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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
£4,790 (2005) - £12,210 (2013)
Private used prices
£4,540 (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

14500 miles

£5,700

BMW
K1200S

13844 miles

£6,795

BMW
K1200S

40497 miles

£4,999

BMW
K1200S

17501 miles

£6,299

BMW
K1200S

19600 miles

£6,799

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(14 reviews)

  • This bike is a dream come true!!

    nrdf1

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I bought this bike a week ago and the dealer told me not to go above 6000rpm for the first 600 miles (which seems to be taking forever). However the power band starts from 2000rpm so you don't mind so much. This bike corners like it is on rails and the breaks are the best I've ever tried on any bike. Plus the seat and mirrors are fantastic. If you can afford it, this is the best bike around and all the bike you would ever need. Strengths: Engine, performance, handling, brakes, mirrors and seat are all of the highest quality. Weaknesses: Price tag mainly, but also other few little gripes. I wouldnt call them anything more than that. You need to have very close control with the clutch due to its power and yet the clutch is quite heavy so I'd suggest to test ride the bike in a city before you buy it. Also the gear change from 1-2 and 2-3 sound a bit clunky. But other than that, this bike is perfect.

    10 June 2006

  • If you try one, you'll want to buy one !

    wizardmaster

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I tried a lot of sports bikes and sports tourers before this bike. I think this has it all! Looks, handling, POWER, comfort (I am 6-3) I just absolutely love it! The ESA is just the trick, never noticed the shaft and this makes it so clean. I just can't say how much I love this bike.... and no, haven't found anything I don't like! Testers have column inches to fill, real-world, this is more than enough for 99% of riders. Strengths: Comfort, power, handling, looks. Weaknesses: Can't stay off it!

    20 March 2006

  • Awesome sports tourer. Quality finish.

    caedwards

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Overall this bike has all the real world rideability that you could ever want/need. Sporty seated position but comfortable (similar to VFR), real power and torque. Ok, it's not a sport bike and does weigh a fair chunk, but on the road it all helps. Love the ESA, love the heated grips, BM alarm is easy to use. BM panniers are a clever bit of design, didn't like them at first but after a couple of trips I found that the hard shell/flexible size is a real bonus. Strengths: Brakes - awesome power. Engine very smooth, injection is much better than orignal pre-producation demo models of late 04. Shaft drive. ESA is great. Handling. Quality, quality, quality! Makes Jap' bikes look poorly finished, but then they are cheaper! Weaknesses: Gearbox, 1-3 very clunky, although dropping the height of the lever around 10mm from the factory setting makes a huge difference. Probably the shaft drive adding extra weight to the system. Decrease play of rear brake (from factory setting) to get real power from it. £12K new with ESA, ABS, Heated grips, alarm and panniers - but it is worth it.

    21 January 2006

  • One off the best bikes on the market at the moment!

    kralties1

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I was amazed with the handling and control on a larger bike (cbr900 before), also the electronic suspension adjustment is really good, you can just change the setting whilst going along. It's also very comfortable to ride, very good brakes and the acceleration and handling are up there with the best. You just have to try one! Strengths: Handling, suspension, mirrors, acceleration, shaft drive, sport panniers...
    Weaknesses: It does not like to be ridden too slowly, it prefers spirited gear changes. The price is in Malta Lira.

    10 January 2006

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Anonymous

User's Badge

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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