BMW redesigns the K1200 GT - 17% more power, 11% more torque, 6% less weight
By Mike Hanlon
March 10, 2006
March 11, 2006 Somewhere between BMW’s superbly comfortable K1200LT we dubbed “the mothership” and the sporting K1200RS is the K1200GT, a much lighter, more nimble but superbly equipped motorcycle designed to gobble miles at a brisk rate in true “Gran Turismo” fashion. Introduced in 2003, the 130 hp K1200GT sold very well in a competitive sports touring segment numbering Yamaha’s FJR 1300, Ducati’s ST4, Triumph’s Sprint ST, Honda’s ST1300 and Kawasaki’s ZZ-R 1200.
But with BMW Motorrad shotting for a sportier sexier image and the dynamic 167 hp K1200 S dna available, it was inevitable that a replacement model would eventuate. The new massively revised GT hits European dealerships later this month with an impressive set of figures – 17% more power, 11% more torque, 6% less weight, 19% more payload and a 17% longer cruising range, BMW’s Duolever front wheel suspension and Paralever shaft drive to the rear wheel. The sophisticated BMW Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) is available as an optional extra. Standard features include adjustable seat, handlebars, Integral ABS, panniers and windshield. The latter can be electronically adjusted to suit individual preferences. The new model for 2006 combines maximum agility and significantly increased performance with ideal riding ergonomics designed for the longest journeys.
To reach the objective of a machine that is perfectly suited to long-distance sports touring, the development engineers at BMW Motorrad have carried over the running gear and engine technology of the K1200 S and K1200 R models. The innovative wheel guidance systems – BMW Duolever at the front and EVO-Paralever at the rear – make a very significant contribution to the excellent riding characteristics of the K1200 GT.
The K1200 GT is powered by the technologically advanced four-cylinder engine that made its debut in the 167 hp K1200 S. It develops a maximum output of 152 hp in its GT specification, which makes the 1,157cc tourer the most powerful machine in its segment by some margin. The new GT is even 17 per cent more powerful than its predecessor, with an impressive increase in torque of 11 per cent. This power hike hasn’t come at the expense of fuel economy though, as the new GT offers a higher theoretical cruising range (up by 17 per cent) and at the same time is six per cent lighter, but is also able to carry a higher payload (up by 19 per cent).
It goes without saying that the new GT has all the features expected in a BMW touring machine. In particular, it has been designed specifically for riding with a passenger and covering long distances in comfort and style. Maximum riding comfort is ensured by excellent wind and weather protection, an electrically adjustable windscreen, adjustable rider’s seat and handlebars, as well as panniers included as standard.
The K1200 GT also meets the greatest demands in terms of environmental compatibility and safety. Apart from a fully controlled three-way catalytic converter, the high-performance EVO brake system with semi-integral ABS brakes and an electronic immobiliser are among the features offered as standard equipment.
The new K1200 GT is available in three standard colours that can be combined with two contrasting colours on the side covers and the seat. As usual, BMW Motorrad also offers a wide range of optional extras and special equipment, including Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA), an on-board computer, an xenon headlight, cruise control, and the new Motorrad Navigator III.
No matter what your plans may be for long distance road trips, with or without a pillion, packed for a fortnight’s adventure or with just enough for a short day trip, the GT will cope with it all.
Technical features and highlights
The new K1200 GT is powered by the same engine that has already hit the headlines in the K1200 S and K1200 R. Now the GT version of this highly advanced power unit offers maximum output of 112 kW/152 hp at 9,500 rpm and peak torque of 130 Nm (96 lb-ft at 7,750 rpm). These performance figures alone bear clear testimony to the outstanding dynamic potential of BMW’s new model, which takes it to the top of its segment in terms of engine power. The plateau-like torque curve (with more than 75 per cent of the engine’s maximum torque available from just 3,000 rpm) clearly proves that the K1200 GT offers superior acceleration and grunt, definitely living up to its name as a Gran Turismo.
Dry sump lubrication and the position of the compact power unit with its cylinder bank tilted 55° to the front have enabled the engineers at BMW Motorrad to move the centre of gravity as low as possible.
This low centre of gravity offers the best of two worlds – providing the appropriate load on the front wheel and at the same time ensuring genuine sports handling.
The six-speed gearbox of the BMW’s K Series is both light and compact, and is conveniently integrated into the engine housing. Particular advantages of the gearbox are its smooth gearshift, which enables riders to select gears quickly and precisely, and with lever travel reduced to a minimum.
Duolever front wheel suspension
Like the other K-models, the new Duolever front-wheel suspension ensures superior precision and accurate tracking at all times, combined with supreme suspension comfort. The entire structure offers excellent torsional stiffness and is designed for light and agile handling. With resistance forces kept to a minimum, the suspension responds smoothly and precisely even to the smallest bumps on the road.
The kinematic configuration of Duolever suspension offers superior anti-brake dive properties throughout the suspension’s entire spring travel. In terms of running gear and suspension qualities, therefore, the new K1200 GT offers an ideal combination of riding comfort on long tours with more than enough superior sportiness and dynamic performance available whenever needed.
Rear-wheel Paralever suspension and optional ESA
Developed by BMW Motorrad, the Paralever has proven for years that power transmission and rear wheel suspension can be combined most efficiently. The latest Paralever is an ultra-firm lightweight unit with the spring strut connected to the rear wheel mount by a progressive pivot link.
This not only offers significant advantages in terms of response and the progressive damping effect, but also reduces unsprung masses, minimises load change response and offers more ground clearance.
The K1200 GT is available as an optional extra with BMW Motorrad’s unique Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) allowing the rider to adjust the spring/damper setting simply by pressing a button on the handlebar.
EVO brake system with Integral ABS and brake pad wear indicator
The new K1200 GT proudly features BMW’s proven EVO brake system, which is also found in the other K- and R-Series models. With brake disc diameter of 320 mm at the front and 294 mm at the rear, the EVO brake system is perfectly equipped to ensure superior deceleration even from high speeds and with the motorcycle carrying maximum load. The steel flex brake lines fitted as standard not only look good, but also help to provide a consistent pressure point.
Yet another standard feature is BMW Motorrad part-Integral ABS. On this system the rider activates the front and rear wheel brakes via the handlebar lever, while the foot pedal acts only on the rear wheel brake, which is exactly the right configuration for sports riding.
The new K1200 GT also comes with yet another safety and comfort feature fitted as standard: a brake pad wear indicator which tells the rider when the brake pads have been worn down to the limit and need to be renewed.
Single-wire system (SWS) with CAN-bus technology
It is only natural for a modern BMW motorcycle to feature a network connecting all of the machine’s electrical and electronic components, with digital information now being transmitted through one single wire. Indeed, the single-wire system dramatically simplifies the entire system of on-board electrics, reduces the need for cables and connectors, and makes the system significantly lighter.
A further essential point is that only this technology is able to provide reliable, comprehensive and quick troubleshooting and diagnostic functions. It also enables the service technician to read out data and/or redefine specific parameters. And last but not least, the single-wire system with CAN-bus technology allows the simple addition of electronic accessories, thus broadening the motorcycle’s wide range of functions.
To make sure that only the rightful owner is able to enjoy the new K1200 GT on the road, an electronic immobiliser comes as standard (and is also integrated in the databus network just described). Just like on a modern car, the ignition key incorporates a coded data chip communicating via a transponder in the ignition lock with the electronic engine management. So both ignition and fuel supply are only activated when the data exchanged corresponds as required, allowing the rider to start the engine.
The extra-large display right in the middle of the cockpit serves as the interface, where the rider can check all data relevant to riding conditions and the use of his motorcycle. The system shows overall mileage, trip mileage, the time of day, coolant temperature, the gear currently selected, the fuel level and the mileage remaining when reaching the fuel reserve in the tank.
Those who opt for Electronic Suspension Adjustment or the TPC Tyre Pressure Control system can go even further and are able to check the current set-up of the suspension as well as the air pressure in their tyres, via the Info-Flatscreen.
Sporting and lean body
The striking, aerodynamic fairing on the new K1200 GT is unusually slim for a tourer. Keeping the drag coefficient to a minimum, the fairing guarantees maximum riding stability at high speeds on the road. And despite its sporting look, the fairing offers significantly improved wind and weather protection than the previous model.
The front end of the fairing is made up of two plastic shells and the load-bearing headlight unit. With all fairing components being easy to remove and fit back in position, maintenance and service is easy and convenient at all times.
Electrically adjustable windscreen
Focusing on the shape and design of the windscreen, the designers and aerodynamic engineers at BMW Motorrad have created an ideal combination of maximum wind and weather protection in as small a surface area as possible. Carefully controlling the flow of air on the side contours, the windscreen guides the wind and air smoothly around the rider, reducing the windblast on the helmet and upper body significantly, even at high speeds.
A further advantage is that the light screen adjusts electrically over a range of 100 millimetres. All the rider has to do is press a button on the left-hand handlebar to set the windscreen to the desired position. A higher windscreen (+ 60 mm) is available as special equipment, ensuring that virtually every rider – no matter how tall or short – is able to adjust the windscreen perfectly to his requirements.
Seat designed for all ergonomic requirements
To ensure maximum riding comfort and freedom of movement, BMW Motorrad has once again concentrated on the ‘step arch length’ criteria in designing the seat.
This is the distance measured between the rider’s two footprints across the inner length of his legs and around the seat, taking both the shape and the width of the seat into account. So clearly, the rider benefits from the slender line of both the frame and the body of the K1200 GT.
To provide these advantages, the seat has an extremely slender waistline exactly where the rider sits, enabling him to easily reach the ground and offering a very comfortable knee angle. The standard seat can be set to a height of either 820 or 840 millimetres (32.3 or 33.1´´) and an optional lower seat (800 mm/31.5´´) is available for the shorter rider.
The "ergonomic triangle" made up of the footrests, the seat itself and the handlebar offers maximum freedom of movement both for sports riding and touring, at the same time allowing the rider to cruise in relaxed style without fatigue. The passenger, finally, also enjoys excellent seating comfort.
Handlebars adjustable for height
To ensure that the handlebars can also be adjusted to riders of various heights with their own seating preferences and different styles of riding, the handlebars are adjustable to four different levels, moving towards the upper body of the rider when required by up to 40 mm. Again, this ensures an ideal posture under all conditions, with simple, manual adjustment for height by means of bolt clamps.
Design and colours
The new K1200 GT offers a perfect symbiosis of touring comfort and sporting performance. Self-confident, forward-urging lines emphasise the dynamic character of the new K1200 GT and the machine’s slender proportions all round – combined with the very compact engine cover – again point clearly towards the sporting and dynamic DNA of the new GT.
Seen from the front, the K1200 GT’s windscreen and hand protectors are compact and discreet in design, and the strikingly chiselled headlight stands out as a dynamic highlight typical of the brand.
The three main colours for the body of the K1200 GT – Dark Graphite Metallic, Deep Blue Metallic, and Crystal Grey Metallic – form a perfect combination with the two colours available for the side covers (on the tank and below the seat) as well as the seat itself. This colour concept clearly accentuates the special character of the K1200 GT, with different interpretations depending on the colours chosen.
Colour choices are Elegant Dark Graphite Metallic combined in standard trim with lighter, Granite Grey side covers and a grey seat; Deep Blue Metallic combined with dark, slate-coloured side covers and a black seat; and Crystal Grey Metallic with the seat in black and slate-coloured side covers.
With alternative combinations of the main colour and the colour chosen for the seat and side covers, the customer has every option to personalise the K1200 GT to his individual wishes. Colour combinations with greater contrasts focus more on dynamic performance, underlying the differences between the rider’s area and the body of the machine.
Range of Equipment
A genuine Gran Turismo, the new K1200 GT offers an ideal blend of sporting performance and touring comfort, even in standard trim. And as usual, BMW Motorrad provides a wide range of optional extras and special equipment for this new model.
Many of these features will suit the demanding long-distance rider looking for maximum comfort on his journeys. At the same time the enthusiast with a penchant for technology will find numerous functional options ranging from an on-board computer all the way to a xenon headlight.
Optional extras and Equipment Packages are delivered straight from the factory. Special equipment may also be fitted by the customer’s local BMW dealer.
higher windscreen On-board computer including oil level warning unit Rider’s seat, low (800–820 mm/31.5–32.3´´) Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) Anti-theft warning system DWA Heated grips (with automatic adjustment of heating function on models also equipped with an on-board computer) Xenon headlight TPC Tyre Pressure Control (scheduled for autumn 2006) Seat heating Cruise control Seat in grey or black Colour variants for the tank and side covers
Tall riders can benefit from the best possible wind and weather protection, by opting for a windscreen that is 60 mm (almost 2.4´´) higher than usual, with infinite electronic adjustment just like the standard version.
On-board computer including oil level warning system
A particularly practical companion both on journeys and sporting excursions is the optional on-board computer enhancing the wide range of functions already offered by the Info-Flatscreen fitted as standard. Pressing a button at the right end of the handlebar, the rider can call up all kinds of information presented clearly on the display – for example the range remaining on the fuel in the tank, his average speed, average fuel consumption, and ambient temperature. The on-board computer warns the rider whenever the oil level drops below the minimum point and informs him of the risk of black ice as soon as the outer temperature drops to 3 °C or below.
Lower rider’s seat
To offer the shorter rider an even more convenient and better experience on the K1200 GT, BMW Motorrad as usual is able to deliver this new model with a lower seat: Seat height is down by 20 mm versus the standard seat, offering two height levels at 800 or 820 mm (31.5 or 32.3").
Electronic Suspension Adjustment
As an option, the rider is able to adjust the suspension set-up of his K1200 GT smoothly and conveniently simply by touching a button on the handlebars. Optional ESA sets the spring base and damping smoothly, conveniently and instantly by means of an electric motor.
Using the system is very easy: once the rider has pre-selected the load the motorcycle will be carrying (solo, solo with luggage, passenger and luggage) by setting the spring base accordingly, he then enters his planned style of riding (Comfort, Normal, Sports). Taking in this data, the system’s electronic management determines the most appropriate, optimum damper rates, offering the rider an overall choice of nine different settings and even enabling him to vary the damper setting while riding.
The options available as well as the current set-up are presented on the Info-Flatscreen. ESA ensures a high standard of comfort and convenience, prevents false settings, and guarantees perfect adjustment of the spring elements to the rider’s style of riding and load conditions. Ultimately therefore, ESA makes an important contribution to riding safety on the road.
Anti-theft warning system
With the new K1200 GT obviously being highly desirable, it is important for the owner to protect his machine from the risk of theft. So the anti-theft warning system responds immediately to any change in the position of the motorcycle, vibration or attempted manipulation of the electrics by triggering both an optical and an acoustic alarm. The system is activated/de-activated both by the key to the ignition and the remote control included in the anti-theft warning function.
Heated grips and seat heating
The rider and passenger are perfectly prepared even for bad weather or trips to cold regions on the K1200 GT equipped with heated grips and/or seat heating. These options keep the rider’s hands warm, as the heated grips interact with the optional on-board computer to automatically adjust the level of heat in Position 1 as a function of ambient temperature. In Position 2 the system consistently provides maximum heat to quickly warm up the rider’s hands and/or protect him from extreme cold.
The optional seat heating operates in two stages, with separate control of the rider and passenger’s seats. The function activated is then presented on the Info-Flatscreen.
The K1200 GT is available as an option straight from the factory with a xenon headlight system complete with a free-form reflector replacing the standard halogen low beam. This special reflector developed specifically for use on a motorcycle features a cylindrical beam focus preventing any undesired light scatter or dazzling effect. With the system’s light output being roughly twice that of a conventional halogen bulb, illumination of the road ahead in the dark or in poor visibility is significantly better and more consistent. And since the spectrum of xenon light is very similar to that of natural daylight, and as such, there is much less strain on the rider’s eyes.
The bottom line, therefore, is that the rider is able o detect potential hazards more quickly and is perceived sooner by other road users. And last but certainly not least, the xenon bulb consumes about 30 per cent less energy than a conventional halogen bulb and offers a much longer service life. The high beam on the xenon headlight is the same as on the regular halogen headlight, featuring two free-form reflectors and H7 technology.
TPC Tyre Pressure Control
The optional Tyre Pressure Control system reliably informs the rider of current tyre pressure and makes a significant contribution to both riding comfort and safety. Tyre pressure data is provided by battery-powered sensors in the wheels, with either a yellow ‘information’ lamp or a red ‘warning’ lamp in the Info-Flatscreen informing the rider as soon as the pressure measured deviates beyond the margins allowed from the pressure required. TPC is scheduled for introduction in autumn 2006 and may be retrofitted as special equipment for all models following the start of production.
Cruise control ensures relaxed touring even on long distances. The system reliably maintains the cruising speed set by the rider in advance, enabling him to release pressure on the throttle and relax both hands on the handlebars.
- Topcase, large
Inner bag for topcase, large
Inner bag for topcase, small
Back upholstery for topcase, small
Impact protection for cases, left and right
Inner bags for cases, left and right
Connection cable for BMW Navigator
Holder for BMW Navigator
Additional power take-off
Supplementary on-board toolkit
Topcase, large, and inner bag
Featuring this special equipment, the K1200 GT offers the highest standard of convenience for long tours and comfortable journeys. The watertight topcase offers an exceptional 49 litres of storage space and can hold up to 10 kilos or 22 lb, easily enough for two helmets. And with its painted top as well as special design tailored to the motorcycle as a whole, this sophisticated, high-quality storage box blends harmoniously with the overall design of BMW’s new Gran Turismo.
The integrated backrest gives the passenger great seating comfort, and the inner bag (also available as special equipment) not only facilitates loading and unloading, but also serves as an all-purpose travel bag thanks to its two carrier straps.
Topcase, small, inner bag and back upholstery
The small topcase adds another 28 litres or five kilos to the loading capacity offered by the K1200 GT – enough space for light baggage or a helmet. And as a further option passenger comfort may be enhanced by adding special back upholstery on the topcase. The inner bag (also available as an option) protects the rider’s luggage from dirt and damage.
Impact protection and inner bags for the motorcycle cases
To make sure that the usual mishaps in everyday use do not leave behind any lasting traces and to protect the cases from ugly scratches and other damage, BMW offers impact protectors tailored to the cases. Inner bags perfectly matched to the size and shape of the cases ensure extra convenience, particularly with their additional pockets for taking up all kinds of odds and ends on motorcycle tours. Two carrier straps and a removable shoulder belt, finally, ensure easier transportation when the rider reaches his destination.
The practical tankbag is tailored perfectly to the K1200 GT in its material and colour. The extendable main section comes complete with a glued-in, fully closing inner bag reliably keeping the contents dry in all kinds of weather.
The map pocket offers ample space for a folded road map and is also watertight. Last but not least, a small zippered pocket is integrated in the cover of the main section for convenient storage of all kinds of odds and ends.
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