Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Naked Beemer Is Sobering Up

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Naked Beemer Is Sobering Up

Article excerpt


NAKED bikes are a best-selling category in many countries, so obviously BMW has to have one.

In fact, it has two - the mad, bad K1200R and the altogether more sober R1200R. The latter replaced the R1150R in 2006, and it's the one I'm riding.

Although it doesn't look half as quirky as the K1200R, the R1200R still follows BMW's rules of looking like no other bike out there with its no-nonsense, unmistakably Germanic looks.

But it's more elegant and refined than the K, and that's because it's a more versatile all-rounder aimed at an older, more conservative audience compared with the more wild and rapid four-cylinder K1200R.

While the K1200R competes with the Aprilia Tuonos and Ducati Monsters of this world, the R1200R sits happily beside the Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 and the Suzuki Bandit GSF1200.

In good-old naked tradition, the R1200R has no bodywork. This puts BMW's imposing twin-cylinder, air-cooled engine on display, as well as the telelever front suspension.

While this system has felt rather vague and unresponsive in the past, it works beautifully on the R1200R. The 14 years of development up until the current model was launched must have payed off.

Steering at low speeds is now precise, perfectly balanced and light. The bike can be slowed to a near standstill, the bars turned to full lock and it scribes a smooth, tight arc in the road, with not a wobble or dab of the foot.

I know this because I tested it on a BMW day in the Cotswolds. We were made to mimic all the new slow-speed drills that learners now have to perform to pass the new motorcycle test that comes into effect this month.

The main advantage of the telelever system compared with the more conventional telescopic front forks is the lack of dive under braking. This lets the suspension do a better job of keeping the wheel tracking the road surface accurately, which in turn gives the tyres an easier time.

The result is improved stability and significantly more grip. The chassis as a whole feels agile, especially compared with the old model and this is mainly thanks to a 55lb weight loss - although the R1200R is no sportsbike in its performance, both chassisand engine-wise. …

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