BMW R1250R (2019 - on) Review
- Smooth ShiftCam boxer engine
- Comfortable roadster riding position
- Impressive chassis and brakes
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£230|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
With its dark, rumbling soundtrack, lavish reserves of lowdown power and a searing top end, BMW’s new R1250R is as classy as they come. Its new Shift Cam boxer engine offers just the right balance of quirky refinement, transforming even the shortest journey into a grin-fest.
Wind protection is non-existent, but it’s roomy, calm and easy to manage, with the poise and grace of a super naked in the corners with stonking brakes to match.
Build quality is Tonka Toy-tough and standard spec is generous, but it’s pricey, especially loaded with extras and isn’t a big step on from the old 1200.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
There are no major changes in the chassis department, but that’s no bad thing. With its semi-active damping (adjustable through the multiple riding modes on our test bike), the BMW can be as motorway-floaty, soaking up the bumps, or racer-tough and crisp steering, depending on your mood.
Like the old 1200, S1000RR-style 45mm upside forks replace the Telelever set-up of its sister boxers and give more feel tipping into corners. The way the R1200R rolls on to its side with the grace of an Öhlins-clad Tuono or Speed Triple RS is a testament to genius of BMW’s test riders, the grip of the Michelin Pilot 4 sports touring rubber and set-up of its shaft drive system.
In a move that had the internet buzzing with incredulity, BMW’s new generation Shift Cam boxers and even its new flagship S1000RR superbike have dumped their Brembos in favour of BMW branded calipers, made by American brake maker Hayes.
The reality is that BMW aren’t stupid and these new calipers are every bit as good as before, but the good news for purists is the R1250R still wears its golden (cornering ABS-equipped) Brembo jewellery with pride. They’re superbike-strong, reassuring and add to the roadster’s exotic feel. A special mention must go to Beemer’s brilliant rear brake, too.
In many ways this is the purist of all the BMW’s boxer twins. Stripped down to its bare essentials it might still be a very heavy machine by sports naked standards (239kg fully fuelled), but it’s uncluttered by the bulky adventure and touring clothes of its sister machines.
It’s the most agile of the family, the briskest accelerating, best braking, easiest to get your feet flat on the floor at a standstill and the most fun. A comfortable, spacious riding position makes all day riding a doddle, but with zero wind protection you’ll get the full force of the wind and weather at speed, but BMW offer an optional fly screen - a must for big trips.
EngineNext up: Reliability
BMW has stretched power at both ends with an extra 84ccs and a clever new variable valve timing 'Shift Cam' system. Power is up 11bhp to a healthy 134bhp and torque is increased 14ftlb to an even more impressive 106ftlb.
At gentle throttle openings and below 5000rpm the boxer engine sits on its mild, low-lift cams and delivers flawless grunt from as low as 2000rpm. Ask for more power and the camshafts obey by snapping across the top of the engine, in just five milliseconds, delivering the kind of hairy cam acceleration that makes the roadster think it’s a mono-wheeling S1000R.
With its pokey-out cylinder heads BMW’s boxer engine sticks two fingers up convention. But don’t be fooled by its strange looks because the Bavarians have refined this flat twin to perfection and made something work well exceptionally that shouldn’t, like a Porsche 911.
We’re riding BMW’s new £11,215 R1250R today. The out-going 1200 model was a cracker – packed with easy speed, spritely handling and boxer-twin character. Now fitted with the same 1254cc 134bhp ‘Shift Cam’ motor you’ll find in the GS and RT it promises to be even better. pic.twitter.com/Eo3zm6Lj4i— Motor Cycle News (@MCNnews) April 9, 2019
It has the seamless thrust of a blueprinted race engine and a growling, rhythmic chocolatey exhaust growl to match. Throttle pick-up is flawless, even at town speeds and there’s enough oomph from the motor to stick it top gear and leave it there all day. Or, you can slice through the gears and visit the motor’s dark and angry side.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Our online Owner’s Reviews don’t reveal any major problems, but servicing costs are on the expensive side.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Even in standard trim the R1250R is big money for a naked and pricier than a Yamaha MT-09SP and top spec Triumph Street Triple. Throw in some accessories and you could get yourself a supernaked for the same money.
BMW R1250R SE vs Ducati Monster 1200 S
We took the BMW around the UK’s toughest test route, the MCN 250, to find out how it compared to competition from the Ducati Monster 1200 S.
Built more for stability than agility, the R1250R is fun on the backroads but you can’t hide the near 30kg of extra mass it’s lugging around over the Monster, causing it to roll into bends rather than flick. It’s stable once lent over and can be hustled but it doesn’t feel like a sporty naked, more a relaxed roadster, albeit one with a storming motor.
I’m a huge fan of the ShiftCam boxer and on any road and in any situation it is hard to find fault with. Blessed with a beautiful throttle connection, bags of mid-range and a light clutch action matched to a faultless quickshifter for when you are out of town, it is just wonderful.
In comparison, the Ducati’s Testastretta V-twin is good but it still has the age-old V-twin lumpiness at low revs and heavy clutch, making it better suited to flowing roads than congested traffic and it wasn’t much fun in built-up areas.
Despite iffy conditions, the Monster lapped up the B-road route, feeling lighter and more responsive, not only in terms of its agility but also the speed with which it picks up revs. The Ducati is heaps of fun when the road ahead is twisty.
It may lack the BMW’s semi-active suspension but instead it has mechanical Öhlins, whose damping qualities deliver an equally plush ride over the roughest of undulations, making you wonder if all the fuss about flashy reactive suspension is justified. Adding tech isn’t always a good thing – as the Monster’s finicky and recalcitrant quickshifter proves.
Watch our Yamaha MT-09 SP video review here:
A 6.5-inch colour screen, traction control, road/rain riding modes, LED daytime running lights and an automatic hill start control are standard on the base machine.
Using technology from the new S1000RR, the R1250R’s satin-fronted, colour dash is clear and easy to read at a glance, packed with information and even records lean angle, braking and acceleration force during your ride.
This R1250R Sport test bike has extra riding modes, an up/down quickshifter, engine spoiler, HP paint and accessories, including heated grips, electronic suspension, cruise control, centre stand, pannier brackets, chrome exhaust, alarm and emergency call service.
Changes from August 2020
The Sport version is now a metallic yellow with a matt black frame, while a change to Euro5 sees the ABS on permanently. Pro mode now includes drag torque control and there’s even more of those opinion dividing ‘Option 719’ parts.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 8v flat twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel, engine stressed member|
|Fuel capacity||18 litres|
|Front suspension||45mm non-adjustable upside down forks|
|Rear suspension||Paralever with single spring adjustable for preload and rebound damping (Dynamic ESA optional)|
|Front brake||2 x 320mm front discs with four-piston Brembo radial calipers. ABS|
|Rear brake||276mm rear disc with twin piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£230|
|Used price||£10,500 - £11,200|
12 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Three years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||134 bhp|
|Max torque||106 ft-lb|
|Top speed||145 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
- 2006: BMW R1200R takes over from R1150R
- 2015: Uprated air/liquid cooled boxer engine, ride by wire and conventional upside down forks replace old Telelever front end. Enough optional extras and electronics available to turn it into the ultimate tourer and sportsbike, all rolled into one.
There are no other versions.
Owners' reviews for the BMW R1250R (2019 - on)
5 owners have reviewed their BMW R1250R (2019 - on) 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:||£230|
I think this is a brilliant all rounder, with lovely low speed balance and low center of gravity, massive aounts of thrust on hand if required for overtakes etc., yet also very rideable and eager to please. It will cope well with weekend spirited rides, but will also commute, and with the addition of a screen tour with luggage and/or a pillion just as well. I used to dismiss BMW boxers as old mens bikes, but not any more. Maybe old men know a thing or two after all.
Absolutely superb. It's perfectly happy to thrum along at a sedate pace if that's the mood, but with the suspension in sport mode will also just as happily properly attack the curves with a real confidence inspiring sure-footedness.
An abolute beauty. Seamless predictable linear thrust from slow walking pace and all the way up. Whooshes up to speed like a steam turbine powered, butterscotch sauce covered hovercraft.
So far have had no issues of any kind
It's just about to go in for it's 1 year service with my local BMW motorrad dealer, and I have been quoted 'around £200' for this, which seems little salty. May turn out to be more, though may also be less.
It's got, or can have from the accessories list, the lot.
With a remap and a full system this bike will have well over 110ftllb of torque. This means I’m not sure there are many bikes, if any, that will beat it in the twisties......
Version: HP sport colours
Annual servicing cost: £270
Heavy bike otherwise a 5. Remap this bike and it turns it into a super naked killer on the road as it gives it over 115ftllb of torque. Stick a set of Bridgestone S22’s on and your uncatchable.....
Low down weight is good, brakes are fab.....
Fabulous but it gets a 6 when remapped...3rd gear pull is mental....
Annoying that you have to buy rear shock guard and front engine casing guard as extras....
Needs a remap to improve fuel consumption but it’s very good when you do!
All the extras cost a packet..... but you want em Deffo!
Buying experience: Great personally
Version: Basic version, black colour.
Annual servicing cost: £165
Expensive if you want to have extras that are standard on most other motorcycles of the same type.
Riding position hurts knees after more than 1 or 2 hours.
Great engine and power delivery.
The bolt holding the rear frame to the engine came out after 800 miles. this was not noticed by BMW mechanic that serviced the bike. Very bad for a new BMW motorcycle..
First service cost.
Equipment supplied as standard is very good. Additional equipment also good but expensive. Sports screen not very effective as wind protection.
Buying experience: BMW agent did not contact me for test ride after I had left my contact details. I had to follow up with phone calls to get test ride.
Annual servicing cost: £250
Superb machine. However, at £16k with toys & couple accessories, hand on heart I'd suggest saving £6k & buy a low mile 1200R. Its 19/20ths as good. A screen is a must if you intend long high speed journeys.
Quite simply superb.
1250 is the first boxer that likes to rev out. Typical boxer torque with a nice rush as the revs climb. Very smooth at low revs, vibes more akin to a 4cyl when its pressed hard. IMO I'd say BMW engineers have kept the power down from the original hype of 150hp for a reason.
All the toys in the shop and then some - at a price.
Buying experience: BMW dealer experience 2nd to none for the most part.