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Thoughts on R1200R after 1 year of ownership

I own a 2012 cam-head R1200R. I bought it one year ago with 15k miles and it now has 30k miles. I found this forum very helpful when I was deciding on this bike, and so I thought I’d add to the pool of reviews, after having owned this bike for 1 year and doubled the miles on it.

A little about me: I’m 39 years old, been riding motorcycles for 20 years. This is my 7th motorcycle, 2nd BMW. I take multiple long distance trips every year, and commute on my bike whenever the weather cooperates. When looking for a bike, I value a nimble, sporty ride, but also the ability to load up with gear and take off on long distance moto-camping tours. I place a high value on comfort, handling, and versatility.

Items I like about this bike:


1. Weight. It’s not just that this bike has relatively low-weight (under 500lbs fully fueled), it’s how this bike carries the weight that makes it so exciting. In the twisties, I found that I immediately became a better rider on this bike: it leans into turns easier than any previous bike I have owned. My confidence as a rider is noticeable higher on the R1200R. The bike is still heavy enough to not get blown everywhere on the interstate, but nimble enough to really throw it around and keep up with sport bikes in the twisties.

2. Engine. This is my first boxer bike. Engine braking is superb, and the torque is always there when I need it. On paper, this bike doesn’t look like it has much power compared to some other bikes. In real world riding, I find it always gets me up to speed every bit as fast as I want or need to. The power is manageable, not intimidating, and abundant. Coming from a K-bike, I was used to an inline 4, with never-quite-usable and sometimes-terrifying top end speed. The R bike doesn’t have that kind of power, and to be honest there are times I miss that. That said, this bike is the most fun bike I’ve ever owned, and the engine seems to be the most well-balanced and best at putting the power where I’m most likely to actually use it. And did I mention the engine braking? It truly helps me feel in control of this bike and its a worthy trade off from top end 4 cylinder power.

3. Naked. I like a naked bike. I like that I can strip this bike down and it’s incredibly light and (to me) beautiful to look at. Especially with my dark sport shield and after-market exhaust. I like being in the wind. And I’ve found that for a naked bike, there is actually a good bit of wind protection once the legs are tucked in; at least from the waist down. Coming from a fully-faired bike, I like feeling like I’m back on a motorcycle again. Fully faired bikes are boring at slow speeds. On this bike, if I’m needing

4. Uniqueness. A lot of my friends ride GS bikes. I like the GS. I’ve ridden a GS many times and have rented GS while traveling. I may very well buy a GS some day who knows. But one thing that gets me about a GS is how ubiquitous they are. It is not uncommon for me to have someone ask me what kind of bike I’m riding. Maybe this is one of the ways my insecurities manifest; who knows. But I like riding a bike that you don’t see every day.

5. Versatility. I feel like this is a well-documented feature of this bike, but it really is true. If you can only have one motorcycle, this one is hard to beat. Perfect city bike. Not at all bad on dirt roads (I keep up with my GS friends just fine), and then if you want to load it up and take it cross country for a tour, perfectly suitable for all-day riding. I’ve done multiple 500-600 mile days no problem on this bike. BMW has the touring thing dialed in, across their line, so I suppose this should come as no surprise. But its fun to see a “roadster” so well designed in this way. I wasn’t sure if this bike would be all-day touring comfortable; it absolutely is. If you can only own one motorcycle, this one is hard to beat.

6. That shove to the right. I like when I’m sitting at idle, there is a push to the right when I pull the throttle. It’s a nice reminder that I’m on a unique BMW motorcycle. Its a small thing but it makes me smile every time.


Items I would change:

1. peg / seat height. I am just under 6 feet tall, 160 lbs. 32” inseam. I have the standard seat and flat foot with this bike. the original pegs were too cramped for my knees so I got the knights design lowered pegs, which increased my comfort significantly. The drawback is I now scrape pegs in the twisties. This never happened to me on previous bike (perhaps due to me now being a better / more aggressive rider). I can’t help but think that the overall seat height should be a little higher. I realize that is exactly what makes this bike attractive to shorter riders, but I don’t consider myself particularly “tall”. Ultimately, a desire for more road-clearance in turns may be what makes me go for a GS next. I’ve tried higher seats (bought a used corbin) but that raised me up too high and the reach to the bars wasn’t comfortable. I could add more bar-risers, but for now I’ve decided to live with the lowered pegs and standard seat. For almost all of my riding I’m very comfortable, and to be honest I don’t scrape pegs too terribly often (maybe once or twice per trip) and I just need to be aware of lean angle in tight turns. A tradeoff I am happy to live with for now.

2. cruise control. my last bike had cruise control, and I think it spoiled me: it’s the one feature I miss the most. This is the primary reason I will change to either a newer R1200R or GS in the next year or two.

3. top-end power. This one is low on my list, because I really do love this engine (see above). And I realize you can’t have everything (my last bike had crazy top-end power, but zero low end torque, I greatly prefer the latter). But if I could have more of a top-end push, with all the superb grunty boxer low-end, I’d take it. Ultimately might be a reason to upgrade to a LC R bike, but I’ve heard mixed reviews on how much of a gain there is in real-world riding over the camheads. At the end of the day, the power thing is an item I sort of think about when not riding the bike and writing a review like this. But when I’m on the bike, I’m always having so much fun, very much in the moment, and enjoying passing everyone I want. I have plenty of power.

Money I’ve spent on the bike / maintenance:

In one year I’ve spent about $1500 in maintenance: including two sets of tires, oil changes, valve check, new spark plugs, brake line flushes, air filter, new generator belt. All regular maintenance items.

I’ve had some trouble with an ABS sensor going out, but was able to repair that for $130. Otherwise, no problems with this bike whatsoever.

I bought the bike-specific BMW tank bag for this bike from someone on this forum. I use it on every trip. I added the V-stream sport windshield, bar risers, and knight design lowered pegs.

Overall Feelings after 1 year of ownership:


I love this bike. I really do. Every time I fire it up I think “Man! this is a perfect motorcycle!” It just feels right. No motorcycle is perfect, but if you can only own one motorcycle, and need that one motorcycle to do touring, canyon carving, commuting, etc., this one is pretty hard to beat. I’m looking forward to another year and to the next 15k miles…
 

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“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a new owner of almost anything – motorcycle, car, boat, house, girl-friend, goldfish – will proclaim it to be absolutely the best of its kind ever, never equalled, and unlikely to be surpassed in the future”.

Apologies to Jane Austen – but a fine write-up that few seasoned Roadsterers here would quibble with.
 

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This is the honest sort of write up I wish to
read before purchasing a bike.
A rider who has done the miles and owned the bike for some time.

Thank-you for your review on your bike BTMURPHY.

After reading that
I'm off to go out and buy a second r1200r :laugh2:

I love the colour of your bike BTW
 

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Great review BTMURPHY! I totally agree with you on the seat to peg to handlebar relationship. I'am 6'1" and I got a higher seat, lower pegs and bar riser to make my bike a little more comfortable for me. Other than that and the ridiculous cost of anything you want to replace or add to the bike that has a BMW logo on it, the bike is perfect. Thanks goodness the maintenance is fairly easy for most of us to do in our own garage. Thanks for a very thorough review.
 
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Yes the Camhead is a great motorcycle. Perhaps we miss out on things like ride by wire throttle and cornering ABS but thats it.
Great review and thoughts BT . Its a great reminder at a time when there is a lot of promotion of the new 1250 models , that the R1200R Camhead is an unsung hero.
To celebrate almost 3 years of ownership I've fitted a mid size ZTechnic V stream windscreen , also using an MRA XScreen wind deflector.
Long live the Camhead.
 

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Hi R
Still loving my 2011 Camhead! I have it set up just about perfect for me. Ohlins F&R, Remus, Trophy and 3 bag set up. Doesn't get much better.



Rick G
Hi Rick!

I love your setup. Can you share with me where you get the headlight windshield from? I have been looking for it, but havent quite found the same thing.
Please let me know if you find a link to the product.

Best,
Peter
 

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Hi R

Hi Rick!

I love your setup. Can you share with me where you get the headlight windshield from? I have been looking for it, but havent quite found the same thing.
Please let me know if you find a link to the product.

Best,
Peter
Peter, I bought mine from Cee Bailey who is now out of the motorcycle parts business. They are primarily aircraft and I guess not enough business. I am sure there are others. Have you googled it?

Good luck!

Rick G
 

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Peter, I bought mine from Cee Bailey who is now out of the motorcycle parts business. They are primarily aircraft and I guess not enough business. I am sure there are others. Have you googled it?

Good luck!

Rick G
Thanks Rick!

I found it! But there was already a bike attached to it, so had to buy the bike as well 😂😂

So here it is! Proud owner of aR1200R 2007!
110465
 

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Beautiful bike and I love the fairing, It's just enough to go with the bike.

BTW, what's that hanging off the rear of your bike?

Stay safe.
 

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How is riding with that windscreen set up? I like the looks of that. I have a OEM windscreen on my 08. 80 on the highway is pretty calm but I am short at 5'4

Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk
 

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Hi Sharky,

Riding is perfect. Used to a full naked bike before, so the winscreen really takes off a lot of the wind. I'm 196 cm, and have the a high seat. I still feel wind at the upper body, but but "constant". So no turbulence on the helmet (which you can have if the windshield is the wrong size.l

It could be that the windshield fully takes of the wind for you or concentrates it on your head area, which causes turbulence I think.

Good luck!
 

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But one thing that gets me about a GS is how ubiquitous they are.
yeah, there's a few good reasons for that :rolleyes:
Having owned 2 roadsters, I think you hit the nail on the head in the review. I especially liked your mention of the seat peg distance. It is even more cramped on the LCs, and that was an issue that pushed me to the "ubiquitous" GS I now have ridden for about 55k miles, after about 160k miles on two roadsters. That, and the GS came stock with many of the things I'd add to the roadster for my style of riding.
 

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Great review. And spot on with my sentiments. The stock seat was really NOT comfortable for me and I put on the OEM comfort seat -after the season was over last November. I can't wait to give that a try. It was my biggest complaint about the bike.
 
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