The BMW R1200C was a cruiser motorcycle manufactured by BMW Motorrad from 1997 to 2004. BMW manufactured 40,218 units, including a smaller engine version, the R850C, which was produced from 1997 to 2000.
The R1200C was BMW's attempt to tap into this market, and was a significant departure from their previous endeavors. The R1200C was designed by BMW head designer David Robb, featuring a cruiser riding posture. From its inception, the R1200C featured a passenger seat that could fold up to become a driver backrest with three different angles, adjustable while riding.
When BMW ended production of the R1200C lineup, Dr. Herbert Diess, then President BMW Motorrad, cited a prime reason for discontinuing the bike was the apparent unsuitability of the 1,170 cc (71 cu in), 61 hp (45 kW) engine to then current market tastes and the unavailability of a suitable engine for further development, but did not rule out BMW pursuing a reinterpretation of the cruiser idea at a later date. In 2004 a final special model of the R1200C Montauk as a commemorative Montauk model was presented, of which 350 units were built.
The special models are:
Classic: The "Classic" was not a new model, but after the Avantgarde and the Independent versions came on the market, it was the "original" R1200C.
Avantgarde: Introduced in 2000, less chrome (added graphite look), medium height bars, ABS a cost option.
Independent (designated "Phoenix" for U.S. market): Introduced in 2001, single seat (passenger seat and foot pegs optional), two-tone paint, new aluminum wheels, speedster style windshield, fog lamps, white indicator lenses, BMW rondel on alternator cover.
Montauk: Introduced in 2004, overall ‘beefier’ design. Extended rake front end, alloy wheels and instrument panel from the R1200CL, braided brake hoses, additional vertically stacked headlight.
Troika: Meaning trike or three-wheel model, it is a R1200C with a side car. Displayed at the IAA (Internationale Automobil Ausstellung) in Frankfurt in 1997, the side car had a torpedo-like nose, interior with leather matching the motorcycle seat, a shock that laid horizontally in front of the third wheel with a wooden step over it for the passenger, and a spoked wheel matching the motorcycle wheels.
R1200CL: Introduced in 2002, full dress touring model that added a tachometer and analog-style clock to the instrument panel, extended rake, larger wheel size, alloy wheels, fairing, two smaller stacked separate lights for high beams, cruise control, driver floor boards, heel/toe shifter, six-speed gear box, oversized passenger seat, two 12V power outlets, heated hand grips, heated seats, clam-shell side cases and removable top case with passenger backrest. An oddity of the R1200CL was its "M" shaped windscreen that created a large notch in the center so the driver has an unobstructed view ahead. The alternator was upgraded to a massive 840W. Electronics and alarm for an optional, keyless anti-theft system were pre-installed.
R1200CLC: Same as the R1200CL, but with ABS braking standard, radio, CD player, chrome alternator cover, chrome engine guard and chrome side luggage guards.
2000 Changes: For the 2000 production year BMW introduced an 850cc version, called the R850C. For the 1200cc model, new colors configurations were available including a black engine, the rear shock was upgraded to be an adjustable hydraulic shock, and the electronic ignition and fuel injection were adjusted.
2004 Changes: For the final production year BMW added dual ignition, integral ABS (the brake pedal and lever, when applied independently, actuate both front and rear brakes simultaneously), improved transmission, and a passenger comfort seat available at no extra cost.