Ride On: 2020 BMW R 1250 R Exclusive

SMOOTH, refined and sophisticated, with a little bit of bite. That’s how we’d describe the 2020 BMW R 1250 R Exclusive. With its classy looks and comfortable ride, it’s a bike that will make you feel right at home, straight away.

We headed straight for the Royal National Park after picking up the impressive BMW, with the Australian Motorcycle Festival our final destination. This author found himself with a permanent smile after that journey, the bike coming to life in the tranquil surroundings.

The R 1250 R Exclusive delivers grunt in spades and handles like it’s on rails. Its new 1254cc boxer engine, with a variable cam shaft control system, provides smooth and usable low-down power, and a blistering top end.

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Our bike came with the up and down quick shifter, which was awesome when used how it’s intended, under full throttle. We found it easier and smoother to use the clutch for slow speed gear changes 1-2 and 2-3, but after that, it was all quick shifter.

The only negative part of the ‘quick shift’ experience was finding a false neutral once, mid corner, after already selecting a gear. It may have been rider error. There was also a ‘roll on’ of power after engine braking, leading into low gear corners.

The traction control system was unobtrusive, and probably the best we have seen on a bike so far. Even at steep lean angles, hard throttle input and bumpy roads, the system wasn’t noticed, apart from the light flashing on the dash.

Wheelies aren’t possible, even though the R 1250 R really wants too, with traction turned on. You will have to turn traction control off to have some wheel stand fun.

One thing that took a little getting used to was the boxer engines width. I found myself knocking my leg on it when stopping at lights or in traffic, but after a few times I was sweet, and adjusted where I placed my foot on the ground.

Handling comes thanks to 45mm upside-down forks and a BMW Motorrad cast aluminium para-lever single sided swing-arm, as well as the whole ESA electronics package. It’s very smooth and predictable.

The bike tips into corners effortlessly and wants to spend all day there, well maybe that was us, but this is the bike for it. There’s a noticeable difference between ride modes too, with Rain and Road delivering a softer and easier experience.

Dynamic and Dynamic Pro ride modes stiffened up the whole package, which really showed its value in harder cornering on our trips through the National Park, and up the ‘old road’.

The 2020 R 1250 R Exclusive we rode came with the touring package, as well as the dynamic package, which made a couple of our longer trips effortless and comfortable.

You’ll find Dynamic ESA, key-less riding, navigation and one one of the easiest and best cruise controls we’ve ever used in the touring package. There’s also a centre stand, pannier mounts and a luggage grid.

We also had the BMW tank bag, which was excellent for holding the essentials like a wallet and phone, and any other accessories you might want to take on a day ride. We even found you can fit a 6-pack of beer in if needed.

The clear window on top of the bag is great too, if you want to use your phone for navigation, but it does get hot in there. This author’s iPhone did go into heat mode once.

Brakes are strong, have great feeling and are very confidence inspiring. All of this comes from the dual 320mm floating 4-piston Brembo front brakes and 276mm single floating rear disc, with twin pot caliper, as well as the standard BMW Motorrad Integral ABS.

The comfort pack adds heated hand grips, which is very useful in winter or for those cold morning starts. Tyre pressure monitoring, a chrome exhaust and hill hold technology is also included.

Hill hold was easy to use, you just squeeze the front brake or press the rear brake a little harder. You are not going to roll back or forward until you engage first gear and take off.

The TFT dash is clear and easy to see in any weather or lighting conditions, and the BMW menu system has loads of useful info for every trip. We linked our bike to the BMW App on our phone, which is easy to use, even for the not so tech savvy.

We found the turn by turn navigation awesome and extremely helpful, especially as we rode to places we had not been before. It was certainly a fun way to get the the Australian Motorcycle Festival.

BMW Motorrad has used specific colours across the 1250 range to define each bike. In what is a pretty cool concept, the R 1250 R comes in Black Storm Metallic, and the HP version comes in Light White/Lupin Blue Metallic.

The R 1250 R Exclusive we rode comes in Pollux Metallic, and the Option 719 model is available in Stardust Metallic.

Pricing starts from $23,600 ride away. It comes with a 3-year BMW warranty, and a 36 months repair offer. The latter is valid worldwide, with no mileage limits. All repairs are done using original BMW Motorrad parts.

Our test bike was provided by BMW Motorrad Australia. To find out more about the 2020 BMW R 1250 R Exclusive, contact your local BMW Motorrad dealer. Pictures courtesy of Cameron Cooke Photography.


Ride experience
Style and comfort
Braking and handling
Technology and connectivity
Overall bike performance


Pros - handling; technology; comfort; traction control system.
Cons - roll on in second gear after engine braking.
Adam Cranstone
Adam Cranstone
Adam Cranstone started his motorbike journey in his teenage years when he brought home his first bike against his parents wishes. It was at that point that he knew motorbikes were in his blood. He has a love for high performance sports bikes, dirt bikes and tourers, but is happy to climb aboard any two-wheeled machine.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> handling; technology; comfort; traction control system.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> roll on in second gear after engine braking.Ride On: 2020 BMW R 1250 R Exclusive