By Jamie Elvidge Editor Score: 91.75%
2020 BMW R1250RS & R1250R
Editor Score: 91.75%
I’ve been reviewing BMW‘s flat-Twin boxer powered bikes since I started testing motorcycles in the late ’80s and have burbled around on historic versions too, dating back to a beater ’64 R60/S my now ex-husband gave me to ride (quite possibly because it was less traceable then cyanide). Through it all, the boxer, with its punch-punch rhythm and unique seesaw jig always felt like an old friend, no matter the sprinkling of magic German engineering dust, or the ambition of the motorcycle BMW built around it.
So, as you can imagine, when the opportunity arose to be the first journalist in North America to put BMW’s newest boxer-powered sportbike, the R1250RS, through its paces, I cleared my schedule.
Heart of the Matter
BMW’s new ShiftCam 1250cc flat twin, first introduced in the R1250GS adventure bike and RT tourer last winter, comes with changes much deeper than the 50cc bump in displacement insinuates. We’re seeing slight bumps in displacement and power across many models this year, most, purely compensatory gains to offset power sure to be siphoned as new, more stringent emissions regulations come into play for Europe.
The boxer may not look very different, but there are big changes on the inside.
What the ShiftCam design represents is more of a full-on transformation. The payoff comes from utilizing a camshaft with two separate cam pairs to optimize and fuse power delivery. When you’re using low revs, partial-load cam profiles reduce valve lift and close any gaps in power delivery. Throw open the throttle, and the cam shifts to full-load profiles for maximum power development. The result is more usable power and tighter, more …read more