BMW K1200RS (1997 - 2005) Review
At a glance
|Owners reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£90|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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 & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
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.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
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.
|Engine type||16v flat four, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Cast aluminium|
|Fuel capacity||21 litres|
|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|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||45 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£90|
15 of 17
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||130 bhp|
|Max torque||86 ft-lb|
|Top speed||155 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||11.6 secs|
|Tank range||205 miles|
Model history & versions
1997: BMW K1200RS launched.
1999: Non-ABS BMW K1200RS launched.
2001: Minor updates.
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.
Owners' reviews for the BMW K1200RS (1997 - 2005)
13 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£90|
Annual servicing cost: £100
It's a very good bike more of a motorway muncher than a B road scratcher but she can do both, every one mentions the weight and she is a bit heavy when pushing it around has the turning circle of a barge but once moving the weight disappears you just have to keep watching your speed as she is so smooth it's quite easy to go over the limit without realizing, I would not recommend this bike unless you are good with the spanners as a clutch problem which they are known for can right the bike off at a BMW bike dealership and finding a non franchised bike dealer to do the job can be a problem, so if you or a mate can't do the work yourself I would not consider buying one, routine maintenance is easy though once you have all the tupperware off .
I have been recommended non HH brake pads if you are only normal road riding as it saves the disks which can be expensive, if you are doing track days or pushing the bike hard use the HH brake pads as recommended by the manufacturer.
Sounds like a bucket of bolts at tick over but when on the move very smooth.
I have never had any problems with it, the steering damper really needs replacing although you can take it apart and refill it with the correct weight of fork oil although this is not in the manual, if the ABS units fails although mine is OK it can be bypassed as an ABS unit can cost £2000-00 new most things on this bike can be sorted and it should not right the bike off unless you take it to a BMW dealership.
This is providing you are doing the job yourself
Very will equipped with adjustable everything, my one does not have the optional heated grips which would be nice but I don't ride her in the winter so not a problem, the later GT version has them and cruise control.
Buying experience: I purchased it from someone I knew so I know it's service history and the clutch and other items had been replaced so I should have no problems.
Annual servicing cost: £80
Lovely and comfy. Good weather protection from the screen and she fits me like a glove. A lot is said about the weight of the bike, I cannot see, or feel, the problem myself. Worst feature? The headlight which is pretty poor considering the size of the bike. Really could do with a better headlight.
I find the brakes work very well. Plenty of power with really good feel. I love the Paralever front suspension. Rock steady with no dive. I can easily ride 100-120 miles in total comfort, Fill up and ride another 100-120 miles, then do it over again.
Would like a little more power. Plenty of torque and a silky smooth engine. Sadly the gearbox isn't!
In 29 months one headlight bulb has blown, just wear and tear.The brake light and rear indicators didn't work properly a couple of times, that issue turned out to be an iffy connection under the seat that was easily sorted. No other complaints.
I usually just change the engine/ gearbox oil once a year and that's it to be honest. She is very thirsty when I get somewhat throttle happy.
Love the Paralever front suspension. Works really well. I always run Bridgestone Battlax tyres. Very good feel in all conditions/ temperatures and no white lining!
Buying experience: I bought the bike secondhand from a small independent bike dealers. I paid £1600 which was book price at the time. She only had a genuine 47,000 miles on her. Now up to 55,000.
Version: ABS Servo.
It's a great bike.
Annual servicing cost: £100
The best thing about this bike is the smooth torque-rich engine. Once above 25mph one can stay in sixth gear and take it easy; if you wish to accelerate faster then drop a cog, or two, and it will be off quicker than a council worker on a Friday afternoon. The worst feature would be the weight. True, the mass disappears when rolling and the machine is nicely-balanced, making slow manoeuvres simple, but moving it around in the garage, or parking spaces, is not easy.
ABS is nice, but avoid the later servo-assisted models which are trouble. Ride is supple and it is nice to brake hard without dive from the front suspension.
Rubber mounts make is super smooth and it is so easy to ride with great torque at all revs.
This was probably the last BMW to be built to a standard and not down to a price. It shows with things like adjustable handlebars, footrests, brake & clutch levers, and seat height. Paint finish is still good after many years, but there is aluminium corrosion on my bike. You'd expect that though as it has been commuted on through many northern winters.
Parts are available on ebay, so running costs are low even if a major component fails. I get up to 50mpg, but the weight does not help in this department.
Lighting is poor, but a former owner fitted an HID dip beam, so that is now sorted. The horn is too quiet and squeaky, which is odd when you know what super instruments used to be fitted by BMW.
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 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!
...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.
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 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.....
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 Blackbird XXY or 2001. The performance doesn't seem to be any greater than a Varadero or a VFR750FN. A very good bike though !
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 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.
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 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.
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 !!! 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.
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 this is a better bike. 147HP with new pipes and Ohlin suspension means i can take to the twisties with most sport bikes.
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. 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.