On fast, twisty roads the set-up generates an intuitive level of grip confidence rarely felt this side of warmed-up racing tyres. Initially softly sprung, but magically (or electronically) stiffening up as you push harder, the chassis encourages the taking of greater and greater liberties until the bike starts to sway around on its exceptional Brembos, chattering and chirping under braking, rear end sliding and twitching under power. Push too hard and limited ground clearance means hero blobs call time long before the chassis runs out of ability. But up ’til then, steering is neutral and the RS glides with satisfyingly serene ease through bends.
Remarkably, it wasn’t long ago a BMW litre flat twin would barely chuff its way to 70bhp if it was lucky and pointing downhill, yet the RS is cheerfully slinging a claimed 92ftlb of torque at the tarmac, which is more than Aprilia claim for their 1100cc V4 Tuono, more than Yamaha’s new R1 actually makes, and not a million miles from Ducati’s 105ftlb 1299 Panigale. Clearly the RS doesn’t feel as hedonistic as those machines, but its on-the-road pace is a pulsating mix of long-legged galloping with just enough thudding character. It’s grown-up speed rather than thrashing lunacy; holding 80 to 100mph at 4000rpm in top come what may, using the bike’s momentum to preserve velocity and its seamless gearbox to show everyone following how rarely you use the brakes.
It's a BMW so there should be little to worry about. As with the R1200R the RS is put together well and BMW dealer care is top notch.
The bog standard RS comes in at a price of £10,835, but the price quickly rises if you want all the goodies. The top of the range Sport SE, seen here, is priced at £12,915, while the mid-level Sport comes in at £11,870.
The standard R1200RS is pretty basic, only featuring ABS, Automatic Stability Control, and Road & Rain riding modes as standard. The Sport SE mode, tested here, also comes with Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment, cruise control. centrestand, rear rack, pannier fastenings, chrome exhaust and GPS mount.