Advanced Search
  Home

4x4

Bikes, Quads & Karts

  » Latest Launches

  » Road Tests

A1 Grand Prix

F1 Grand Prix

Industry News

Latest Launches

Motorsport

New Bike Prices

New Wheels Prices

Picture Galleries

Road Tests

Vehicle Classifieds

Wheels Briefs

World Rally Champs


Newsletter
About Us
Contact Us
Calculator
Links
Online Advertising
Terms & Conditions


   Alfa Romeo
Audi
Bentley
BMW
Chevrolet
Chrysler
Citroen
Daewoo
Daihatsu
Dodge
Ferrari
Fiat
Ford
Honda
Hyundai
Isuzu
Jaguar
Jeep
Kia
Land Rover
Lexus
Lotus
Mahindra
   Mazda
Mercedes
MG
Mini
Mitsubishi
Nissan
Opel
Other
Peugeot
Porsche
Proton
Renault
Rover
Saab
Seat
SsangYong
Subaru
Suzuki
Tata
Toyota
Volkswagen
Volvo
   Aprilia
BMW
Buell
Cagiva
Ducati
Gilera
Harley-Davidson
Honda
Kawasaki
   KTM
Kymco
Moto Guzzi
Other
Piaggio
Suzuki
Triumph
Yamaha


Putting the transport minister to the test
This must be one of the most stupid proposals yet from the Panjandrums of Power: you've gotta take your driving licence test at the test centre nearest your home.

That's the proposal reported in the news media from the Department of Transport; hello, is this Communist Russia ordering its citizens about, or what? Here's what a department spokesman said:

"People moving from their area to take the test somewhere else is just not on. It has created problems in those areas and is creating bottlenecks." (Read: do as you're bloody well told… or leave the country.)

Fact is, city test centres are overwhelmed with candidates so those able to ease the load by going elsewhere are actually doing the nation a favour. And remember, Mr Minister, a driving licence is one of the few – perhaps the only – job qualification thousands of South Africans will ever get.

It's part of your job to help as many people as possible get legally mobile, whether it's on a delivery scooter or a driving a 22-wheeler truck. That way they can earn money, feed their families and get a better life – and isn't "a better life for all" one of the ruling party's slogans?

Now, get out there and help the people instead of making silly excuses and taking even sillier decisions. - The Editor





click to enlarge
BMW K1200GT: Luxurious, state of the art, distance-muncher. 

ROAD TEST: BMW K1200GT, grand luxury tour
 [ See related stories ]

June 20, 2006

By Tim Luckhurst

Engine: 1157cc liquid cooled DOHC four-cylinder
Maximum power: 112kW at 9500rpm
Maximum torque: 130Nm at 7750 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed gearbox, shaft final drive.
Brakes: Front twin 320mm discs, rear single 294mm disc, part-integral ABS
Weight: 249kg
Seat height: Adjustable between 820mm and 840mm
Tank capacity: 24 litres
Price: From £11 995 (about R154 000)
SA Price: R144 000

It was cunning. BMW invited me to the Aras de los Olmos Enduro Park to ride motorcycles on dirt tracks

The six-speed gearbox is smooth and fast, and lever travel is attractively short
. Then, when I was bruised and mud-caked after a hard day's scrambling, they presented me with a K1200GT.

The GT stands for Gran Turismo. This collation of comfort and technology is as distant from off-road motorcycling as you get without adding two wheels and a chauffeur.

With my back aching from 100km standing on the footpegs any touring motorcycle would have felt good. Were they hiding something?

Aras de los Olmos is 90km from Spain's Orange Coast and the road winds for most of the way. Narrow straights through cherry orchards are broken up by tight bends cut through rock. It is the sort of riding a holiday tourer can expect to encounter after a day spent covering 800km on freeways.

I was at least that tired and I wanted to know if the bike would forgive the type of errors an exhausted rider can make

The seat is long enough to accommodate two large adults in day-long comfort
. So I blasted too fast down straights, braked late into corners and threw the machine about aggressively.

At a class-leading 112kW the 2006 K1200 GT is 17 per cent more powerful than its predecessor. It generates 11 per cent more torque and is 6 per cent lighter.

If the attractive, aerodynamic fairing did not reduce windblast so effectively, acceleration would be sharp enough to pull arms from sockets.

The six-speed gearbox is smooth and fast, and lever travel is attractively short. Humbling sports cars on steep inclines is a breeze, even two-up with luggage. I apologise to the Spaniard in the Audi TT. It's all about power-to-weight ratio.

But the K1200GT's vast reserves of power would not matter much if it wasn't agile as well. Its predecessor was not. The 2006 version is much improved. This time the comfort required to sustain long freeway journeys has been achieved without clumsiness.

The K1200 GT takes its Duolever front-wheel suspension and Paralever rear equipment from the K1200S sports bike. Dry sump lubrication and the inherently compact design of BMW's 1157cc, transverse, four-cylinder engine permit a very low centre of gravity.

Rapid direction changes

The overall result is light, accurate handling. Heavily laden it is still more stately than agile, but unencumbered this tourer turns nimbly and deals with rapid direction changes with alacrity.

A part-integral ABS system is fitted in which the handlebar lever activates both the front and rear wheel brakes and the foot pedal works the rear brake only. I usually detest linked braking systems, but this one works well.

I was impressed by the electrically adjustable front windscreen. It didn't rain, so I can't guarantee it keeps the rider dry in wet weather, but I found the windblast on my helmet and upper body significantly reduced even at 200km/h. The screen can move a full 100mm up or down and is controlled by a press button on the handlebar.

The look is compact and modern and serves to emphasise this bike's dual-purpose role as a tourer capable of sporty antics. But it is as a passenger-carrying tourer that it really excels.

Day-long comfort

The seat is long enough to accommodate two large adults in day-long comfort and luggage-carrying capacity is good. Range has been extended - it now exceeds 300km at realistic freeway speeds.

A big, bold, electronic flat-screen display in the middle of the cockpit gives clear information on fuel level, coolant temperature, time, gear selected, overall mileage and trip mileage.

The BMW K1200GT is a luxurious, state of the art, distance-muncher and its price tag confirms it. The base model costs £11 955 (R154 000).

Add heated grips and seats, electronic suspension adjustment and satellite navigation and the bill soars past £13 000 (R167 500). Is it worth it?

For riders who cover very high mileages it will repay the investment with sumptuous comfort and thrilling performance. But beware of buying for status. Most riders will find BMW's own boxer-engined R1200RT more than adequate.

Look beyond

Those willing to look beyond the German manufacturer know that Buell, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Triumph and Moto Guzzi all produce good touring motorcycles that cost less than this one.

Try a Honda Pan European, a Buell Ulysses, a Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom or a Moto Guzzi Norge. For greater agility test a Triumph Sprint ST.

The days when BMW alone made reliable long-distance bikes are gone. But this one oozes class and goes like the clappers. - The Independent, London


Now you can get all your news - from politics in South Africa, the quirkiest stories in Step Beyond, the latest from the worlds of Motoring, Entertainment and Business - in one place.
Sign up and you'll have all the latest news at your fingertips.

   

 






click to enlarge
FULLY LOADED: Luggage capacity is good - especially with the optional top box and tank bag. 

click to enlarge
FLAT-SCREEN DISPLAY Clear information on fuel level, coolant temperature, time, gear selected, overall mileage and trip mileage. 

click to enlarge
DAY-LONG COMFORT: The seat is long enough to accommodate two large adults. 





Right-click on ad for new window.

  HOME
  LATEST LAUNCHES
  ROAD TESTS
  F1 GRAND PRIX


RSS Feeds  |  Free IOL Headlines  |  Newsletters  |  IOL on your phone

©2006 Motoring & Independent Online (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.
Reliance on the information this site contains is at your own risk. Please read our Terms and Conditions of Use and Privacy Policy.