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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One thing that's always puzzled me a bit since buying my R1250 a couple years ago is reading time and again that it's typically considered an Old Guy's bike. I've never been too sure why or what that particularly means-- though I suspect it's not given as a compliment -- but given its torque numbers the bike would seem to put that lie to bed. And yet that reputation persists.

The R1250R has 105 ft. lbs. of torque, and with its Shift-Cam system that delivery is across the rev band, up to, what 8500 (and it redlines 1K or so after). I recognize that HP obviously plays a key part in a bike's overall power potential, but for those of us who ride on the road -- with sporadic stops, traffic, speed limits, etc. -- torque is the element that you feel, the thing that truly makes motorcycling thrilling and fun. So when I see the torque numbers of other bikes, I have to ask, Why in the world is the R1250R often denigrated as an Old Guy's bike when it would mop the floor (at least initially, until peak hp starts to hit with these higher-revving bikes) of nearly all other bikes in the class? Is it the relatively staid, classic styling, the long history it has in the marketplace, or...?

These ft. lb. numbers are based, as best as I could briefly Google, on new 2021 models. Some models' numbers varied slightly (by one or two points) according to which site was visited, but these numbers are as correct and fair as I could manage without careful triangulation. As such, I can't vouch for their absolute accuracy, but I believe them to be correct for this discussion.

R1250R: 105
S1000R: 84
Speed Triple: 92
Super Duke R: 106
MT10: 82
GSX-S1000: 80
Ninja 1000SX: 82
Ninja H2: 104.5 (also found 98.5)
Hyabusa: 111 (also found 114)
Ducati Streetfighter V4: 90
Aprilia RSV4: 92
Kawasaki Z900: 73
Honda CB1000R: 76

So it appears that the R1250R is bested only by the Hyabusa (by just 6 (or 9?) but which weighs about 60 pounds more) and the Super Duke R (but at 106 vs 105, the difference is negligible).

Again, I get that horsepower is a key component of judging a bike's overall power potential, but I guess I'm just surprised that the R1250R isn't more highly praised and touted as a top-class torque monster, a dynamic and dominant naked sportbike in a tuxedo, rather than the Old Guy's Bike reputation that it too often seems to be saddled with.
 

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I agree. Other than the demographic that actually walk into BMW dealers to buy a motorcycle is older.

Also, BMW does not have much of a presence in world racing, so has less visibility to the younger demographic, who - when they have money - opt for Ducati which has more "sex appeal" than the BMW - which looks, to be frank, a little "bullish"...

It also doesn't help that the magazines, while always reporting that the BMW's ride nice, never lavish over them like they do the Suzukis, Yamies, Kawis, and Triumphs... Almost like "Oh, here's the new BMW, it's better than the last one, big surprise." and that's about it. Staid, steady, sturdy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree. Other than the demographic that actually walk into BMW dealers to buy a motorcycle is older.

Also, BMW does not have much of a presence in world racing, so has less visibility to the younger demographic, who - when they have money - opt for Ducati which has more "sex appeal" than the BMW - which looks, to be frank, a little "bullish"...

It also doesn't help that the magazines, while always reporting that the BMW's ride nice, never lavish over them like they do the Suzukis, Yamies, Kawis, and Triumphs... Almost like "Oh, here's the new BMW, it's better than the last one, big surprise." and that's about it. Staid, steady, sturdy.
All good points. I suppose it is a conflagration of reasons, not just one central one, that gives that reputation staying power.
 

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There are 3 reasons, IMO. First, it's a very expensive bike, and typically only 'old farts' like us can afford them (at least new). Most bike testers pay too much attention to weight and HP. And third, and most importantly, they don't know how good the R1250R rides. They assume (wrongly) that is a pig, and rides like a dump truck. It honestly rides much better than I expected, and I rode it at the same pace as my ex-MT-10 on its first trip to the mountains. And I liked it better too, which I didn't expect. The weight penalty of having a shaft and all the bells and whistles is negligible IMO (mostly due to its low CG), plus it gives incredible fuel mileage for the sheer size and power of the engine. And it feels planted under any scenario. I wouldn't change it for any other bike for my use (spirited canyon riding).

Finally, I only bought it (without being able to test-ride it first) after reading the excellent reviews here, since I like to ride the twisties aggressively. I honestly didn't think it'd be quite up to the task, but was tired of freaking chains, and lack of creature comforts. And this was basically the only naked bike with everything I wanted: shaft, brembos, adjustable suspension, up/down QS, cruise control, heated grips, TFT, etc. I'm a very happy camper :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There are 3 reasons, IMO. First, it's a very expensive bike, and typically only 'old farts' like us can afford them (at least new). Most bike testers pay too much attention to weight and HP. And third, and most importantly, they don't know how good the R1250R rides. They assume (wrongly) that is a pig, and rides like a dump truck. It honestly rides much better than I expected, and I rode it at the same pace as my ex-MT-10 on its first trip to the mountains. And I liked it better too, which I didn't expect. The weight penalty of having a shaft and all the bells and whistles is negligible IMO (mostly due to its low CG), plus it gives incredible fuel mileage for the sheer size and power of the engine. And it feels planted under any scenario. I wouldn't change it for any other bike for my use (spirited canyon riding).

Finally, I only bought it (without being able to test-ride it first) after reading the excellent reviews here, since I like to ride the twisties aggressively. I honestly didn't think it'd be quite up to the task, but was tired of freaking chains, and lack of creature comforts. And this was basically the only naked bike with everything I wanted: shaft, brembos, adjustable suspension, up/down QS, cruise control, heated grips, TFT, etc. I'm a very happy camper :).
That’s a good point, too…not only is it nearly at the top of the list for torque, but it has premium assets like shaft drive (the only one), electronic suspension, cruise, etc., along with comfort features like grip warmers, great ergos, and so on, making it — I think — the best all-around bike on the market, offering an expansive package that’s markedly unique…which you’d think would add to its perceived appeal and counter the Old Guy rep.

‘Course, maybe that’s also conversely the reason for its staid reputation…too broad an appeal (other than cost, and your point of Older Guys more likely to have bigger budgets is well taken) whereas younger riders are often looking for a more focused, raw experience.
 

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I think only old f*rts that are still unsuccessfully trying to make their deflated d*cks look shiny with racing machines use a statement like that.
Usually the sensible old guys prefer something with a windshield, like an RT.
 

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As an old guy, I agree with ElpTXjc :
Old Guys = More Disposable Income.

And imho:
Young Motorcycle Journalist Guys = Predjudiced Against OG with MDI

At its most simplistic.
 

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Lots of good points made. I like to read old bike magazines from the 60's, 70's, and 80's (Cycle World is archived online) and this "old man" image/stereotype was prevalent back then, and well before. In those old BMW ads, the company marketed their bikes as such - smooth, sophisticated, upscale, a real gentleman's machine, this was also echoed in the reviews. A bike for seasoned enthusiasts, not young hooligans. BMW cultivated the "pipe and slippers" image over decades, and stereotypes die hard. I'm always amazed when people still say Harley's vibrate, don't handle, and breakdown, which was all true - in the 70's!!! The vast majority of these people have never ridden one.

Personally I don't think of the water cooled R's as being "old man" bikes, but I do kind of view my cam head as one, or at least a practical, mature machine. I don't think this is a bad thing at all, "Old Men" posses wisdom and experience. After decades and 100's of thousands of miles riding I require different things from a bike than when I was in my 20's and 30's.

A much more damaging image that is harming BMW is their reputation for unreliability. Much of this is due to the internet where people come to post their gripes. You only read about failures, which may happen 5% of the time, you rarely read about non-failures which may happen 95% of the time, and on the internet 5% can be a big number. Truth be told my confidence in the bike isn't 100% because of this, as much as try to look at it logically.
 

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Like @ElpTXjc I opted for my R1250R over S1000R for all-around versatility to tackle the curves and still sport tour at the same time. You can still drive the R hard if you want, tyres and psi setting also help a bit with its on-road mannerisms.
Ducati is a sexier name with broader appeal and price points, so younger buyers gravitate that direct vs BMWs, which has historically been a more mature late40+ crowd.
S bikes are a marvel, and definitely changes some people's perspective on BMW, but they are also trying to be a player in multiple markets. R18 vs HD, K/RT vs Goldwing. And now with the new Tiger1200 series even the GS is some major new competition/bench marking. Plus premium branding/pricing so cost of entry and sales are always going to be a struggle.
 

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The MT-10 and S1000R are sport bikes without farings. The R is a standard, that IMO looks pretty darn sporty, unlike the old BMWs and current R18. The R also performs like a sport bike, from what I’ve read. It may not have 160 hp but you also don’t have to deal with 11000 rpm, which I would find annoying, as I do with ultrasonic cleaning at the dentist.
 

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The R1250R has 105 ft. lbs. of torque, and with its Shift-Cam system that delivery is across the rev band, up to, what 8500 (and it redlines 1K or so after).
The torque peeks at 6750 rpm and then starts trailing off significantly. Which is kinda what I like about it so much - as a result rather than having peak power it has more of a shoulder of big grunt running all the way from just over 6500 rpm to over 8500rpm delivering around 130bhp at the rear wheel.

Anyway, I’d say a lot of the bikes you’ve listed ain’t playing the same game. I mean Ducati Streetfighter V4 – just the name gives it away, but it has got almost 50% more power and is more than 40kg lighter. And of course there is a reason BMW makes the S1000R as well as our trusty boxer.

So yeah a lot of these are ‘super naked’ bikes as opposed to ‘roadster’.

Price wise, the R1250R is £11,440 plus your options here in Scotland, so as long as you don’t go mad with the options it represents good value. It is certainly a lot cheaper than a good few bikes on your list. Not cheap but not expensive neither.

Finally I’m in my 50’s now. I tried a super naked, and frankly it was fun but a bit too crazy for my liking. So yeah its BMW embossed cloth cap, pipe and slippers for me. Though yeah I agree that our bike is generally overlooked and underrated.
 

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The torque peeks at 6750 rpm and then starts trailing off significantly. Which is kinda what I like about it so much - as a result rather than having peak power it has more of a shoulder of big grunt running all the way from just over 6500 rpm to over 8500rpm delivering around 130bhp at the rear wheel.

Anyway, I’d say a lot of the bikes you’ve listed ain’t playing the same game. I mean Ducati Streetfighter V4 – just the name gives it away, but it has got almost 50% more power and is more than 40kg lighter. And of course there is a reason BMW makes the S1000R as well as our trusty boxer.

So yeah a lot of these are ‘super naked’ bikes as opposed to ‘roadster’.

Price wise, the R1250R is £11,440 plus your options here in Scotland, so as long as you don’t go mad with the options it represents good value. It is certainly a lot cheaper than a good few bikes on your list. Not cheap but not expensive neither.

Finally I’m in my 50’s now. I tried a super naked, and frankly it was fun but a bit too crazy for my liking. So yeah its BMW embossed cloth cap, pipe and slippers for me. Though yeah I agree that our bike is generally overlooked and underrated.
Where I live there are mostly Harleys and rice rockets. There are quite a few Triumph Bonnevilles and Tigers. Serious riders. I’ve gotten only compliments on my BMW.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Anyway, I’d say a lot of the bikes you’ve listed ain’t playing the same game. I mean Ducati Streetfighter V4 – just the name gives it away, but it has got almost 50% more power and is more than 40kg lighter. And of course there is a reason BMW makes the S1000R as well as our trusty boxer.

So yeah a lot of these are ‘super naked’ bikes as opposed to ‘roadster’.
I know that BMW terms the R a “roadster,” but I tend to think that’s more a semantic play on their part as any definitive indicator of difference…it’s essentially as much a naked sportbike as the S1000R, just in a more sophisticated package.

In that same way, I think naked bikes like the Streetfighter and others I mentioned (Speed Triple, MT-10, etc.) are playing the same game, depending on how one defines the rule of that game. If it’s horsepower, then no, clearly not…but as in comparison I introduced, if it’s torque, that element of a bike’s overall power that in ordinary riding most of us tend to use and experience far more frequently than top-end horsepower, then an apples-to-apples comparison is appropriate. And by that measure, the R1250R is a monster that hangs right near the top of its class and obviously belies the Old Man’s Bike reputation…but I suppose others’ preconceptions aren’t easily swayed, even by specs, especially since, as someone pointed out earlier in the thread, BMW did it’s part to cultivate and entrench that image for quite some time.
 

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The most apt comparison, for me, is with the E34 M5. A family car with a surprisingly strong and beautiful engine and great handling. Yes there are the Ferraris (and Panigales), but these two are useful in real life and for much longer stretches of both time and distance.
 

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but as in comparison I introduced, if it’s torque, that element of a bike’s overall power that in ordinary riding most of us tend to use and experience far more frequently than top-end horsepower,


So where does my emtb bike (max assisted speed of 15mph) fit in? Its got 85 Nm of torque (62 ft lbs), but it has only got me for rpm. HP is basically torque X RPM.

The R1250 is not a naked sports bike, which is essentially what the super naked bikes are. I like my roadster for what it is. If I wanted a super naked, which my bike is not, then I’d have bought one.

Plenty torque;






Bicycle Sky Tire Bicycles--Equipment and supplies Bicycle wheel
 

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One thing that's always puzzled me a bit since buying my R1250 a couple years ago is reading time and again that it's typically considered an Old Guy's bike.
<snip>
Peak torque and peak horsepower numbers are meaningless. It's the area under and shape of the torque curve that shows how an engine will behave.

An aftermarket tuned R has a lovely nearly flat torque curve that makes it easy to ride. Keep it above 4K RPM and other wise it really doesn't matter - trust the grunt.

The rest of the bike works like a giant supermotard. Sport bikes like to maintain corner speed but that's a marginal technique anywhere you can't see the whole turn. On the street it's better to enter corners slow & wide riding the front brake to compress the suspension and quicken up the steering until you can see all the way through, then pick your line depending on what you see & use the Braaapppp to lift the bike for shooting to the next turn. Excellent ABS and traction control make this a treat.

An amusing number of my riding buddies have commented that the R is a lot faster than they thought. My bike has some tuning to fix the emissions compromises and a fair amount of easy mods to increase cornering angle. The only time I can't keep up with sane people is when I run out of HP to drive the bike through the air. The last time that happened the R was doing 147 on the GPS with a little downhill. The sportbikes were pulling away.

May have to rethink "sane" :)

The bike loves sportbike tires. Currently running Bridgestone S22s. I've hung with sportbikes on a small racetrack including a 110 pound instructor riding a track prepped Ninja 400 on slicks. She could out corner me but I could use the grunt and aggressive late braking to keep up. The one time I thought I was close enough in a turn to pass her on the next straight I dragged a valve cover & soon pulled into the pits to check my shorts.

I won't take the R out on a speed track like COTA again. It feels like bike abuse.

BMWs are expensive to buy and operate. Mostly old guys buy them and ride them like old guys. If you have the tires and skill it's a fast comfy street bike.
 

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Some nice comments in here. When I tell people that the 1250R has more torque than a Panagale they look at me like I have lost my mind. I have always had Jap 4s before this bike and could not believe the arm wrenching torque when you give it a handful. For real world riding, it's hard to beat. I have found the same with sports bikes. They can't get away exiting corners, and only get me at extreme top end when the revs run out on the Beemer.
I tested an S1000R, Tuono and Speed triple before I bought this bike. The Speed triple was the only bike that came close, but couldn't match the Beemer for long distance comfort.

Hey Mr. Badger, how are thoise S22s in the wet? I have to change tyres as the originals are rubbish in the dry in my opinion but pretty good in the wet.Love that you have taken it to the track. That is also on my list of things to try. Dragging valve covers though!! Gulp! I race an R3, so it would be quite a change!!
 

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<snip>

Hey Mr. Badger, how are thoise S22s in the wet? I have to change tyres as the originals are rubbish in the dry in my opinion but pretty good in the wet.Love that you have taken it to the track. That is also on my list of things to try. Dragging valve covers though!! Gulp! I race an R3, so it would be quite a change!!
Part of my compensation for working track days is a session or two in the afternoon when things are going smooth. I did get a session on a race prepped R3 - never did get a lap right, I was having a hard time recalibrating to the way that bike wanted to lay over onto the sides of the tires at the slightest handlebar input or weight shift :) That bike is a LOT lighter and twitchier than the BMW R.

As for wet, I've only ridden the S22s in the wet once when it rained after an >6 month dry period so the roads were slick with spooge & nothing would work well. OTOH I live in Texas - when it's raining I'm watching river gauges for paddling opportunities. No reason to get the bike dirty because it will be dry again soon enough. My opinion is that they'd work as well as any street performance tire.
 
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