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2008 BMW K 1200 LT

2008 BMW K 1200 LT

The BMW K 1200 LT – six times winner of the MCN Best Tourer award
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 K 1200 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 K 1200 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 K 1200 LT is able to be whatever the rider wants it to be.

The driving force

The BMW K 1200 LT’s driving force is the relentlessly reliable 1171cc 16-valve, liquid-cooled, in-line four-cylinder engine. Redesigned in 2004, engine output has now been boosted by 15 per cent to 116 hp (85 kW).  Maximum torque has also increased by 5 Nm to 120 Nm or 88 lb ft at only 5,250 rpm. With high-rise teeth on all gears, the improved five-speed gearbox now runs even more smoothly and comfortably, with noise reduced to a minimum. A 23.4-litre fuel tank ensures that petrol stops are few and far between.

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 K 1200 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 ride quality of the K 1200 LT has been improved even further by extending the castor by 15 mm which results in even greater stability and smoothness on the road, and improves slow speed handling.

The rear spring strut has 130mm of travel and incorporates the successful progressive damping system first introduced on the R 1150 GS Adventure where the damping effect increases as a function of spring action. It 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 K 1200 LT’s slightly longer Paralever 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 378.5 kg (unladen, road ready with a full fuel tank) K 1200 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 original design concepts of the K 1200 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.

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.

Also new is a two-piece headlight, with high and low beam units harmoniously integrated into the fairing. Featuring free-form technology, both the high and low beam headlights come with clear glass lens, offering about 10 per cent better illumination than on the previous model. 

Yet another new feature is the front mudguard. Larger and extending further down than before, the new mudguard takes up and continues the lines of both the side fairing and the engine spoiler.

The new K 1200 LT the following components are now finished in high-gloss chrome: 

  • Footrests for the rider and passenger,
  • Footrest supports for the rider and passenger,
  • Bumper strip surrounds front and rear,
  • Mirror housings,
  • Cover flaps on the windshield support,
  • Grab rail on the topcase,
  • Covers on the brake and clutch controls,
  • Brake and clutch handles,
  • Air vent and logo plate at the side.

New instrument cluster with a flat-screen info unit
The instrument cluster has also been thoroughly updated and enhanced in its looks. A particular highlight of the newly designed cockpit is the new flat-screen info unit with its wide range of rider information. The high-resolution display presents the following important data:

  • Mileage (overall) as well as two trip counters (Tripmaster)
  • Coolant temperature and air temperature
  • Gear selection
  • All functions on the on-board computer
  • Radio information
  • Tank level
  • Time.
The comfort factor

The extensive standard fittings of the K 1200 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 K 1200 LT’s seat has been redesigned to integrate the rider even better into the machine and allow the somewhat shorter rider to reach the ground more easily and comfortably. As a result, more riders than ever before will be able to appreciate the benefits of this motorcycle.

Electrohydraulic main stand
The electrohydraulic main stand developed by BMW Motorrad is a brand-new feature offering unprecedented comfort as well as unique safety on a heavy motorcycle of this calibre: Even when fully laden and with a passenger at the rear, the rider is able to automatically raise up the motorcycle simply by pressing a button on the right handle – without even getting off his seat.

To provide this function an electric pump builds up pressure in a hydraulic system, which raises the stand automatically, without any further manual intervention required. 

Braking with convention

The BMW K 1200 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 K 1200 LT is BMW’s 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 K 1200 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.

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.

Standard factory equipment


4 Cylinder inline engine
4 Valve cylinder heads
5  Speed gearbox with overdrive and electric reversing aid
Stainless steel exhaust system with chrome trim
Digital motor electronics
Closed loop 3 way catalytic converter with oxygen sensor
Shaft drive

Running Gear

BMW Motorrad fully integral ABS
BMW Motorrad paralever rear suspension (single swinging arm)
BMW Motorrad telelever front suspension
Twin disk front brake (EVO, 320mm dia.)
Single disk rear brake
Hydraulic rear spring preload adjuster
Prob stand with starter inhibit
Rear Suspension strut with travel dependent damping (WAD)


Audio sound system with RDS radio, single CD drive, digital display, 8 loudspeakers and remote controls for rider and pillion passenger
Cockpit with speedometer 9with total and trip odometers), revolution counter, digital clock, map reading light, coolant temperature and brake fluid displays
Permanent headlamp beam
Electronic immobiliser
Diagnostic interface
Low beam headlamp height adjustment
Info flat screen
Separate front headlight
Double power socket
Hazard warning flasher


Storage compartment with toolkit and tyre service set
Twin tone horn
Rotating fins for riders area ventilation
One key system for ignition, steering, fuel filler cap, storage compartment, pannier case and topcase locks
Handbrake lever with 4 position and clutch lever with 3 position adjustment
Centre stand, electro-hydraulic
Integral ignition switch and steering lock
Two section dual seat with variable height rider’s seat
Storage compartment in tank cover
Windshield with continuous electrical adjustment and additional wind guide vanes
Topcase with “comfort” specification and back rest
Tourer full fairing pannier cases and top case integrated into body panels
Variable position topcase

Special Features

Chrome Package
Bumper strips at front and rear
Pocket lamp

Factory fit options


Inc. VAT

Top Case Luggage Rack with High Level Brake Light

£ 180.00

High Windshield (+180mm with 137mm of adjustment)

£ 50.00

Intercom System

£ 455.00

CD Changer

£ 450.00

Double 12v Power Socket

£ 25.00

Adjustable Footrests Chrome

£ 310.00

Accessories available


Inner bags for panniers (each)

Inner bag for top case

Tank bag

Additional power sockets, side and rear, mounting kit

Drink can holder

Specifications for BMW K 1200 LT
















Max output










Max torque










Engine configuration





No of cylinders





Compression ratio/fuel grade





Valve/gas management




DOHC (double overhead  camshaft)

Valves per cylinder





Intake/outlet dia





Fuel supply




Motronic MA 2.4






Electrical system














12/19 maintenance-free





H 7/55 W





H 9/65 W











Power transmission







Single-plate dry clutch, dia 180 mm



Five-speed gearbox with dog-type shift

Primary ratio





Transmission ratios           I

























Final drive





Transmission ratio










Suspension and running gear







   Cast aluminium frame

Wheel suspension, front




BMW Telelever

Wheel suspension, rear




BMW Paralever

Spring travel, front/rear















Steering head angle







   Double-disc brake, dia 320 mm



Single-disc brake, dia 285 mm





BMW Motorcycle Integral ABS fitted as standard (fully integral)





Light alloy





3.50 x 17 MTH 2





5.00 x 17 MTH 2





120/70 ZR 17





160/70 ZR 17






Dimensions and weight





Length, overall




2 502

Width, overall, with mirrors




1 080

Width, overall, without mirrors





Seat height





Weight, unladen, with full tank





Max permissible weight, overall





Tank capacity










Performance data





Fuel consumption





90 km/h

ltr/100 km




120 km/h

ltr/100 km









0–100 km/h





Standing-start km




Top speed




Over 200