R1200RS Comfort Modifications

When it comes to longer distance rides, I’m happy to admit to my novice status. Some of you have done ‘The Stans’, well we’re doing ‘The Paddies’. It’s a 10 day tour of the Atlantic Coast of Western Ireland with friends from the Oxford Section, a round trip of somewhere close to 2000 miles. It’s our first significant ride and we've had to invest in some modifications to the R1200RS which we thought may be of interest.

From the outset, the R1200RS is a very capable sports tourer. It’s comfortable and the torquey motor is a joy to exploit on motorways and twisties alike. The modifications are a matter of personal taste and tend to move the sports tourer towards the tourer part of the spectrum.

Helibars Handle Bar Extensions

The R1200RS, by design, tends to leave the rider in a more sporty, slightly crouched position. Over longer distances I have found that this position has tended to leave me with some discomfort in my neck. Having searched around at the turn of the year, I found the Helibars Handlebar Extensions.  These make a small but significant change to the overall riding position, raising the ‘bar height by 32mm and back by 25mm.

At just over £150.00, in my opinion, they were a bit on the expensive side.  That said however, the quality is very high and they have certainly achieved what was required. The riding position is more relaxed and the aches and pains seem to be solved.

Since fitting the Helibars products, bought through Motorworks, there are a number of alternative products that have come to the market (and at significantly lower prices) to change the handlebar position on the RS. Overall, I would recommend this mod.

Givi Touring Windscreen

Having previously run an R1100RT, before moving to a naked R1200R, I experienced the two extremes of wind protection. One of the aspects of the RS that particularly appealed, was the compromise between its 2 predecessors in terms of fairing performance. Having run the bike for a number of miles however, I felt there was still an opportunity to improve the protection without compromising the sports styling too much.

Following some online research, I ordered a Givi Touring Screen and have found that the slight additional height has made a significant difference. The BMW OEM screen made no difference between its lower and raised positions whereas, the combination of the raised handlebars and the Givi screen now offers either a sporty, lower setting, but one that still gives more protection than the OEM screen, or the raised position that gives an out and out touring position. In either setting, the difference is most notable as reduced wind noise over the intercom mics. Well worth considering.

Hornig SatNav Mounting

Whilst touring last year, a couple of notable problems occurred with the SatNav location. The first problem was reflections of the near-horizontal screen obscuring the view. The second was that you couldn’t even see the screen with a tank bag on without leaning over the top, forcing you to take your eyes off the road.  A couple of weeks ago, on the R1200RS Facebook page, a fellow rider had fitted the Hornig SatNav mount. The kit comprises of a welded stainless steel cross bar which mounts onto a couple of existing fairing fixings and, using an adaptor plate, mounts the SatNav above the speedometer.

I haven’t used it for touring yet but first impressions are that the SatNav screen is now more vertical and its location means that you can follow the route without taking your eyes off the road. The kit was simple to fit and puts the SatNav screen where it should be. The downside may be that theeffect of  increased low-frequency vibration may affect the durability of the Garmin V. (Although comments from Facebook seemed to be reassuring in this respect.)

Wunderlich Top Box Rack

With the need for additional luggage capacity for our trip, I dug deep into my pockets and invested in the Wunderlich Top Box Rack. The rack itself is manufactured to a very good standard with a crackle finish, powder coating, and high quality mountings.
The rack arrived without clear instructions of how to locate the mounting, bearing in mind that you need to drill 4 holes in the top of a very expensive BMW Top Box. With a bit of careful consideration, I have mounted the rack but its fitting does leave me with a concern that it is only suitable for some very light loads, both from its mounting onto the ABS plastic top box and the concentration of weight right at the back of the bike. I can foresee that there is the potential for stress cracking from the mounts a little way down the line but will keep you posted.


As a postscript to the above mods, I recently took my RS into Bahnstormer for some work and was given a courtesy bike for the period. I'm always interested to see what I'm offered as a new riding experience and this time it was an ...R1200RS. What made it interesting was that this one was standard. Oh, how I missed the risers, the grips, and the taller screen. #goodmods
Hornig SatNav mounting
The Givi Windscreen offers good additional protection
Helibars Handlebar Extensions - 32mm up by 25mm back