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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, now that I've had my '12 R1200R for about seven months I feel that I have a fair reading on what I think of her.

This is my nineteenth street bike, and I was a motorcycle dealer for a large part of my adult life. I have a decent amount of experience on various bikes, including a lot of track time as well as long-distance touring. No Iron Butt-style touring, but a number of seven hundred-mile days, trips up to and across Canada, daily 110-mile commutes, years without even owning a car, etc.

So, here goes...

First off, the niggles...

Having owned a '97 R1100R, I was already aware of the characteristic Boxer vibration. It bothered me on that one; it doesn't bother me in the least on this one. I sure do love that sixth gear, and the transmission is just worlds better. It's CBR/GSX-R/VFR excellent, and seems to be getting better all the time. Where the vibration does manifest itself in an annoying way is in the mirrors, which is what I mentioned in my original post here way back when I first bought the bike. Above 4K the mirrors become nearly worthless. I'm talking literally right at 4K as the dividing line. 3900 rpm? Clear as can be. 4100 rpm? Useless. Nothing but a haze of fuzzy halos behind me.

And I no longer care. I've gotten used to it. I accept it now, and that's that. Yes, I've read that there are numerous fixes for it involving rubber washer fitments, Bar Snakes, ball bearing handlebar fillers, etc.

Meh. No biggie. I don't know why, but the buzzy-mirrors-at-real-freeway-speeds thing stopped bothering me sometime back around January or so. There certainly is no annoying vibration otherwise. My hands never go numb, nor do my legs or feet. Mirrors aside, it's wonderfully smooth.

My other niggle? Like many others here, my fuel strip crapped out on me about a month after I bought the bike. Suddenly my fuel gauge just stopped working.

One trip to the dealer where it was repaired in about an hour under warranty, and it's been fine ever since. Hopefully it won't happen again but if it does, again, no biggie. There is clearly an easy fix.

My three semi-niggles...

I just wish my Candy Apple Red paint was more true red and less orange-tinted. The gorgeous deep red on that Honda CB1100 is the color I really want. I probably would even take the '13 R1200R's deep blue over my red. That, to me, is a proper color for a BMW. This 'tweener' red on my bike is just a bit odd.

Not a major problem, though. I still like how my bike looks. It could look even better, but it's fine.

The second semi-niggle is currently under debate. At first I was a bit nonplussed by the relative harshness of the suspension over sharp-edged bumps. 'Plush' was not a word that leapt to mind. Despite its harshness it also still allowed a bit of wallow. Nothing major, mind you, but it certainly didn't remind me of the locked-down feeling of, say, a GSX-R.

I've been told by countless people that handling nirvana is just a call to Ohlins and a lightening of my wallet to the tune of $2K or so away.

Perhaps, but in the meantime I feel like I'm coming more and more to grips with what the stock suspenders offer. I've juggled the preload and rebound settings a bit, and seem to have arrived at a happy compromise. I don't think I can honestly say now that the suspension is holding me back. As I learn the bike more and come to trust it more I'm finding that I simply need to ride it better and trust it further. The more I ask of it, the better it seems to perform.

I think any perceived handling issues are more on me than on the bike. My last couple of harder sport rides (in warmer weather, with fully dry roads) have shown me that much of my trepidation was just that. It was mental. The bike handles fine, if I just let it.

The final iffy thing has to do with top-end acceleration. Without a doubt this thing is so much faster than my '97 ever was, and it's certainly fast enough on top, considering its mission in life. It's a naked standard, after all. Top speed flights of fancy were never part of its design brief.

That being said, it does feel a bit flat on top, at least compared to other 100 rwhp bikes I've owned. Lord knows it rips like a maniac on top compared to that '97, but it seems like it could pull with a bit more urgency above 6K. To its everlasting credit, it does continue to pull fairly hard all the way to redline. It just doesn't pull in a manic rush up there, the way so many other 100 rwhp bikes of similar weight do.

Again, though...not a problem. This is more of an observation than a complaint. The bike is plenty fast enough, even for someone who is used to high-revving Japanese machinery. As with the handling, I think it's more on me to just shut up and ride the thing.

Okay, and now for the good stuff...

The fueling. My god. Compared to my hiccupy '97, the throttle response on this '12 might as well be the aforementioned CBR/GSX-R/VFR. Just as the transmission on this 'R1200R has turned a previous liability into an overwhelming joy, so too has the throttle response.

Excellent job, BMW engineers. You guys truly nailed the rideability details with this iteration of Boxer. A+ marks for the smoothness of the transmission and throttle response. There is still a little bit of drive lash inherent with practically any shaft-drive system, but it's nothing to worry about. Unlike my '97, at least I can close the throttle and not feel like I'm on a bucking bronco as I enter a corner. It's all very manageable now.

Apparently I'm in the decided minority, but I actually enjoy my Boxer's exhaust note, even with the stock pipes. It has the coolest little snarly burble in the midrange, and it sounds positively aggressive at higher rpm. Sure, it still sounds like a sewing machine at start-up (it's probably the most anemic-sounding liter bike ever when it comes to impressing people by simply firing it up and letting them hear it), but once underway I genuinely enjoy all its various growls and whatsuch.

The brakes are just perfect. That's all I can say. The combination of no front-end dive due to the Telelever and those killer brakes (just the right amount of power and initial bite) makes any potential panic-breaking situation a no-panic-breaking situation. It's just a doddle. Think you might have entered a corner a bit too hot, or perhaps you got a little spooked by that Lincoln Town Car hugging the centerline as it careened towards you on a twisty mountain road?

Hitting those brakes is like pressing a 'restart' button on a video game. You get a Mulligan...a total do-over.

I've had other bikes with ABS. I've had other bikes with similar massive stopping power. What I haven't had is another bike that inspires confidence in its overall braking competency to anywhere near the degree that this one does. It really does make me feel like I have a much larger safety net beneath me every time I throw a leg over her.

You know, for a naked bike this thing is so comfortable on the freeway that I'm not entirely sure that I would even need a committed touring bike. Unlike so many others here, I have zero issues with the windblast. I'm good for a steady cruising speed of 75-85 mph, for as long as it takes. No windshield. I took mine off after one ride, it was that miserable. All it did was create crazy loud turbulence and seriously annoying buffeting. Minus the windshield, everything is calm and quiet. No problem.

Along those same lines, the seating position doesn't limit the miles for me either. Initially I tried two different bar-riser kits, thinking I wanted higher/closer bars. In both instances I swapped right back to stock, and stock is where it shall stay. I could probably stand slightly narrower bars that are perhaps an inch closer, but I don't want them any higher. Combining sport riding with around-town things plus freeway slogging, I think the stock bend is probably just about right.

The seat itself, too. No complaints. Before I even took the bike home I ditched the ice cream cone scooped seat for the standard one, and I find it to be excellent. It seems to be very well made, as well. Definitely no cheap materials.

In fact, that goes for the entire bike. It's obvious that this one was not built to a price-point. It feels as solid as a very solid thing. It was clearly built to last. It's not a disposable toy that will seem worn out after a few decent riding seasons. I'm sure it will look and behave just as it does now five or more years from now, with only the basic required maintenance.

The only accessory I've added (and kept) was the excellent factory hard bags. I went with just the side bags. If I need more, I can use a soft bag strapped to the seat. So far, I haven't had to bother. The bags are outstanding. They work well, they're sufficiently capacious, and they seem surpassingly sturdy. I do wish BMW still included the spinning roundel logo on 'em, especially considering how expensive they are, but oh well.

Fuel mileage? I'm honestly not sure, mainly because I simply cannot get a handle on what my bike's true fuel capacity is. The manual says it's 4.8 U.S. gallons. I've read elsewhere that despite what the manual says it's actually 5.5 gallons. I know I routinely put five-plus gallons in the thing. I also know that once the tank is full and the miles-remaining-on-this-tank gauge resets it tells me that I have anywhere from 247 to 260 miles to go. In the real world my yellow low-fuel light comes on anywhere between 180-210 miles; never much more or less. At that point the mileage countdown display comes on, and it usually starts off by showing 40 miles remaining. I have yet to do a straight freeway slog for an entire tank. I take twisty roads as much as possible. Judging by the mileage readouts and what the math indicates at each fill-up, I'm averaging about 46 mpg. I don't think I've every gotten a full 50 mpg out of entire tank, and I know I've never dipped below 40 mpg, even when the entire ride was nothing but canyon ripping.

So, basically 46 mpg seems to be about right, overall.

I just replaced the original Bridgestone tires. They had 7400 miles on 'em. The front easily could have gone thousands more. The rear was just starting to get into the wear bars in the center of the tire.

Can't complain about that. I replaced them with Michelin Pilot Road 3's, which immediately made the handling feel more stable and neutral. How much of that is simply down to replacing somewhat worn/squared-off rubber with fresh new skins is hard to say. I can only say that the ride is a bit plusher now, and leaned-over handling is steadier.

In another thread here someone posed the question, "What other bike would you want instead of your R1200R?"

Well, I have to say, I'm not sure that I would take any other bike over what I have now. There are others that certainly intrigue me; others that I know will do specific things better. I don't know that there's anything else that would work better for me as an all-around 'you can only have one' bike. I've always read where BMW Roadster fans talk about falling in love with their bikes over time, and I can feel that happening with me. I like it a lot more now than I did when I bought it. I suspect that by the time this summer has come and gone—I bought it in the dead of winter, and this summer will be my first full dry season with it—I will be fully in love with her...a deep, lasting love.

I think I chose the right bike.
 

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An outstanding and honest review, minor warts and all, srg: it deserves and will get a much closer read and appraisal from me later. Thanks for sharing with us. I, too, am thoroughly enjoying my new-ish 012 R, my third: in between were a cuppla GSs.

I seem to have rediscovered my delight in motorcycling, and maybe that's because like you I find it does so many things so very well.

Kudos!

L of S
 

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Nice review.:goodjob: Enjoyed reading your comments, and I agree that the bike does perform many tasks well. Any machine has niggles and asks for some compromise, but this one fits the bill better than any other.
 

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I agree with the windscreen issue. I never had one on my 07 and I did few 4-6 day trips with few 5-6 hr continuous freeway rides at 75/80 mph and never even thought about putting any windscreens on. I couldn't believe how good this bike was naked.

Now on my 11 I got the Trophy fairing and while it is great at higher speed I'd still rather run no fairing in town and on B roads. Trophy produces no turbulence or any pressure on the body but it does produce some wind noise as expected... All in all it is a great working and looking setup but $800 shipped is a lot of coin.

Thanks for the great report...
 

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Agreed on Dalmatino's comment on the Trophy fairing, although I can't really say I noticed the noise. Works great for me (5 ft 8), smooths the air right out. The BMW sport screen on the bike when I bought it was junk.

Nice overall review, for sure.
 

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SRG, Agreed for most things on that very comprehensive review! Nice work! The harshness on freeway strips has been noted in reviews, and is mostly due to the telelever, paralever set up and it's relatively high unsprung weight. You want to throw big bucks at this, and you can both switch to Ohlins BUT especially buy a set of BST carbon fiber rims, which will save you pounds of weight and probably eliminate that complaint entirely. I say probably because none of us have ponied up the (probably) 5 grand for a pair of these high priced toys.

In terms of superstitious behavior, I recommend adding a capful of StarTron enzyme fuel additive to the tank at every fill-up - it may. . may. . .prevent fuel strip failure.
 

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After market Shocks will transform the bike and pretty much remove the sharp clunk. You don't have to spend 2k on the Ohlins. My buddy went with Hyper pros (about $1300) and totally changed the bike.

It pisses me off that a 20k bike (in Canada) comes with such a low quality suspenders (no better than most bikes half it's price) especially when it comes with ESA which (do to lousy shocks) is just a waste of time and extra money.
Needles to say this and a custom seat is my next purchase...This will bring the extra cost now to 4k...

Having said that, if I could only have one bike there's nothing else that I would replace it with. It gives me everything I need/want for a all around machine, especially the old school character that lets me enjoy it 100% of every ride, so it is worth it and I guess not much comes reasonably priced any more. I too have owned many motorcycles and done a lot of track time.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yep, I too think I will have to take a pass on $5K carbon fiber wheels. Not for me.

I would guess that maybe in a couple-few years I'll throw some higher quality suspension on her, but I'll wait and see. In no way am I nearly dissatisfied enough with the stockers to where I could reasonably justify the expense. It wouldn't be until I arrived at a point where I was convinced the stock suspension was significantly limiting my enjoyment of the bike that I would take the plunge on Ohlins or whatever.

At the moment, I still feel that she does more than well enough on her own.
 

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Yep, I too think I will have to take a pass on $5K carbon fiber wheels. Not for me.

I would guess that maybe in a couple-few years I'll throw some higher quality suspension on her, but I'll wait and see. In no way am I nearly dissatisfied enough with the stockers to where I could reasonably justify the expense. It wouldn't be until I arrived at a point where I was convinced the stock suspension was significantly limiting my enjoyment of the bike that I would take the plunge on Ohlins or whatever.

At the moment, I still feel that she does more than well enough on her own.
:iagree:
 

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Great review!

I come from a varied background of Norton cafe racers and have been off bikes for 40+ years but was drawn back into it by my sons who both are riding now (dare I mention HD's, but they are works of art for the guys, they are continuously styling them).

I bought a near new 2012 about 2 months ago and have been really impressed by the quality and engineering, as well as the design, of the bike. As my own capabilities improve the bike is there for me. It is so far beyond the sixties bikes.
I also swapped out the tires with a new set of Michelin PR3's and felt it made a really big improvement over the stock Bridgestones.
I can see (and feel) where some would want to improve on the stock shocks, but I too will hold off until these are due for a replacement or if I come into some extra $.

One last thing... I love this forum!
 

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Good review, thanks. I totally agree with your views on the brakes - they are awesome, even fully loaded with passenger and camping gear.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Update...

Okay, today was my first time out with this thing on perfectly dry, familiar twisty roads, and I have those new Michelins to boot.

I can scratch off two of my semi-niggles. The suspension is absolutely fine, and the top end power rips. Holy crap, but was that an awesome ride. 'Riding on rails' is right. That thing handles beautifully. No issues whatsoever. None. When I hit stretches of road that were seriously stutter-bumpy, all I had to do was ride on the balls of my feet and just a skosh up on my thighs, rather than simply sitting on my butt. The bike sailed right on through with nary a twitch or bobble. Exiting second- and third-gear corners, that motor shrieks on top. It pulls plenty hard, but even better is how controllable it remains on and off the throttle near redline. Nothing gets upset by partial-throttle applications, even on the brakes. It can be ridden like a full-on sportbike.

Tremendous. There were a few flowing sweeper sections where I literally felt like I was low-altitude flying, everything was so smooth and effortless.

I haven't enjoyed a bike as much as I enjoyed this one today in god knows how long. All things considered, that was as close to a perfect ride as I will likely ever have.

I am now officially in love.

Oh, and with all that higher-rpm silliness going on, my gas light lit up at only 167 miles this time. ~snerk~
 

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Update... I am now officially in love.
''

Keep taking the medication, Stevie! But to me it sounds as if we on this most excellent Forum are all in love with the same thing!

L of S
 

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I just wish my Candy Apple Red paint was more true red and less orange-tinted. The gorgeous deep red on that Honda CB1100 is the color I really want. I probably would even take the '13 R1200R's deep blue over my red. That, to me, is a proper color for a BMW. This 'tweener' red on my bike is just a bit odd.

Not a major problem, though. I still like how my bike looks. It could look even better, but it's fine.


.
And yes, if you search under "paint" or "color" you might find more than a few gripes about BMW's apparent wish to make their bikes look dull, or even better, invisible to the naked eye in traffic. Even the new 800's "orange" isn't a candy creamsicle orange, but a week-old-orange-rind-in-the-garbage-orange. Maybe they're all colorblind there.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well, yeah, which is why I chose the somewhat bright Candy Apple Red over the other 'color' option for the '12 model, Blindside Me At Dusk Gray.

The odd thing is I seem to be in the decided minority regarding my bike's color. Nearly everyone who sees it comments that it's a great choice on that bike. Perhaps they're just being polite, I don't know, but I do know that the color makes the bike look a bit dated whereas the gorgeous pearl red on the Honda imbues that bike with a more timeless, high-dollar appearance.

At least mine isn't that dull, drab, tomato paste dark red bordering on burgundy that BMW used on my '97 and still seems to slap on too many of their bikes to this day.
 

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If I could find a paint place in Illinois, that wasn't inhaling it's own fumes, I'd redo my bike in bright yellow and black.
 

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Hello stevieraygovan and everybody else.
That was a pretty good reading, I'm the one who gave you some advice on the mirror vibrations, and I haven't do it myself, just got used to it and now I don't even think about that.

I actually really enjoy the 7k+rpm kick, and try to go there and more every time I get the chance.

I'll ad that my fuel strip hasn't fail yet and hope to be one of those few that has an actual working one, but my number one complaint/niggle is the rust under the fuel cap, 2011+ bikes have just raw steal and no gasket, water/humidity gets then and there is nothing to do, your tank will get destroyed fast, I keep my bike indoors, never wash it and rarely ride in rain.

Now, to don't leave complaining, the brakes and suspension are the best of any other bike I have ridden.

I love my matte gray but I guess the red/orange does not look bad either.

 

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Well, I have to say, I'm not sure that I would take any other bike over what I have now. There are others that certainly intrigue me; others that I know will do specific things better. I don't know that there's anything else that would work better for me as an all-around 'you can only have one' bike. I've always read where BMW Roadster fans talk about falling in love with their bikes over time, and I can feel that happening with me. I like it a lot more now than I did when I bought it. I suspect that by the time this summer has come and gone—I bought it in the dead of winter, and this summer will be my first full dry season with it—I will be fully in love with her...a deep, lasting love.

I think I chose the right bike.
You absolutely nailed it.
 
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