More than 40 years ago, BMW’s opposed-twin R90S won the inaugural Daytona Superbike race, proving the sporting potential of its awkward longitudinal-crankshaft, shaft-drive powertrain on America’s biggest racing stage. But that was in the dawn of the inline-four superbike era, and decades later BMW calls the current R1200RS a “sport-touring” bike rather than a superbike. But fair enough: Like Father Time, engineering inexorably moves on.
And so, kudos to BMW for continuing to outfit its famed boxer engine with a sporting flair. The 1,170cc DOHC, air- and liquid-cooled engine nestles inside a compact steel frame, and remarkably, its 125 rated hp is similar to what the early four-cylinder racing superbikes made. Also in the “plus” column, the crisply designed sport-touring bodywork is proportioned to provide a highly comfortable seating position, aided by a long, flat seat, mid-rise handlebar, and low-mounted footpegs. Translation: Actual adults will enjoy riding this bike! Useful standard features include an adjustable windshield, two selectable power modes, stability control, a hand-adjustable shock, and ABS for the triple-disc brakes.
Likes: Agreeable seating position, torquey engine, refined Paralever rear suspension
Dislikes: Nonadjustable fork, no LED headlight
Verdict: Boxer-heads rejoice! BMW's famous opposed twin still packs a sporting punch.