With so many years of development under its belt you would expect the latest incarnation of BMW’s iconic Boxer engine to be pretty well sorted, and it is.
The wasserboxer in R 1200 R guise adds even more bottom end grunt via its own unique airbox and exhaust system.
Useable down to 1500rpm, and pumping out over 100Nm of torque by a tick over 2000rpm, there is always plenty of grunt on offer, making the R 1200 R a fun bike to punt around town.
Get out of the city limits and start getting stuck in, and the R 1200 R reveals another side as it continues pulling strongly, with an extra kick coming in at around 6000rpm, and continuing past 8000rpm, for those that want to work the 1170cc really hard and play boy racer.
The gearbox still takes a little getting used to, and is perhaps the only part of the bike that does not feel completely modern and honed to within an inch of perfect civility.
The optional ($600) Gear Shift Assistant Pro, which allows for clutchless shifts both up and down the box, certainly helps things, but without it, low speed shifts still take a certain amount of finesse and timing to be really smooth.
The Gear Shift Assistant Pro does have a bit of a learning curve to get the best out of it. Thus if you test ride a bike with it, but without the time to adapt yourself to learn how to get the best out of it, then you might choose to do without. I think that would be a mistake in the long term. Once you train your throttle hand and foot to work in unison with the quick-shifter, it then really starts to endear itself.
These days the Boxer clutch is a fully wet unit with an integral slipper function as standard, nice and light at the lever, while retaining good feel.
Final drive terminates at the well-proven shaft drive system, a boon for winter riders and those that like to clock up a lot of kilometres in all conditions.
Up front the R 1200 R shares its gold anodised Sachs 45mm forks with its brilliant four-cylinder sibling, the widely acclaimed S 1000 R. Complete with Dynamic ESA as standard, the forks never give complaint, they just get on with the job of keeping the 120/70ZR17 Metzeler Z8 interacting with terra firma.
The EVO Paralever rear end is controlled by a Marzocchi shock, also equipped with Dynamic ESA. In this latest generation of electronic suspension both ends also have spring preload electronically controlled from the bars.
If you have not enjoyed modern electronic suspension that responds instantaneously to every ripple on the road, every input from the rider, it truly is a revelation in comfort and roadholding.
The systems adjust the damping on the fly as you apply the brakes, brake harder and it responds accordingly, and then controls the rebound as you get off the brakes, the rate of that rebound control dictated by how quickly you release the brakes, or whether you are perhaps trail braking into a corner while still carrying some lean angle.
The mapping of the electronic suspension and traction control systems are now so precise, the reactions so instantaneous, that it beggars belief.
It’s much the same at the other end, get on the throttle and the shock responds to firm the damping and resist squat, hit a big bump and the shock senses the fast compression and instantly responds to strongly damp it, before then controlling the release back through the stroke.
It’s really clever kit, that significantly adds up to improved dynamics in virtually every situation, with the beneficial side effect of greatly increased rider comfort levels through the smoother ride. Even tyre wear rates are improved.
Add to that the latest lean angle sensitive ABS (disengageable), and Dynamic Traction Control (both standard on Australian delivered BMW R 1200 R), and you have the pinnacle of electronic safety aids available in motorcycling today.
Now, I guess we start to think the R 1200 R is perhaps not as overpriced as it seemed at first glance…