MCN’s best big naked accolade has been awarded to big, brash, performance-laden machines, such as the Triumph Speed Triple and Aprilia Tuono in recent years. But for 2015 BMW’s new R1200R roadster is on top.
This has been one of the busiest years for the MCN road test team in recent memory, and it’s been a long time since we’ve seen the thick and fast introduction of so many exciting new bikes. 2015 has seen the arrival of great new adventure bikes, cruisers, retros, 125s, A2 licence-friendly machines and scooters, while also being hailed as the return of the superbike.
The MCN awards are our pick of the best metal to be released this year and covers multiple categories. Over the next week, we will reveal all the winners, so keep checking back.
Best naked (unlimited)
‘Classic roadster with a 21st century twist’
Aprilia’s refreshed 2015 Tuono V4 1100 RR (and Factory) is unquestionably one of the fastest, best-handling nakeds on the road or track, but as dazzling as it is, it’s more of the same. BMW’s new R1200R, on the other hand, made us really sit up and take notice.
The German firm has been producing R-series boxer twins for the past 91 years, beginning with the R32. In all that time it’s been the sensible, more relaxed big naked option and this new one is no different. It’s smooth, cossetting and stress-free wherever you ride.
But BMW has subtly sprinkled the R1200R with 21st century technology to enhance the laid-back riding experience. Tick all the options boxes and you can have a race-style quickshifter, auto-blipper, traction and wheelie control. You can choose suspension with semi-active electronic damping and preload, which makes it more advanced than the latest S1000RR (which has manual preload). Then there’s a selection of electronic riding modes, a flash dash, cruise control, heated grips and ABS.
These techno-toys don’t take anything away from the purity of BMW roadster riding, they just serve to make your experience more enjoyable.
On top of all the gadgets the R1200R is powered by the smooth new 1170cc, 125bhp flat-twin engine. It’s packed with grunt and a gravelly, bass-heavy exhaust and induction roar when you open the taps. Then there’s the new chassis with the latest evolution of the combined swingarm/shaft drive
Paralever system and Metzeler Roadtec Z8 tyres, which gives the BMW lighter, crisper steering and extra stability wet or dry.
The biggest change is up at the R1200R’s pointy end. BMW has dumped its old ‘funny front end’ Telelever in favour of conventional, S1000RR-type 45mm upside-down forks. Now the R1200R acts more like a normal bike. There’s more feel at the front, especially in the wet, which gives the rider lots more confidence than before. It’s also allowed the front light and radiator to be brought closer into the bike to make the whole machine more compact. Bolted to those forks are a pair of radially-mounted Brembo, brakes which certainly don’t lack power.
The R1200R is still simple, wind-in- the-hair biking, but now it has a lovely extra edge – and an MCN Award to boot.
||1170cc (101 x 73mm), 8v flat-twin
||Tubular steel, engine stressed member
||Optional riding modes, semi-active suspension, traction and wheelie control, quickshifter, auto-blipper, ABS
||£2029.98 deposit, 36 monthly payments: £139, final payment: £5423.82
Click here to see our review of the R1200R