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2006 BMW K1200 GT

BMW K1200 GT

Executive class travel;

If you've got a lunch meeting in Barcelona or a dinner date in Milan then travel First Class on the new K1200 GT, BMW's latest ultimate long-distance bike. As you'd expect, this Gran Turismo also does shorter trips in just as much style and comfort.

BMW is best known for its touring motorcycles, and despite the arrival of several seriously sporty new models in the 2006 range, it's still the long-distance mile-munchers that comprise the majority of the current line-up. The latest machine to redefine the benchmark in the touring category is the all-new £11,955 K1200 GT.

Not to be confused with the outgoing 130 hp K1200 GT (itself a very capable motorcycle) the latest incarnation's engine has already found fame in the 167 hp K1200 S superbike and 163 hp K1200 R naked roadster. But now it will help power a true touring machine as well. What BMW has effectively done is take a K1200 S and make it perfectly suited for long distance riding.

The most obvious difference is the larger fairing. As well as being extremely aerodynamic it also provides excellent protection for the rider and pillion. The high screen is electronically adjustable to suit all heights of rider and the whole handlebar assembly also raises and lowers by 40mm. If this isn't enough adjustment a lower seat (-20mm) is also available as an option for shorter riders.

But the changes are more than skin deep. Tucked behind the plastics is a 1157cc engine that produces 152 hp (10 hp more than its direct rivals). Equally as impressive is the 130 Nm (95lb/ft) of torque it emits. Despite the high levels of power the GT still has an impressive range (theoretically 500 kms or approximately 300 miles) thanks to its 24-litre fuel tank. This puts many continental landmarks only a couple of tanks of petrol away.

What becomes immediately obvious is that the K1200 GT is an extremely well thought-out bike that incorporates many unique features never before seen on a motorcycle. The dash has a centrally mounted Info-Flat Screen panel that displays information such as trip mileage, water temperature, fuel capacity, distance remaining and actual gear selected. If the Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) and Tyre Pressure Control System (TPM) options are fitted it also displays the details for these as well. The screen has an anti-glare coating so no matter what riding position you choose, you'll always be able to see it clearly.

The K1200 GT also comes with BMW's Integral ABS as standard, which makes perfect sense when you consider that the majority of bike accidents are actually due to incorrect braking maneuvers. An incredible and rather worrying fact is that only five per cent of riders in the UK choose to specify ABS when buying a motorcycle, although just about every new car purchased offers ABS as standard fitment.

Anyone buying a K1200 GT has plenty of other options to make sure their bike suits their needs perfectly. Along with three different colour schemes, owners can also choose automatic heated grips - another first for BMW. As the temperature drops, the bike switches on the grips to keep your hands warm. Of course if warm hands aren't enough there's also an opportunity to choose a heated seat.

Other options to make long distance, all-weather riding so much easier include Xenon headlights, cruise control and BMW's new third generation Motorrad Navigator sat-nav system. There's also the same renowned Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) system as fitted to the K1200 S and R for the ultimate in comfort and performance, at the touch of a button.

ESA uses a handlebar-mounted control to adjust the suspension while on the move. There are three settings: sport, normal and comfort. Each of these settings has three variants for different loads: just the rider, the rider with luggage and the rider and pillion plus luggage. In total, this offers the rider nine different suspension settings at the flick of a switch.

Naturally, no grand touring bike would be complete without luggage and the K1200 GT comes with a pair of colour-coded panniers as standard, as well as a choice of two top-boxes (28 and 49 litres). As an additional extra, handy inner bags are available for all but the smallest top-box. The advantage of these are that upon arrival at your destination you can leave the hard case attached to the bike and just remove the inner bags.

If your plans are for long distance road trips, the GT is the definitive motorcycle on which to realise them. With or without a pillion, packed for a fortnight's adventure or with just enough for a short day trip, the GT will cope with it all.

Launched across the BMW Motorrad dealer network later in the spring, the new BMW K1200 GT is available in Dark Graphite Metallic, Crystal Grey Metallic or Deep Blue Metallic colour options, priced from £11,955 on the road.

Factory fit options;

  • Xenon Headlight - £260.00
  • Electronic Suspension Adjustment - £525.00
  • Seat Heating - £210.00
  • Heated Grips - £195.00
  • Tyre Pressure Control - £TBA, available August 06
  • Cruise Control - £345.00
  • On-board Computer - £110.00
  • High Windshield - £45.00
  • Anti-Theft Alarm System - £175.00
  • Riders Low Seat (800mm) - No Cost
  • * Prices current as of 1 January 2006.