The secret of the Boxer’s success is in its design. Inside the Boxer, as with all four-cycle
engines, each piston fires every two revolutions of the crankshaft. In other words, the pistons
mirror each other while firing in a staggered sequence. One unique feature about the Boxer
is that it is the only twin design (including the V-twin) that doesn’t require crankshaft
counterweights to offset the weight of the pistons.
Some of the positive features of this design are that the weight of the rotating mass of the
engine is reduced and that means more torque, more efficiency, and less vibration for a
smoother ride. Some other positive by-products of the horizontal design of the engine are
that the location of the bike’s cylinders lowers the bike’s center of gravity for better
handling. In addition, there is increased air-flow over the cooling fins which enable the
engine to run cooler. The flat-twin also features an in-line crankshaft that delivers power
directly to the transmission without a so-called “primary-drive,” and that means that more
torque and power make it to the rear wheel.
Outstanding design, quality craftsmanship, and a rich history and tradition are the key
components that keep BMW Motorcycles on top today—not to mention the history and performance
associated with the legendary Boxer engine.
Because of it's opposed cylinder layout the "Boxer" as it was dubbed, turns the crankshaft in
line with the motorcycle (or airplane!) This allows for a straight-through shaft connection
from the engine, through the gearbox, and through a stainless steel driveshaft to a rear
wheel final drive gear in the wheel hub. This drivetrain design is exactly like millions
of rear wheel drive automobiles built over the past eighty years! It is a time tested,
proven drive system made elegantly simple by the "Boxer" opposed cylinder engine.
The Armies of the world have loved it for its rugged and bulletproof (literally !) drive
train that delivers power through a steel shaft directly to the rear wheel instead of depending
on chains or belts that could be disabled by rocks, mud, sand or bullets!
Today the "Boxer" engine has evolved into the high tech and electronically sophisticated and
complicated versions that can be found not only in BMWs but also in Porsches, Hondas and others.
These are wondrous engines, at wondrous prices! But they still retain the basic "soul" of Max
Friz's first engines.
The new R1200C Independent: Extravagant twin-tone paintwork and even more chrome.
Even more glossy chrome, exclusive aluminium wheels, a solo seat, oval mirrors, an additional headlight,
a speedster windshield, and two different, highly extravagant twin-tone paintwork options give the new R1200C
Independent its particular style and flair. Introducing this new model, BMW is continuing to expand its cruiser
range for the 2001 model year, catering for customer demand by providing an even higher standard of individual,
personal style. In September 1997 BMW entered the Cruiser segment for the first time with the R1200C Classic.
The R1200C has really hit the headlines ever since its highly successful launch: It made a spectacular appearance
with James Bond in the 007 thriller “Tomorrow Never Dies”, it has received the most outstanding, highly coveted
design awards, and it has won many competitions for the 1999 and 2000 Cruiser of the Year Award held by motorcycle
magazines the world over. BMW’s cruiser models have also been very successful in the market, more than 26,000 units
coming off the production lines at the Berlin Plant by the end of the year 2000.
R1200C Independent: new aluminium wheels, fog lamps and speedster windshield.
The elegant and particularly stylish R1200C Independent launched in autumn 1999 and almost identical in technical terms
with its sister models, is available either in ivory non-metallic/peach metallic twin-tone paintwork with black hand-painted
lining or mandarin non-metallic/graphite metallic with white hand-painted lining. This special paintwork accentuates the
flowing lines and shapes of the R1200C and distinguishes the Independent version from the other model variants. The unique
character of this striking paintwork is underlined by the tinted speedster windshield, two additional, small fog lamps,
and the new wheels, two-piece aluminium wheels with three-spoke inner hubs replacing the usual cross-spoke wheels. The
spoke rim and the inner hub are connected in this case by titanium bolts. The R1200C Independent comes as standard with
a solo seat placing the rider right in the middle of the machine also in visual terms. And riders not quite as “independent”
as the model designation might indicate have the choice of a small or large passenger seat and footrests, as on BMW’s other
cruiser models. Instead of the tourer handlebar featured as standard, the Independent is also available as an option with
the high or lower handlebar on the Classic model. The direction indicators come with white lenses and yellow bulbs, the
rear-mirror housings are oval in shape and chrome-plated (instead of the usual round design). Thanks to the even greater
share of chrome than with the Classic sister model, the new Independent makes an even “glossier” appearance on the road,
even the cover on the alternator at the front end of the engine housing, the newly designed air intake grids in front of
the oil coolers, the clutch and handbrake levers, as well as the covers on the fluid compensation reservoirs for the brakes
and clutch all being finished in high-gloss chrome. And to provide the final touch, two additional BMW logos adorn the covers
on the alternator at the front and the wheel bolts at the rear.
Additional chrome parts available as special equipment.
As of model year 2000, even more parts have been available as special equipment in high-gloss chrome – for example the clutch
and brake levers, the caps on the brake and clutch fluid reservoirs, and the tank cap.
Given the challenge to find the right engine for the new cruiser, BMW’s engineers logically opted for the Company’s new flat-twin
as the basic engine configuration, a Boxer of this calibre already comprising all the essential characteristics of a typical
cruiser power unit: Superior development of power and torque for cruising in relaxed style, that typical two-cylinder sound
as an acoustic message of superior strength and performance, and the ideal balance of all masses provided by the Boxer in the
interest of optimum running smoothness. Yet a further point, of course, is that through its looks alone the Boxer engine conveys
all the style and class of a BMW right from the start. BMW’s engine specialists also realised, however, that while the Boxer in
its conventional form is most certainly a very muscular, sporting machine, it is still several thousand revs away from the ideal
cruiser engine in the true sense of the word. Accordingly, the engineers decided to make some fundamental changes to the Boxer
and its concept as a whole, thus turning a fast sprinter into an equally superior, but more relaxed muscle runner.
Increase in engine size.
The first and most important step in creating the right kind of power base was to increase engine capacity, especially as the
engine of a real cruiser can never be too large. So enlarging bore from 99 to 101 mm (3.90 – 3.98" ), and extending stroke from
70.5 to 73 mm (2.78 – 2.87" ), the Motorcycle Division’s engine specialists were able to beef up the original power unit from
1085 cc to 1170 cc for the BMW R1200C, in the process creating the largest BMW motorcycle engine ever built.
The torque curve – like the back of a buffalo.
The obvious result of this exercise is that the engine now develops even more thrust with even greater superiority – but even that
was not enough for BMW’s specialists in establishing their own specific definition of the optimum cruiser. Rather, they also wanted
to dedicate a kind of monument to this high-torque power unit, giving it a torque curve which, by way of analogy, follows the
profile of a buffalo back. And the result is a power unit so independent of high engine speeds that it does not even require a
Minor modifications in further support of the cruiser concept.
BMW’s engineers have succeeded in changing the fundamental character of the Boxer engine by introducing a whole range of small
but important modifications, without changing the fundamental configuration of the four-valve Boxer engine in the process. Among
others, the following modifications are worth noting in this context:
• Reduction in valve diameter (intake valves 34 mm (1.34" ), outlet valves 29 mm (1.14" ) on the R 1200 C as opposed to
36 mm (1.42" ) and, respectively, 31 mm (1.22" ) on the R1100RS).
• New camshaft configuration with shorter valve timing (256° on the R1200C versus 300° on the R 1100 RS) and shorter valve
stroke (R1200C intake and outlet: 8.23 mm (0.32" )/R1100RS intake: 9.85 mm (0.39" ), outlet 9.4 mm (0.37" ).
• Intake system optimised for maximum torque with intake manifold diameter measuring 35 mm (1.38" ) as opposed to an intake
manifold diameter of 50 mm (1.97" ) on the R 1100 RS, thus ensuring optimum torque. A further feature in this context is the
configuration of the throttle butterfly manifolds (diameter 35 mm (1.38" ) versus 50 mm (1.97" ) on the R 1100 RS), which are
connected to one another and integrated in the intake system to provide sufficient space for an automatic choke function.
Accordingly, this means that the R 1200 C, just like the K1200 RS, is able to do without the usual choke lever on the handlebars.
• New programming of the Motronic engine management system ensuring a significant improvement of the special Motronic control
concept (MA 2.4 as on the K 1200 RS) and, accordingly, a torque curve optimised for maximum torque at low engine speeds.
The gentle giant.
This process of “taming” the sporting Boxer for cool cruising in genuine style created exactly the right machine for stress-free
motoring on the highway, wherever that may be, an ample 61 Bhp (45 kW) at just 5,000 rpm providing ideal power and performance for
the BMW R1200C. For what counts here in real-life cruising with lots of power available whenever you need it, is supreme torque
at low speeds. Precisely this is why the engine develops its peak torque of 98 Newton-metres or 72 lb-ft at just 3,000 rpm. And
throughout the entire range from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm, you constantly have more than 90 Newton-metres or 66 lb-ft at your
fingertips as soon as you move to full throttle. The full range of substantial torque and useful power extends on the BMW
cruiser from 1,500 rpm all the way, if really necessary, to 6,500 rpm. Which means that when riding in the fifth and highest
gear available on the BMW R1200C, you can accelerate smoothly and in style from a docile 50 km/h (31 mph) in city traffic all
the way to the machine’s top speed of more than 160 km/h (100 mph) without even changing gears in the process. And the very
special feature of motorcycle cruising BMW-style is that you can always forget about the gearshift while riding, although if
you wish you can shift gears quickly and powerfully at any time for even more superior style and performance.
That throaty, powerful Boxer growl.
The exhaust system combines classic style with up-to-date technology, at the same time contributing through its precise balance
to the engine’s torque curve. A further important point is that a design concept environmentally friendly in two respects lurks
behind the powerful look of the exhaust with its two short tailpipes in high-gloss chrome. This is the combination of a
pre-muffler in the middle and two compact silencers at the side, reducing drive noise to the strict European standard now
in force of 80 dB(A). And at the same time the system still maintains that typical BMW sound also characteristic of a cruiser,
that is the throaty growl of power and muscle.
Fully controlled catalytic converter fitted as standard in all countries.
As another outstanding feature, the pre-muffler of the R1200C comes with BMW’s fully controlled three-way catalytic converter
fitted as standard on BMW motorcycles worldwide.
Hydraulic clutch and the new five-speed gearbox.
Power is transmitted on the BMW R1200C by a hydraulically operated single-plate dry clutch leading straight into the new
five-speed gearbox derived from the newly developed six-speed box on the K1200RS. It excels through its superior shift comfort
and precision, just as it is even more compact then before, since the swinging arm on the R1200C is mounted not on the gearbox,
but rather on the frame itself. And yet a further advantage is that service intervals are up from 20,000 to 40,000 km. This
new five-speed gearbox naturally features exactly the right gear increments for a cruiser: The first two gears are extra-short
and close to one another for fast sprinting on winding country roads, while fifth gear has a much longer transmission ratio
for ideal cruising between 80 and 120 km/h, with maximum torque and optimum power at the rider’s disposal whenever he needs
it. Like all BMW Boxers, the rear wheel is obviously driven by a drive shaft running in this case in the hollow swinging arm
of the Monolever and featuring not only two universal joints, but also a torsion damper.
Suspension and running gear.
Extra-long wheelbase for that typical cruiser style.
Long wheelbase is simply ideal for a cruiser in creating the qualities typical of such a motorcycle. After all, cruising means
riding in a calm and relaxed style both on straights and winding roads. And unerring directional stability is far more important
under such conditions than the process of spontaneously shifting your riding position from one low angle to another. A further
advantage of the extra-long wheelbase is that it provides ample space for the rider himself, allowing him to adopt a superior
posture on his machine. This is precisely why BMW’s engineers creating the cruiser have moved the rider’s saddle-shaped seat
even further to the back, while placing the footrests a lot further up front. This creates a comfortable seating position
between the two wheels making even transcontinental tours a genuine pleasure without tempting the rider to try his hand at
any kind of foolhardy racing ambition. Growing as described, the wheelbase of this BMW Boxer has increased from a short
1,473 mm or 58.00" on the very sporting R1100RS by almost 20 cm to 1,650 mm or 64.96" on the R1200C. Reflecting this longer
wheelbase, the overall length of the new machine has increased accordingly, from 2,175 mm or 85.63" on the R1100RS to 2340 mm
or 92.13" on the R1200C.
New dimensions and a new concept.
It is only obvious that these new dimensions also called for a new design concept fundamentally different from the start.
Accordingly, the frame of the R1200C is made of dynamically styled cast aluminium up front and a rather inconspicuous steel
tube structure at the rear, with the engine and transmission serving as a load-bearing element in between. Over and above
its actual function as such, the front frame section made of light alloy and finished in pearl-gloss chrome-plating like
the housing of a classic camera, also serves as an important design feature clearly demonstrating its additional function
with the two air intakes for the oil coolers further behind being clearly visible, just like the air outlets.
The Telelever also serving as an important design feature.
The front end of the frame also accommodates the upper mounting point for the front-wheel Telelever. For it was obvious from
the start that the R1200C, like all models in BMW’s new Boxer generation and also like the new K1200RS introduced in the meantime,
was to come with this highly innovative, exclusive front wheel geometry (see also the detailed description in the chapter on the
R1100RS). And since the triangular control arm fully visible in this case is also an important design feature, it now comes
in polished aluminium for the first time on the R1200C. The damper tubes on the Telelever fork with its low steering angle
of 60.5o typical of a cruiser are finished in the same high-gloss effect. Front-wheel castor, in turn, is relatively short a
t 86 mm or 3.38" in view of the long wheelbase serving to maintain directional stability and in the interest of good handling.
The spring action required is ensured by a central spring strut with coil springs and a single-sleeve gas-pressure damper,
spring travel amounting to 144 mm or 5.67".
Extra-long Monolever instead of the Paralever.
Apart from the lower angle of the Telelever fork, the rear-wheel swinging arm extended in length by 90 mm or 3.54" also
contributes to the much greater wheelbase of the BMW R1200C. Since a long swinging arm is just as efficient in balancing
the reaction of the shaft drive as a short, but more complex double-joint single swinging arm, the BMW Paralever, BMW’s
suspension and running gear experts have chosen a longer version of the original single swinging arm, the BMW Monolever,
for the R1200C for reasons of function and design. Here, too, smooth and superior suspension is ensured by a central spring
strut with a single-sleeve gas-pressure damper mounted on the swinging arm. Yet a further feature is that pre-tension of the
coil spring may be adjusted mechanically according to load conditions, spring travel being exactly 100 mm or 3.94".
New high-comfort sprint strut.
A new, even softer and more comfortable spring strut has been fitted since November 1998. The original, harder spring strut
more suited for riding with a full load will be available as of the 2000 model year with an additional hydraulic spring as
the optional touring strut.
Two rear-end silencers.
Last but not least the extended Monolever provides sufficient space for the right kind of tail silencer, which could not have
been fitted if the motorcycle featured a Paralever. Accordingly, this was the first new BMW motorcycle to enter the market in
more than 10 years with two tail silencers running on either side. The long wheelbase of the R1200C not only ensures a smooth
and quiet style of riding, but is also absolutely essential for a cruiser, the extra length providing the basis for a low seat
position of just 740 mm or 29.13" just right particularly for the short rider.
Stylish and strong: BMW cross-spoke wheels.
With the wheels always being crucial to the character of a motorcycle, its particular look and performance, BMW’s designers
and running gear experts creating the new machine also made a great effort to find the right kind of wheels. The solution,
accordingly, is a positive combination of traditional looks and morn technology, the wheels of the BMW R1200C coming in
classic wire spoke design finished in this case in the modern high-gloss chrome of the BMW cross-spoke wheel – a very stable
structure that has clearly proven its merits ever since the launch of the R100GS in 1987. In this case the wire spokes do
not extend through the rim base, but rather connect a ring on the outside of the rim with the hub in the middle. The big
advantage of this design is that it creates a self-contained rim base allowing the use of tubeless tyres.
Highly efficient brake system with optional ABS II.
Although dynamic riding characteristics are not so significant on a motorcycle of this type, optimum brake response and stopping
power is still a crucial feature of every BMW motorcycle, even if it is a cruiser. And precisely this is why the R1200C comes
with extra-large and powerful brakes, the two perforated stainless-steel discs on the front wheel measuring 305 mm or 12.00"
in diameter, as on the R1100GS. Brembo four-piston fixed calipers then hold the brake discs firm and tight whenever necessary,
interacting with the single brake disc at the rear (dia 285 mm/11.22" ) featuring a two-piston floating caliper (as on the R1100GS).
It almost goes without saying that the R1200C is available as an option with ABS II. The obvious conclusion is that the R1200C
allows the rider not just to cruise along in style, but also to enjoy a really dynamic riding experience on winding country
roads. Or, to put it in even more simple terms, the BMW R1200C is a cruiser that still enables you to enjoy all the pleasures
of riding a genuine motorcycle wherever you are and wherever you go.
Design and equipment.
The specific design philosophy underlying a BMW motorcycle is always of great significance – also when it’s a cruiser.
Accordingly, the design of the machine must reflect the basic values of the brand, giving the motorcycle its own specific identity.
Precisely this is why the R1200C, in its design, interprets all of BMW’s traditional values, such as innovation, clarity in model
features and styling, functions which are both sensible and meaningful, and superior reliability all round. And added to all
this we then have the most important factor: emotion.
Ultra-modern technology plus a touch of nostalgia.
A further point is that the R1200C combines the most advanced technology with all the nostalgic attributes and features typical
of a cruiser. It does not seek to present or represent a specific era in the history of the motorcycle, but rather focuses, in
its core values, on BMW’s almost 75 years of motorcycle tradition, without making a “historical” message in the process.
The springs – right there in front of you.
Despite the compact look of the entire motorcycle oriented around the classic triangular frame in the middle, certain points and
spaces have intentionally been left open to create a feeling of transparency when admiring the R1200C in its silhouette from the
side. You can clearly see the Telelever spring components at the front and the Monolever at the rear creating a feeling of
lightness, of a machine reduced to the essential. A genuine cruiser, a motorcycle in its purest form. The materials used on
a cruiser are selected not just for the specific purpose they have to fulfil, but also for their design and appearance, in
this way presenting not only the spirit of the times, but also the character of the rider and his machine. Precisely this is
why the R1200C comes exclusively with the most sophisticated, top-quality materials all round.
Quite unique through its Boxer engine alone.
The unique position of the BMW R1200C in the fiercely contested cruiser segment is emphasized from the start in both technical
and visual terms by the unparalleled flat-twin power unit standing out, also in a quite literal sense, on either side of the
motorcycle. And the newly designed cylinder head covers are of course chrome-plated for extra style. The quest for clear design
reduced to what really counts is also expressed by the high cruiser handlebars made of 25-mm high-gloss chrome-plated tubing and
contributing significantly to the rider’s upright, relaxed posture on his machine. Further features to be mentioned in this
context are the new-generation handlebar controls and instruments giving the R1200C the same high standard as the K1200RS. The
philosophy in this case was to retain the proven concept, but at the same time to further improve the arrangement of switches
and, accordingly, the overall standard of control ease offered to the rider. All controls are therefore integrated in the handle
unit, while you will look in vain for the choke lever still typical even today of so many motorcycles. For like the new BMW
K1200RS, the R1200C comes with automatic choke control. The hydraulic clutch, in turn, enables the rider to set the clutch lever
to four different positions just like the handbrake lever also finished in pearl-gloss chrome and offering a choice of four
Concentrating on the essential.
The only instrument on the R1200C above the high-gloss chrome-plated round headlight is the speedometer fitted on the left
and housing the oil pressure and fuel reserve telltales. Again, as a reflection of the machine’s particular style, the numbers
on the speedometer come in the retro look of the 1950s. With the 1200cc Boxer engine offering all the qualities of a genuine
sledgehammer, there is no need for a rev counter on the R1200C. Indeed, all the additional information required by the rider
is provided by 7 telltales fitted flush at the right and in two rows on an aluminium plate. The dual-function ignition and
handlebar lock, in turn, comes right in the middle between the speedometer and telltales, the key featuring a matte-silver
handle as yet another pledge to the glorious classic days of motorcycling. The underlying philosophy to reduce everything
on this new motorcycle to the essential also comes to bear in the design of the seat, the very comfortable rider’s seat
intentionally being conceived for the rider alone as a genuine monoposto. Reflecting the overall design of the R1200C, the
seat is shaped like a saddle and is finished in top-quality leather. As of the 1999 model year there has also been an
optional comfort seat with an extra 20 mm padding for even smoother riding.
The passenger seat serving also a rider backrest.
A small, again leather-covered seat cushion for a passenger accompanying the rider on short trips is featured right behind
the rider’s seat as such. A special touch in this case is that when riding solo the rider can move up this seat cushion to
a vertical position, using it as a backrest with inclination manually adjustable to three different angles. With the seat
bottom moved up, the rider has direct access to a pearl-gloss chrome-plated cast aluminium rack serving as a luggage support.
Individual components with clearly recognisable functions.
Most of the components on the BMW R1200C are, as already mentioned, specially accentuated in their styling and thus clearly
recognisable in their function. One example is the air duct on the intake side with its high-gloss chrome-plated air intake
cover beneath the tank and the pearl-gloss chrome-plated frame at the front. The latter also houses the two oil coolers,
clearly displaying this additional function by the openings for drawing in and expelling cooling air. The tank with its
high-gloss chrome-plated filler cap positioned to the right is yet another characteristic feature of the R1200C further
enhanced in its looks by the matte-chrome-plated components arranged around the tank as such – the cast aluminium frame
and the air intake covers. Since a cruiser is not built for covering long distances at high speeds, the tank itself is a
bit smaller than usual although its capacity of 17 litres (3 3/4 Imp gals), with 4 litres reserve, may be regarded as quite
sufficient for a motorcycle of this type.
Top-quality materials and surfaces.
The sophisticated but relaxed elegance of the BMW R 1200 C is also underlined by the careful use of materials providing a
perfect match for this unique cruiser. Consistent use of hot-galvanised steel plate on the tank, wheel covers and side panels
is more than “just” the come-back of old traditions. Steel plate is very strong and long-lasting in everyday use and provides
the ideal foundation for high-quality paintwork retaining its perfect gloss throughout a long running life.
Lines applied with a calm and experienced hand.
All parts and components of the R1200C are painted in a very elaborate process with painstaking care: No less than two layers
of clear topcoat ensuring lasting gloss throughout a long running life come on top of the primer, filler and the actual surface
colour. And it almost goes without saying that the cruiser, like all BMW motorcycles, benefits from a special paint application
method already well-known to the connoisseur visiting BMW’s motorcycle production plant in Berlin-Spandau, where female workers
show incredible skill and dexterity in applying colour-coordinated lines along the tank and on the wheel covers.
Lots of chrome and polished aluminium.
Reflecting all the values of a superior cruiser, the BMW R 1200 C comes with a lot of chrome finished to the highest quality
standard in three layers of copper, nickel and, finally, the chrome plating itself. So regardless of whether the chrome surface
is in high gloss or matte, this combination of materials ensures lasting quality throughout a long running life even under the
toughest conditions. Polished aluminium is to be found, for example, on the longitudinal Telelever arms, adding additional gloss
and style to that typical cruiser look.
Seats finished in leather.
The rider’s saddle (and the passenger’s, if so equipped) seat cushion are both finished in top-quality weather-proof
Special equipment and optional extras for the R1200C.
Far more than other motorcyclists, cruiser enthusiasts attach very great importance to an individual, customised machine. The
first point was to improve seating comfort for the passenger on long distances. This is ensured by a larger seat offering all
the creature comforts your passenger will desire. And if the leather grab strap is not enough, you can also retrofit a chrome-plated
railing on the R1200C. As of the 1999 model year there has also been a specially cushioned comfort seat for the rider with an
extra 20 mm padding.
Heated grips, lower handlebars and a small windshield.
Heated grips are very pleasant and convenient on cool days. And if you do not always want to brave the wind rushing by in an
upright position with the standard high-rise handlebars, you have the choice of a lower and wider version creating an even
more active feeling of riding in style. In the interest of even greater streamlining comfort and to provide better protection
from wind and weather, the BMW R1200C is furthermore available with a small windshield, two further options being an on-board
power take-off and an engine protection hoop naturally finished in high-gloss chrome-plating. Ever since the 1999 model year
chrome-plated exhaust covers have also been available as special equipment.
The cruiser baggage system: from saddle bags all the way to the tank bag.
The superior long-distance comfort is further accentuated by a set of bags matching the motorcycle in stylish design, such
a wide range of bags and cases always having been typical of BMW. Instead of solid plastic cases, the R1200C comes with
saddle bags made of water-repellent, impregnated leather fitted on integral supports next to the rear wheel. A stable plastic
backplate ensures vibration-free attachment and offers a functional and attractive storage space concept in conjunction
with the leather bags. Tidiness and convenient use of the lockable saddle bags is ensured by additional, water-tight inner
bags made of a particularly hard-wearing material with a canvas-look surface.