Alanf’s blog…
Scattered thoughts

Thursday, December 2, 2004

The pain is finally over…

Author: site admin
Category: Bike reviews

As someone who rides a BMW R1150GS, I know a thing or two about ugly bikes. I’m convinced that the GS is proof German engineers do psychedelic drugs. However, it was the just the start of BMW’s bizarre and downright f’ugly motorcycles.

BMW cruiser profile

Thankfully, BMW has finally announced the end of the R1200C line of BMW cruisers which I think are the high water mark in BMW’s pool of aesthetic embarrassments. (Just to show this isn’t another anti-cruiser rant, I’d have to say the F650CS and the Rockster are real, real close behind…) This is a design with so many shapes, colors and eye-sores that it is hard to know where to start the criticism. That big old round tank, the two cylinders jutting out either side, short stubby exhaust pipes, semi-ape hangers and all the gleaming badness that your typical staid BMW rider brings immediately to mind. As a final insult, its has the “soulful” sound of a muffled Braun coffee bean grinder. It was even available in white, the ultimate sign of a cruiser gone wrong.

BMW, knowing something needed to be done, didn’t euthanize the ‘C but instead came out with the R1200CL in 2003. The only advantage here, is that it made 2004’s Montauk only look semi-obscene. Now, eight years too late, BMW has finally pulled the plug on the R1200C line because they haven’t been able to figure out how to get 1800cc out of an engine designed to top out at 1200cc. Whew, the pain is finally over!

Now, if they’d re-examine the F650CS and the Rockster…

[image from BMW USA website]

7 Comments so far


December 3rd, 2004 at 2:39 am

Wonder if I could buy one on the cheap! They were a comfortable bike but really, anyone I ever saw riding one looked like a COMPLETE TOOL!!! Especially when they had the matching leather clad skid plate/seat combo :)


Chris Taylor
December 5th, 2004 at 12:29 pm

I love how the Rockster looks! It just needs knobbies, crash bars off some forklift, and a rider dressed in grungy black leather, mutlicolored ostrich feathers, and a chrome hockey mask.


December 17th, 2004 at 5:27 pm

Despite their looks, the R1200C turned out to be a great selling bike and, like most BMWs, probably hold their resell value. If you’re going to pay a lot of money for a Bemmer, you might as well buy a pretty one. Get a used GS or RT!

Chris, the guy with a super-motard/desert wasteland themed Ducati, likes the Rockster. Somehow, I’m not surprised. That said, a truely industrial design to the thing (especially the crash bar idea) would give it a distinctive look that I’d probably like. Right now, it looks too much like an overweight Speed Triple.


January 18th, 2005 at 1:13 pm

had you ever test drove one of the bikes you mention, youd know that they are well built, ride beautifully, and handle like a dream. And frannkly, the R1200C’s had lots of chrome and shiny bits like a good cruiser should. They have test drives each year at the dealerships, maybe you should ride one before shooting off at the mouth.


January 18th, 2005 at 3:47 pm

Hey Aaron -

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I have no doubt that the R1200C is a well made and good handling bike, or at least it handles as good as any other bike in the cruiser market. I have never criticized the bike for hits peformance qualities.

I just think the bike is ugly. I’m sure that offends, if you own one, but its the way I feel. However, I also think the GS is ugly and I own one of those. Its just that the R1200C is uglier than my sense of aesthetics can overcome, no matter how well the bike rides.


james tucker
April 16th, 2005 at 11:01 pm

Test ride! I rode a 1200C, it tops out at 100mph!, now what good is THAT? Pretty darn buzzy at my regular 80mph cruising speed whilst crossing the country. Funny thing is, I like how it looks, but it would have to perfrom like a GS for me to buy one.


Thom Bennett
December 4th, 2005 at 4:40 pm

Funny stuff. I have a silver 1200CL. Ugly? You think my bike is ugly? It may be. Ok it is funny looking. Ok it’s ugly. You got me there. It gets a lot of looks. Love or hate, it generates comment. If I were concerned about looks I would get one of those loud Yankee bikes and play dress up. I bought it to ride. We did 4000 miles last summer. It has proven to be all that a BMW is supposed to be. It has the agressive roar of a mini van. Quiet is good on a several hundred mile ride. Plenty of room for stuff. The three bags. I had wanted a BMW since I was three. I am 40. I am going to buy a GS next summer. I would like a R90S or something older also. I would not trade my CL. It is winter here. A foot of snow in northern Michigan. I can’t wait for spring to get back on the “Elephant” as Sue and I call it. It may be ugly but it is mine and we have covered every cow two laner and secondary highway up here. Ugly seems to work pretty well. Look for us out there.

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