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2004 BMW R1200 CL

BMW R1200 CL

The radically different, and surprising, R1200 CL Luxury Cruiser is compelling evidence that BMW Motorrad is unique among manufacturers in creating an original and innovative range to complement the 21st century. The new machine's antecedent, the R1200 C, was equally unexpected when it was launched in 1997 but emphasised that original design and conviction could improve even an established genre. Equally, the new £9,995 R1200 CL not only looks different, it is different.

While the original R1200 C addressed the perennial cruiser problem of long distance comfort with a pragmatic reappraisal of traditional ergonomics, the new R1200 CL with protective bodywork creates a genre within the genre. After all, no one has decreed that it is mandatory to ride a cruiser only when the sun is shining even in California. This is the thinking behind BMW's decision to carry over the features and characteristics of a touring motorcycle to a cruiser.

After nine consecutive years of record sales, BMW Motorrad continues to take motorcycle technology and innovation even further into the new millennium new age, new ideas, new products and the creation of a new genre that closes the gap between a classic cruiser and a fully equipped luxury tourer.

Conceived largely for the American market and available to order from BMW Motorrad GB dealers, the R1200 CL is available in three colour schemes: Sapphire black metallic, Mojave brown metallic/saddle brown dualseat and Pearl silver metallic.

Cruiser style touring ability

A conventional cruiser's riding ergonomics owe little to practicality. With arms and feet well forward of the body, the shape of the rider resembles that of a parachute. On long distance rides, continuous wind pressure becomes a real trial. Bad weather just makes things worse.

The bodywork and fairing of the R1200 CL transforms cruising into touring, without sacrificing looks or style. The elegant tourer fairing attached to the handlebars provides effective wind deflection and rider comfort. Another advantage of the design is that the upper edge of the screen is not in the line of vision. This is a particular advantage when riding in rain or if the windscreen becomes dirty on long journeys. (An even shorter screen is available as an optional extra.) In addition, the rider can control the degree of wind deflection and protection by opening additional air deflectors if the weather worsens.

Aerodynamics as with all current BMW models play an important role in the comfort and stability of the CL. For example, a particularly imaginative feature of the windscreen is the upper edge cutaway that is contoured like a wave to deflect airflow around the rider. Separate bodywork panels on either side of the machine are integrated aerodynamically with windscreen and tank, not only deflecting the airflow but increasing downforce to enhance stability.

Four headlights are integrated into the fairing two for low beams and two for high beams which gives the R1200 CL an unmistakable, striking face and ensures excellent illumination of the road ahead.

Suspension of belief

Typical of the conventional cruiser are the raked-out, front wheel forks. To retain this essential cruiser element, BMW's unique Telelever front suspension system has been completely reworked. A consequence is that the fork struts are now further apart in order to accommodate the more stable 150mm-wide front tyres. Also new are the fork sliders (EVO brake adapted), slider bridge, fork bridge and full floating axle.

The rear wheel guide features a new spring strut with a progressive damping system (as featured on the R1150 GS Adventure) to ensure sublime on-road comfort. In conjunction, the rear suspension's overall spring travel has increased by 20mm (compared to the R1200 C) and is now 120mm. Pre-load adjustment can easily be made by hand.

A body with soul

The R1200 CL is an extremely sturdy motorcycle. The rear wheel, swinging arm and axle housing have been reinforced and modified to accept the larger rear brake. In addition, a brand new, reinforced rear frame has been designed to take the footboards, case supports, luggage rack, modified side supports and new seats.

Generous footboards for the rider contribute to one of the most relaxed riding positions of any cruiser. Passenger footrests offer excellent support so that touring becomes a fatigue-free experience. Seats are separate for passenger and rider. The rider's wide, comfortable saddle comes with integrated hip support and thanks to the versatility of extra-large footboards and a ride height of 74.5cm (29.3in) is one of the most comfortable of any cruiser currently available. The passenger's seat has also been designed to provide a comparable level of comfort but is slightly higher to afford a better view over the rider's shoulder.

Integrated colour-matched luggage cases and top case are fitted as standard and include a luggage bridge made of cast aluminium that incorporates pillion grab handles. The cases are watertight and feature a surround closing system.

Despite being stylish, and in keeping with the cruiser concept, the newly designed cast aluminium wheels are also small a 16-inch front and 15-inch rear but allow the use of extra large tyres: 150/80 and 170/80 respectively.

The R1200 CL is the first BMW cruiser available with EVO front wheel braking as standard and optional Integral ABS the worlds most advanced brake technology for motorcycles.

The R1200 CL is equipped with the same engine that has already been proven in the R1200 C. The 1170cc, boxer engine is tuned to produce more torque for use at slow speed rather than for 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 just 3,000 rpm. The Motronic engine management system optimises torque at low engine speeds. This means that the maximum possible torque is produced, allowing superlative throttle control and excellent response when negotiating city traffic.

The engine's copious torque is fed to the rear wheel through a new six-speed gearbox, heel-toe gear change and BMW's proven drive shaft. Sixth gear has been configured as an overdrive and together with the 17.5-litre fuel tank should provide a touring range of between 150 and 200 miles. The R1200 CL is also equipped with a closed-loop, three-way catalytic converter.

Special equipment

This includes BMW Integral ABS, cruise control, heated grips, anti-theft alarm and immobiliser system, seat heating, soft-touch seats, chrome package and CD player.

BMW dealers will also offer a wide range of accessories, including passenger backrest and footboards, cylinder protection hoops, inner bags for the panniers, cup holders and an on-board communication system.

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


  • Engine Capacity - 1,170 cc
  • Bore/stroke - 101/73 (3.98/2.87) mm(in)
  • Max output - 45/61 kW/bhp at 5,000 rom
  • Max torque - 98 (72) Nm (lb-ft) at 3,000 rpm
  • Configuration - Flat-twin
  • No of cylinders - 2
  • Compression ratio/fuel - 10.0/premium (RON 95)
  • Valve control - HC
  • Valves per cylinder - 4
  • Intake/outlet dia - 34/29 (1.34/1.14) mm (in)
  • Fuel supply - Motronic MA 2.4
  • Alternator - 840 W
  • Battery - 12/19 V/Ah
  • Headlights - 2xH1/2xH4
  • Starter - 1.1 kW
  • Clutch - Single-plate dry clutch, dia 165 mm (6.50´´)
  • Transmission - Six-speed manual gearbox
  • Primary ratio - 1.889
  • Gear ratios - 1 - 2.038, 2 - 1.6, 3 - 1.267, 4 - 1.034, 5 - 0.903, 6 - 0.698
  • Final drive ratio - 2.62
  • Rear suspension - BMW Monolever
  • Frame - Composite frame, cast aluminium front section, load-bearing engine
  • Spring travel, front/rear - 144/120 (5.67/4.72)mm (in)
  • Castor in normal trim - 184 (7.24)mm (in)
  • Wheelbase in normal trim - 1641 (64.61)mm (in)
  • Steering head angle in normal trim - 56.5°
  • Brakes, front - dia 305 mm (12.00´´), rear - dia 285 mm (11.22´´)
  • Wheels - Cast aluminium
  • front, 3.5 x 16, rear, 4.0 x 15
  • Tyres, front - 150/80 - 16, rear - 170/80 - 15
  • Length, overall - 2,415 (95.1)mm (in)
  • Width, overall, with mirrors - 1,075 (42.3)mm (in)
  • Handlebar width - 853 (33.6)mm (in)
  • Seat height - 745 (29.3)mm (in)
  • Unladen weight, DIN - 308 (679) kg (lb)
  • Max permissible weight - 530 (1,169)kg (lb)
  • Tank - 17.5 (3.85)ltr (Imp gals)
  • Fuel consumption: 90 km/h - ltr/100km, 120 km/h - ltr/100 km
  • Acceleration; 0-100 km/h - 6.4 sec
  • Top speed - 165 (102) km/h (mph)
  • Price OTR - £9,995, ABS £750 extra
  • Colour options - Sapphire black metallic, Mojave brown metallic / saddle brown dualseat, Pearl silver metallic