Posted On 08 May 2024
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This entry is part 4 of 25 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#31

Stuart is wearing a Shark Speed R II Carbon helmet, BMW Streetguard jacket, Ixon Pro Contest HP 2 gloves, Draggin jeans and Sidi Vertigo boots.

BMW R 1200 RS Riding Spirit is alive and well Words Stuart Woodbury Photos Keith Muir


One of the classic bike designs that still draws a crowd whenever one shows up is the BMW R 100 RS. After the failed R 1200 ST with its hideous headlight arrangement, BMW really hasn’t had a (boxer) sports-style tourer in its range. But the BMW sports tourer badge is back and looking damn fine.

The new R 1200 RS with that world famous “RS” logo drew much praise when the images of it were bandied around a few months ago, and now we have attended the Australian launch to see what it’s like on the road.

It is based on the recently released R 1200 R; the bikes share the frame, engine and suspension, with the RS having a different (more sporty) setting for the ESA (electronic suspension adjustment). The R makes an excellent platform to start with.

Visually, the R and the RS are totally different machines, and the two major differences you’ll notice while riding is the wind protection from the half-fairing and larger screen, and the more forward bars. These place weight on your wrists, unlike the R which is much more relaxing. I prefer the R for the road, although the extra weight on the wrists of the RS will suit those looking for a somewhat sportier feel – the RS is bang on the money. If you’ve ridden or sat on a Honda VFR800, the amount of weight on your wrists is similar.

A lot of S 1000 RR inspiration is built into the RS, with the symmetrical headlight shells with asymmetrical internals. Picking up on the symmetrical design of the headlights actually takes some time, because you mostly focus on the asymmetrical internal reflectors.

Protection from the half-fairing is good, directing just enough wind away from the thighs and lower body. The two position, manually adjustable screen worked best for me on the highest setting, irrespective of where it was on either of the additional two settings that require you to move the screen up or down via the mounting bolts. In effect you have four positions available to you.

The engine is the same as the R’s – the water-cooled 1170cc Boxer, with the lighter flywheel now fitted to this type of engine. Only the RT has a heavier 750 gram flywheel for a more relaxing ride.

Rain, Road Dynamic and User riding modes come standard on the RS. In fact, the RS is feature packed as standard. You get Dynamic ESA; the “Comfort Package” which includes heated grips, tyre pressure control, a chrome exhaust and cruise control; and the “Dynamic Package 1” which includes DTC, daytime running light, headlight pro, riding mode pro and white LED indicators. If you opt to “ALTHOUGH THE EXTRA WEIGHT ON THE WRISTS OF THE RS WILL SUIT THOSE LOOKING FOR A SOMEWHAT SPORTIER FEEL – THE RS IS BANG ON THE MONEY” buy the RS Exclusive, you also get the “Style 2” pack, which includes the Pure brushed aluminium tank cover and engine spoiler.

If you want to make the RS the ultimate sports tourer, you must get gear shift assist pro, for clutchless up and down shifting – it is such a delight to use! And, to make things easy while out touring, Keyless ride is a great thing to have, too. This involves a key fob which you put into your jacket for push button ignition and a keyless fuel cap.

Apart from the other extensive range of BMW accessories you can purchase for the RS, the accessory Touring for the RS, the accessory Touring package ($600) would be handy for touring (umm, obviously) and depending on how tall or short you are, the higher Sport seat (840mm), or Low seat (790mm) would be good to have.

Either of these is a no cost option at the time of purchase. If the Low seat is not low enough, you can get the Extra Low seat, which takes you down to 760mm. You do need to purchase the low suspension option to have this fitted.

The pillion is not left out either. You can stay with the thicker standard seat, or look at the Sport accessory seat. It all depends on how tough those buns are! Or if you’re not going to have a pillion, getting the sportier look with its lower profile makes the RS style fl ow just nicely.

As I mentioned, Dynamic ESA (electronic suspension adjustment) comes standard. You’ll see this by the gold fork tubes. Apart from setting the spring preload, you have two settings to change on the fly – Road and Dynamic. I found Dynamic a little too hard on all but the smoothest of roads, but Road was the perfect mix between comfort and sport for the type of rider who might like to ride a bit more swiftly on this model.

As with the R, the new generation TFT instrument panel is featured on the RS.

You change the style displayed to you: I liked the display that showed all the information on what was happening with the bike. A couple of others on the launch preferred the style which shows a larger digital speed, but I like to see what is going on; and you have the analogue speedo anyway.

So that famous “RS” badge is back and the R 1200 RS is a bike that looks suave and performs in the same manner. We understand there are plenty of orders already, so get to your dealer to secure your preference – the standard RS, or the RS Exclusive!


PRICE: $22,950 & 23,250 (plus on-road charges)
WARRANTY: Two years, unlimited distance
SERVICING INTERVALS: Every 10,000km or 12 months
ENGINE: Liquid/air-cooled boxer twin cylinder, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
BORE x STROKE: 92 x 125mm
POWER: 92kW @ 7750rpm
TORQUE: 125Nm @ 6500rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed, wet multi-plate clutch, shaft fi nal drive
SUSPENSION: Front, 45mm inverted fork, Dynamic ESA adjustable, travel 140mm. Rear, monoshock, Dynamic ESA adjustable, travel 140mm.
DIMENSIONS: Seat height 820mm, weight 236kg (wet), fuel capacity 18 litres, wheelbase 1530mm
TYRES: Front, 120/70/ZR17. Rear, 180/55/ZR17
FRAME: Tubular steel
BRAKES: Front, twin 320mm discs with four-piston switchable ABS
calipers. Rear, 276mm disc, dual-piston switchable ABS caliper.
COLOURS: Lupin Blue Metallic, Granite Grey Metallic Matt


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Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.
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