It was earlier in the first quarter of this year when BMW South Africa introduced their all new 1250 boxer engine. For over 35 years that flat twin boxer was used in the outgoing RT, R and RS models. The new 1250 engine was first launched in the GS and GS Adventure derivatives of the product range.

Worth noting is the new technology introduced in the engine upgrade – what BMW calls ShiftCam Technology, which see Bavaria Motor Works ditch the old four-valve technology they trusted for the past 25 years. Essentially, the introduction of the new advancement, sees the engine running more smoothly, with reduced emissions and fuel consumption, and finally, enabling increase in power throughout the entire rev-range, in almost any gear. That may sound like some marketing gimmick, but having experienced the technology myself, I am still beside myself.     

Based on the successful heart transplant in the adventure range, the doctors at BMW now extend those changes in the new RT (tourer), RS (sports tourer) and R (naked) product offering.

Common DNA

As mentioned in the introduction all three of the models, namely the: R, RS and RT, all share the 1250 (now at 1 254cc from the previous 1 170cc capacity) flat twin boxer engine with ShiftCam technology. The new engine has more power, 100kW from previously being 92kW at 7 750 rpm, and boasts more torque, 143Nm from a mere 125Nm of the replaced power plant. The new plant runs smoother and subsequently is more refined.

Two of the brothers share 5.7-inch TFT colour screen, except for the RT which has kept an analog speedometer and rev counter. The TFT is out of this world in terms of the clarity of the display itself, the ability to adapt with ease under the varying light conditions. All the essential information can be displayed on demand by the rider.

Much as the RT kept an older looking analog display, which I quiet liked, I also feel they could have spent more time making it readable under most conditions, there were times where the handles bars were reflecting on the display, making it unsafe and difficult to read, especially at speed. For obvious reasons only the RT has radio speakers on either side of the display cluster.

Two riding modes are available throughout the range, with ASC and Hill Start Control as standard. Riding modes Pro, which feature additional riding modes, Dynamic Traction Control, ABS Pro, which is standard in the R 1250 RT, are available as an optional equipment item.

In addition to a standard seat height adjustment, a wide range of seat height variants are available. All three of the bikes use a drive shaft to power the rear wheel, rider excitement is instantaneous. 

Riding Experience

The new BMW R (naked version) is the naughtiest of the lot. I want to think that because the rider is more exposed to the elements, he/she experiences more adrenalin, and so wanting to push the bike a bit more. Add to that is a deeper sounding exhaust note and what felt like more athletic behaviour, hence I call it the black sheep of the family. The seating position is very comfortable though this is a bike I would not take on a long journey. 

Coming in between the R and RT models, and which also happens to be my favourite of the pack, is the RS (sports tourer). It has some road manners and is very comfortable to ride all day. The protruding and somewhat bulky engine can confuse the mind into thinking it is heavy, and you would be wrong. It is an absolute pleasure to ride and leans with such ease into tight corners.      

The touring brother of the lot, the RT, is engineered for the open Mzansi roads. Comfortable, sure-footed and confident in character, the RT may contribute to the rising numbers of absent South African fathers and mothers, who just want to bask under the warm Mzansi sun, completely forgetting their responsibilities, as they ride for miles and miles on end. Updated and somewhat still classic (with the analog display adding to that feel) it is a gem.

The Verdict

The BMW brand is a household name and through their new product offering of the R 1250 R, RS and RT, it is going to maintain its stake in the motorcycle segment, which in my view is a large piece of the cake. Their recipe is working and is reliable to date, they can only enhance it. 

Each model will be available to test ride in the future, in which instance I will be able to focus on each model in detail.


R 1250 R

Full Spec              – R212 000

Style Elegance   – R220 500

Style HP               – R222 500           

R 1250 RS

Full Spec              – R227 000

Style Elegance   – R234 000

Style HP               – R236 000

R 1250 RT

Full Spec              – R252 400

Style Exclusive   – R260 900

Style HP               – R262 900

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