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2007 BMW R 1200 R Road Test


by Mark Hacking ,

Naked, Bavarian-Style

Over the past few seasons, BMW has been gaining ground on the established sportbike leaders hand over fist. With a combination of increasingly dynamic styling and next-generation technology, the manufacturer better known for its four-wheeled modes of transportation is fast becoming a serious contender in the speed sweepstakes.

The R 1200 R is a bit more stylish than its predecessor.

One of the latest additions to the BMW fleet is the 2007 R 1200 R, a naked sportbike and the natural successor to the R 1150 R. This sleek roadster offers plenty of rider-pleasing qualities and a healthy dose of sheer seat-of-the-pants fun. Here are the details.

Increased Power and Torque
Compared to its predecessor, the BMW R 1200 R has, of course, a slightly larger engine, but with much more power and torque. The twin-cylinder boxer unit delivers 28% more power at higher engine speed and close to 17% more torque than the R 1150 R motor. Power is rated at 109 hp at 7500 rpm, while the torque rolls in around 85 lb-ft at 6000 rpm.

Upon firing up the BMW, that familiar boxer engine puffs away at low rpm and then, with a healthy twist of the throttle, sends the chassis rocking to the right when the bike is at rest. This motion, disconcerting to the rank amateur waiting at a stoplight, is actually strangely comforting to the more experienced types out there.

Engaging first gear is a bit of a clunky process; the 6-speed constant mesh transmission works well at speed, but first gear is clearly the weak link when it comes to smoothness. The other gears work fine and the ratios are spaced appropriately to take advantage of the engine's torque characteristics.

Once underway, the air-cooled boxer produces a healthy burble and a surprising amount of power; power to break away as the lights turn green, power to elude that cab driver set to blindly cutting across three lanes of traffic to pick up his next fare.

Marketed as an urban warrior, the R 1200 R certainly has the get-up-and-go needed to fulfill that role. Stoplight showdowns are a blast and gunning it on the highway quickly sends the BMW into the license-melting stratosphere. Vibration through the footpegs, a characteristic of twin-cylinder machines, is not a problem here at all.

A responsive engine that will easily get you out of dangerous situation.
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