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2004 BMW R1200 C

BMW R1200 C

When the R1200 C cruiser was introduced in 1997 it defied convention. The sophisticated, high-tech machine owed little to anything that had preceded it there was nothing pseudo-American about its design or inspiration. The R1200 C was unmistakably BMW and it showed in every original line and high quality component. Cruising had entered a new era.

Within two years of its launch, the BMW R1200 C had been voted Motorcycle of the Year, or Cruiser of the Year in many countries. The ultimate accolade came when the makers of the James Bond movie series renowned for their love of high-tech, modern products and innovative design selected the bike for 007 to ride in the film, Tomorrow Never Dies. The bike was as spectacular as the action.

Note: there are two variants of the R1200 C the £8,695 Classic and the £8,995 Independent. The description below is common to all three models but refers specifically to the Classic, which is the standard model. The differences are listed as an addendum at the end of this media release.

Chromium-plated power

A specially tuned and chrome-finished version of BMW's modern, but timeless, four-valve horizontal twin not only smashed tradition, it proved that a cruiser didn't have to conform to old-fashioned concepts. The 1170cc, boxer engine is designed to produce more torque at low speed rather than maximum power. Finished expansively in high quality chrome, the big twin delivers 61 bhp at 5,000 rpm, but equally important is that it produces 70 lb ft of torque (98 Nm) at 3,000 rpm. This translates as superlative throttle control and excellent response when negotiating city traffic. In addition, less gear changing is required.

All models of the R1200 C are equipped with a closed-loop, three-way catalytic converter.

The Motronic engine management system has been re-programmed to make significant improvements to the original control concept (MA 2.4) so that it now optimises torque at low engine speeds. This means that the maximum possible is produced.

The R1200 C's copious torque is fed to the rear wheel through a five-speed gearbox and BMW's proven drive shaft now situated in the hollow swinging arm (of the Monolever). It features not only two universal joints, but also a torsion damper. The single-plate dry clutch is hydraulically operated.

On the open road, the low-stressed, low-revving engine gives the impression that it is unbreakable. Cruising has never been as easy. The power unit is so independent of high engine speeds that a rev counter is not necessary.

Road-holding means holding the road

For a cruiser, road-holding has always been more important than handling. BMW motorcycles hold the road and maintain a line over bad surfaces better than other contemporary machines. It is a quality that is accepted and expected by BMW users and a tradition that continues with the R1200 C.

Contributing factors that continue to maintain BMW's reputation for excellent road-holding and handling include the famous Telelever front suspension and Paralever-enhanced swinging arm which is mounted on the frame instead of the gearbox. The R1200 C has a much longer swinging arm, called the Monolever, than other modern BMWs. Because of its length, the Monolever does an efficient job of damping torque reaction from the drive shaft equally as well as the Paralever (which is a more complex double-joint swinging arm).

Wheels are always crucial to the character of a motorcycle, particularly a cruiser. On the R1200 C Classic high-gloss chrome, cross-spoke wheels are a fitted as standard. BMW has not re-invented the wheel, but the model used on the two cruisers is a particularly stable structure where a self-contained rim base allows the fitting of tubeless tyres. The Independent model is equipped with BMW's superior cast wheels.

Because of its low centre of gravity, lengthened wheelbase (1,650mm) and the above suspension qualities, BMW's radical cruiser has pushed road-holding standards, arguably, even higher.

Cruiser comforts

The way a machine copes with bad surfaces is obviously a major factor in motorcycle comfort, but the R1200 C's other rider components also contribute to making it one of the most rideable and comfortable cruisers available. For example, the riding position is (for many) the most ergonomic of any cruiser.

Because of the seat design and position, the rider now sits lower (740 mm or 29.1 inches) and even further towards the rear of the machine. The saddle-shaped seat provides just enough support at the base of the spine to relieve weight on the lower back and the pillion seat also converts to a rider backrest when travelling solo. The footrests have been shifted forward and help to create a seating position between the two wheels that will make long distance travel a pleasure and not a chore. The complete configuration ensures almost perfect balance, more ease of control and safety.

Stop cruising

Although dynamic riding characteristics are not essential to a cruiser, optimum brake response and stopping power is vital. The R1200 C is therefore equipped with a large and powerful three-disc braking system. Twin, 305 mm (12 inch) discs are fitted to the front wheel and a single 288 mm (11.22 inch) disc is at the rear. Brembo four-piston fixed calipers operate the front brake while twin-piston floating calipers activate the rear. BMW's third generation, anti-lock braking system is available as an option.

Little things mean a lot

For those who like to share their cruiser experiences with a companion, owners have the choice of small or large passenger seat luxurious, of course and footrests.

By cruiser standards a 17.5 litre fuel tank is large, even though 4.1 litres of this is employed as reserve. BMW owners have always expected to be able to travel long distances before refuelling and the R1200 C won't disappoint them. A range of anything up to 200 miles is possible depending on riding style.

The amount of high-gloss chrome varies depending on the model, but BMW also makes use of graphitane, an all-new colour that combines the qualities of graphite and magnesium. It adds an even more modern touch and emphasises the high-tech aura of the R1200 C cruiser range.

The R1200 C may be a departure from cruiser convention but its uniqueness cannot hide the reality that, in all its incarnations, it is one of the best-looking and safest motorcycles on the road.

The R1200 C Independent has more high-gloss components than either of the R1200 C variants. A solo seat is fitted as standard, as are the two-piece aluminium wheels with three-spoke inner hubs. Also standard is the small speedster windshield and twin foglamps. The Independent is available in two different colour combinations.

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

  • Engine Type - Air/oil-cooled 2-cylinder 4-stroke boxer engine one camshaft and four valves per cylinder
  • Bore x stroke - 101 mm x 73 mm
  • Capacity - 1170 ccm
  • Rated output - 45 kW (61 bhp) at 5000 rpm
  • Max. torque - 98 Nm at 3000 rpm
  • Compression ratio - 10 : 1
  • Carburetion/engine management - Electronic intake pipe injection/digital engine management: Bosch Motronic MA 2.4 with overrun fuel cut-off, dual ignition
  • Emission control - Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter
  • Maximum speed - Approx. 168 km/h
  • Fuel consumption over 100 km at steady 90 km/h - 4.8 ltr
  • Fuel consumption over 100 km at steady 120 km/h - 5.9 ltr
  • Fuel type - Unleaded premium, minimum octane rating 95 (RON)
  • Generator - 840 W three-phase generator
  • Battery - 12 V/19 Ah (low maintenance)
  • Clutch - Single-disc dry clutch, hydraulically operated
  • Gearbox - Constant mesh 5-speed transmission
  • Drive - Shaft drive
  • Frame - Triple-section frame consisting of front and rear frame sections and load-bearing engine
  • Front wheel location/suspension - BMW Motorrad Telelever; stanchion diameter 35 mm, central strut
  • Rear wheel location/suspension - Steel single-sided swing arm with BMW Motorrad. Monolever; WAD strut (travel dependent damping), spring preload adjustable by means of hand wheel to continuously variable levels
  • Travel front/rear - 144 mm/100 mm
  • Wheelbase (in normal position) - 1650 mm
  • Caster (in normal position) - 86 mm
  • Steering head angle (in normal position) - 60.5 °
  • Wheels - Cross spoke wheels
  • Rim, front - 2.50 x 18, Rim, rear - 4.00 x 15
  • Tyres, front - 100/90 ZR 18, rear - 170/80 ZR 15
  • Brake, front - EVO brake system with dual disc, floating brake discs, 305 mm diameter, 4-piston fixed calliper. Rear - Single disc, floating brake disc, 285 mm diameter, 2-piston floating calliper
  • ABS: Special equipment - BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (fully integral)
  • Seat height, unladen - 740 mm
  • Unladen, road ready, fully fuelled - 258.0 kg
  • Dry weight - 238.0 kg
  • Permitted total weight - 450.0 kg
  • Payload (with standard equipment) - 192.0 kg
  • Usable tank volume - 17.5 ltr
  • Incl. reserve - Approx. 4.0 ltr
  • Length - 2340 mm
  • Height (not incl. mirrors) - 1130 mm
  • Width (incl. mirrors) - 1050 mm