2012 BMW R1200GS spied with liquid-cooled engine

A SoloMoto.es reader spied what appears to be an undisguised, liquid-cooled replacement for the BMW R1200GS testing on a Spanish highway. In addition to the new motor, it looks like the beak has been sharpened up, the paralever swingarm/drive shaft has been moved to the bike’s left side and the exhaust canister to the right. Why liquid-cooling when the rugged simplicity of the air-cooled boxer suited the GS so well?

Illustration: Xavier Gordillo

Motorcycle emission standards are being dramatically tightened in Europe over the next  few years. Bikes currently need to meet the Euro III standard while cars are tasked with Euro V. Euro IV is being rolled out to motorcycles in 2012 and Euro V in 2015. Current proposals have that changing dramatically by 2020, with both cars and bikes needing to meet the even tougher Euro VI standard that year. Emissions standards in the rest of the world, including the US, are also expected to tighten over the next decade.

BMW’s air-cooled boxer engine is already stretched to deliver competitive power levels while meeting Euro III standards, so liquid-cooling is needed to maintain or increase performance while decreasing noise and pollutants.

SoloMoto says the 2012 BMW R1200GS’s radiator is located above the rocker arm of the Telelever front suspension, similarly to the tiny oil-cooler on the current bike. This arrangement should serve to protect it from damage while off-roading or in a crash.

SoloMoto has photos of the bike and more information.

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