Making the Twin-boxer mill more powerful, clean and fuel efficient. Other high-tech features creep in too

The Bavarian motorcycle manufacturer has been the market leader in the adventure scene with their promising GS motorcycles running the show for more than 35 years. Topping this chart is their flagship workhorse, the R 1200 GS series and its flat-twin boxer engine that is undoubtedly the best companion for exploring the unexplored. Then there is the R1200RT, a sport touring motorcycle which has many at times been the bestselling model for BMW.

Currently, both these machines run on a 1170cc flat-twin boxer engine and are all set to receive some major updates for the 2019 year along with some high-tech features coming in as standard. The new mill is going to make them specked to Euro-V norms and also make more power without losing on any fuel efficiency. What’s the trick? It’s called the BMW ShiftCam technology.

BMW unveils brand-new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT with the new ShiftCam technology Exterior
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First, let’s get with that spanking new motor. The down-to-earth character and powerful high-torque 1170cc engines today are responsible for these machines to be the highest grosser for the Bavarian company. It received its mid-life update in 2017 which saw the motor be regulated to Euro-IV compliancy with a smoother final drive and gearbox operation.

Keeping the race alive, the German manufacturer will give its top-of-the-line adventure tourer and the sports touring machine a bigger, cleaner and much quieter powertrain, thanks to the new cylinder head that hides the variable valve lift or as BMW puts it, the “ShiftCam Technology” with revised exhaust path and engine mapping.

BMW unveils brand-new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT with the new ShiftCam technology Exterior
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BMW unveils brand-new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT with the new ShiftCam technology Exterior
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BMW unveils brand-new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT with the new ShiftCam technology Exterior
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BMW unveils brand-new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT with the new ShiftCam technology Exterior
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The 1170cc will also be bumped up to 1254cc which will see the power ratings also shoot up from the current 125 hp to a 136 hp. The peak torque also increases from 92 lb-ft to 105 lb-ft. The R1200 moniker will then be called as R1250. The new mill will also come with oil jet cooling for the piston undersides, new BMS-O engine control, new knock sensors, new injectors, and a new unit gearbox design with updated wet slipper clutch.

The 1254cc engine itself will weigh 11 pounds more than the 1170cc mill. This is where the excess 9hp will come in handy to haul the bike, and despite the added weight and power, BMW will thrive to keep fuel efficiency unchanged. ShiftCam is going to be the instrumental piece of tech that will keep the fuel economy in check.

BMW unveils brand-new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT with the new ShiftCam technology Exterior
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The system will contain two cam profiles attached to a single shaft that maintenance continuous contact with the crank. One with a smaller profile and lift duration is optimized for lower speeds, while the other gets a bigger profile for more valve lift and duration for high-speed performance. An electronic actuator operated based on the engine rpm moves this shaft laterally to engage either one of the cam lobes. The asymmetric valves also create a swirl of fuel and air to burn more cleanly while maintaining higher torques across the rev band.

This ShiftCam technology, however, is only seen on the intake side and not on the exhaust cams, probably for space considerations. The camshaft drive now uses a quieter Hyvo toothed chain rather than the old roller chain. BMW have made these motors run smoother and quieter with the drop in the noise levels from 92dB to 88dB for 2019.

BMW unveils brand-new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT with the new ShiftCam technology Exterior
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BMW unveils brand-new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT with the new ShiftCam technology Exterior
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BMW unveils brand-new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT with the new ShiftCam technology Exterior
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BMW unveils brand-new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT with the new ShiftCam technology
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There’s a host of swanky new tech features on both the machines. Apart from two riding modes, Hill Start and ASC stability control are now standard. The GS now also receives LED headlamp while LED daytime riding light is available as an optional equipment item for both the R 1250 GS and the R 1250 RT, which has halogen headlamps.

The GS also receives a new 6.5-inch full-color TFT screen in conjunction with the standard BMW Motorrad Multi-Controller, while the RT is fitted with a large 5.7-inch TFT color screen supplemented with the analog speedo and rev counter. Intelligent Emergency Call or SOS can be equipped as an option.

BMW unveils brand-new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT with the new ShiftCam technology Exterior
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BMW unveils brand-new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT with the new ShiftCam technology Exterior
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BMW unveils brand-new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT with the new ShiftCam technology Exterior
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BMW unveils brand-new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT with the new ShiftCam technology Exterior
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As an ex-works optional equipment, both machines can now opt for "Riding Modes Pro" featuring additional riding modes, Dynamic Traction Control DTC, ABS Pro, Hill Start Control Pro and Dynamic Brake Assistant DBC (new). BMW Motorrad Dynamic ESA “Next Generation” is also moved up a level but still remains optional and can now be equipped for the R 1250 RT.

There will be a range of iconic customization features such as the Billets Packs Option 719 Classic and HP for both models. New attractive colors and style variants will adorn these machines as well.

BMW unveils brand-new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT with the new ShiftCam technology Exterior
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The new engine should spread across BMW’s water-cooled boxer range, with the R1250GS, R1250RT and R1250R moving to Euro-V by 2020. Expect the first glances of these machines at the German INTERMOT show in October or at the EICMA in Milan in November. Whether similar tech will extend to the retro air-cooled R NineT range is yet to be seen.


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