2004 BMW K1200GT Road Test

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2004 BMW K1200GT

No finer way to travel in style

BMW have consistently ploughed its own path in the world of two-wheeled transport for many years now and with great success.

The 1200GT is closely based on the current K1200RS, the 129bhp, four-cylinder machine for which BMW had mildly sporting aspirations when a revised version appeared in July 2001. The problem with the RS was that, despite having the most power of any production BMW motorcycle, it weighed half as much again as a sports bike should. The engine, power train and much of the chassis is the same as the RS with just a wider rear tyres and the extensive bodywork setting it apart from its racier stalemate. With the GT version one wouldn’t expect knee down cornering but most will be surprised just how good this monster of a tourer really is when it comes to the bendy stuff.

The K1200GT is a long legged tourer that can also cut the mustard on the twisties too, this makes for a staggeringly high, and easily achieved, rate of knots, that sees the miles disappear behind you in an effortless ride. The only thing the big bike doesn’t want to do willingly is fast changes in direction. This hardly surprising giving the sheer physical size of the machine but isn’t aided by the lazy feel from the Telelever front suspension and rubber damped handlebars. Small inputs through the bars are met with contempt by the front end of the GT, only positive inputs have any of the usual effects and actually shift the bike. The fuel injection system is a very advanced design with precise control of the engine being the result, every input of the throttle is responded to with a hefty grunt from the K series power plant, faultless fuelling pushes the bulk of the chassis along sweetly. The BMW ethos is slightly different to the usual approach adopted by the Japanese manufacturers. Rather than all-out power the Germans choose to create a whole package that works in all areas. The engine and chassis work in total unison and BMW’s ABS brakes are unobtrusive in their workings, hauling up the big tourer as and when required with no hint of anything happening except the brakes working efficiently. Earlier versions were a little lumpy in their operations but this has been sorted and now they are among the very best.

K1200GTFaults with the design are few, if any. The only thing that immediately springs to my attention is the relatively small fuel capacity for such a long legged machine. The twenty litres held by the tank will be completely gobbled up within 170 miles or so, with the fuel warning light flashing on around the 140-mile mark, requiring frequent visits to the petrol station on those long hauls. Fuel consumption is good however and even the heaviest handed or riders should see a return of around 45mpg.  The main rival to the BMW1200GT is reckoned to be the Honda ST1300 Pan European, and yet the latter machine has a far larger tank and can easily manage a couple of hundred miles between fill ups. As rider comfort goes the GT is among the best if not the best of all two wheelers somehow managing to keep the usual aches and pains at bay while also keeping you on your toes with an exciting ride.

At speed the well-designed fairing creates a still air cocoon that removes any of the buffeting and fatigue from the rider and passenger. The electronically adjustable screen is on the low side for taller riders but for me at least it was spot on. To further enhance the ride comfort footrests, seat and bars are also adjustable to a individual needs.

The engine never gives away its true potential; only a glimpse at the speedo reveals the true extent of its power and ability. If anything the power delivery feels lazy and laboured, in reality the four-cylinder power plant doesn’t need to impress anyone. It effortlessly pulls the big machine from low down, snicking in gears as you catapult up to its top speed of 155mph. The gearbox on the test machine was a little lumpy but with a “mere” 20,000 miles on the clock the engine is considered to be barely bedded in an will get better with age.

BMW Approved Used Bike scheme

BMW K1200GT Road TestImagine a world where no matter how many miles you add to your speedo readout it doesn’t detrimentally impact the value of your machine. As if this wasn’t a desirable trait, what about the cost of your bolt on goodies being factored into the price of your machine in any trade in, throw in a, no quibble, factory backed, 12 months warranty attached to selected used machines and the experience of buying and selling your used BMW should be a rosey one. BMW not only sell some of the best and most advanced machinery in the world they also take good care of any customers not able or willing to by a new machine. In an unprecedented move BMW set up the AUB scheme and it has proved immensely popular with buyers and dealers alike.

Any machine entering the scheme has to under go a series of stringent checks, as well as completing any major servicing required, before it can be granted its place in the showroom. A 12 month MOT, 12 months Road Fund Licence, a full tank of fuel and a minimum of 12 months manufacturer’s warranty certifies how BMW’s AUB programme gives complete piece of mind when buying a used BMW motorcycle. Additionally, the AUB warranty includes BMW’s Emergency Service roadside and emergency aid operating 24 hours a day and 365 days a year throughout the UK and Europe, effectively giving the buyer the peace of mind more often reserved for a new machine.

2004 BMW K1200GT Specifications

  • Engine – 1171cc liquid-cooled, 4-cylinder 4-stroke
  • Bore & stroke – 70.5 x 75mm
  • Power – 129  bhp @ 8750 rpm
  • Torque – 86  ft-lb @ 6750rpm
  • Transmission – 6-speed shaft final drive
  • Frame – Die cast aluminium
  • Brakes – 320mm twin disc front 285mm single disc rear ABS front and rear
  • Wheels – 120/70 x 17, 180/55 x 17
  • Fuel capacity – 20.5 litres
  • Dry weight – 300kgs

Check out from the same year

  • Honda ST1300 Pan European ABS
  • Triumph Trophy 1200 (discontinued in 2003)
  • Yamaha FJR1300 ABS

2004 BMW K1200GT Gallery

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