2013 BMW R 1200R Ride Test follow up

Turned in my “company bike” R 1200R last Saturday, so now would be a good time to review the “ownership” experience. It is needed for two more group rides, but I brought it back so it could be on the sales floor. If it is sold in the next 6 weeks I’ll use something else.

I put 5,399 miles on the odometer in the past 6 months, and used the bike for a wider variety of riding situations that most owners would. I led rides on it, both short day rides but also to the BMW MOA national rally in Salem, Oregon, the WSBMWR rally in Republic, Washington, and the Sound Rider “Rally in the Gorge” in Stevenson, Washington.

Ridden on freeways as little as possible, it spent most of its time carving corners on back roads. It was a fine choice of mount for an Advanced Street Skills class at “The Ridge” race track just outside of Shelton, Washington.

What a friendly and usable bike! Mechanical issues? None. Note that it did consume a couple of cups of oil in that time, and it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the level, made easy by a sight glass on the front left side of the engine. With the bike on the center stand for cleaning, it’s easy to check the level. Do be aware that the sight glass is very precise, and if the level looks a little bit low you need to add exactly that amount of oil – a little bit.

My brilliant blue example had the usual cornucopia of BMW farkles, including ABS brakes, various available information screens on the instrument panel, and heated grips. Mine did not have the electronic suspension adjustment, however. I’m a big fan of ESA, but I did not suffer unduly without it. The black panniers were easy to use and swallowed a lot of gear, and the luggage rack meant that I could go on 3, 4, and 5 day camping trips and carry all my gear fairly easily. This was helped by the BMW tank bag, which is HUGE and a little ungainly in appearance, but very utile. A month into my experience, I discovered to my surprise that the R 1200R has a steel tank, so a magnetic tank bag can be used. From then on I used the BMW bag only for extended trips and my magnetic smaller one for daily use.

The small clear windshield is mostly a styling affectation, (one that I like) but does offer some protection. Cleaning event decals off the windshield should NOT be attempted with “Goof Off.” I know, how stupid can I be? The new owner will need to replace the windshield, toss it, or paint it. Sorry about that…

The sound of the bike with stock pipes in an asset. One long-time BMW owner, having watched the video I made at the race track, said no BMW opposed twin has ever sounded like that! It’s a little more aggressive than most BMW exhaust systems, but not obnoxious. In earlier posts I posted several videos taken by a GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition video camera on the handlebars of this bike. The one called “A Lap of The Ridge” was made during a cornering clinic at The Ridge racetrack outside of Shelton and gives an excellent sampling of the bike’s capabilities and sound. The three taken of back roads give an idea of the sound at more usual (but still a bit elevated) speeds.

One of many positive attributes of this bike is tire wear. At 5,400 miles the rear tire appears to be almost new, and the front is better than that. This despite having been ridden by a 225 pound rider (plus gear) and for over 2,000 miles with the panniers full and a big bag of camping gear as well.

At the track it was ridden sort of hard (defined as never touching anything down but the tips of my boots) and never missed a beat. Not sure what the asking price will be from Ride West, but it started out as about an $18,000 bike with all the options and tax and license, etc. Whoever purchases the blue bomber will get a terrific motorcycle, that’s for sure. I will miss it.

Copyright 2013                                                      David Preston

About david

I am a 69 year old motorsports nut who lives in Bothell, Washington. After a 31 year career as an English teacher, I segued into a self-created job in the motorsports business. Now retired, I was involved in customer relations for Ride West BMW in Seattle, after almost 10 years of similar work for the Cycle Barn MotorSports Group. I have been married forever and have two grown children. I own, at the current time, a Triumph Bonneville T 120 , a Triumph Thruxton, a Fiat 500S and a VW Tiguan. What else would you like to know?
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