BMW K1200RS (1997-2005) Review

Published: 22 November 2006

"Almost an ultra-sports tourer but lacking a few bhp and a carrying too much weight"

BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Riding

"Almost an ultra-sports tourer but lacking a few bhp and a carrying too much weight"

  • At a glance
  • 1171cc  -  130 bhp
  • 45 mpg  -  205 miles range
  • Insurance group: 15 of 17
    Compare insurance quotes now
  • Medium seat height (770mm)

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

The BMW K1200RS is almost an ultra-sports tourer but lacking a few bhp and a carrying too much weight. The K1200RS carved its own niche as a superb high-speed distance bike that could carry a pillion and luggage too without breaking a sweat. Radical Telelever front suspension’s no longer novel but still works and build quality remains a strong point so big mileages are very possible.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Weighing so much this motorcycle was never going to be nimble and the BMW K1200RS isn’t. The upside, though, is that stability is superb even with 160mph on the clock. The suspension’s a bit bouncy but you can tune it out. Adding a passenger and luggage doesn’t upset the bike at all. Brakes work ok and ABS is a bonus.

Engine 3 out of 5

Loads of torque and plenty of power from the BMW K1200RS's flat four. Unfortunately Japanese competition like Honda’s BlackBird make 30-odd bhp more and the K1200RS seems slow by comparison. Low down torque is plentiful, acing the BlackBird, although the RS’s weight negates some of it. Gearbox somewhat reluctant.

 

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Like so many BMWs the K1200RS is a quality motorcycle with a few minor glitches. Electrics and small areas of corrosion are the most common complaints. Fortunately the excellent dealer network know how to avoid or cure these. The K1200RS also seems to resist winter better than most machines.

 

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

The BMW K1200RS is now only available used and at last, prices have dropped to a reasonable level, even at main dealers. Still do your research and don’t pay OTT prices no matter how clean / low mileage a motorcycle is. There are cheaper, faster machines, including the Blackbird but the K1200RS  beats it on quality and distance-ability. Find a BMW K1200RS for sale.

 

Insurance group: 15 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The BMW K1200RS delivers long range comfort to match many full tourers. The riding position’s adjustable and the ergonomics well thought out and if you spend all day in the saddle this pays off. High level of equipment. Mirrors mounted on the bars look like an afterthought – surely they were meant to be in the indicator pods? At least they work well.

 

Owners' Reviews

9 owners have reviewed their BMW K1200RS (1997-2005) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.1 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3.9 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.9 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.6 out of 5
Equipment 4.1 out of 5
4 out of 5

2000 miles later

18 June 2013 by melsbikes

I didnt use the K much over the worst of the winter - maybe I'm getting old and soft! But I have managed to add 200 miles of commuting between Oxford and the city and this bike eats it for breakfast. Really comfy at 80 in the traffic -and gets to... Read more seriously illegal speeds in an eyeblink without grumbling. A couple of times I've twsited the grip and been caught out as I caught the car in front - good job the brakes are top notch! It's cofy - I have adopted a riding position which includes lying forward almost when manouvering - this is where the bike becomes scary - slow sppeed parking stuff and I confess I have dropped it at almost 0mph on a u-turn. £100 body shop job later and it looks like new but was p*ssed off with myself for trying to be too sharp with a bike that is so heavy. The crazy thing is that as soon as it's moving (and you;re not trying to turn a tight circle) it's superlight! No niggles so far - biggish ride coming up |London to Newcastle and back at a weekend - should test my age again!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Forgot to say...

03 December 2012 by melsbikes

...it's beautiful on the eye...someone really though this through - whatever you say about BMW bikes it's not usually that they are beautiful - but this on is a stunner. Read more

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A fine machine....

03 December 2012 by melsbikes

Just acquired a 2001 SE version. First K1200RS for me. Rode it back to London from Somerset. Ive owned and ridden several BMs and covered too many miles! I know that the first trip on a new bike will highlight all sorts of 'issues' associated with... Read more fit and comfort and reach and son on...bit like taking a walk in new shoes - feels weird - and the trap is to think weird is wrong - when its just different. SO ...the K1200rs is different from other BMs I've owned. And with just one longish rifde under my belt I can only comment on first impressions...and they are - very comfortable - easy to ride - I can reach everything easily - I stayed warm (it wasn't raining - and I stayed comfortable - ie not buffeted. I was ready to stretch my legs after a couple of hours which coincided with a refill. Quick coffee and back on - couldnt wait. It's super responsive in any gear with more power and punch than I will ever need. I got it on and off the stand easily - rode 150 miles on the A303 and spent an hour tootling around London inc very slow stuff around Chelseas ground when a home game tipped spectators out onto the pavements and roads! Easy - not wide - even with panniers - ie I was able to shoot around stationary traffic without worrying about clipping others. Climeebd off after about 4 hours total riding and felt very comfortable. I'm 5'8" - and it fits me! Didnt adjust anything. It could turn out to be a beautiful relationship - I had one of those with a GS and with a K1100rs. Thsi looks like the best value bike I ever bought - but its early days. In summary I've read a lot about how difficult these bikes are to ride - and I found it easy.....

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
3 out of 5

My first BMW

20 September 2011 by Bryanpowell33

My K1200RS is my first BMW Motorcycle. Brilliant build quality, exceeds Hondas best by miles. Has everything possible fitted with the exception of a Kitchen Sink. Would be perfect if the engine had the same level of Clout as my 1991 C1 ZZR 1100 or my... Read more Blackbird XXY or 2001. The performance doesn't seem to be any greater than a Varadero or a VFR750FN. A very good bike though !

Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

I miss you Darling!

12 June 2011 by sma11fry

What ever possesed me? I traded in a 1997 k12rs for a 2002 abs VFR800vtec. The Honda goes round corners faster, the ABS is better, and the back doesn't lock up like the BMW, but I never ever felt scared on the BM, it stopped, it went and it scraped... Read more the bottom of its pegs on request, and in any gear....not forever up and down the box like the Honda. The most surefooted tractor in christendom.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 2 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

set her up and she does what she was made to do very well

05 June 2011 by sportsboyuk

Handles far better than a Pan ST1300 i know ive had two new ones, gearbox is smooth, hunts a bit at tick over but power commander sorts it or remus exhaust. weather protection is good, small amount of bufferting at speed, sensertive to tyre... Read more pressures. very stable, point to point crusie missile,not as fast as My Hyabusa but then thats new and so mental. But the bmw is very well built and fun.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
2 out of 5

Seized Lump !!!

21 January 2009 by ThirstyIan

nice run down to Turkey from Aberdeen & back again though the rain from Italy to UK then the bludy UK roads.... speed really drops then. The thing went ok. But back home the lump seized & the backup support from BMW in Aberdeen was a waste of time... Read more !!! I shall be getting a Kwacker GTR1400 & forget BMW. I am still furious with them & the support I did not get from them. By the way where is the complaints site for them ?? or are they too good for that ?!Had an old Kawasaki Z1100 & it is still running , I shall be putting it back on the road & scrapping the beemer before I get the GTR.Really not impressed with BMW.

Overall Rating 2 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 1 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Best bike I've every owned

14 November 2008 by pmconnau

I'm not sure what MCN was thinking when they wrote the review on this engine but it sells this bike way short. For someone lookiing for a sport tourer with serious speed this is the perfect bike. I've ridden both the Ducati ST4s and Honda ST1300s and... Read more this is a better bike. 147HP with new pipes and Ohlin suspension means i can take to the twisties with most sport bikes.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

2003 K1200 RS

11 April 2008 by mcyclenz

Second Hand and in good condition, these bikes offer great value for money versus some new rivals.... I've clocked up 10,000 miles in the last year on mine (mainly 2 - up touring) purchased with only 2,500 miles on the clock, and rate it very highly.... Read more It is not a 'sports bike' and a tab heavy in the tight tights - but in all other circumstances it is magic - loves sweeping corners, great power, great brakes, good instruments, compliant suspension good economy and a 200 mile range on a tank plus all the luggage we need. I strongly recommend this bike.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
Read all 9 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1997
Year discontinued 2005
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 15 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 130 bhp
Max torque 86 ft-lb
Top speed 155 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.6 secs
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 205 miles
Specification
Engine size 1171cc
Engine type 16v flat four, 6 gears
Frame type Cast aluminium
Fuel capacity 21 litres
Seat height 770mm
Bike weight 266kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 285mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 170/60 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1997: BMW K1200RS launched.
1999: Non-ABS BMW K1200RS launched.
2001: Minor updates.

 

Other versions

BMW K1200RS Non-ABS: version available from November 1998.
BMW K1200RS ABS: when the non-ABS version was introduced this was the name for the regular ABS equipped motorcycle.
BMW K1200RS SE: Special Equipment model with ABS, luggage rack, heated grips and cruise control.

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  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Top view
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  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Top view
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Top view
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200RS motorcycle review - Riding