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Ridden: BMW K1200R Sport review

09/10/2014 By Jane Omorogbe, contributor

I had forgotten just how much I'd enjoyed this engine. I held on, grinning, as 163 horses threatened to wrench my fingers from the handlebars. My knees dug into the tank's recess, I knocked the Beemer into sixth and tucked in - this is way too easy.

BMW's K1200R Sport is the fourth addition to the German manufacturer's most powerful range of bikes. Rather than being fully dressed like the K1200GT, sportily attired like the K1200S or completely naked like the K1200R, the R Sport has a semi fairing, launching it into a seductive sports-touring/semi-naked category.

GALLERY: BMW K1200 R Sport

Power and agility

Click images to enlarge, more below

As such, you'd expect the 241kg R Sport to be as agile as a bike weighing a quarter of a tonne could possibly be, whilst offering a good level of comfort for longer trips. And it does that by sharing the same in-line four-cylinder power unit as the K1200R. With 163bhp at 10,250rpm and a peak torque of 94ft lb at 8,250rpm, it's no wonder the acceleration is immediate and gutsy right up to the point where the needle meets the redline at 11,000rpm. Hence my eyes darting from the speedo to the track and back again: not only is the engine and six-speed gearbox smooth and effortless, the bike is deceptively fast.

As these four K12s are all from the same bloodline, it's no surprise that the small fairing on this new model bears the same headlight as the K1200S. It looks good and, although the screen itself is pretty low, it does a pretty successful job in deflecting the wind, but taller riders will probably either opt for an aftermarket screen or merely tuck down further onto the 19-litre tank. I did the latter. My bike was already endowed with aftermarket heated grips, ABS and ESA. All these extras can be factory fitted, instead of retro fitted, meaning a sleeker finish in traditional BMW style.

Not so optional extras

But rather than warm my hands from the persistent wintry chill, I was keener to play with the ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) button. Optional extra? This is a must-have extra! Make no mistake, the K1200 Sport is comfortable in just about any situation (and of course, there's a lower seat option if the stretch to the floor's too great from 820mm). But pick the pace up and, although the bike still glides over the rough parts, it does start to feel a bit loose. That's where the ESA, comes in.

The K100R Sport has the usual BMW Duolever front and Paralever rear suspension and with the ESA option, the black art of suspension set-up is as easy as the push of a button on the handlebars, allowing you to adjust the rear shock preload and damping setting while you're on the move. I had to play. The twisty road is was riding had seen better days and some uneven surfaces with the odd dip or two had the bike gently moving as the countryside flew by. But as I swapped from 'Normal' to 'Sport' mode, everything stiffened and the bike felt more focused than before.

Best of both worlds

Add that to the barmy 1157cc motor and ultra-comfortable seating position and you've got a bike that'll laugh in the face of a mammoth tour. Whether it involves a demanding ride, or sedate glide, this BMW K1200R Sport ticks all the right boxes. Agile and powerful though it is, it's not a race bike - obviously - or even a sports bike in the accepted sense despite its badge. But it is pretty handy and could raise a few eyebrows on the track in the right hands.

However, the ease at which it attacked high-speed corners and long straights means there must surely be a sacrifice somewhere along the line. And there is, but thankfully it's not a deal breaker. The steering lock's OK for U-turns as long you're happy to throw in a shuffle or two, and the bike's size becomes more apparent at slow speeds. But I'm nit picking here, it's a great bike with good versatility and of course, with the comfort-blanket of BMW production and aftercare qualities.


To add to the list of lovelies that I had on my test ride, BMW offer a range of accessories to suit all eventualities. Top boxes and panniers, main stand, tinted windscreen and the list goes on, not to mention the carbon fibre options listed in the High Performance Parts catalogue. The K1200R Sport is an attractive option - it doesn't have the sports focus of the S or the touring focus of the GT, but could turn its hand to either very easily.

Ridden: BMW K1200S
Ridden: BMW R1200S
Ridden: Ducati Multistrada 1100
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