Long term update: Like a duck, without the feathers

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The R1200RS is like a duck. Not because it’s got a funny beak and likes to eat bread, but because it cruises along serenely while all sorts of wonderful things are going on beneath the surface.

This is what the R1200RS is all about. It makes it all look so effortless. And that’s because so much thought has gone into making this a complete motorcycle. From the standard centrestand (on this SE version they come as OE) to the dynamic suspension that adjusts as you ride – everything has been taken care of. Even the stuff you really don’t need is brilliant!

The world, and motorcycling is part of the world I suppose, is full of solutions to problems that don’t really exist. So, no, you don’t really need an autoblipper to help with clutchless gear changes. You could just use the clutch, blipping (or not) the throttle as you change down. But it’s cool. I love the short and sharp bark the bike does all on its own as you prod down through the gears.

The R1200RS is a big step up from my usual diet of mid-range sports or naked bikes, but due to a few long trips I have planned this year and my advancing years(!), I thought it was time for something a little more long-legged and a tad more refined. And the R1200RS delivers, in spades.

I may have only had the bike a week, but it’s already my very best friend. When it’s wet or cold, the heated grips keep my hands toastie. The screen can be persuaded into several positions, and the well thought-out fairing wraps itself around my legs to keep most of the wet stuff at bay.The liquid-cooled Boxer motor has so much torque on offer that you can stick it in fourth (without using a clutch, obviously) and ride all day.

Early niggles are few and one is a very middle-class problem. It rates nearly as highly as not being able to get the right kind of hummus from Waitrose! My laptop won’t fit in the BMW hard panniers! The slightly more worrying niggle is that the bike only has an 18-litre tank. Early signs suggest that this will equate to 180 miles a go… tops. That doesn’t seem much to me on a bike so capable of covering high mileages fast. I rode a KTM 1050 Adventure recently and that managed 200 miles between fill-ups. That extra 20 miles makes a big difference.

We’ll see how annoying that tank size becomes as I plug foreign destinations into the satnav and head off to foreign lands.

Read the latest stories causing a buzz this week in Long Term Fleet…

Andy Calton

By Andy Calton

Content director, motorcycling, and Suzuki Katana rider