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Well this is obviously not a real comparison, more a contrast, the bikes are very different. But I had the opportuntity to take a BMW R1200R boxer twin for a week around an island built for motorbikes: Tasmania. And I thought the experience as a CB1000R owner might be interesting to reflect on with you.

First up, as background, this was one of the "crazy" things you do when opportunity knocks. My wife, on her Learners licence was really enjoying her honda VTR250. A great bike by the way, and a catalyst to me selling my gladius as it simply wasn't as much fun as the VTR which handled better and braked better. We saw an ad for a hire bike company MotoAdventure in Tasmania. Turns out Ian who runs it is pretty well organised and a true lover of motorcycles. A quick conversation and we had booked a BMW GS650 for my wife and a BMW R1200R for me. As it happened she didn't like the bulk of the GS650 and she preferred to go back and swap it for a VTR250 like her own. Says something for the VTR.

For those not familiar with the R1200R a few vital stats:
- just over a hundred horsepower
- around 200 kg *some sites say 180, some say 220, more about that later
- paralever/telelever suspension fitted
- ABS and traction control fitted
- coninental tyres fitted
- BMW shaft drive of course

So that about wraps up the basics. Lets look at the BMW on the road... remembering I had at least 20kg in the pannier and top box.

First thing you notice is that this is no flickable "roundabout friendly" bike. Its quite a handful at less than 10 km hr. Ian suggested that possibly the steering damper was involved in this feeling - but whatever, it took concentration and some effort at low speed. Over that speed and all weight and steering effort are forgotten. Over 100 km/hr and the bike just rolls beautifully into corners... direction change around a bend is easy, stability is fantastic, comfort is unsurpased. Mind you its not flickable still, but it feels very agile nonetheless.

Brakes are just as good as you would expect. Plenty of power and feel for my mind. BUT that ABS is not my preference. I had a gravel road that was steep at one stage. I was heading down and needed to slow. Really slow down and do it fast. I hit the back brake and the ABS just said no way. It let go straight away. The bike was actually accelerating and I was headed for a gate that was shut. Very tense moment as I wondered what would happen if i grabbed the front brake, but my intincts took over and I turned up a slight incline at the side of the read just in time. No the BMW is not areally a bike for gravel. Not that my CB1000R is but I feel it handles it better with quicker steering and a back brake I can lock on if I need to slow down.

So what else comes to mind. The shaft drive was much better than I expected having not previously like the shaft feel in other bikes. It didnt like being held in that not accellerating not braking zone for long if the revs were over 4000. it sort of felt grindy at that point. But not many bikes do handle that zone well, chain or shaft and I was rarely holding 4000 revs. The CB1K does however hold higher revs better, and it does it without any felling of abuse.

No need to compare acceleration. I scared myself when I got home and gave the handa a handful. You just cannot get a boxer twin to compare in horsepwer delivery. But the BMW was so easy, so unstessed. Power came on at idle, seriously I just let the clutch out and the bike rolled off. Normal riding saw 3000 rpm at about 90 km/hr. And the power was plentiful there. At 4000 reves you are really into the power but its not a step or a sudden thing. In fact the gearbox was really an optional accessory. There was some fun changing gears as the box was excellant, with no honda clunk into first, but there was hardly a need to change gears once rolling. Torque was so huge and the engine so flexible you could be in any gear and still have power.

The interesting characteristic of the engine was a very dull slow vibration at most revs. This became a real "hit" of vibration as the throttle was put to full. But normal country riding was just smooth, not like the tingle I get from my Honda. Maybe too smooth as the exhaust was inaudibly quite and the engine only noticible on accelartion. Often I lusted after some more feedback/noise. And the welcome tingle and ring of the honda CB1k was so welcome when I got home... and even the honda is way too quiet!!!

So what was the strength of the BMW compared to the honda:

1. super relaxed
2. rolls effortlessy into corners
3. massive torque everywhere
4. effortless clutch lever which was a surprise
5. very high bars which some may like for touring (not me, so a negative in my eyes)
6. super comfy suspension/seat... that BMW suspension is really something
7. Did I mention economy. I got incredible milage.about 3.7 l/100 km if you went under 80km/hr, and about 5 l/100km at 100 km/hr.
8. Fuel tank range was well over 300 km
9. Centre stand was fitted as standard
9 heated hand grips fitted as standard and I loved these puppies Tasmania can get chilly and at 10 degrees centegrade the handwarmers were great

Some negatives to the BMW compared to the CB1KR
1. much nibler handling on the CB, in fact I felt my own CB was so small it was like a 250 after riding the BMW
2. Acceleration was never the BMW advantage
3. wind at speed was no better on the BMW and it was fitted with a mini faring. In fact I believe the CB1000R has very good aerodynamics for the rider compared to all other naked bikes I have ridden except perhaps the Aprilia Tourno

So surprisingly if I ask myself would I ever buy a BMWR1200R, I actually would answer yes, I would. Despite the Honda being more fun, more satifying, more challenge and certainly faster. But for touring a 1000 km a day, the BMW is the one, and that melodic sweeping through courners does get you into a rythm like no other bike Ive ridden. A bike for some reasons but not all. City and gravel foreget. Big distances and corners over 100 kmhr what a great experience.

But aghh, its so good to get back to my own bike for that special blast!!!

WEll, that about wraps it up

Tony AAA
 

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:clap :clap Excellent Tony you should give MCN a bell thay could do with a bloke like you :thumbup
 

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roofer said:
:clap :clap Excellent Tony you should give MCN a bell thay could do with a bloke like you :thumbup
Nah he'd have to end the article by saying a Triumph [any Triumph] would be far better at everything etc etc. :D
 

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roofer said:
:clap :clap Excellent Tony you should give MCN a bell thay could do with a bloke like you :thumbup
MCN are already up to their necks in bell (ends) writing their articles, they don't need us giving them any more bells
 

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Hi Tony

Thoroughly enjoyed your write up :clap ...
Maybe will see some more in the future ..

I actually like the BMW K1300 S
Hopefully it may be my retirement bike :pray
 

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Discussion Starter #7
And although I do have a soft spot for the R1200R I should add what a joy it is going for a blast on a bike that can scare me.... and vidscbr that brings me to the K1300S, I do drool over these. Test rode one, and was pining after the R version but the test drive was through city streets and the CB1000R is just so much more civilised and fun in the congested streets and tight twisties. But boy, that K1300 engine is something. The power is just so accessible... and scarey!!!

The question I ask is why don't BWM make a bike in the 1000cc range. Yes, the just released super sport is that, but how about one for the road rider who rides errr, on the road rather than just the track. I've pulled up next to more than one supersport bike rider and asked how its going in the traffic and a large number respond with either "its not its natural environment" or "its a handful" or one kawasaki rider truthfully said "its a bit much". None of these labels apply to the CB1000R ***even though it really is a bit much in power terms for communting it never feels it till you need it.

Oh, there was one episode I should mention on the R1200R. My wife had dissappeared from view behind me so I slowed right down but she didn't reappear. As she's on her L plates I got worried and u-turned to see if she was okay. Not thinking too much I just opened the throttle in first to rush back. NICE WHEELSTAND if I say so myself. Scared me because I just didn't believe the bike could do it till it did. And as an aside I NEVER open the throttle fullly on the CB1000R in first unless I do want to lift that wheel... of course second gear is anther thing altogether , its the gear that I can fully open the throttle and have a hope of keeping my licence almost...

Tony AAA
 
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