Two In One: The New BMW Motorad 1250cc Boxer Engine with ShiftCam

Here at the Bivouac, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the rugged reliability of BMW’s boxer engine in an R1100RT and the sheer sophistication and power of their inline six cylinder engine in their remarkable continent cruiser, the K1600GT. Now, BMW is offering a new boxer engine with ShiftCam technology. With this new technology, Available in the new R1250RT and R1250GS, one wonders if each will feel like more than one bike in one.

The new ShiftCam is designed to provide controllable power at low speeds and more on-demand power at open throttle. The K1600GT felt like several bikes in one thanks to its adjustable engine and suspension profiles. Will ShiftCam technology have the same dynamic effect on the new boxer engine equipped bikes? As motorcycle manufacturers strive to meet new emissions and fuel standards, we can hope that innovations like this bring more bikes with a wider range of characteristics and capabilities to single track trails and long stretches of open road. Good on BMW for continuing to innovate on a time-tested platform.

They Say the Eyes are the Window to the Soul

There have been some amazing things happening lately in the world of LED lighting for vehicles. More efficient and robust than traditional lighting solutions, they seem to adorn every new car model these days. Given their dynamic and robust qualities and the ability to light up even the darkest corners of the Serengeti, it seems appropriate to see them now on the 2013 R1200GS. The units look fantastic both in day and night running configurations providing an even more aggressive and determined look for the GS. Now that enlightenment at its best.

The New Face of BMW Motorrad...Yes Please!

A recent study indicates that people love cars with angry faces. This finding has long been recognized by automotive designers. In fact, shaping the faces of vehicles to make a statement has been an important aspect of the design process for many car companies over the years. With the release of the K1600GT and K1600GTL, BMW is migrating some of the most recognizable "facial" elements from its automobile division to its motorcycle group.

Here's hoping that this new face of motorrad propegates throughout BMW's motorcycle lineup. Not only is it distinctive and instantly associated with the power the brand has had on offer for decades, but it also brings welcomed innovation to the motorcycle industry in the form of the world's first adaptive headlamp for motorycles. Critics might feel this new look is a bit too agressive but when you are moving down a dark and rainy pacific coast highway, one is hard pressed to think of a better way to ward of any potential threats lurking in the darkness.

Shown above is the new facia of the K1600GTL. Illuminating even in full daylight from a design perspective.

A New Perspective

Sometimes the essential functionality of an object is best revealed from angles seldom seen. Take the redesigned 2010 R1200RT for example. Seen from the side, the bike appears familiar... a fine design iteration of the venerable long distance tourer.

However, the true genius and dynamics of the design are best revealed from a eagle's-eye view. From above, affordances for generous wind protection and ways to obtain comfort for miles on end really stand out. Undoubtedly this type of "form follows function" creativity is stirred up during long hours spent shaping the design in a wind tunnel. Regardless of how it came into being, the bivouac is once again blown away by the refinements taking place in motorrad land. Perhaps you too are thinking about your designs from all angles?

Touring with Tourist Trophy

The bivouac recently logged some laps with Polyphony Digital's Tourist Trophy Playstation 2 motorcycle simulator. The folks at Polyphony are the same ones who brought us the excellent Gran Turismo racing series and this title is equally impressive.


Beyond convincing riding dynamics, an extensive range of motorcycles and riding gear to explore, and near photorealistic racing venues, perhaps one of the most pleasant features of the simulator is the photo mode. It allows riders to replay a race and capture memorable moments. Extensive image manipulation capabilities are available so riders can pan to a perfect angle at a critical moment in the competition and stylize their photos to their choosing. As for the level of detail achieved, the images below are photos output from the simulator.




It was remarkably easy to plug in an iShuffle USB drive into the PS2 and save the photo content. For added control and immersion, you may want to try adding a Yamaha Motor Sport Game Controller to the mix. Ride safe, smart and strong.


BMW's R1200 GS HP2: Less of a Good Thing

BMW Motorrrad follows the release of the highly acclaimed R1200 GS with the R1200 GS HP2 (High Performance Two Cylinder). Sometimes less is indeed more.


An overview of the HP2's key features are as follows:

-1170cc flat-twin engine (as per the R1200 GS) but with an increased maximum output of 77kW (105 bhp). Maximum torque remains unchanged at 115Nm (85 lb-ft) at 5,500 rpm
-nNew muffler construction almost 2 kilos lighter than before (the HP2 is not designed to carry hard luggage)
-The frame's tubular space-frame structure is based on the R900 R racing machines used by BMW works teams from 1999-2001 in the Dakar Rally
-Upside-down telescopic forks with 270mm of spring travel. (This level of spring travel cannot be provided by conventional Telelever configuration)
-Redesigned Paralever, now 30mm longer than on the GS
-The world's first spring/damper system running exclusively on air. Weighing just under 2.3 kilos the air/spring damper system is approximately 2 kilos lighter than a conventional component
-Cross-spoke wheels for the toughest conditions. The front wheel features a 305mm semi-floating single-disc brake with floating calliper. At the rear is a 265mm single-disc swing-calliper brake. The HP2 is not presently offered with ABS
-The fuel tank is made of extra-tough, semi-transparent (for viewing fuel level) polyethylene and has a capacity of 13 litres
-Seat height of 920mm. A lower seat (900mm) is available as special equipment
-On-board network with CAN-bus technology (Controller Area Network) as per the R1200 GS
-Instrument cluster as per the R1200 GS but with no rev counter. As an additional display, the rider can select the number of operating hours the motorcycle has run (important for changing the air filter at appropriate intervals when riding off-road on dusty tracks).
-Side components on the tank and front wheel mudguard are made from fully-coloured, grained plastic (without paint) so that scratches and marks remain virtually invisible
-A wide range of special equipment for retrofitting is available for customisation, allowing the owner to broaden the HP2's range of features and equipment.


The worldwide launch of the HP2 will be in September. Further details, including the price will be released shortly.

Here it is at last...The BMW R1200RT