Picking the R1200RS this year came after a bit of soul-searching. It took a lot of looking in the mirror and admitting those really are grey hairs.
The time had come for something a little more luxurious than the naked middleweights I’d hankered for in the past. And the R1200RS had piqued my interest from the moment BMW pulled the covers off it at Cologne’s Intermot show the previous October.
The 125bhp Boxer twin and slightly sporty styling convinced me in the end. While the motor won me over the minute I sampled its seamless stretch of power through the gears, I was initially a little unconvinced about all of the bells and whistles. Do you really need a sat-nav, autoblipper and slipper clutch, riding modes, engine maps and an adjustable screen? Heated grips are just for silly old sods who moan a lot aren’t they?
But it didn’t take long for me to realise that everything on the big Beemer is well thought out and simply aimed at taking the pain out of riding a bike in Britain’s unpredictable conditions.
A rainy ride home after work is made so much more palatable with warm hands and feet. Stick the screen in its highest position and away we go.
The R1200RS feels like a reliable friend, able to simply make one’s life better. It had an answer to most of motorcycling’s problems. It’s so good that the things that can annoy on other bikes just aren’t a problem on the RS.
At nearly £13,000, the price is by no means budget, but you can see where the money has gone, the BMW has worn each one of its 6000 miles well, and with a little elbow grease would clean up as good as new. A quick flick through the nine that are up for sale on www.mcnbikesforsale.com also shows how little you lose on depreciation.
But there are a few things that wound me up a little, and these are the issues I would suggest BMW should look into tweaking for future models...
I’d like them a little bigger. If you are going to have suitcases stuck on the side of your bike, you might as well have ones that can fit enough clothes in for a weekend away with the missus.
Just a litre or two bigger please. The 18 litres is adequate for 180 miles but I’d like to do 200. This is a fast bike capable of decent mileage in relative comfort and if I want to push on, I want to push on.
The RS is more premium economy than business class. I’ve changed from the 840mm seat to the optional 820mm seat and it seems to suit me better, giving a more relaxed reach to the bars and taking the weight off my wrists.
They are pretty easy to understand and there are three modes to choose from. Of the modes, I prefer the one with the most info on, but it could be bigger. BMW should ditch the analogue speedo on the left and build in a digital speedo, allowing the whole cluster to be digital with bigger numbers and icons.
I like it and it’s handy to have two positions – high and low. But it would be even better if it had three or four, and if it was easier to adjust while on the move. As it is, a gloved hand can’t grip the screen when you try to tug it into its most upright position while riding. An electronically adjustable screen would be much better.