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Reader Test: BMW K1200GT

2009-11-12 10:37

William McIntosh

I rode various BMW motorcycles in the 80's, then got married and bought a car.

In 2004 I bought a BMW C1 for commuting, absolutely stunning to drive in T-shirt and shorts, no helmet.

Then in 2007 I saw a R1150RT and I remembered the good times on a big bike, so I bought it.

Three months later I swopped the R1150RT for a new R1200RT. At 3000km a friend convinced me to take his K1200GT for a test drive.

At this stage I had no interest in driving a four-cylinder, I loved the boxer motor.

My fateful test drive turned out to be the biggest mistake (epiphany?) of my biking life. I was instantly hooked on the smoothness and the 30% increase in power.
There were a few things I did not like though.

No matter what height setting I used for the electronic windscreen the wind blew into my eyes with my visor open.

To rectify this I had a new screen made in Cape Town with a flip on the top edge. It works perfectly - no wind at 249km/h on the GPS on the back straight at Killarney.

I also did not like the huge ultra-quiet, silencer, so I fitted a Remus as well as a K&N high-flow air filter. This combination resulted in 131.2kW on a dyno.

Two HID spotlights have been added onto the existing HID headlight to get the triangle effect which ensures most motorists can see me on the road.
My bike is used mainly for commuting to work, breakfast runs and occasionally I go play at Killarney with or without the panniers and top box. 

The suspension is Duolever at the front and Paralever at the back. Although I know it does not have front forks, it corners like it's on a rail and the front does not dip down when braking hard.

It has electronically adjustable suspension to set for comfortable, normal or sport riding as well as three settings for weight, one up, one plus luggage and two up.

The heated seats and grips guarantee a high level of rider comfort in all conditions.

My bike also has linked ABS brakes, meaning if you use the front brake lever it works on the back brake as well.

Fuel consumption is about what I expected. If I play, it can go up to about 7.5 l/100 but with gentle, open road riding I have managed to see 4.9 l/100 on the on-board display.

Claimed acceleration figures are around 2.8 seconds to reach 100km/h. I have not timed myself but if I twist it too hard in second the front wheel lifts and I have managed to stay with a lot of superbikes from standstill.
Of the seven BMW motorbikes I have owned as well as all the other bikes I have driven, this one is by far the best - especially taking into account power, smoothness, comfort.

And it takes only a few seconds to unclip the baggage and change it from a tourer to a sport bike.


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