BMW is a company that can provide just about every automotive experience, from sporting to luxury to off-road. But what many car fans don’t know is that BMW offers those same choices for motorcyclists. These two latest BMW motorcycles are perfect examples of that variety. One for sport, and one for comfort, but both for serious riders!
But then, BMW motorcycles have always been designed for folks who are serious about riding. Our first bi-wheel Bemmer is the R 1150 R Rockster, a naked roadster with a rock-and-roll attitude. From its striking asymmetrical headlights to its eye-catching tiger-stripe paint scheme, this BMW is built for fun.
Much of which comes from an air-cooled fuel-injected 1130cc flat-twin engine. It makes 85 horsepower and 71 pound-feet of torque. The Rockster’s front suspension is BMW’s unique Telelever, a single shock mated to a stout tubular swing arm. While the Paralever rear combines a single-sided swing arm, with clean, efficient shaft drive.
The brakes are powerful discs, with available ABS. And despite a wet weight of 541 pounds and a 58.3-inch wheelbase, the Rockster is nimble and easy to ride. Stability is excellent, and the suspension soaks up bumps with hardly a stutter. Turn-in does require some muscle, but the wide, flat handlebar gives you plenty of leverage. The engine is refined and responsive, with a nice kick in the mid-range. And the 6-speed gearbox provides sharp, effortless shifting.
Ergonomically, the Rockster offers a sporty yet comfortable riding position. We would gladly pass, however, on BMW’s confusing 3-switch turn signals. But we love the standard heated grips. The seat is a reasonable 32.9-inches high, and is very well-padded.
The Rockster carries a base price of $10,790. Opt for the ABS-equipped version, and the price jumps to $12,990. The R 1150 R Rockster, is a sporty, yet comfortable ride. Think of it as a 2-wheel version of BMW’s Z4 roadster.
But if the Rockster is a Z4, then the K 1200 GT is the 5-Series sedan. BMW’s newest mid-size touring bike sports a wide, protective fairing, and an electrically-adjustable windscreen, plus easy-to-remove hard luggage.
The seat is plush, with height adjustment and heat available. The hand grips are also heated and in easy reach of the standard cruise controls.
Power comes from an 1171cc dual-overhead-cam inline four, that makes 130 horsepower and 85 lb-ft of torque. Like the Rockster, it has a smooth clutch and slick 6-speed gearbox, as well as Telelever and Paralever suspension, and super-strong, servo-assisted, ABS-equipped brakes.
Despite a slight hiccup just off idle, the fuel-injected engine is extremely refined with gobs of power throughout the rev band. That, plus its car-like stability and compliant ride, make it easy to eat up the 4-lanes.
Swing on to a twisty two-lane byway, and the 679-pound K delivers solid, predictable handling, but requires a lot more muscle to turn than the Rockster. The same goes for low speed crawls through parking lots.
But the K 1200 GT isn’t a sport bike; it’s a top notch highway cruiser, and is priced accordingly, at $17,990.
Like Bavaria’s best cars, BMW motorcycles like the Rockster and the K 1200 GT offer every kind of riding experience. Some are for sport, some are for comfort, but all are for serious riders.
Engine: 1130cc Flat-twin Engine
Torque: 71 Lb Feet