R1200 GS  Comparison With R1150R/GS Series - Updated May ’07

Since this report was first written I’ve dynod more R1200GS, and my suspicion that the bike featured here was down on power has been confirmed.  Why it’s down I expect has to do with the fact it was a demo bike and as such sometimes filled with fuel by people test riding it who didn’t want to pay for premium.  So I’d recommend interpreting this report as what happens to your 1200GS power wise when you use normal unleaded fuel.

Just a couple of graphs showing you how they compare.  If anything, it’ll become a study of what dyno’s don’t show.

The basis of assuming the new 1200 engine is better than the old engine is the large amount of press hype that’s been doing the rounds since the model was released in South Africa earlier this year.  It’s been praised for its smoothness and performance improvements, and rightly so.  For the engine that it is (and the old one was) it’s a lot better.

But, the old engine was claimed to produce 84 hp, the new engine 100 hp.  Using whatever procedure they use to rate their engines, and one that is not the same as a Dynojet.  Nothing wrong with that.  The first graph shows our demo (all std) R1200GS in red, and the best of the std 1150 series engines I’ve dyno’d in green, in this case an R1150R (same engine as GS).

Dynograph courtesy of DYNOBIKE  (03) 9553 0018

Whether this engine is one of the better ones I don’t know (only dyno’d one) so to the previous graph we’ll add another R1150R – the one I owned, which made the least power (especially through the range) of all the ones I’ve dyno’d.  This curve is blue. 

Dynograph courtesy of DYNOBIKE  (03) 9553 0018

As you can see, the new engine really doesn’t make much more power on the dyno.  And this is a fair comparison, as all the runs featured are for bikes with low km.  In fact, the blue bike had the most km of all.  Where the rest of the claimed power has gone I don’t know.

It doesn’t really feel more powerful to me though.  But this all depends on your sense of feel.  The best way to see power differences between bikes or after a mod is to open the throttle fully at as low an RPM as possible.  This gets rid of any differences in response, leaving only the acceleration to guide you.

What the new engine does do, very clearly (and widely reported), is respond much better.  You can lift the front wheel off the ground in second using the throttle, something the previous model wouldn’t.  On a windy road, it would feel better driving out of corners because of this.  And that’s what everyone has been talking about.

The reason for the improved response is a reduction in engine weight, both static (cases, etc) and rotating (crank, pistons) plus a general reduction in bike weight.  I’m not sure how much lighter the new wheels and rear drive assembly are, but everything helps to make this bike feel very different to the old one.

But it’s not really any more powerful.  And that surprises me somewhat.  It has bigger valves and more compression than the old motor, with a nice big air box and a better engine management system.  With more comp it should make more torque at least, but there it only has a 1ft.lb advantage over the best 1150 in the above graphs.  So I’m a bit disappointed really.  I was expecting more with the given changes, and with this engine touted as being a sign of things to come for the sportier models in the range (R1200S) so, I think, were many others.

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