BMW K1200S (2004-2008) Review

Published: 22 November 2006

"Some radical engineering and plenty of proven technology"

BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding

"Some radical engineering and plenty of proven technology"

  • At a glance
  • 1157cc  -  165 bhp
  • 41 mpg  -  170 miles range
  • Medium seat height (820mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

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

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

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.

Engine 4 out of 5

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.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 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 & Running Costs 3 out of 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 group: 16 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 5

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.

Owners' Reviews

14 owners have reviewed their BMW K1200S (2004-2008) 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 4.4 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.8 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.7 out of 5
Equipment 4.1 out of 5
5 out of 5

The best and safe bike I have ever had

16 October 2013 by Anonymous

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... Read more 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 !

Overall Rating 5 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 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Best bike I've owned

27 April 2011 by andydevans

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... Read more 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.

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

Warning

19 September 2008 by Caseygee

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... Read more 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 :(

Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 2 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
2 out of 5

Disappointing

19 July 2008 by kdouglasjones

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 2 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 1 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Very Happy

29 March 2008 by woodfordp

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 4 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 3 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
1 out of 5

BMW K1200S CRASH - ABS SERVO BRAKE FAILURE?

17 March 2008 by whitedove

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... Read more 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

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

Not perfect, but fast & well sorted

17 September 2007 by pmiller_mga

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... Read more 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.

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

The Ultimate Street Sportsbike

01 May 2007 by hasschapman

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... Read more 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.

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

Simply The Best !!

06 March 2007 by chrismaryharris

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... Read more 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!

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 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

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

16 September 2006 by gbonomo

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... Read more 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!!!!

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 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 14 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2004
Year discontinued 2008
Original price £10,100
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 16 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 165 bhp
Max torque 96 ft-lb
Top speed 170 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.8 secs
Average fuel consumption 41 mpg
Tank range 170 miles
Specification
Engine size 1157cc
Engine type 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Seat height 820mm
Bike weight 227kg
Front suspension Compression damping (only on ESA model)
Rear suspension Electronic preload, compression, rebound
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 265mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2004: Original BMW K1200S motorcycle launched.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
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  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Brakes
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Brakes
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW K1200S motorcycle review - Side view
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