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Wunderbar! Straight talk about a meaningful upgrade for the R 1200 RS (2014+)

Posted By Mark Hearon #209373, Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Over the last couple years, I’ve wondered how many folks bought (or considered buying) the R 1200 RS and either didn’t, or worse yet – did and have never gone far afield with it due to concerns over long-distance comfort. If you’ve sat on the bike, then you know it’s no R 1200 RT. Neither is it an S 1000 RR. In its stock form, the bike sits in the Goldilocks zone of comfort for me. That being said, Wunderlich has created a solution that seems poised to remove any lingering doubts about the R 1200 RS becoming the sporty touring bike of your dreams.

After a 2,500-mile motorcycle camping trip in the Rockies last year with the stock steering yoke installed, I was convinced I already had the perfect bike. When I undertook this review project, I honestly thought I would be raising awareness about a product for those who prioritize comfort more than I. The funny thing is, I didn’t realize what I was missing until I installed this thing on my bike!

My wife, who recently purchased a G 310 GS as her first motorcycle, has been kind enough to let me perform an informal analysis of her bike’s ergonomics against mine with the Wunderlich straight bar conversion kit installed. Folks, I have to say, my R 1200 RS feels like a GS now. Considering my bike is classified as a sport bike on BMW’s website, I feel like I’m cheating and I love it.

A 600-mile trip up to the Ouachita National Forest for some camping in early May further confirmed what a couple of weeks of commuting and backroad blasting had already begun to reveal: adequate as the bike is from the showroom, this straight bar makes a huge difference on the ergonomic front.

From a functional/performance perspective, I noticed a little less front-end feel while taking the Talimena Scenic Byway at a spirited pace. I attribute this to being more upright in the saddle. In the twisties, if I needed a little more lean angle, the increased width of the bar made course corrections ridiculously easy, even with full panniers and a 35-liter dry bag on the pillion. Score one for leverage!

In the city, I’ve found the R 1200 RS maneuvers far more easily in tight spaces with the Wunderlich bar installed. A common complaint with the stock R 1200 RS is that it’s difficult to ride in urban settings. Although I’ve never felt this to be a shortcoming of the bike, I’ve nevertheless noticed I’m moving about with greater ease now than before.

When it comes to the bar kit’s components, fit and finish wise, the texture and color of the bar is virtually identical to that of the stock yoke. Nobody will be able to tell a difference – unless you decide to use the mounting hardware provided with the Wunderlich bar kit.

The stock bolts for my bike are silver-colored, whereas the bolts provided by Wunderlich are black, which is a bit of a miss if you ask me. Thankfully, you don’t have to use them if you don’t want to.

The etched Wunderlich logo is small, unobtrusive, and positioned out of view. If you’re like me and don’t like logos all over your machine, you’ll consider that a plus. Also, Wunderlich added hash marks that guide the user when selecting different levels of adjustability for the bar. Given the bar represents an ergonomic upgrade to begin with, guiding users to a more bespoke fit is a thoughtful touch that I appreciated greatly.

Installation of the bar requires more than a little patience. The instructions assume you know more than you might, and although I was ultimately successful, I still found the exercise a bit tedious due to vague illustrations and a lack of written steps. For what Wunderlich charges for this kit, I’m more than a little disappointed a list of required tools to perform the job wasn’t provided. There’s nothing quite so enjoyable as getting to a critical moment in the installation process and realizing you have to go to the hardware store to buy a missing tool.

For your convenience, you’ll need the following:

  • T 8 bit
  • T 20 bit
  • T 30 bit
  • T 45 bit
  • 13mm socket
  • Ratchet(s) for the above
  • Needle-nosed pliers (to help unplug electrical connections inside the handlebar switches)

A meaningful functional upgrade, the Wunderlich Handlebar Conversion for the R 1200 RS isn’t leaving my bike any time soon. Never one to shy away from a pun, it’s definitely wunderbar!

If you’re not brimming with confidence, have a low tolerance for faffery, or simply aren’t eager to install the kit yourself, consider giving your local dealer a little business. Otherwise, the installation process should (excluding hardware store runs) only take 60-90 minutes.

Details:

  • Handlebar Conversion R1200 RS: $546.95
  • Pros: Fit and finish | Ergo-tastic
  • Cons: Cost | Installation Instructions | Cost
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Website: wunderlichamerica.com

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