domingo, 29 de septiembre de 2019


Text and Photos : José Manuel Serrano Esparza

                                                                                                                                              © jmse

The BMW R1200C, manufactured betwen 1997 and 2004 and of which 40,218 unitrs were made, is a very special cruiser bike, which had its origin in 1993, when Walter Hasselkus, general manager of the German motorcycling firm, reported the members of his design team that it was necessary to create  new custom styled cruiser motorcycle that would have to be different to the mythical Harley-Davidsons, which were and go on being the clear benchmark in a scope in which the presence of Japanese brands making custom bikes being to a greater or lesser degree copies of models incepted by the Milwaukeee firm featuring remarkable quality and highly competitive prices, had greatly enhanced this sector, while the sports bikes boasting great power were experiencing a drop in sales.

This way, David Rob (BMW Design Director) got down to work and between 1994 and 1997 created the BMW R1200C, whose engine was different to the usual ones in the custom sphere (mostly V-Twins and sometimes parallel twins),

1170 cc and 61.5 hp of the BMW R1200 C, mainly designed to get an oustanding torque of 98 Nm already at 3000 rpm. Though it doesn´t generate a great power, it´s pretty reliable, while the advanced electronic injection and catalyst turn it into a silent motorcycle. © Boonstra Parts

on choosing a flat-twin boxer powerplant featuring a camshaft and four valves per cylinder, bore x stroke of 101 x 73 mm, 1170 cc and 61.5 hp, in which top priority was to obtain a super torque in the whole rpm range, particularly an uncommon power reserve from the lowest ones.

And though its performance in straight line is not exceptional at full speed, the aforementioned excellent torque at low rpm results in a very good acceleration.

Moreover, a further substantial difference regarding the Harley-Davidsons was the selection of the breakthrough Telelever suspension front device avoiding the alteration of geometries on braking strongly, in addition to significantly counteract the unevennesses of highways in bad condition.

On the other hand, the design of the BMW R1200C is exceedingly beautiful, clearly retro, inspired by motorcycles created by the German brand during the second half of forties and early fifties, with profusion of chrome plating, and the ivory colour units probably being the most attractive ones.

Being relatively underpowered with its 61.5 hp and with a top speed of 168 km/h, it is enough for vast majority of driving contexts for which it was conceived, because this truly unique and elegant to spare bike makes it up with an avant-garde German engineering for its time, in synergy with a weight of 236 kg providing it with a superior dynamics in comparison to other cruisers from different brands, a very smart design of suspension and above all a praiseworthy torque felt from the lowest revs, in addition to the fact that its performance as to power can be improved installing a K & N air filter.

It´s a very comfortable and funny bike to ride, but at the same time, it is considered an iconic machine on two wheels, to such an extent that it was one of the models included in the historical exhibition " The Art of Motorcycle "  held at the Guggenheim Museum of New York in 1998.

Evidently, the BMW R1200C wasn´t made to compete with the best Harley-Davidsons of its time, superior in power, but it belongs to the same product segment on its own merits and is a very good cruiser bike, sporting great building quality and very attractive shapes (with Art Deco reminiscences in some of its areas), which brought about sensation in 1997 during some scenes of the film Tomorrow Never Dies of 007 James Bond saga in which it was introduced.

Its excellent chassis is a masterpiece, being made with stainless-steel and aluminium, while the lavish Telelever front area is a homage to BMW huge know-how in motorcycling engineering.

Besides, the BMW R1200C boasts some distinctive details, like the folding back of the pilot´s leather seat featuring three different angles and the opened area around the back shock-absorber and wheel.

Curiously, unlike what is commonplace in this kind of bikes, it fends for itself acceptably on cornering, and the 69 hp of its engine make it be in the frontier of real cruisers, but its excellent torque at low rpms, its efficiency braking and a superb shock absorbing in every kind of highway turn the BMW R1200C into a very good choice for medium distances and more than enough for long ones, where the handling ease and comfort of the great motorcycle will enable to cover many kilometers in a relaxed way.

It´s undoubtedly a bike boasting a highly bold and imaginative design that has endured very well the elapsed years and has still an abundant group of admirers and user all over the world, as well as being considered probably the most beautiful and elegant BMW motorcycle ever made along with the BMW R60/2 600 cc manufactured in Munich between 1960 and 1969.