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2004 BMW K1200 LT

BMW K1200 LT

BMW was prepared to navigate uncharted water when it entered the luxury tourer market. Avoiding preconceived ideas and notions it tore up the specification sheets and started with a blank piece of paper. Waving the rules has resulted in the £12,495 K1200 LT not so much a ponderous battleship but more the surprising and nimble frigate.

It has never been mandatory for a luxury tourer to be weighty and cumbersome, difficult to handle in traffic and hard work on twisty country roads. Despite its role as a luxury tourer, the K1200 LT retains all the advantages of two-wheels. It vindicates BMW's design philosophy by being relatively nimble in urban environments and dynamic and agile on British back roads. The choice isn't simply between traditional and modern though the LT can provide the best of both worlds with unheard-of versatility. The K1200 LT is able to be whatever the rider wants it to be.

The driving force

The BMW K1200 LT's driving force is the relentlessly reliable 1172cc 16-valve, liquid-cooled, in-line four-cylinder engine that has been such a success in BMW's powerful sports tourer, the K1200 RS. Redesigned for the luxury tourer role, crucial features have been adapted and altered. These include, the intake tubes, throttle valves and camshaft. There are also forged rods and a specially developed exhaust system. Power is now delivered across an even wider engine speed range. A full 115 Nm is available at 4,750 rpm and an output of 72 kW (98 bhp) is produced at only 6,750 rpm. This means that the engine characteristics provide an excellent basis for the fifth gear (of a five-speed gearbox) to be used as a classic overdrive. As an example, engine speed at 81 mph is only 4,000 rpm. A 24-litre fuel tank ensures that petrol stops are few and far between.

With a luggage carrying system now part of the motorcycle, BMW was able to enlarge engine capacity to 1172cc (compared with the K1100 LT at 1040cc) without increasing the overall width of the machine. The LT also incorporates a hydraulic clutch that is adjustable to four different positions.

Specially modified Motronic MA 2.4 Digital Motor Electronics handle engine management, enabling the use of an automatic choke and featuring an electronically controlled throttle butterfly adjuster. A traditional choke lever is, therefore, not necessary.

The exhaust system and engine are equipped with a regulated catalytic converter and MoDiTec respectively. The latter is a multifunctional diagnosis component that allows the entire electronic and electrical system to be monitored. This results in easier and more precise maintenance.

Suspending belief

BMW's exclusive Telelever front suspension system arguably the most significant suspension development of the modern era has been incorporated in the K1200 LT's set-up. A luxury tourer traditionally (and practically) requires softer and more comfortable suspension and damping, and although conventional telescopic forks would be adequate, a consequence might be unpleasant dive effects under heavy braking. Employing the Telelever system negates machine destabilisation and improves safety.

The rear spring strut has 130mm of travel and can be set to appropriate load conditions by hydraulic adjustment of the spring base. A hand-wheel adjuster is easily accessible beneath the seat.

The K1200 LT's slightly longer Paralever (80mm more than the K1200 RS) also contributes to a better standard of rider comfort and control. In conjunction with the machine's longer wheelbase, the Paralever helps to ensure superior straight-line stability.

To add to the LT's manoeuvrability, when parking, it is fitted with an electrical reversing aid. This is activated by the electric starter motor, which is connected to the gearbox drive shaft.

Light by luxury tourer standards, the 345 kg K1200 LT is a dynamic motorcycle for its class. The balanced characteristics of the suspension set-up enable the LT to show agility other machines of the genre will find difficult to equal.

A beautiful body

One of the main design concepts of the K1200 LT was to create, for the first time, an all-inclusive motorcycle body. This means that the fairing, fuel tank, seats, luggage and even the exhaust system have blended into a single unit instead of being individual components all grouped around an engine and frame.

The engine is not rigidly connected to the frame as a load-bearing element but is, instead, housed in a central ultra-stiff, cast aluminium frame. This prevents vibration being transmitted to the handlebars, seat, footrests and body of the motorcycle.

The steel tube rear sub-frame has additional extra-strong base supports that hold the floor section of the integrated luggage cases firmly to the motorcycle itself. This rigidity is combined with special impact strips on the case covers to provide efficient protection should the machine topple over. These impact strips are duplicated at the outer extremities of the LT's main bodywork.

A luxury tourer provides the greatest protection against wind and other inclement weather when compared with other two-wheeled machines. BMW's extensive and advanced wind tunnel testing revealed new solutions and refinements to many of the traditional aerodynamic problems associated with motorcycling. One of these is the use of transparent, adjustable wind deflectors that control the side flow of air along the motorcycle. This solution not only allows the rider to exercise some control over the environmental elements but also provides enhanced stability in strong and variable wind conditions.

The combination of all these innovations has helped BMW maintain the long tradition of superb road-holding endemic in all its machines. The K1200 LT redefines the parameters for luxury tourers.

The comfort factor

The extensive standard fittings of the K1200 LT scarcely leave anything to be desired. There is 70 litres of storage space in the integrated pannier cases with a unique locking system, and 50 litres in the topcase. A lockable compartment in the tank cover makes sure that smaller items (such as a mobile phone, sunglasses etc.) are easily accessible. For greater individual comfort, the rider's seat can be adjusted in height and the topcase with backrest for the pillion passenger can be adjusted in length.

The K1200 LT is fitted with a high-quality sound system with four pairs of loudspeakers providing an outstanding audio experience. The system also includes an RDS radio unit with automatic traffic bulletin function and a CD player. All function keys on the central control unit can be operated with gloves on and there are remote units located on the handlebars and the backrest, so the pillion passenger can also operate the system.

Braking with convention

The BMW K1200 LT has been conceived to make riding as pleasurable and stress-free as possible. To compliment ergonomics such as the naturally canted handlebars, comfortable seat and tailored riding position, BMW has fitted one of the most advanced, motorcycle safety developments of recent years. Standard equipment on the K1200 LT is BMW's new, third generation Integral ABS.

The fully integrated version is fitted to the LT and maximises the efficiency of the powerful EVO front wheel brake system. The combination of the servo-assisted, integral action of the handbrake with dynamic brake force distribution and the very latest ABS technology is unequalled by any other motorcycle. The integral function ensures that when either the hand- or foot-brake, or both are actuated, braking is applied across both wheels. This enables not only more convenient, but also safer riding.

Desirability by design

A host of technical innovations and luxury equipment make the K1200 LT one of the most desirable machines currently available. Anyone who wishes to make their luxury tourer even more personal in design has a wide range of features to choose from.

In addition to the plethora of standard equipment available, customers can specify an SE version of the K1200 LT for £13,495, which includes a soft-touch seat, heated seats, heated grips, cruise control and an on-board computer. For £14,495, a K1200 LT Lux version offers all of the above, with the addition of a chrome package, CD multichanger and a high windshield. Optional extras include a satellite navigation system for £1,200. It can be conveniently controlled from the handlebars, making touring and route planning easier and more reliable. Directions are given acoustically, either via the front speakers or the helmet speakers in combination with the intercom system. A remote-control anti-theft warning system provides added security, while additional power sockets, cup holders, height-adjustable footrests and inner bags are all available as extras.

Effortless control is a characteristic appreciated by long-distance riders. Arriving at a destination fresh and alert after an all-day ride tells an observer more about a motorcycle than any specification sheet could.

Available in Night black (special edition), Anthracite metallic, Impala brown metallic and Titanium silver metallic/Graphitan base line colours, BMW has re-defined the luxury tourer genre. Without a doubt, the K1200 LT is a 7-Series among motorcycles.

Customers can call BMW's information line: 0800 777 155

Specifications for BMW K1200 LT

  • Engine Cubic capacity - 1171 cc
  • Bore/stroke - 70.5/75 mm
  • Max output - 72/98 kW/bhp at 6750 rpm
  • Max torque - 115 Nm at 4750 rpm
  • Design - In-line
  • No of cylinders - 4
  • Compression ratio/fuel grade - 10.8/premium
  • Valve control - DOHC
  • Valves per cylinder - 4
  • Intake/outlet dia - 26.5/23 mm
  • Fuel supply - Motronic MA 2.4
  • Alternator - 840 W
  • Battery - 12/19 V/Ah
  • Headlight - H 7/55 W, H 3/55 W
  • Starter - 0.7 kW
  • Gear ratios - 1 - 2.05/2.62, 2 - 1.60/2.62, 3 - 1.27/2.62 , 4 - 0.96/2.62, 5 - 0.80/2.62
  • Rear-wheel drive - BMW Paralever
  • Clutch - Single-plate, dry clutch, dia 180 mm
  • Type of frame - Cast aluminium frame
  • Spring travel front/rear - 102/130 mm
  • Wheel castor - 109 mm
  • Wheelbase - 1633 mm
  • Steering assembly angle - 63.18°
  • Brakes; front - Dual-disc brake, dia 320 mm, rear - Single-disc brake, dia 285 mm
  • Wheels - Light-alloy, front - 3.50 x 17 MTH 2, rear - 5.00 x 17 MTH 2
  • Tyres: front - 120/70 - ZR 17, rear - 160/70 - ZR 17
  • Length - 2508 mm
  • Width with mirrors - 1080 mm
  • Handlebar width - 826 mm
  • Seat height - 770/800 mm
  • Weight, unladen, with full fuel tank - 378 kg
  • Max permissible weight - 600 kg
  • Fuel tank - 23.4 ltr
  • Fuel consumption - 90 km/h (56 mph) - ltr/100 km, 120 km/h (75 mph) - ltr/100 km
  • Acceleration - 0-100 km/h (62 mph) - 5.6 sec
  • Top speed - 197 km/h
  • Price OTR - £12,495: K1200 LT, £13,495: K1200 LT SE, £14,495: K1200 LT Lux
  • ABS - Standard
  • Colour options - Night black (special edition), Anthracite metallic. Impala brown metallic, Titanium silver metallic / Graphitan base line