The New BMW R-12

The New BMW R-12

An unmistakable original, the new BMW R-12 is BMW’s take on the Cruiser Life. 

I had the pleasure of picking up the new BMW R12 (the newest addition to the Range, with the other being the R 12 9T which you may have seen out and about as on the iconic BMW motorrad line) the BMW R12 being a more cruiser-like version of the R12 9T. 

This being my first venture into the boxer engine line I do have a lot of thoughts to share. 

I was Initially drawn to the R12 for its sophistication, gosh,  it’s a good looking bike. It encompasses an effortless smart casual chic that has a classiness to it that immediately screams luxury.  It’s round tank, offset by the boxer engine gives it a unique silhouette that catches the eye. There is also something incredibly retro about the R12, helped along with the (stock) twin stack exhaust which keeps it in the category of smart and classy with that classic movie biker feel from the get go. The front wheel being a 19” with the back being 17” does give it that laid back cruiser visual. The attention to details on the bike were impeccably thought through, from the badge placement to the retro finishings, giving the bike a truly unique identity. Ideally I prefer the analog dial dash instead of the modern digital dash, it just feels more in keeping with the style and feel of the bike, and with my phone placement It would at times be in the way of the digital screen which was one of my main gripe about the bike. As well as the back mud guard not quite complimenting the overall aesthetic in my opinion. But very minor opinions. 

The Ride. 

Immediately off the mark, this bike is punchy. It is snatching to go with the slightest release of the clutch which was a very new feeling to me. Having never before ridden a boxer engine, the power distribution felt much different to what I’m used to, with that innate character of the boxer engine immediately giving off a shake. This was something I felt most at idle and lower speeds, something that after some getting used to, became a character and feature of the bike I actually loved. Especially on continuous sweeping roads the beautiful clunk of the engine does remind you that your’e on a boxer engine, which I found quite fun. 

It’s an easy low-down bike so extremely comfortable, and mid positioned foot pegs (due to the boxer engine restricting them being further forward) which is ideal for those who love the cruiser bike aesthetic but don’t enjoy the forward foot position. The handling is exceptional and leans with minimal effort, which wasn’t what I expected from the bike. The easy handling paired with the sharp but smooth breaks became a real confidence booster. The small adjustment was the gear shift lever to footage spacing is quite far, so for smaller feet this is a little adjustment mentally as my heel would be on the peg and my upper toes would be doing the shifting ( I am a UK 6 for reference and Nathan is a UK 9 we both found this an adjustment).

The R12 comes with two riding modes… Rock ’n’ Roll, which is super quirky and in fitting with the bike I have to say. Pretty self explanatory, Roll being a laid back balanced ride and Rock delivering torque, faster responses and all around a nippier feeling as well as a bit more ‘rock’ when idle. I did find myself having a blast in ‘Rock’ mode a lot of the time. 

The R12 comes with handlebar to dash controls, cruise control, (and optional) heated grips, blipper and quick shifter (which I’d recommend, along with the analog classic gauge) which are all integrated beautifully and easily onto the handlebars (except the blipper and quick shifter), a really nice modern touch.  Also with the SOS rider assist (integrated into the handlebars also) which contacts emergency services in case of an incident which is extremely handy.

The Bike is keyless, something I really enjoy on a bike. And a neat little feature is this bike can be restricted to A2 licence holders! 

The Specs

1170cc Air and oil cooled engine 

95BHP 110NM Torque ( It has some real GO to it) 

Brembo brakes

It’s also shaft drive due to the boxer engine so no chain maintenance and a 14 litre fuel tank 

Multiple packages are available with the bike, such as the ‘comfort package’ including additional extras. Extras are also fully customisable to you can create your own package 

At a start price of £11,990 it’s exceptionally well priced for such a stunning machine. With 3 colour ways, `Black Storm Metallic’, Aventurin Red Metallic (which I had) and Thorium. Thorium and Aventurin being by top choices. 

Overall, this bike took me a day or two to get used to, as a newer rider the clutch is heavier than most I’ve experienced and the torque has a lot of grunt to it. By no means was this a ‘hard’ bike to ride. It has a distinguished character which was super unique and made the bike a lot of fun. The sharp and clean breaks paired with the easy and fluid handling is a real confidence booster for any biker, and with the low down upright positioning, you will feel in control. 

The boxer engine in city isn’t the most friendly, as I mentioned it has ‘GO’ power, this in static (traffic) or filtering can be tiring, but not overly uncomfortable, it’s pokey behaviour does counter that, however where I feel this bike is in it’s element is county roads and out of city riding. It simply GLIDES and is an absolute joy to ride. 

The R12 commands a lot of attention and taking it out, it was constantly admired. It sounds amazing stock, which is a plus. Once I had gotten used to the boxer buzz and quiver I did fall in love with the ride of this bike. Easy, fun and playful. The perfect mix of class and country. 


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