Kawasaki ZRX1200R And BMW K1200S - Staffers' Rides - Doin' Time

Staffers' Rides

Kawasaki ZRX1200R
* Ringleader: Boehm
* MSRP: $8199
* Miles: 7000
* Average fuel mileage: 38 MPG

After more than a year I'm saying goodbye to my trusty ZRX1200R long-termer. Looking back, I'm happy I left the bike's smooth, torquey inline-four alone. Although getting 20-or more-additional horses is relatively simple (see my two-page report in our April 2006 issue), 115-some quiet rear-wheel horsepower is, for me, a much better arrangement. Catterson put a thousand miles on the Z-Rex and had good things to say about the Race Tech-modified fork and Works Performance rear shocks. Just before the bike went back to Kawasaki, Shop Manager Candreia filled the crankcases with Golden Spectro synthetic, which improved shifting a bit. All in all a good year on a very good all-around motorcycle. Too bad it's gone from Kawasaki's lineup for '06.

BMW K1200S
* Ringleader: Carrithers
* MSRP: $16,995
* Miles: 6650-7550
* Average fuel mileage: 43 MPG

Heading into the fourth quarter in this long-term exercise, the K12 is working better than it ever has. The gearbox is particularly cooperative after last month's oil change. Shortly thereafter, I bolted on an adjustable billet torque arm from Evoluzione Cyclesports ($249.99), which speeds up the steering just enough with 15mm more ride height and no adverse effect on stability. And though quick cornering has been limited to freeway ramps, new ContiSport Attack radials-$88 for the 120/70 ZR17 front and $124 for the C-spec 190/50 ZR17 rear-let the beast change direction with less effort. I'm hoping the extra belt in the BMW-specific rear tire will keep it from squaring off against too many freeway miles, but only time will tell.