Superbly engineered, yet clumsily styled, the BMW R1150R has arrived and may just prove to be a lot more than you would have expected, correspondent Brett Hamilton found out.

Superbly engineered, yet clumsily styled, the BMW R1150R has arrived and may just prove to be a lot more than you would have expected, correspondent Brett Hamilton found out.

I have never really liked BMW motorcycles much, though I have always been proven wrong by the excellent engineering. And while the styling is a bit awkward, there may still be hope for the new Rockster.

Based on the standard flat twin "boxer" engine of its predecessor, the Rockster apparently has a 'distinct identity of its own'. While we are not exactly sure what that is, expect the 1130cc, four-cylinder to pump out 62,5kW at 6 750r/min and a distinctive 98N.m at 5 250r/min, exactly the same figures as the previous R1150R.

Other performance figures include a 197km/h top speed and a rather impressive claimed fuel consumption of roughly five litres.

Housing the engine is the usually impressive BMW chassis. The Rockster should be rock solid with its Telelever and Monolever suspension system. The previous R1150R left many riders complaining of vague front-end steering and poor feedback. However, after a few hours, you soon get used to this. We suspect that the Rockster will have similar attributes.

The R1150R is one of the most sophisticated rides available and the Rockster seems to have the added character that the R so desperately lacked.

Some explanation is required about the technicalities of the Telelever system on the front of the Rockster. The forks are still telescopic, but feature no form of damping or springing. They are filled with lubricating oil - keeping the unsprung weight down - and there is only one fork yoke. This structure is attached to a rather substantial swingarm by the outer tubes.

Above the swingarm, there is a single spring and damper set that pivots on the engine casting. This system reduces dive under braking, reduces the weight of the suspension and in this way keeps the handling of the motorcycle predictable throughout the suspension's travel.

Another handy feature on the Rockster is the standard BMW Integral ABS system in the partly integral version on the Rockster. This system activates the front and rear brakes simultaneously when the hand brake is engaged. At the same time, the innovative braking system enables active reaction to dynamic wheel load changes that occur during braking, thus enabling optimal braking power every time, and a very short braking distance.

The Rockster features twin 320mm discs EVO brakes at the front with a 276mm disc at the rear. This is exactly the same as on the previous R1150R, which is not a bad thing at all as the R1150R was able, in most aspects, to run with cutting-edge sportsbikes on less-then-perfect roads.

Combine with this the same comfortable seating position and stable ergonomics, and the Rockster might be worth a look. And at an economical price of just over R90 000, it is also one of the most affordable motorcycles currently on the market.

Also, much like the R1150R, the Rockster will be one of the most comfortable, stable and sophisticated rides that you will ever experience. With a 219kg weight, 835mm seat height and a 20-litre fuel tank, it will definitely be on the top of many people's wish lists. And, optional extras include heated grips, screens, panniers and a myriad of other unimportant objects. The Rockster certainly is an interesting prospect.

However, this is where the good news stops. The R1150R was plagued by a bland disposition, and was generally uninspiring, making the Rockster seem a bit of an oddball.

At the moment, the two colours available on the Rockster are orange metallic (making the Rockster look like bronze statue of a toad) and citrus metallic (making it look like a live toad).

According to BMW, 'The Rockster is a basic bike with a strong sports emphasis and with looks that set it apart from the crowd. Its modern design re-defines the "naked bike". '

For my money, I would buy either the Ducati MS4R or M1000s. For me, the Monster still dictates the modern 'naked' market and, at the moment, the Ducati does not resemble a toddler's crayon rendering of his father's tractor. Also, keep an eye out for the soon-to-be launched roadster offerings from KTM.

Original article from Car