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BMW K1200S Sports Tourers Motorbike Review

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BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

Hyper-sports touring motorcycle. One of the latest BMWs and that means it’s a seriously sorted motorcycle. The BMW K1200S has Suzuki GSX-1300R Hayabusa rivalling power but comfort and practicality too. Some radical engineering and plenty of proven technology. The latest Japanese hyper motorcycles are edging again on power – but the BMW K1200S is never short of shove.

 

Watch the BMW K1200S take on the 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa and the Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 in our road test

 

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

After decades of obstinance, the BMW K1200S has BMW’s first across-the-frame four motorcycle engine – the layout the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers have used to dominate motorcycling. And it works. Low down torque is plentiful, midrange and top end power are excessive in the BMW K1200S. You’ll need an autobahn and big balls to get the BMW K1200S' throttle on the stop. The motorcycle's gearbox is awkward when hot.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

Never one to shy away from innovation, the BMW K1200S uses another new system for front suspension. A single shock does the work which linkages transfer the forces. The theory is it separates braking and cornering forces – which is does. It’s brilliant everywhere except a racetrack and the motorcycle is still acceptable there.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4

The BMW K1200S' comfort is better than many touring motorcycles and the electric screen is superb at making autobahn wasting totally relaxing. BMW’s panniers are quite small but don’t affect high speed handing like some larger aftermarket ones. Factory extras for the BMW K1200S include the excellent Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA), low seat, heated grips, on-board computer and an alarm.

BMW K1200S (2004-2008)

Detail Value
New price £10,100
Dealer used prices
£4,800 (2005) - £12,210 (2013)
Private used prices
£4,420 (2005) - £10,990 (2013)
  View full used price info
Engine size 1157 cc
Power 165 bhp
Top speed 170 mph
Insurance group 16 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 4
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 5 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 3.5
Value rating is 3 rating is 3.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

Few motorcycles shrug off winter better than a BMW motorcycle. That said a BMW K1200S will still need regular attention to keep it looking shiny. Shaft drive means less maintenance and expense.  A few used motorcycles seemed to have suffered from vibration and quite high oil consumption. Thoughtful ownership of the BMW K1200S and to-the-book servicing may prevent this.

 

Value

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

The BMW K1200S is not cheap, especially with ABS fitted (£795 extra). Rival motorcycles RRPs are lower plus they can be bought at a discount – BMW K1200S' are rarely sold new under list price. Depreciation is quite low. For such a fast, sophisticated motorcycle it’s a bargain, compared to the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird, Suzuki GSX-1300R Hayabusa and Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 it’s a bit pricey. Find a BMW K1200S for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 16 of 17

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Model History

2004: Original BMW K1200S motorcycle launched.

Other Versions

None.

Specifications

Top speed 170 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.8 secs
Max power 165 bhp
Max torque 96 ft-lb
Weight 227 kg
Seat height 820 mm
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Average fuel consumption 41 mpg
Tank range 170 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 16 of 17
Engine size 1157 cc
Engine specification 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame Aluminium twin spar
Front suspension adjustment Compression damping (only on ESA model)
Rear suspension adjustment Electronic preload, compression, rebound
Front brakes Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 265mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

See all BMW K1200S motorcycles for sale

BMW
K1200S

14214 miles

£5,600

BMW
K1200S

14220 miles

£4,500

BMW
K1200S

45000 miles

£4,195

BMW
K1200S

14250 miles

£6,195

BMW
K1200S

8065 miles

£6,994

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(14 reviews)

  • The best and safe bike I have ever had

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
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    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Riding sad since 1997, I had MZ125,Suzuki bandit, Z750S, CBR600F, GSXR1300R, CBR600RR, 2008 R1 and finaly 2006 model K1200S on May 2012. (-) POINTS: You have to inspect all electronics well if you buy a second hand. In some of 2005-2006 bikes there may be problems with ABS, transmission, engine and finaly tank guage. Engine, transmission and tank guage had changed under warranty on my BMW(and be sure these are really expensive) So ask if you think to buy of these elements conditions to he dealer. (+) POINTS It feels heavy first but after the wheels spin you feelp very lighter and nimble bike, even in heavy traffic. Engineering level and all paint&finish quality is #1. Cornering and high speed stability is amazing for such a big boy. You can scrap the pegs with a quality pair of tires. Acceleration is breath taking; up to 100 it is better than Busa(gen1), up to 280kmh similar to Hayabusa but over that speed you are seeking more power. Thanks God; mine can run up to 295 km/h(!) watch my video if you wish : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXYyEVYyemY Fuel consumption is very pleasing with 5,5lt/100 km. Having a chance to be able to breake while cornering under urgent conditions with ABS make you feel really really confidence. Second hand selling may become an issue (as like as Hayabusa)But if you you want a reliable safe, fast and prestious second hand bike than this is K1200S; the best bike I have ever ride. Ride Safe, Be Safe !

    16 October 2013

  • Best bike I've owned

    andydevans

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Ride and Handling
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    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Without a doubt the best bike I have owned. The engine is great, very flexible, relax and ride it on the torque or open it up to experience it's full capability of propelling you at stupid speeds. The handling is sure footed and reassuring at all speeds. I have seen as much as 160 miles to reserve and then it counts down from 50 miles. Once I had the reserve counter showing 2 miles to empty and I still managed to fit in only 15 - 16 litres in the 19 litre tank! Generally I found it very comfortable but occasionally got a numb bum on longer trips. However, my bike had it's fair share of problems. If cold the engine would rattle on start up for a second or two until oil got to the cam chain tensioner and if you tried to set off quickly the clutch would make a horrible squeal. Both faults were investigated but no faults were found and a lot of other owners on forums have had the same experience with no further problems, apparently sorted on the 06 onwards bikes. The only failures I had were the gearshift potentiometer, it is used to sense what gear you are in and display it amongst other things. But when it goes wrong you still get the gear indication because the bike works out your revs vs. speed and calculates it, though it won't sense neutral so causing starting issues but you can get round these until you get it in for a fix. The worst failure I had was the brake servo (removed on later models, only used to dampen the earlier models cruder ABS). I was enjoying a bit of spirited riding and the brake fail light started flashing at me, not good entering a 30mph zone approaching a 90 degree bend from a national speed limit. Luckily there was enough residual pressure to slow me down. The brakes still worked but didn't have the huge stopping capacity that I was used to (when they worked, they are the best brakes I’ve used) so I limped home. The fault went away but I took it to BMW who plugged it in, they said the failure had logged but not what had caused it, so away I went and it happened 6 weeks later again. Apart from these issues it was a superb bike and I regret changing for my RSV Factory (on some days). It was a do anything motorcycle, touring, scratching and commuting was a joy.

    27 April 2011

  • Warning

    Caseygee

    Average rating rating is 2.5

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    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    When your K1200s is due for servicing get them to check throttle linkage as mine is playing up for the second time, throttle sticking open at 6.5k rpm (kind of exciting). Worse of all had major suspension failure two up, Strut connecting shock to mainframe broke in half (Luck was on my side only doing 20mph) BMW replaced free reckoned failed/seized joint, would have been fatal at any more speed so get them to check next service ok :(

    19 September 2008

  • Disappointing

    kdouglasjones

    Average rating rating is 2

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
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    Engine

    Good handling for a big bike, suspension somtimes a bit choppy. Very disappointed with finish - rusty bolts, corrosion getting under paint on castings. If you use it in the winter beware! Dont believe what they say about depreciation, you'll lose more in £ notes than you would with a Jap. Clutch judder (had it replaced, still wasn't perfect). Poor fuelling compared to something like a 'Busa. Why do BMW persist in using 3 buttons for the indicators when everyone else gets away with one? How many times did I flash my left indicator at someone - the button is where the horn is on every other bike! All in all, the little flaws let down what could be a brilliant bike, expensive imperfection. Won't be buying another beemer.

    19 July 2008

  • Very Happy

    woodfordp

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Value
    Engine

    Usually change every year, first bike I have had (other than an RSV - but that was too painful!) that I can't see myself wanting to change for a number of years. Has its faults, clunky gearbox, vibes etc, but that is only when I compare it to others... without a comparison I wouldn't have mentioned it. Went around Spain and France on a 950 Adventure June 07, wish I had owned this then. Too expensive, despite loving it.

    29 March 2008

  • BMW K1200S CRASH - ABS SERVO BRAKE FAILURE?

    whitedove

    Average rating rating is 1

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    Value
    Engine

    I SURVIVED, JUST, BUT WILL BE DISABLED FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE The brakes on my BMW K1200S locked the road wheel[s] solid under no provocation whatsoever BMW K1200S ABS servo brake system most probably failed? Does any body know of similar incidents? We would like to speak to anyone who has suffered a similar problem with a view to BMW taking the correct action in order to prevent other BMW users from suffering a similar fate of worse Can anybody help please? Thank you to all

    17 March 2008

  • Not perfect, but fast & well sorted

    pmiller_mga

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    As the title says, the K1200S is not perfect: the engine is a bit buzzy, the clutch can be finicky, the gearbox clunks, and there are some styling cues that don't quite work, such as the huge muffler can and the 1990's Hondaesque nose. However, the engine is a fizzing, bubbly thing that always wants to deliver great power and seriously storms when you get north of 6,000 rpm. The handling, while criticized by some as being slow in the steering and the Hossack frontend lacking feel, is absolutely planted and stays resolutely on line even when encountering a mid corner bump or the need to brake. Speaking of brakes, these things are foolproof and provide enormous power safely, all with the peace of mind of linked front-and-rear braking with ABS. Straight line stability is rock solid and unhampered by side winds and gusty days. Ride quality is excellent: compliant with good bump absorption, but without feeling cushy or soft. There is a little slack in the driveline, and this can be accentuated by the on-and-off fueling, but the maintenance-free shaft is great for weekend riders. And let's face it - we are the majority of motorcycle owners. The equipment is first class and the ESA is a must have option. The comfort for a sports bike is pretty good as well.

    17 September 2007

  • The Ultimate Street Sportsbike

    hasschapman

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    For real life bumpy back roads there isn't a better sports bike out there, and for fast motorway cruising only the specialised tourers can beat it. The ESA is awesome; mine is mostly set on "sport" but for two-up cruising the "comfort" setting keeps the wife happy! Positive: Handling, brakes, stability, engine (it begs to be ridden hard), ESA (!!!). Negative: Gearbox (clunky) and poor on/off throttle transition fueling at 2500/3000 revs. My last bike was an Aprilia RSV1000R Factory and the K12S is just as exciting when ridden hard but way more practical and has alot better stability. On all but the tightest corners I am faster on the K12S because it gives me the confidence to improve my riding.

    01 May 2007

  • Simply The Best !!

    Chris Harris

    Redditch

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Ride and Handling
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    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I have had several different bikes over the years but this beats everything hands down! It does it all - tour comfortably, blitz 'A' roads, scratch on 'B'roads far better than a bike this size has any right to, and is so easy to use with its smooth power delivery and awesome torque! After owning the new K1200GT for 6 months before changing, I was expecting a notchy gearbox for the first few thousand miles, but this has no glitches at all and it goes up and down the box beautifully, with just a snick of the lever. The engine is just staggering - endless power that goes on and on for ever. The brakes are possibly the best on the market and the lights are excellent. Comfort is not quite as good as the GT but you can ride for hours without getting back ache - the bars are in just the right position and the wind protection is surprisingly good. The handling is truly excellent for a big bike. It is surprisingly flickable but what stands out is the planted feel you get when cornering - reminds me very much of the ZX7R I used to have. It really does feel as if it is on rails and totally unflappable. Are there weaknesses? Well, I cannot find any. Yes, it is expensive, but the build quality is second to none and you really do get refinement from BMW these days. For long distance touring you could do with a slightly bigger tank but that is being very fussy! The panniers are actually very good although their style is odd to start with - they do grow on you. This is an aweful lot of bike and it will surprise many people who have old-fashioned ideas about BMW - try one; you will be amazed!

    06 March 2007

  • Bought new in 2005, 17,000miles and going from strenght to strenght!

    gbonomo

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I bought the k12s in June 2005. The bike its fully loaded:esa(electronic sospention adjustment), abs, alarm, BMW paniers and gps system.I had a Honda CBR1000F  for 10 years and decided I wanted a supersportourer, as the CBR was getting on a bit. I looked & testrode a few (Backbird, Triumph Sprint ST, Kawasaki 1200, and VFR), but when I looked at the K12's I loved the look, it only took a 2 hour test ride on it to make me part with around £12,000!!! I toured around Europe on it(Blackforest trip last year,and Loire castles trip this year....Alps next year!) and it's perfect for me for fast touring. The ergos are perfect as well (I'm 6 feet tall & put a double bubble screen on, which deflects the wind to the top of my helmet). Although the performance is the same as most 1000 sportsbikes, the riding position it not at all extreme and I can ride all day long with no aches and pains. I also use it to commute to &  from work (90 miles round trip), and go out with friends at the week end.The k1200s does this perfectly. Strengths: This bike is a missile and it's alround ability its fantastic! I've found it reliable. The brakes are the best on anything on 2 wheels,and the stability and handling are perfect. this bike is on it's own rail....pick a line & it will not move!! Weaknesses: Clunky 1-2-3 gear shift, slight fuelling glitch at betweeen 2/3k revs., goes too fast too easily. Watch out for points on your licence!!!!

    16 September 2006

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Anonymous

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Anonymoussays

Are there still issues?

Do any of your owners know if there are still gearbox and vibration issues with this bike? Thanks!

26 July 2008 19:13

teldelaney

teldelaneysays

28 May 2008 09:22

whitedove

User's Badge

whitedovesays

BMW K1200S CRASH - ABS SERVO BRAKE FAILURE?

I SURVIVED, JUST, BUT WILL BE DISABLED FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE The brakes on my BMW K1200S locked the road wheel[s] solid under no provocation whatsoever. I simply carressed the front brake lever ever so lightly. I also released the brake lever with immediate effect. However, the brakes continued to remain locked I believe that the BMW K1200S ABS servo brake system most probably failed Does any body know of others who have suffered the same fate? If so, we would be delighted should you provide us with contact details with a view o getting together to proove fault against BMW in the hope that other BMW users do not suffer a similar of worst fate than I did Many thanks to all whitedive

17 March 2008 16:43

houtingdave

houtingdavesays

BEST BIKE I HAVE OWNED

This is the best bike I have owned. After seeing the K1200r and going on a test ride i was hooked. i settled on buying the k1200S and also had the paniers fitted to give me a sports bike with touring option. the power is fantastic and very manageable. the price tag sounds a bit much but i got a top spec bike and panniers for under 12k. compared to an FJ1300 or pan its a bargain. the handling from the radical suspension really sorts out the bumpy roads. go and test ride one and see.

11 October 2007 19:56

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