2011 BMW R1200R and R1200R Classic: DOHC engine, sharper looks

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BMW’s updating its worthy roadsters with the same DOHC, 1170cc, eight-valve, opposed-twin engine the R1200GS and R1200RT got last year. That means power and torque on the 2011 BMW R1200R are up marginally to 110bhp and 88lb/ft. But the big (if you can call it that) story here are the slightly revised looks, which add a K1300-style tail lamp and some new creases in the bodywork that should help the bike look every-so-slightly less visually boring without alienating the model’s core pipe-and-slippers demographic. Keep your monocle in your eye socket died-in-the-wool traditionalists, BMW hasn’t forgotten about you, there’s also a mechanically identical but even more conservatively styled 2011 BMW R1200R Classic.

The R1200R.

The R1200R Classic. Note the spoked wheels, pinstripe and chrome accents like the exhaust and mirrors; the models are otherwise identical.


  • Johndo

    I think it looks good in charcoal/titanium peint.

  • richard gozinya

    Better to go conservatively styled, than to try chasing trends. Some bikes look like the designers are trying way too hard to stand out.

  • telekom

    There are many worse-looking bikes out there. No-one is buying this bike to show off – it’s fairly modern, fairly nice-looking. You could buy an S1000RR and feel like you rule the world, but this is something you could actually use to do things, like go places with your girlfriend, or have a weekend away, or just go for a ride. Guys, please don’t make the same mistake as the motorcycle print media and try to sound all smart and smug about bikes you think are shit. You could aim your cynicism at people who drive poorly maintained, utterly shit cars really badly. It’s a bike. If you HAD to ride this, rather than drive a Nissan Micra, I’m sure you’d find a way to enjoy it. And it looks WAY better than the other R1200 with the friggin’ black and white zigzags. Why is the fashionista R1200R worth mentioning in a positive light (though still tagged ‘conservative’) when this one is “pipe and slippers”?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Where are we negative about this? It’s conservative, we call it conservative, no negativity implied.

      Look, I grew up in England and have a dry sense of humor. Sorry that I’m not all “Hip, Hip, Hooray, Mission Accomplished, Big MaC” every time something happens. But instead of construing my lack off misplaced enthusiasm as negativity, simply regard it as saying “something happened” when something did, indeed, happen.

      • telekom

        Hi Wes
        Har har, I’m Scottish and I’m in Scotland, and I have a very dry sense of humour!

        Don’t worry, I still love HFL. One of the reasons I stopped buying print magazines like Bike and TWO etc is I couldn’t stand the smug bitching about how shit certain bikes are, and by extension, how shit the riders of such bikes are perceived to be. I think the obvious camaraderie amongst bikers is bigger and better than the “my bike’s faster/cooler/newer than yours” tendencies of such magazines.

        All I was saying is perhaps assess this bike on what it’s like rather than what it’s perceived to be. “Pipe and slippers” is, after all, slightly lazy shorthand for “boring”. I’d rather hear about what you like and don’t like about it from your experience of it, which HFL does really well elsewhere. I’m not saying you should have no opinion about it. But I did detect a more excited and positive vibe about the fashionista R1200 because I know you guys love design and fashion in addition to bikes.

        Just my 2p. I obviously love HFL as I wouldn’t come back every day, and certainly wouldn’t raise what I hope are constructive points.


        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          We’re agreed that biking should be inclusive, not exclusive.

          Having said that, I don’t think a little postmodern humor, referencing the stereotypes and playing with them, is misplaced.

          As for the R1200R? It’s great that BMW sticks by offering a basic, functional, no frills representation of its core values, but it’s also a bit boring to ride even if it is extremely well made and capable. Hence the “worthy” comment.

          But yeah, I had to crank this out in a hurry so I could take the girlfriend to dinner. I’d love to spend more time writing in depth about each new motorcycle model, but with limited time, we have to concentrate on doing that with the ones that generate the most interest.

          • telekom

            I’m glad you were doing something worthwhile, and I hope you had a great dinner! Good to hear a bit more of what you think about riding this bike.

            Wes, do you want to see some pics of my friend’s ’74 Ducati 750GT? He’s just finished bringing it back to life. It looks great, and sounds even better.

  • 2ndderivative

    Picture 13 shows a very nice 2-up touring solution (I refuse to ride any of those motor-barges usually placed in the touring category).

  • cityag

    If the pegs were any closer to the ass cup seat, only Gumby could ride it. Had a 850r and my knees would scream. This looks worse.

  • MikeD

    I have always had a thing for this German Standard…looking fine all white (but way out of my limited capacity Motorcycle Budget)

    The Classic looks Hot too.

    Yes, Picture 13 makes a good case for an alternative to touring.

  • http://www.pedalgents.com holdingfast

    shit, i dont see what the problem is, I’d totally ride this bike.. looks like a blast to ride.. but then again I own a ’79 SR 500 which has its own mind on when to start and when not to.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      They are really good to ride, but suffer a bit in perception because they’re the Vanilla in a range of similarly platformed Rocky Road (GS), Chocolate (RT) and Space Berry Crunch Extra-Fudge (HP2).

  • MikeD

    Is that seat lower(seat to peg distance) than before?

    • richard gozinya

      Looks like there’s a lot of seat height options for this bike, they may have just picked the lowest one for the pictures.

  • Cajun58

    I agree the beautiful luggage and Akrapovic muffler give it a real nice sport touring look. Thanks loads Wes now I need a snack mmmmmmm…Space Berry Crunch Extra-Fudgey goodness.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

    That’s a handsome bike. While it may be vanilla, it sure is rich. Nothing wrong with a gentleman’s bike, I can see the appeal…maybe when I’m about 25 yr older!

  • roccopeterbilt

    Wes, not trying to nit-pick but i saw you referred to the motor as a “parallel-twin engine.” These Beemers run a boxer style motor, right? Is the term parallel-twin used for them as well? I always thought it relegated to the side by side twins found on Triumph Bonnevilles and the like (not to leave Kawasaki out.) Again, just looking to learn, not to criticize.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      D’oh! Threw this together in a rush last night.

  • Chuluun

    Nice. Always liked this one and they’ve tweaked it in the right places, like Kawasaki did with the ER-6n, so that it looks better without looking like a different bike. It’s almost, but not quite, Griso-handsome now, and from me that’s high praise

  • CafeRacer8509001200

    Well, one of my bikes is an older R850R and I find my slippers very comfy. I also have a nice rack of pipes that I enjoy very much. I guess the wording was spot-on. Of course, when I have my Firebolt out, I have my moments of excitement.