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Spy Shot: 2012 Water-Cooled BMW R1200GS

Friday, August 19, 2011
Spy photos reveal a prototype of what appears to be BMW’s 2012 R1200GS. The updated GS will utilize an all-new liquid-cooled version of the iconic Boxer Twin.
Spy shot of BMW R1200GS prototype. The 2012 model features a new liquid-cooled version of the Boxer Twin - Brenda Priddy   Company Photo
The prototype R1200GS sees the shaft drive and exhaust sides change position from the previous model. The new bike also makes use of radial-mount brakes - Brenda Priddy   Company Photo
Spy shots of a BMW R1200GS prototype reveal a liquid-cooled version of the Boxer Twin. Other changes include relocated shaft drive and exhaust, and radial-mount brakes.

The photos, obtained by Motorcycle USA via spy shot specialists Brenda Priddy & Company, show a lightly camoed version of the GS. While the radiator isn’t clearly visible, the hint of a cooling fan peeks through the upper bodywork on the right side, the openings of which would vent the airflow exhaust. What looks like a cooling hose also routes up to the radiator area.

The Boxer Twin exhibits distinct changes from the 2011 version. The prominent intake tract on the current Boxer, which enters the rear of the exposed cylinder head, is notably relocated. The exhaust header pipes are also completely rerouted. While the panniers on the prototype have "R1200GS" emblazoned on the side, there's no word on the displacement of the new engine or if the GS nomenclature will change.

Other obvious changes to the new GS come in the drive train, the final shaft drive swapped to the left side. The right side in turn gets the relocated exhaust canister - the prototype model equipped with an Akrapovic pipe.

Also updated are the GS’s front brakes, as the prototype sports stout-looking radial-mount calipers.

The move to liquid-cooling reverses almost 90 years of tradition, with BMW having produced its air-cooled Boxer Twin since 1923. The most prolific seller in BMW history (BMW produced its record-setting 100,000th R1200GS in 2007), the R1200GS has faced improved competition from rivals in the Adventure-Touring class which the GS defined. The upgrade to liquid-cooling could allow the GS to better match the engine performance of the liquid-cooled Twins powering the Ducati Multistrada and Yamaha Super Tenere.

BMW figures to debut its liquid-cooled version of the Boxer engine at this year’s wave of European bike shows

Follow the air-cooled GS’s swan song performance against its Adventure-Touring rivals all next week as we conduct the 2011 Adventure-Touring Shootout!


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raruveloleo   December 1, 2011 05:42 PM
Picture is probably not reversed. The text on the travel cases is correct and not reversed.
boehmei   August 29, 2011 05:25 PM
Been riding since 82 & have never fallen in love with a motorcycle like I did with the RT1200 & I remember my first reaction was: 1. If only it was water cooled. 2. If only 4 cylinders instead of 2 at this CC size so to have a smoother operation. I love the boxer design because it so brings the center of gravity low & adds stability. I don't think water cooling it will kill the boxer design purpose as for instance you have the honda GW 6x1800 & is water cooled & runs beautifully. BMW... Am waiting, Boxer comes out water colled, am getting one!
wildpig   August 22, 2011 05:41 PM
ah scoot -- the RT has been plauged with numerous problems-- quite over rated to say the least amoung those that know-- the kaw concours will run rings arounds the RT --in ever facset.
Bressan   August 22, 2011 04:58 PM
It doesn´t seems a inverted photo to me, as the 1200GS logo and the plate look correct.
Scoot   August 21, 2011 12:34 PM
I wonder what the R1200RT will look like. The RT is the best sport touring bike out there and maybe the next one will be even better.
uriar   August 21, 2011 04:49 AM
a question about "the final shaft drive swapped to the left side. The right side in turn gets the relocated exhaust canister": i don't know what's the source for these pictures, but is it possible it is a mirror image that was shooped by BMW to look like it isn't???
Roanokee   August 21, 2011 01:15 AM
Where did this story go?
Fumbledore   August 20, 2011 10:06 AM
Liquid cooling is great and all but it will add weight and complexity that an Adventure bike doesn't need. Most are overpowered anyway. The biggest advantage of the boxer engine is the easy access to the plugs for replacement or clearing water in the wilds without dismantling half the bike. Liquid cooling makes it a better road bike and less of a back-country bike.
GSaddict   August 20, 2011 12:47 AM
Eagerly waiting to see the end result! Let's hope for the best, even though I'm not so sure whether the water-cooled boxer will be the same boxer as we know it!
wildpig   August 19, 2011 01:32 PM
lets see if bmw can blotch up water cooled as well as they have in final drive componets for the r1200.....
Superlight   August 19, 2011 01:22 PM
If BMW is going to make these changes, the rationale for the 180 degree cylinders starts fading away (not needed for cylinder cooling anymore).
509MXFan   August 19, 2011 11:53 AM
I bet it's debuted at the mc shows this year, as a 2013 model.