The two bikes have the same frame and the same angle of the steering head (61.7°), but the offset of the steering plates is different and means that the RS has a 15 mm longer wheelbase compared to the R (1,527 vs 1,512 mm) but also a smaller trail (114.8 vs 129.6 mm). A small difference but sufficient to give the two bikes a nuance of their own character, if not completely different.
The BMW R 1250 R and RS are two sporty road bikes, therefore bikes suitable for lively but not exaggerated driving, even if the chassis is healthy and can accept forcing. But let’s say that it’s not the field of these two bikes, made for fast travel trusting in the availability of the legendary twin-cylinder boxer that has now achieved excellence in various aspects. So they are bikes made for having fun with little effort, maintaining a high pace without requiring “track” concentration. In addition, they are bikes with which you can easily tackle even long journeys and in pairs. On the RS, however, you immediately notice the difference in the front end, as soon as you grab the handlebars, you just need to go a meter to feel that the steering is more “below” than you, therefore quicker, than on the R. On both, the driving position is quite “seated”, but more on the R where the lever offered by the handlebar is exploited to obtain the speed of maneuver that with the RS is obtained with a more body driving but obtaining in return greater speed between the curves, in setting up and in the changes of direction.
It is not an abysmal difference, but perceptible, in the context of a general behavior of great balance, where in the middle of the corner with both bikes you never have the feeling of having to change the set line: you are always exactly where you want to be when setting your course. In case a correction is still necessary, even in an emergency, the response is in any case quick and “healthy”, also thanks to the electronic controls which intervene, especially the traction one, with extreme discretion but sure presence. The suspensions are well tuned, an excellent compromise for this type of riding and motorcycle, wanting to nitpick with the electronic control in Dynamic mode we would have preferred a hair more control of the fork in rebound under braking and in between to changes of direction, but it’s really a detail. The cardan shaft has long since been forgotten, and even on these bikes we become aware of its presence when… we’re not riding. We have also come a short way with an RS equipped with a tubular handlebar, which invites you to take advantage of the superior speed of the front end but also makes the riding position more comfortable. Excellent braking for readiness and modulation.
However, once again, the central protagonist of these bikes is the engine: full, mellow, it agrees to open the throttle at VI from 38 km/h indicated without refusal, and indeed pushing almost immediately. Then it gives its best up to 5,000 rpm, with the usual deep sound, duly enhanced in the case of the Akrapovic muffler (optional). It is the typical engine that “makes” the bike.
Difficult to find fault with these bikes, perhaps on the RS you could want more reach than that provided by the boxer and a slightly sportier riding position.
Finally, the prices: 16,480 euros for the R, 17,050 for the RS, both turnkey and also inclusive of first service, 4-year warranty and 5-year roadside assistance. Quotations more than adequate for the quality of these bikes, it’s a pity the RS is rarely understood in Italy where sport tourers don’t have a large following. Wrongly.
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