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2008 BMW R 1200 R

2008 BMW R 1200 R

BMW Motorrad’s R1150 R has enjoyed considerable success since its launch in 2001, with almost 60,000 sales worldwide. And while this classic roadster has remained an important part of the current model line-up, all of its Boxer-engined counterparts have benefited from the latest ‘new generation’ advanced engine technology that has been successful in the GS, RT, ST and S models.

The R1200 R is a naked roadster of immense versatility, designed for pure riding pleasure. Although clearly more sporty than the predecessor model, the new R 1200 R has no pretensions to compete with the 163 hp K1200 R – although it is the most powerful Boxer roadster of all time.

While the 1150cc version sported an ample 85 hp, the new 1200 outputs 109 hp – a 28 per cent increase in power. The torque figure is equally impressive: 115 Nm at 6,000 rpm is 17 per cent more than the 1150 offered. Combine this with a weight reduction of 20 kilos over the predecessor and it’s clear to see what a huge leap this 198 kg roadster has made in performance terms alone.

Although it will appeal to riders who like to experience the pleasures of ‘classic’ motorcycling, the new R is designed to provide a responsive, dynamic and agile ride. Unlike its competitors, BMW’s new ‘classic’ is bristling with modern technology and doesn’t suffer from any of the cost-cutting measures often associated with this class, such as unwieldy chassis design, poor performing brakes (with no ABS option), no real touring capability, lower level technology and relatively high weight.

The uniqueness of the Boxer engine in terms of design and engine characteristics, combined with the tried and tested Telelever and Paralever suspension system offers riders impeccable handling and road holding qualities  – even on the bumpiest of surfaces. Furthermore, a comprehensive range of modern and innovative safety equipment will be available for the R, such as ABS and ASC traction control system, tyre pressure monitoring and electronic suspension adjustment.

Combine this with a wide range of options and accessories that include a larger (or smaller) screen, pannier system, baggage rack and low/high dual seat, and prospective customers will have the best of all worlds – a classic BMW equipped for any challenge.

Key features of the R1200 R:

  • Excellent all-round qualities.
  • Air-cooled flat-twin 1,170-cc power unit with balance shaft.
  • Maximum output up almost 28% over the former model to 80 kW/109 hp at 7,500 rpm.
  • Maximum torque up almost 17% over the R1200 R to 115 Nm (85 lb-ft) at 6,000 rpm.
  • BMS-K electronic engine management with dual ignition, anti-knock control, oxygen sensor, and fully controlled three-way catalytic converter.
  • Light and stable, two-piece tubular steel frame.
  • Stiff Telelever with sensitive response and a high standard of steering precision.
  • Excellent handling, supreme directional stability.
  • EVO Paralever with light driveshaft.
  • ESA Electronic Suspension Adjustment as an option.
  • Dry weight 198 kg, overall weight with full tank in road trim 223 kg/492lb.
  • High-performance brake system.
  • New BMW Motorrad Integral ABS with automatic stability control ASC (both available as an option).
  • Dynamic, modern but timeless design.
  • Particularly wide range of accessories.

Technical features and design

The power unit – powerful and refined
The power unit is based on the ‘new generation’ two-cylinder boxer with balance shaft initially featured in the R1200 GS and now in its present version as seen in the R1200 RT. Detailed technical features and details of the engine and its overall configuration can be seen in the R1200 GS and R1200 RT press kits.

Compared with the R1150 R, the new roadster offers almost 28% more power at a higher engine speed and approximately 17% more torque.

The engine is also 7% light­er than its predecessor, with a smoother engine that reduces vibrations to a minimum.

The latest generation of electronic CAN-bus engine management makes this modern power unit even more comfortable and smoother on the road.
In particular, this superiority is ensured by automatic idle speed control, automatic choke, and anti-knock control allowing the use of lower-grade fuel. To develop its maximum output of 109 hp at 7,500 rpm and peak torque of 115 Nm (85 lb-ft) at 6,000 rpm, the R1200 R requires 98 RON premium plus fuel. Running on 95 RON premium fuel will result in slightly lower engine output.

The six-speed gearbox with helical gears featured in the R1200 R also comes from the RT, combining a snug and gentle gear mesh with superior running smoothness. Contrary to the touring model, the drive shaft on the R1200 R features a shorter secondary transmission ratio of 2.75:1 (RT: 2.62:1), meaning that sixth gear is an active riding gear and does not serve merely as an overdrive or economy gear.

Suspension technology of the highest standard
Like its RT and ST counterparts, the BMW R1200 R features a two-piece frame integrating the engine as a load-bearing element. While the front half of the frame comes from the RT, both the steering head angle and wheel
castor have been specifically modified to meet the demands made of the new Roadster. A brand-new feature is the rear tubular spaceframe structure that is lighter in weight than comparable com­ponents and helps to give the rear section of the machine its light and nimble appearance.

The wheels run on the latest-generation Telelever and Paralever sus­pension units carried over from BMW’s other Boxers. This superior suspension gives the R1200 R even greater agility on winding roads than the former model and at the same time meets all the expectations of the touring rider in terms of motoring comfort and smooth performance.

The rider also has a choice to specify the optional ESA Electronic Suspension System, enabling them to con­veniently adjust spring and damper rates electronically at the touch of a button.

High-performance brake system and new generation of Integral ABS
Featuring two floating brake discs measuring 320 millimetres in diameter as well as two four-piston fixed callipers on the front wheel, the R1200 R is perfectly suited for powerful dece­leration whenever required. Pressure is built up via slender, high-quality flexible-steel brake lines, which also feature on the 265 millimetres two-piston floating calliper acting on the rear brake discs.

A special feature available straight from the factory is the latest gen­eration of BMW Motorrad Integral ABS, which may even be combined as an option
with ASC Automatic Stability Control. For further infor­mation on the functions, structure and operation of this latest gen­e­ra­tion of ABS brake technology, please see the separate press kit dedicated to this subject. 

The combination of instruments on the new R1200 R is again typical of a genuine roadster: Two analogue circular dials positioned above one another, as well as a digital LCD display, inform the rider of his current road speed, engine speed, overall mileage, trip mileage, gear in mesh, and the time. And as an option the instrument cluster may be further enhanced by an on-board computer offering additional information.

Single-Wire-System (SWS) with CAN-bus technology
As on the other models in BMW Motorrad’s current R- and K-Series, the electrical and electronic components on the R1200 R communicate with one another via a modern data bus network, with digital infor­mation being transmitted through one single wire.

Introduction of the Single-Wire-System has dramatically simplified the entire structure and configuration of the on-board electrics, re­ducing the number of cables and connections, and significantly low­ering the weight of the entire electrical system. A further point is that only this technology allows reliable, comprehensive and rapid trouble­shooting and diagnostic functions. It also enables the service technician to read data and/or re-define existing parameters. And last but not least, the Single-Wire-System allows simple and straightfor­ward adaptation of special electronic equipment, enhancing the motor­cycle’s wide range of functions.

Yet another major advantage this modern technology offers the cus­tomer is the option to retrieve all kinds of information quickly and conveniently via the instrument cluster in the cockpit.

Electronic immobiliser
To make sure that the R1200 R remains in the hands of its right­ful owner at all times, an electronic immobiliser comes as standard on the new roadster and is fully integrated in the data bus network de­scribed above. Like on a modern car, the ignition key incorporates a coded data chip communicating via a ring aerial in the ignition lock with the electronic engine management. Verifying the data ex­changed in this way, the system clears the ignition and fuel supply for instant use once the data has been confirmed and then allows the rightful owner to start the engine.

Ergonomics and step arch length
To ensure maximum comfort and freedom of movement, BMW Motor­rad’s designers and engineers have focused consistently on the so-called step arch length in the configuration of the seat. This figure defines the distance between the rider’s two footprints on the ground – measured via the inner length of the rider’s legs – and also takes the shape and width of the seat into account.

Being particularly slender at the front, the seat ensures excellent ground contact and gives the rider a much more relaxed knee angle compared with the previous model. This also applies to the pas­sen­ger, who again enjoys the high standard of seating comfort typical of a BMW.

The standard seat is 800 millimetres or 31.5´´ in height, step arch length is 1,800 millimetres or 70.9´´. And to cater for significantly smaller or taller riders, the new R1200 R is available as an option with a low (seat height 770 mm/30.3´´) or high (seat height 830 mm/32.7´´) double seat as an optional extra.

Design and colour concept
The new BMW R1200 R is a truly timeless, classic roadster with ex­cellent all-round qualities and unique character now further en­hanced by the machine’s even higher level of dynamic performance. So it is only natural to reflect these superior features clearly and convincingly in the design of the motorcycle.

Compact in its overall proportions, the new R1200 R consciously features body components reduced in terms of their form and style in order to highlight the technical features of the drivetrain and, in par­tic­ular, of the power unit. The headlight pays tribute to classic motorcycle design but uses the most modern and advanced technology through the free-form re­flec­tors. Indeed, close integration of the headlight into the overall line of the motorcycle creates an almost ‘bullish’ front end, harmonising smoothly with the slender proportions of the rear section.
The optical ‘lightness’ of the new R1200 R also comes out clearly from the rider’s perspective: with the radiator at the side having been dropped, the entire tank area is now a lot more compact and slender. And being made of sheet metal, the fuel tank also highlights the classic design and style of the entire ma­chine. 

Last but certainly not least, the colour concept again accentuates the character of the new BMW R1200 R, the three colour variants avail­able as an option interpreting the classic roadster theme in a very dif­ferent, distinctive manner.
Paintwork in Night Black non-metallic highlights the straightforward character and honesty of the new Roadster. And the discerning rider opting for double decal line finish (hand-painted in white as an op­tional extra) can be sure to receive a truly classic BMW in its looks and appearance.

Crystal Grey metallic is an innovative colour scheme that changes according to the light conditions, while Granite Grey metallic highlights in par­ticular the shapes and lines of the Roadster.

Range of Equipment

Optional extras and special equipment
BMW Motorrad offers a wide range of additional features for the new Roadster, catering for the rider who wishes to personalise his (or her) BMW.
BMW Motorrad demonstrates its leadership in the area of active safe­ty through the new generation of Integral ABS available as an option. This new generation of ABS brake technology, just like BMW Motor­rad’s unique ASC traction control, is making its world debut in the R1200 R.

Apart from the usual extras, such as  heated grips, an anti-theft warning system, cylinder protection hoops or a chrome-plated exhaust, the discerning customer also has the choice of numerous innovative technologies ranging from the on-board com­puter through ESA Electronic Suspension Adjustment all the way to the navigation system.

Sophisticated components upgrading the looks of the machine, such as aluminium parts finished in chrome or milled from a complete block,
are also being prepared to additionally highlight the unique and classic character of this Boxer roadster.

As usual, optional extras are provided straight from the factory, while
special equipment may also be fitted subsequently by the customer’s
BMW Motorrad dealership.

Optional extras

  • BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (partly integral)
  • BMW Motorrad ASC (with ABS only)
  • ESA Electronic Suspension Adjustment 
  • TPC tyre pressure control* (in preparation)
  • On-board computer
  • Case supports*
  • Sports windshield*
  • Low double seat (seat height 770 mm/30.3´´)*
  • High double seat (seat height 830 mm/32.7´´)*
  • Main stand*
  • Anti-theft warning system*
  • Heated grips*
  • Direction indicators in white*
  • Exhaust system, chrome-plated

Products marked with an * are also available as special equipment from
BMW motorcycle dealers.

ESA Electronic Suspension Adjustment
As an option the rider is able to conveniently vary the suspension of his
R1200 R simply by pressing a button on the handlebar, adjusting the set-up of the springs and dampers by an electric motor in the op­tional ESA spring struts.
This adjustment function is available even while riding, with the sys­tem functions being the same as on the R1200 ST and R1200 RT.

ESA offers a high standard of comfort in control and ensures opti­mum adjustment of spring elements to the rider’s particular style of riding
and load conditions at any given point in time. The system also takes the higher standard of riding dynamics on the roadster into ac­count and
makes a significant contribution to superior riding safety.

TPC tyre pressure control
Optional TPC tyre pressure control makes a significant contribution to the high standard of riding comfort and safety by reliably informing the rider of the current level of tyre pressure. The data required for tyre pressure control comes from sensors in the wheels.

TPC also features an active warning function: As soon as the system recognises a relevant deviation from the pressure required, a yellow information light or, in the event of a greater deviation, a red warning light automatically informs the rider of the current status.

TPC is scheduled for introduction in late 2006 and will then be avail­able straight from the factory and may also be retrofitted as special equipment.

On-board computer
The on-board computer enhances the wide range of functions already offered by the instrument cluster and is a very practical companion on the road. By  pressing a button on the handlebar, the rider is able to call up all kinds of information presented in the display. This includes dis­plays showing the fuel supply and engine oil temperature as well as gauges showing the range still remaining in the tank, the rider’s average speed, average fuel consumption, and the ambient temperature. And as another very important feature the on-board computer informs the rider of the risk of black ice once the outside temperature drops to 3 °C (37.5 °F) or below. 

Case support
The new BMW R1200 R is available straight from the factory with an elegant case support specifically matching the slender rear design of the machine and thus not impairing the overall looks of the motor­cy­cle in any way. An alternative is the special equipment case support featuring an additional luggage rack.

Sports screen
It almost goes without saying that the sports-minded rider opting for the
new R1200 R has no reason to forego adequate protection from wind and weather, particularly as the new machine is far more dy­namic than its predecessor. This efficient protection is provided by the sports screen which – despite its small dimensions – efficiently guides wind and weather away from the rider. The scratchproof sur­face, in turn, ensures lasting transparency and maintains the good looks of the screen at all times.

The rider with a greater focus on riding comfort also has the choice of
a high-rise windshield available exclusively as special equipment and described in greater detail in the section on SE. 

Low and high double seat
To offer shorter and taller riders the best choice of seat­ing position, BMW Motorrad is able to provide both a lower (770 mm/30.3´´) and higher (830 mm/32.7´´) seat. And whatever version the rider chooses, these special seats come as a no-cost option when ordered straight from the factory.

Direction indicators in white LED technology
The BMW R1200 R will soon be available with white direction indi­ca­tors in LED technology (scheduled for introduction as of early 2007) and fitted either at the factory or by the BMW motorcycle dealer. Until then, the machine can still be ordered as an option with conventional white direction indicators.

Special equipment

  • System cases
  • Inner bags for system cases
  • Topcase, small
  • Inner cases for topcase, small
  • Sports softbag, small/large
  • Tankbag
  • Case support*
  • Case supports, left/right, with luggage rack
  • Heated grips*
  • Main stand*
  • Anti-theft warning system*
  • Double seat bench, high or low*
  • Windshield, high
  • Sports windshield*
  • Sports windshield in tinted glass
  • Power socket, retrofittable
  • TPC tyre pressure control* (in preparation)
  • BMW Motorrad Navigator III
  • Motorcycle cover
  • Optical embellishment components (in preparation):

Fork bridge cover caps in lathed aluminium
Telelever cover caps in lathed aluminium
Hand levers left and right, milled
Handlebar clamp support, one-piece
Paralever bar, milled
Cylinder head covers, chrome-plated
Custom mirrors, chrome-plated

Products marked with an * are also available from the factory.

System cases
The case system available for BMW’s new roadster is the same as on
the R1200 ST and R1200 RT. Hence, the watertight cases offer a capacity of 32 litres and are readily accessible thanks to their simple and convenient closing mechanism. Through their care­fully conceived design, the cases do not stick out too far, despite their ample capacity.

The topcase is also the same as on the R1200 ST, increasing the road­ster’s luggage capacity by a significant 28 litres – enough space for light travel luggage or a helmet. A fur­ther advantage is that the topcase fits quickly and very conveniently on the luggage rack, and the back padding (also available as an option) of­fers a passenger extra seating comfort at all times.

The practical tankbag is a special development for the R1200 R and adjusts perfectly to the contours of the tank itself. The extendable main compartment features a lockable inner bag that’s glued into po­sition to reliably protect the contents from getting wet and thus elim­inating the need for an inconvenient rain cover.

The map pocket (offering ample space for an unfolded DIN A4 road map) is also watertight. On the side facing the rider, the tankbag comes with an additional, sewn-on pocket complete with a separate zipper for all kinds of odds and ends and again easily accessible for practical use.  

Windshield, high
The rider seeking in particular to enjoy riding comfort, free of fatigue, will certainly benefit from the higher windshield. Comparable in its dimensions and shape with the high-rising windshield on the R1150 R, this high windshield significantly reduces the forces acting on the rider at high speeds, allowing him to travel even long distances on the motorway without problems. And since the higher windshield also comes with a scratchproof surface, it always looks good and attractive even after long use.

Optical embellishment
Sophisticated components and high-class materials such as chrome and aluminium come out particularly well on a classic roadster, which is why BMW Motorrad is developing a special range of ac­ces­sories allowing the truly discerning rider to upgrade his or her R1200 R to an even higher level of class and style. The features cur­rent­ly being prepared include chrome-plated custom mirrors, cover caps for the fork bridge and Telelever (lathed out of one block), a milled Paralever bar, handbrake lever, clamping supports, and chrome-plated cylinder head covers.
This special range of customising features is currently in preparation, and the exact date of introduction is still to be confirmed.

Accessories for several models
Further accessories are also to be introduced for both the new road­ster and other BMW Boxers. These will include a paddock stand, a lockable oil plug, an additional toolkit, as well as cables and a support for the BMW Motorrad Navigator.




R1200 R



Power Unit


















Max output











Max torque


















No of cylinders






Compression ratio/fuel grade


12.0/premium plus




Valve/gas control


HC (high camshaft)




Valves per cylinder






Valve dia, intake/exhaust






Fuel supply


Electronic intake manifold injection BMS-K




Emission management


Fully controlled three-way catalytic converter










Electrical System














12/14 maintenance-free
















Power Transmission/Gearbox








   Single-plate dry clutch, dia 180 mm        





Dog-shift six-speed gearbox




Primary transmission






Gear ratios    I






































Drive shaft




Final drive ratio











Suspension and Running Gear








Tubular steel spaceframe, load-bearing engine




Suspension, front


BMW Telelever


Suspension, rear


BMW Paralever


Spring travel, front/rear















Steering head angle







   Double disc brake, dia 320 mm





Single-disc brake, dia 265 mm 





BMW Motorrad Integral ABS as an option






Cast wheels






3.50 x 17






5.50 x 17






120/70-ZR 17






180/55-ZR 17










Dimensions and weight






Length, overall






Width, overall, with mirrors






Seat height






Weight, dry






DIN unladen weight with full tank






Weight, max permissible






Tank capacity


















Fuel consumption






90 km/h

ltr/100 km





120 km/h

ltr/100 km











0–100 km/h






Top speed


200 plus








R1200 R

Night Black non-metallic*




Crystal Grey metallic




Granite Grey metallic