’s new sports Boxer benefits from the innovations already featured on the R1200 GS. Displacing 1170cc, the two-cylinder features four valves and two spark plugs per cylinder, thus following the basic principle of the flat-twin power unit of the GS model. But at the same time far-reaching mod-ifications ensure much higher peak output than on the RT and ST mo-dels. Particularly the modified cylinder heads enable the R1200 S to develop an impressive 90 kW/122 hp smoothly delivered to the crankshaft running in anti-friction bearings. Power is transmitted via new, high load-resistant con-necting rods made of extra-strong steel alloy. The camshafts with modified control timing and larger valve lift rotate no longer in two, but rather in three bearings serving to further enhance the stiffness and precision of the entire valve drive system. Harder valve springs and reinforced rocker arms take the high speed of the engine of up to 8,800 rpm into account, a speed level incidentally never seen before on a BMW Boxer.

New pistons are also one of the significant changes made on the S power unit, increasing the geometric compression ratio to 12.5 :1 and thus marking a new record for an air- and oil-cooled power unit. This enormous compres-sion ratio serves in particular to boost torque at low and medium engine speeds, the flat-twin developing maximum torque of 112 Nm or almost 83 lb-ft at 6,800 rpm, despite the emphasis on supreme peak power. On the road, this means supreme engine response and muscle at all times, the flat-twin developing its maximum output on premium plus (RON 98) fuel. And at the same time the engine is also able to run smoothly on 95-octane premium thanks to its anti-knock sensors, with only a minor reduction of power.

Throttle butterflies and intake manifolds enlarged in diameter by 5 milli-metres (0.20´´) to 52 millimetres (2.05´´) and interacting with the modified intake funnel to boost the cylinder charge also serve to increase engine out-put. Due to the large intake cross-sections, the throttle butterfly housings feature special, progressively-acting kinematic control, the rider’s com-mands in calling up engine power being delivered to the throttle butterflies not on a linear curve, but rather with a variable transmission ratio.

This sophisticated and well-conceived system ensures a harmonious flow of power together with superior muscle and pulling force immediately when the rider fully opens the throttle at low engine speeds.

It goes without saying that the machine’s electronic intake manifold injection, together with the engine management and exhaust manifolds, is specially tailored to these modified flow conditions, the interior diameter of the exhaust gas manifolds being increased by 5 millimetres (almost 0.20´´) to 50 millimetres (1.97´´) on the new R1200 S.

Despite its sporting character, the high-performance flat-twin power unit of-fers the same running smoothness as the existing models in the R1200 se-ries – a particular feature attributable, not least, to the balance shaft. The dog-shift six-speed gearbox (weighing just 13 kilos) as well as lightweight shaft drive have already proven their qualities on the new Box-er generation and are now being carried over without requiring any mod-ifications to the R1200 S.

Refined frame

Another proven concept is the multi-dimensional frame structure on the R models integrating the engine into the chassis and suspension as a load-bearing element: The R1200 S features a three-piece frame specially gear-ed to the qualities and characteristics of this sports motorcycle.

The central and front sections of the tubular frame structure are made of steel, while the rear frame bolted in place is made up of extra-light square aluminium tubes. The advantages of this structure are not only low weight, but also simple and low-cost repair of accident damage at the rear.

The passenger footrest supports also bolted on to the frame come off easily within just a few moments, for example for riding the R1200 S on a race track.

Stable Telelever with a steep steering head angle.

Steering precision is a particularly important requirement on a sports motor-cycle. But apart from an absolutely precise response to steering commands, the rider also expects clear feedback from the front wheel.

This is precisely why the Telelever front wheel suspension on the R1200 S comes with fixed tubes measuring 41 millimetres (1.61") in diameter and wheel travel of 110 millimetres (4.33"). Featuring longitudinal arms supported on a specially matched spring strut, the Telelever does not require any mainten-ance and reduces brake dive to a minimum.

The geometry of the suspension is new and has been specifically tailored to the R1200 S, even the basic data and configuration figures clearly highlight-ing the agility and superior handling offered by this Sports Boxer on winding roads, naturally in conjunction with low weight in road trim with a full tank of just 213 kg or 470 lb: Measuring 66°, the steering head angle is 1° steeper than on the former model, while front wheel castor is now just 87 millimetres or 3.43", instead of the former 100 millimetres or 3.94". As a result, the rider will hardly even notice that wheelbase is up from 1,478 to 1,487 millimetres. What the sports rider will however notice and appreciate immediately is that the R1200 S allows him to lean over at an angle 2 per cent lower in bends than on the former model, enabling the rider to reach an extreme position of up to 52°.

Spring strut with travel-dependent damping in support of the EVO Para-lever.

The big advantages of the BMW Motorrad Paralever are well known and widely acknowledged. Benefiting from its lifetime oil filling in the axle drive, the lightweight driveshaft with single-arm wheel guidance requires abso-lutely no maintenance and is hardly any heavier than a conventional swing-ing arm with chain drive.

Made of cast aluminium, the entire structure rests on the frame of the motor-cycle via a modern gas-pressure spring strut with travel-dependent damping (TDD) and offers 120 millimetres (4.72") spring travel.

Travel-dependent damping operates as a progressive system. The further the spring strut moves in, the stronger the counteracting damper forces be-come. In all, therefore, the system ensures a smooth and sensitive response to minor bumps on the road as well as superior stability on bad or strongly un-dulating surfaces.

Light-alloy wheels in dynamic design with radial sports tyres.

The sweeping, dynamic design of the aluminium wheels has already attract-ed attention on BMW Motorrad’s sporting and dynamic K-models and is now to be admired for the first time on the Boxer series. Particularly the stylish rear wheel is a genuine eye-catcher, the high-rising silencer allowing a free, unobstructed view of the wheel.

The R1200 S is also a genuine sports machine when it comes to wheel dimen-sions: The 3.50 x 17-inch wheel at the front runs on a 120/70 ZR 17 radial sports tyre, while the 5.50 x 17-inch wheel at the rear features a high-grip radial sports tyre measuring 180/55 ZR 17. And as an option, the R1200 S is available straight from the factory with a six-inch rear wheel running on a 190-format tyre.

Sports brake system with ABS as an option.

The new BMW R1200 S is an uncompromising performer also in its brake technology: The front wheel comes with two brake discs measuring 320 millimetres/12.60" in diameter and 4.5 millimetres/0.18" in thickness, and held in position when required by two four-piston swing callipers. This brake system outperforms the brakes on the R1100 S, which already were quite outstanding with its brake discs measuring 305 millimetres or 12.01" in diameter and 5.0 millimetres/almost 0.20" across.

The rear wheel, in turn, comes with a double-piston floating calliper acting on a brake disc measuring 265 millimetres or 10.43" in diameter.

Benefiting from brakes of this standard, even the sports rider out on a racetrack can rely on smooth and consistent, precise brake response with oper-at-ing forces reduced to a minimum. Hydraulic control and superior operation of the brake pistons is ensured by high-quality, steel-reinforced brake hoses.

Choosing an appropriate ABS anti-lock brake system, the engineers at BMW Motorrad focused from the start on the sports-minded rider. The sys-tem used on the R1200 S is an upgraded two-channel ABS configuration without an integral function or brake servo, excelling through low weight and compact dimensions and thus adding just 1.5 kilos or 3.3 lb to the overall weight of the machine.

This low weight is made possible by a newly designed, extremely compact pressure modulator featuring linear-control intake valves for optimum brake pressure at all times in the usual ABS control range, that is when applying the brakes with the risk of the wheels locking. This superiority is ensured by very fast and precise control intervals, the new control valves with their infin-itely variable cross-section also enhancing the feeling of smoothness for the rider, who will feel only a minor pulse effect in the brake levers. A further advantage for the rider is the option to deactivate ABS when riding on a racetrack.

BMW Motorrad’s new ABS anti-lock brakes again come with an even wider range of diagnostic functions, the wheel speed sensors, for example, auto-matically supervising their distance from the sensor wheel and thus contrib-uting to the supreme standard of all-round safety offered by the system.

CAN-bus on-board network, cockpit with a wide range of rider infor-mation, and electronic immobiliser featured as standard.

BMW’s new sports Boxer comes with the single-wire system (SWS) on-board electronics already featured on the R1200 GS. Having already proven its merits in the car industry, this superior technology offers a wide range of benefits: it re-duces the number and length of cables required, uses CAN-bus technology to connect all control units, and in this way facilitates the process of diag-nosing all kinds of running conditions. A further advantage is that the system eliminates the need for conventional melt-down fuses by automatically switch-ing off the component involved in the case of malfunction.

Using data provided by the single-wire system, the rider is able to retrieve and call up lots of information via the Info-Flatscreen. As an example, the digital display presents the gear currently in mesh, the amount of fuel left in the tank, current oil temperature, the time of day, and the riding distance available on the remaining fuel. And in presenting all this information with opti-mum clarity, a photo-cell control unit even takes ambient light conditions into account, automatically adjusting instrument light intensity to current require-ments.

Even the aficionado of analogue instruments will be thrilled at first sight by the cockpit – two circular dials with white faces providing clear information on the current speed of the machine and engine revolutions. An electronic immobiliser is standard, so to the start the en-gine the rider requires more than a key with just the right con-tours, since the chip integrated in the original BMW key must in all cases first transmit the right code to the annular aerial on the combined steering and ignition lock, thus enabling engine management to clear the engine for the starting process. This technology is currently the safest and most reli-able system protecting a vehicle from theft.

Body design – slender and athletic all in one.

Even at first sight, BMW Motorrad’s new sports Boxer boasts a more slender and dynamic figure than its predecessor, while nevertheless tak-ing up the unmistakable design language of the R1100 S. The front end of the new machine is dominated by an asymmetric dual headlight featuring reflectors with geometrically optimised free-shaped surfaces carried over from the GS model. High-intensity H7 bulbs ensure bright illumination, and the cover lens made of scratch-proof polycarbonate coating new in its struc-ture and material qualities harmonises perfectly with the BMW kidney grill further down, guiding the airflow straight to the engine oil cooler.

The sporting windscreen likewise comes with a scratch-proof surface coat-ing and is fitted in position in the upper section of the fairing by means of spring brackets facilitating, for example, the subsequent assembly of a tint-ed windscreen available as an option. A further advantage is that the fasten-ing points are no longer visible from outside, making the entire front section smooth and clean in design, with all features and components fitting togeth-er perfectly. And last but certainly not least, the direction indicators inte-grat-ed in the rear-view mirrors also make an important contribution to this supe-rior style and good looks.

Yet another striking feature is the fairing support made of light pressure-cast magnesium. Finished in Graphite Grey metallic paintwork and fastened in po-sition by aluminium bolts, this important component is an integral feature of the overall design concept and may be admired not only by the rider sit-ting on the machine, but also by an outside observer.

Featuring a new silencer and exhaust emission outlets placed beneath one another, the rear end of the motorcycle is accentuated particularly in its ver-tical look. The extra-large, voluminous muffler is positioned below the rear fairing smoothly and attractively integrating the direction indicators into the overall design. A further feature boasted right at the top is the new tail light with no less than 18 light-emitting diodes comprising both the rear and brake lights operating in two different levels of brightness. Compared with a conventional tail light cluster, the light-emitting diodes require only about 10–20 per cent of the usual level of energy, while at the same time offering a much longer service life and significant safety benefits thanks to their even faster response time.

Focusing on technical features, the aerodynamic qualities of BMW Motor-rad’s sports Boxer deserve particular mention, especially after being per-fected in the wind tunnel: With sporting performance naturally being one of the main considerations in the development process, greater significance has been given in this case to the lowest possible drag coefficient as op-posed to enhanced protection from wind and weather. But this does not mean that the carefully designed, low-slung windscreen on the R1200 S does not give the rider efficient protection around his upper body, thus ef-fectively reducing wind forces at high speeds.

BMW offers the R1200 S in four different colours, each of which gives the machine a particular, individual touch. Paintwork in Night Black non-metallic, for example, focuses your view on the essential and con-veys an immediate feeling of sporting elegance, while White Aluminium matt metallic highlights in particular the design language and lines of the R1200 S. A particularly striking touch is ensured by Yellow non-metallic with a dark, matt-metallic centre stripe stretching from the front end of the machine via the fuel tank all the way to the seat.

And last but certainly not least, an especially outstanding colour is twin-tone paintwork in Red non-metal-lic/Ti-tanium Silver metallic, creating a new touch time and again from different per-spectives and visually integrating the red seat into the overall colour con-cept of the motorcycle.

Ensuring a relaxed and sporting posture.

A sports motorcycle must allow the rider to lean forward in a dynamic, “fast” position in order to benefit in full from his – or her – preferred style of riding. Indeed, the shift in weight provided in this way generates an optimum load on the front wheel when braking and entering a bend, and keeps the wheel even better on the road when accelerating. Despite these important considerations, the handlebar remains at exactly the right height to avoid any undue loads or forces acting on the rider’s wrists. Seat height of 830 millimetres or 32.7´´ and the well-conceived ar-rangement of the rider’s footrests guarantee a comfortable knee angle al-lowing the rider to keep his knees firmly on the tank. A further advantage is that the rider will find it easy to reach the ground with his feet, the seat par-ticularly slender at the front keeping the overall distance from one foot to the other on the ground to a mere 1,810 millimetres or 71.26´´.

Equipment

BMW Motorrad enables the enthusiast to customise his machine not only straight from the production line at the Berlin Plant, but also – at least in many cases – by subsequently fitting local features at the dealership. A fur-ther significant point is that all of the options and special equipment avail-able are carefully tested during the development period and perfectly match-ed to the sports Boxer, ensuring that the customer receives top-quality, per-fectly fitting accessories reflecting the sporting character of the machine in every respect.

Optional extras available straight from the factory.

    BMW Motorrad ABS (two-channel system). Öhlins sports suspension. Six-inch rear wheel with extra-wide 190-millimetre tyre. Anti-theft warning system. Twin-tone paintwork. Heated grips.

Öhlins sports suspension for the particularly demanding rider

A true specialist in motorsport, Öhlins supplies the components for the op-tion-al sports suspension. The spring strut up front features an adjustable in-bound stroke and variable spring pre-tension responding particularly smooth-ly and sensitively to bumps on the road and offering even greater reserves under sporting and dynamic riding conditions. The gas pressure spring strut at the rear with its integrated equaliser reservoir and travel-dependent damping effect, in turn, allows not only individual adjustment of the inbound and rebound stroke, as well as spring pre-tension, but also variable adjustment of the rear end for height. So with the basic spring setting re-main-ing unchanged, the rider is able to modify the steering geometry of the R1200 S and fine-tune his machine for motorsport.

Six-inch wheel at the rear with 190/50 ZR 17 radial sports tyre.

Clearly, the ambitious sports rider will not want to miss out on the perform-ance of an extra-wide tyre running on a six-inch aluminium rim. And apart from enhanced grip, this special combination of wheel and tyre gives the R1200 S a particularly sporting and dynamic touch.

Carrying sufficient baggage for a weekend excursion.

The baggage system made up of a tank bag and the soft sports bag at the rear optimises the high standard of long-distance and everyday riding quali-ties offered by the R1200 S. The main compartment in the tank bag ex-pands conveniently from 13 to 19 litres capacity, an additional section be-neath the map pocket enabling the rider to take along small odds and ends such as his purse, keys, mobile phone and sunglasses. The soft sports bag, in turn, features not only a 19-litre main compartment, but also two outer pock-ets at the side and a carrier handle at the top. Four universal belts the rider can leave on the motorcycle conveniently as long as he likes serve to fasten baggage safely and easily to the rear end of the machine.

Anti-theft warning system for optimum security at all times.

The anti-theft warning system triggers a very clear optical and noise alarm in response to any change in position or vibration of the motorcycle when park-ed. This extremely efficient system may be deactivated either by remote con-trol or by the key to the ignition.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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