I went over to Desimone BMW in NJ today for their open house/demo rides. I was hoping to get a few rides in, but by the time I arrived (11:15) the noon ride was full and the 2:00 only had a few spots open. I signed up for the R21200R, as I'm kinda interested in the boxer and didn't think I wanted to tackle the GS as my first.
Desimone put out a good spread with clothes on sale, yummy BBQ's burgers, dogs, chicken, etc. Good thing too, as I had lots of time to kill now. I listened to the noon group's pre-ride talk and they figured they were going to be out for about 30 minutes. About 9 BMW bikes, with an HP2 as the leader.
I knew it was going to be interesting when the noon group got back at 2:15. Turns out they went for a 65-mile demo ride! I saddled up on the R1200R, played with the starter dial to figure it out, and started up.
Pulling away I was surprised at the lack of legroom, at least compared to my Multi. I'm 6', with about a 32" inseam. It wasn't a sportbike tuck, but the pegs were higher than I expected them to be. The reach to the bars was good, but I felt a bit cramped overall. Like the bike was 9/10 scale. You sit much more 'in' the bike than on the Multistrada.
The clutch was featherlight, and the first thing that struck me was this twin was SMOOTH. Even at very low revs (under 3k) where the Ducati is shuddering, the boxer was like butta.
Power-wise the 1200R completely stomps on my Multi. Not surprising, given it's nearly 2x the displacment and 2x the horsepower. Serious acceleration was just a twist away, in any gear. More power than anything I've ever ridden, so I was impressed.
I liked the brakes (non-abs), and I really liked the non-diving fork. It was difficult to pull off a smooth gentle stop, as it seemed the brakes ratcheted up in bite all by themselves after the first second or so.
Handling seemed fine from what I could gather on a group demo ride. Certainly nothing untoward was revealed.
I liked the info display, and the heated grips cooked my hands on the 2-dot setting.
What didn't I like? The sound, for one thing. There was hardly any engine sound, and what I did hear was just blah. One of the best things about the Ducati is listening to that intake growl all the time. I would certainly miss that. The other thing that would take some getting used to is the sideways torque effect when coming on/off the throttle. Blipping the throttle while downshifting makes the bike goose to the right a bit (ever so slightly), which got my attention. The 1200R was also just a bit too small for me.
I'd like to get a demo on a GS next. I sat on one when we returned, and it was much more spread-out and comfy for me.
They had an F800S with an Aprokovic can that sounded wonderful.
Getting back on the Multi after the ride, I felt like I was sitting up in the clouds. It was nice to be listening to the L-twin again, and I could stretch my legs comfortably. My smile was a little less broad on the way home, as I was thinking about the BMW's power. Mmmmm.
Well, that's one person's take on the R1200R.